The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team got off to a superb start on Friday despite changeable weather at the opening round of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship at Phillip Island. Reigning WorldSSP Champion Lucas Mahias put in a dominant performance to top the combined timesheets by 0.400s after setting a 1:31.130 in the morning’s dry FP1 session before a damp FP2 saw most riders fail to improve their times in the afternoon. His teammate Federico Caricasulo also impressed in the tricky conditions as he finished in fifth overall with a best time of 1:31.827, set in FP1, 0.724s off the pace of his teammate.
Mahias was determined to get his title defence off to the best possible start at Phillip Island and even the mixed weather could not knock the 2017 WorldSSP Champion off his stride. Morning rain saw FP1 take place on a drying track but the 28-year-old French rider still managed to set a blistering pace on his Yamaha R6, topping the session by four-tenths of a second with a 1:33.130. Rain before the afternoon’s FP2 session meant that most riders could not improve their times on a drying track, with Mahias instead focusing on finding a good setup in the wet, which could be vital with a mixed forecast for the race weekend. His time from FP1 secured his place at the top of the combined timesheets and Mahias now heads into Saturday confident whatever the weather.
His teammate Caricasulo also showed superb pace in both sessions, finishing FP1 in fourth after setting a 1:33.827 in the dry and regaining his feeling with his Yamaha R6 after a huge crash during the official test earlier in the week – due to a tyre failure – that completely destroyed his bike. The 21-year-old Italian then set about collecting some vital data during the wet afternoon session, completing a number of laps and impressing once again with his pace although, like most riders, he did not improve his time from the morning. Caricasulo ended Friday in fifth overall with his time from FP1, 0.724s off the pace of his teammate Mahias, with both riders making it through automatically through to Saturday’s SP2.
To cap off an excellent opening day for Yamaha they completed a 1-2-3 on the combined timesheets, with Randy Krummenacher (Bardahl Evan Bros WorldSSP Team) in second and Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) in third. The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are back in action on Saturday at Phillip Island at 10:10 am local time for FP3, with qualifying due to start at 1.30 pm. Check out the full results.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – 1st – 1:33.103
“Today was a very good day! I finished in first overall and my pace felt really good, which is a positive sign ahead of qualifying tomorrow. The problem with Phillip Island is that the information we gained during the test is not that relevant to the race, especially in the 600 class, because the slipstream can play such a big part here and you often see maybe, seven or eight riders fighting for victory. It always goes right down to the last corner! For tomorrow, my target is to start from the front as it is better for the race, but maybe it will rain. I managed to do about ten laps in the wet today and set the fastest time, so whatever the weather I am feeling confident for tomorrow!”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team – 5th – 1:33.827
“The weather conditions made today, the first day of the 2018 WorldSSP season, a bit trickier! Despite the changing conditions, I am happy with the work I did with my team. After the big crash in the final session of the test earlier in the week, it was important to regain my confidence and feeling with the bike. I managed to get back into a good rhythm, in both the wet and the dry conditions, so I am feeling good. Thank you to my team for all their hard work and I am already looking forward to SP2!”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
“The first day of practice has gone really well! Lucas put in a great performance and I am very happy as he looks really comfortable on the bike and it looks like he can do what he wants with it, which is very important to allow him to ride to his full potential. Federico made a good start in the morning as well, plus he was quick in the tricky wet conditions in the afternoon too. He has a phenomenal race pace and he is confident heading into SP2. I want to thank the whole team for doing such a great job and also Yamaha for always giving us such good support that allows us to go out and be fighting at the front!”