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2024/02/23 - FIM Superbike World Championship: Australian Round - Friday's Free Practice Sessions

Encouraging opening day in changeable weather

Compared to last Tuesday's test, Dominique Aegerter was satisfied with the small progress he made during both free practice sessions at Phillip Island today, both in terms of his physical condition and his lap times.

After glorious Australian summer weather on the last few days, the usual conditions in the south of Down Under prevailed on Friday again. Gusty winds and recurring drizzle were a not insignificant disruptive factor in the day's schedule. After a brief rain shower shortly before the start of the first practice session, it took a while for the track to dry out again, so Dominique Aegerter started the first race weekend of the season with a slight delay but as the track’s conditions improved, the 33-year-old Yamaha rider quickly found confidence in his race bike and finished the session in the top ten.

Conditions were more consistent in the afternoon, so that the entire entry list of the highly competitive WorldSBK class set faster lap times. Aegerter improved to a 1:29.623, which ultimately meant 13th place with a minimal gap of 0.5 seconds to the top.

Due to safety concerns as to whether the tyres will last the full distance on the recently resurfaced 4.4-kilometres long Phillip Island circuit, a tyre change is mandatory for the two main races. After Superpole, which determines the starting grid, the first race of the season will start at 16:00 local time (06:00 CET), with Eurosport 1 broadcasting live. Alternatively, the action can also be followed via the "ServusTV on" app and via live stream on the official WorldSBK website.

#77 Dominique AEGERTER (GYTR GTR Yamaha WorldSBK Team, Yamaha YZF R1)
FP1: P9 - 1´30.350 / FP2: P13 - 1´29.623

"In the end, we were lucky with the weather because we were able to put in good laps in both sessions. It was even a bit better in the afternoon and we made a little progress, which is not reflected in the position, but I am happy with the lap time. We have reduced the gap to the leaders. In 13th place we only lost half a second on the fastest of the day. It is crazy, but I think that Superbike will be incredibly great to watch this year. Nevertheless, I still need more kilometres and my physical condition is a bit better than at the test on Tuesday. That is certainly a help and also pleasing."

"I am looking forward to the first race tomorrow afternoon, especially as the weather should be more stable. Before that, I will give everything in qualifying to achieve a good grid position. A big thank you for the whole team for their hard work. But tomorrow and on Sunday the races will be completely different, as we have to make a mandatory pit stop for a tyre change. All the attention will be on the mechanics then. But I am relying on my guys."

#AUSWorldSBK - WSBK Combined Free Practice Times (FP1/FP2):
1 Alex LOWES / GBR / Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK / Kawasaki ZX-10RR / 1´29.042 (FP2)
2 Nicola BULEGA / ITA / Racing - Ducati / Ducati Panigale V4R / 1´29.101 +0.059 (FP2)
3 Andrea LOCATELLI / ITA / Pata Prometeon Yamaha / Yamaha YZF R1 / 1´29.197 +0.155 (FP2)
13 #77 Dominique AEGERTER / SWI / GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team / Yamaha YZF R1 / 1´29.623 +0.581 (FP2)

#AUSWorldSBK - WSBK Time Schedule for Saturday February 24th (CET):
00:00 - 00:30 FP3
03:00 - 03:15 Superpole 
06:00 Race 1 (20 Laps - 88.900 km)