GRT Yamaha Ready to Kick Off Title Defence Down Under
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team, who completed a clean sweep of titles on offer in 2017, have concluded their preseason testing at Phillip Island in encouraging fashion to head into the opening round of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend full of confidence. Reigning WorldSSP Champion Lucas Mahias was the dominant force over the two-day test, topping the timesheets on Monday and finishing in second overall after an impressive display. His teammate Federico Caricasulo was also battling at the top of the timesheets over both days, eventually finishing just 0.096s behind his teammate in third overall as both riders look to get their 2018 season off to the best possible start.
The 2017 WorldSSP season saw the GRT team helped Yamaha to complete the triple crown of titles on offer, with Lucas Mahias crowned champion by taking victory at an incredibly dramatic season finale in Qatar, in the process also ensuring the Team and Manufacturer's titles to cap off an incredible year. In 2018 the GRT team is looking to repeat this feat and enters the season in the best possible way after an extremely positive preseason.
Mahias took the championship by storm last year on his Yamaha YZF-R6, with the 28-year-old French rider recording two wins and six further podiums in just 12 races to secure the title from his rivals and, after working hard during the winter, is determined to get his title defence off the to the best possible start at the opening round of the 2018 season. Mahias enjoyed an extremely positive two-day test at Phillip Island, dominating proceedings and topping the timesheets on Monday with a 1:34.008, before ending Tuesday in second overall with a best time of 1:33.547. Mahias, confident with his pace at a track where he only just missed out on the race victory by the smallest of margins in 2017, crossing the line 0.001s behind the eventual winner in second, was happy with the work done over two days and the defending champion enters the 2018 season full of confidence.
His teammate Federico Caricasulo also enjoyed an extremely encouraging two-day test, as the 21-year-old looks to build on the promising 2017 performances that saw him record victories in Thailand and Jerez, plus a further two podiums on his way to finishing his debut year with the team fifth in the championship standings. Entering his third full season in WorldSSP, Caricasulo is now ready to deliver on his potential as he looks to add consistency to his undeniable pace in 2018. He immediately got down to business at Philip Island and made it a GRT Yamaha 1-2 on Monday at the test, finishing just 0.021s behind Mahias in second with a 1:34.109. He also improved on Tuesday, proving almost inseparable from his teammate as he finished in third overall with a 1:33.643, just 0.096s off the pace off Mahias in second. This was despite being forced to miss most of the afternoon session following a big crash caused by a tyre failure during a race simulation that completely destroyed his R6, with Caricasulo lucky to escape injury. Buoyed by his preseason form, the focused young Italian is looking to get his 2018 WorldSSP season off to the best possible start at a track he enjoys and where he was battling for the win in 2017 - on his debut for the GRT Yamaha Team - before crashing out of the race on the last lap.
The long winter is over, preseason testing is finished, now it is time for the GRT Yamaha WorldSSP Team to kick off their title defence at the opening round of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship at Phillip Island this Friday with the WorldSSP action kicking off at 10:40 am with Free Practice 1.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
"The test has been very good for me! I finished second overall, which is not so bad for the start of the season! I worked a lot with the team to improve the bike, we tried a few different setups and also tested a lot of new parts. I am very confident. Tyres are always an issue at Phillip Island but I think we have found a good solution for the race, so I am very happy. Thank you to my team for working so hard during these two days and now it is time to turn our focus to the opening round of the season. We are ready!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
"The test was really good! I had a good pace, plus I found a really good feeling and rhythm with my R6. Unfortunately, during Tuesday's race simulation I had a rear tyre failure that caused me to crash and I missed most of the afternoon session as the team repaired the damage to my bike. Even so, I am really happy with the work we have done at this test! I love Phillip Island and I enter into the first round of the 2018 season full of confidence!"
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
"We started the test in the perfect way with a 1-2 on Monday, which was great. We made some changes on Tuesday and tried some different setups to find the best solution for the race. Lucas tried lots of different parts and settings and he was very fast and consistent throughout the whole test and we are happy with the direction we have found. Federico made a really good race simulation, showing great pace and setting very fast lap times. Unfortunately, he then had a tyre failure which caused a huge crash while on a race simulation and meant he lost quite a lot of time as we repaired and checked over the bike. Both riders have shown superb form during the preseason and here at Phillip Island, so we enter the new season confident that we can fight at the front and ready to defend our titles!"