The 2008 AMA Superbike Champion completed 46 laps in the first of three days of testing on the Kyalami circuit in Midrand, South Africa. Racing on a 2009 Yamaha Motor Italia YZF-R1, Spies recorded a best time of 1:41.599, good enough for second on the day.
“I like this track; it’s almost like some AMA tracks and it’s not too technical, not that difficult to learn, but I was having a lot of fun riding on it,” says Spies. “We were most interested in trying out the bike in hotter track conditions than in Portimao. The handling is good; the engine comes in really smooth exiting corners and it lays the power down well. Top end makes no difference in that situation and the engine really drives well from low down.”
The only rider with a better time than Spies was Michel Fabrizio. The Xerox Ducati rider’s best time of 1:41.204 was a tenth of a second under the unofficial course record set by Colin Edwards when Kyalami last hosted a WSBK round in 2002.
“I’m really pleased because it’s the first time I’ve lapped on this track”, says Fabrizio, who completed 66 laps on the Ducati 1098F09. “I feel sure can go even quicker, I’ll try and do so in the remaining two days.”
Fabrizio’s new teammate Noriyuki Haga had a more difficult day. Haga crashed three times in his debut on the ’09 Ducati. Japan’s “Sultan of Slide” still managed to set the fourth fastest time at 1:41.730.
A couple of new WSBK teams also took part in the first day of tests.
Aprilia’s Shinya Nakano and Max Biaggi were sixth and seventh respectively on the new RSV4.
“I really like the RSV4, today we just got warmed up, we’ll see where we can arrive in the remaining sessions,” says Biaggi, who missed the first half of the session due to problems with his flight.
Meanwhile, the BMW duo of Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus also recorded respectable times on the new S1000RR in their first head-to-head tests against the competition.
Riders will be back on the track Dec. 11-12 for two more days of testing.
|WSBK - Kyalami Test - Day One Results|
|1st||Michel Fabrizio||Ducati 1098F09||1:41.204||66|
|2nd||Ben Spies||Yamaha YZF-R1||1:41.599||46|
|4th||Noriyuki Haga||Ducati 1098F09||1:41.730||31|
|6th||Shinya Nakano||Aprilia RSV4||1:41.846||51|
|7th||Max Biaggi||Aprilia RSV4||1:42.446||29|
|8th||Ryuichi Kiyonari||Honda CBR1000RR||1:42.744||62|
|9th||Troy Corser||BMW S1000RR||1:42.975||33|
|10th||Ruben Xaus||BMW S1000RR||1:43.274||41|
|11th||Carlos Checa||Honda CBR1000RR||1:43.418||10|
|12th||Jonathan Rea||Honda CBR1000RR||1:44.496||16|
|13th||Tom Sykes||Yamaha YZF-R1||1:46.780||16|