Despite a lack of development with the new Honda CBR1000RR, Nicky Hayden was still able to crack the top 10 in second free practice for the opening round of the World Superbike season, at Phillip Island.

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Hayden qualifies directly into Superpole 2 at Phillip Island

The opening day of action of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has been contested at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Australia, with Nicky Hayden able to claim an eighth place in the combined times of today’s two free practice sessions. Courtesy of this result, the 35-year-old American rider has gained direct access to tomorrow’s Superpole 2, while his Red Bull Honda World Superbike teammate Stefan Bradl will try and make his way through the first qualifying session after finishing the day in sixteenth position.

Hayden was able to take the best out of the new Pirelli spec tyres brought for the Australian round as he clocked in 1’31.099s on board his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine in the first free practice session. Bradl significantly improved his feeling with the bike in the morning after working extensively with his crew on the electronic side of the brand-new Honda motorcycle.

World Superbike action will resume tomorrow morning at 10:20 local time (GMT+11) for the 25-minute free practice 3 session, with Superpole 1 and Superpole 2 set to get underway at 12:30 and 12:55, respectively. The opening race of the season will start at 15:00.

nicky-haydenNicky Hayden 69

8th / 1’31.099

It’s nice to be at Phillip Island and get the season back off. We had a few ideas to try on the bike from testing here earlier this week: we made a little bit of a step forward, with the track conditions being a bit better and with the new spec tyres brought by Pirelli, one of which I particularly liked. I was able to do some decent times with it but we still need to find some more speed ahead of race one. The competition is really tough in the group where I’m in at the moment. Being in Superpole 2 is surely good news so I hope we’ll be able to qualify well tomorrow and get a good race result.

– Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

stefan-bradlStefan Bradl 6

16th / 1’31.707

We made a good step forward compared to the test, especially this morning. The electronics were definitely working much better, after basically turning most of our attention towards it. This afternoon, things were not as good as apparently the window where the electronics seem to operate well is quite small at the moment, so we kind of ended up a bit too far. Track conditions were worse compared to this morning and I could not make the most of fresh tyres, but looks like we’re much more competitive in the long run. We will go back to this morning settings in FP3 and start building from there.

– Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

pieter-breddelsPieter Breddels

We improved quite a lot this morning with Nicky and he was able to set some good lap times, which allowed him to qualify to Superpole 2. An eighth place is not a bad result, but there is still work to do and we will analyse the data in order to come up with new adjustments ahead of tomorrow, especially for the race. We worked really hard on the electronic side of things and Stefan could immediately feel the difference compared to testing: he was able to build some confidence with the bike in the first hour of practice on track and his lap-times improved significantly. In the afternoon, we tried some more settings to improve our pace but the track conditions were not as good. We did learn a lot, though, and we will take all of it into tomorrow, when we’ll work more on the chassis as well as on other areas of the bike.

– Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Australian Round

Phillip Island, Australia

# RIDER NUM NAT. TEAM CONSTRUCTOR TIME/GAP
1 DAVIES 7 GBR ARUBA.IT RACING DUCATI 1’30.189
2 REA 65 GBR KAWASAKI RACING TEAM KAWASAKI +0.066
3 FORES 12 SPA BARNI RACING TEAM DUCATI +0.297
4 SYKES 66 GBR KAWASAKI RACING TEAM KAWASAKI +0.384
5 MELANDRI 33 ITA ARUBA.IT RACING DUCATI +0.438
6 LOWES 22 GBR PATA YAMAHA YAMAHA +0.628
7 SAVADORI 32 ITA MILWAUKEE APRILIA APRILIA +0.658
8 HAYDEN 69 USA RED BULL HONDA WORLD SUPERBIKE TEAM HONDA +0.910
9 TORRES 81 SPA ALTHEA BMW RACING TEAM BMW +0.932
10 REITERBERGER 21 GER ALTHEA BMW RACING TEAM BMW +0.940
11 LAVERTY 50 GBR MILWAUKEE APRILIA APRILIA +1.098
12 VAN DER MARK 60 NDL PATA YAMAHA YAMAHA +1.162
13 CAMIER 2 GBR MV AGUSTA REPARTO CORSE MV AGUSTA +1.216
14 KRUMMENACHER 15 SWI PUCCETTI RACING KAWASAKI +1.279
15 DE ANGELIS 15 RSM PEDERCINI RACING SC-PROJECT KAWASAKI +1.301
16 BRADL 6 GER RED BULL HONDA WORLD SUPERBIKE TEAM HONDA +1.518
17 BADOVINI 86 ITA GRILLINI RACING TEAM KAWASAKI +1.523
18 BROOKES 25 AUS ERMOTORSPORT-ELITEROADS.COM.AU YAMAHA +1.784
19 RAMOS 40 SPA TEAM GO ELEVEN KAWASAKI +1.866
20 JEZEK 37 CZE GRILLINI RACING TEAM KAWASAKI +1.940
21 RUSSO 84 ITA GUANDALINI RACING YAMAHA +2.374