It was Lowes who made the early running at Phillip Island, continuing the preseason form that saw him finish second on the timesheet at both private tests in Jerez and Portimão. The Briton ended the opening day second once again with a time of 1’31.146.
Unfortunately, Lowes was unable to build on such a strong start on the second day, following a high-speed crash at turn one that he was lucky to walk away from uninjured. Despite the crash, Lowes is confident that he can reap the rewards of a successful preseason test program with a strong showing this weekend’s races in Australia, as he looks to achieve his goal of finishing top three in the championship standings at season’s end.
Pata Yamaha’s Van der Mark is also keen to get his 2019 WorldSBK campaign off to a flying start with a strong performance in Australia this weekend. The 26-year-old was a regular frontrunner in 2018, taking two race wins and 10 podiums on his way to finishing third in the championship standings and, after a solid winter test program, he heads into the new season determined to repeat, or even improve upon, this success.GRT Yamaha’s Melandri declared himself satisfied with the progress made during the two days of testing at Phillip Island, which the Italian finished as the fastest of the four Yamaha riders. As a result, Melandri goes into the opening round of the 2019 season confident he can put in a strong performance, on a track at which he dominated to win both races just one year ago.
Cortese is looking forward to making his WorldSBK race debut in Phillip Island this weekend, after impressing during preseason testing. The reigning WorldSSP Champion was quick to adapt to the demands of the Yamaha YZF-R1 he’ll campaign in GRT Yamaha colours this season but, while he is confident that he and the team are fully prepared for the first race of the season, he admits to still being a little nervous about making his premier class debut in Australia.
The opening round of the 2019 WorldSBK season gets underway at 10.30 local time on Friday 22nd February with Free Practice. On Sunday morning the riders will contest the first ever Tissot Superpole Race, a 10-lap sprint to decide the grid for Sunday afternoon’s WorldSBK Race 2.