Forceful winds across the Phillip Island circuit affected Foggy PETRONAS Racing's testing efforts on the fourth and final day of its Australian test.
Despite track time being cut slightly short due to the wind, the team comes away from the test very satisfied with the progress made with the comprehensive pre-season testing schedule and, further development of the PETRONAS FP1.
Throughout his debut outing at the costal circuit, Craig Jones made strides forward with the set-up of his FP1 and familiarisation of the fast and flowing track, as experienced team-mate Steve Martin was able to consistently lap an impressive two seconds faster than at the race in Phillip Island last year, and finish second overall in the test timesheet.
A race simulation had been planned for Steve Martin today, with further bike set-up and fine-tuning work scheduled for Craig Jones, in preparation for the second round of the 2006 Superbike World Championship at the costal Australian circuit in six weeks.
But Steve and Craig, along with other riders present at the test, finished the day's running at lunch time as the forceful winds significantly affected the handling of their bikes and created dangerous high speed riding conditions.
Steve commented, "As soon as I woke up this morning and saw the white caps of the waves breaking, I had a feeling our plans for the day would be scuppered. The plan was to do to a race simulation this morning, which I started, but the wind was so strong that I had a bit of a 'moment' on Lukey Heights and we thought it best not to continue. Overall it's been a really good test and we've achieved a great deal and gathered a lot of very useful data."
Craig said, "I would have liked to run a lot more laps today to continue with the good set-up direction we found yesterday, so it's disappointing that the wind was so strong. But at least we've got a good base setting for this circuit now so have a good starting point at the race here in a few weeks. I'm feeling totally at home on the FP1 and around this circuit and have just really enjoyed testing these last four days."
Team Manager, Jack Valentine, commented, "Overall this test has been very successful and we've achieved some very positive results with the different elements tested. Steve, Craig and the team have done a really great job all week, and we're very pleased that Steve has been able to run such consistent and fast laps - highlighting the development progress already made over the year - and that Craig is now confident with the circuit and his bike set-up. Now it's back to base in order to fully prepare for the start of the racing season next month."
Unofficial Overall Test Times (race tyres);
- 1. Troy Corser (Alstare Suzuki) 1:32.79
- 2. Steve Martin (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:33.40
- 3. Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki) 1:33.5
- 4. Norick Abe (Yamaha France) 1:34.5 (1:34.0 qualifying tyre)
- 5. Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha France) 1:34.6 (1:34.2 qualifying tyre)
- 6. Shinichi Nakatomi (Yamaha France) 1:35.1
- 7. Craig Jones (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:35.6