The 2015 World Superbike Championship season kicked off at Phillip Island, Australia with SHARK’s supported-riders in action over the weekend.
Reigning SBK Champion Sylvian Guintoli – who was adapting to his new Honda – scored a seventh and fifth place finishes, while 2013 Champion Tom Sykes took a sixth and a fourth. Alex Lowes who headed many of the time sheets in winter testing had a more challenging weekend. His new team-mate, Frenchman Randy de Puniet had an equally difficult weekend adapting to a new team, a new bike and a new championship.
The next round of the championship will take place at a new circuit in Thailand on 22 March.
Sylvain Guintoli – seventh and fifth:
« I tried everything I could and we did both races with very different set-ups, although the results were much the same. But at least we’ve got some good data that we can work on now. After missing so much winter testing, I’ve really been treating this weekend as another live test session because I’m still not quite yet clicking with the bike. We’ll just keep working though and come back strong in Thailand. To be honest, I’ve never felt so physically drained after two races. I think the injury from Jerez must have somehow added to the dehydration because I felt really ill during both the races. I’ll focus on recovering as much as possible before the next races now. But one of the highlights of the weekend for me was being on the track with Troy Bayliss. He had already retired when I came to SBK but we had a few laps scrapping out there in race two which was a bit special! »
Tom Sykes – sixth and fourth:
« In race one I was given no room going into turn one and had to run wide. It was one of those things and he could have easily left me some room, but he didn’t. It changed the outlook of my race but we have come away with some points on the board. In race two we made some changes to the bike set-up and I was able to be with the leaders in the beginning of the race but unfortunately we had some limitation with the front feeling. I was not quite able to put the bike where I wanted it and suffered a little but in the middle to exit of the corners. Jonathan did a great job for Kawasaki and that was good to see. Now we will leave Phillip Island with a lot more information and I hope we can use this to be stronger in the next rounds. »
Alex Lowes – ninth and DNF:
« I just don’t know what to say. Me and the team have put in so much work all week to have a strong package for today and from the very start of the warm up session to the end of my second race, everything that could go wrong, did. It’s impossible to point the finger at anyone or anything, everyone has been putting in so much effort to support me and get the GSX-R in the front group and we managed that all week but today it fell apart. Right now I just feel flat but we’ll get back, get re-focused and rebuild for the second round of the Championship. There is still a lot of racing left to do! »
Randy de Puniet – 17th and seventh:
« It was a horrible Sunday for me, I was in a lot of pain and the first race was a disaster. After six laps I was not able to ride because I had pain everywhere, plus arm pump, so it was impossible to brake or to accelerate, and I tried to manage a good position – I think I was ninth and should have been able to finish tenth. Unfortunately Camier hit me, I went straight on and finished 17th so I’m a little bit disappointed. I was worried again about my physical condition for race two but luckily I was able to manage it better, and I finished seventh. Until the middle of the race I was only four seconds from the lead but after that I started to struggle again, I tried to keep a good rhythm and finished seventh, which is a good result in this condition. I want to thank the team for everything and also the Clinica Mobile for helping me to ride this weekend. »