Leon Haslam The Pata Honda World Superbike team has concluded four days of testing at Phillip Island ahead of Sunday’s opening round of the 2013 eni FIM Superbike World championship at the Australian circuit.

A private test held on Thursday and Friday at Phillip Island last week was followed by a test organised by Dorna, the championship’s new owners, on Monday and Tuesday. Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have continued the development of their Honda CBR1000RR machines and finished the test separated by just four hundredths of a second.

With a fastest lap of 1m31.356s, Rea set the sixth fastest time overall on the final afternoon of testing at the 4.448km circuit, which underwent a complete resurfacing in January. Haslam, his new team-mate for 2013, fired in a lap of 1m31.396s yesterday afternoon for the seventh quickest lap overall.

Sunday’s SBK opener will have particular significance for Rea since race two at Phillip Island will mark his 100th World Superbike start. The 26-year-old, who finished fifth overall in last season’s standings will be looking to add to his 10 victories and 19 other podium finishes in 98 starts to date.

While 29-year-old Haslam, has experienced more Superbike race starts than Rea, he has also enjoyed success at Phillip Island, taking his first SBK win in 2010. He too will be seeking to expand on his current total of three race victories from his 28 podium finishes.

Jonathan Rea #65

Jonathan Rea #65

Jonathan Rea– best lap 1m31.356s
It can be strange riding at Phillip Island, especially doing so many testing laps over four days. The conditions can change so dramatically – yesterday we had almost 60 degrees of track temperature and today it was less than 25. The wind changed going down the straight, from a tail-wind yesterday to being in our faces today, and the changing conditions can upset the chassis settings on the bike. Yesterday, I didn’t feel that good but today it was 100 times better. We’ve been trying to do a lot of laps on old tyres and we still have some tyre life issues to work on for the race weekend, but I think that’s a common problem up and down pit lane. The tests have finished positively, even though we didn’t get a chance for a maximum time attack. The guys in my crew have been working really hard to get the electronics set up to my exact liking, especially the application of the traction control, but we’ve learned a lot. We still have a lot to do for the weekend – it’s clear that, if we want to go fast on a new tyre, we can, but Phillip Island isn’t about that. It’s about still having a good tyre on lap 22, so there’s still some work to be done.

Leon Haslam #91

Leon Haslam #91

Leon Haslam– best lap 1m31.396s
Our testing has been frustrating at times and in Jerez last month we lost the first day to the weather and the second day with some electronics teething problems. I think we made more progress in the first three hours here at Phillip Island than in two days in Jerez, so these two tests here have been really important. We haven’t progressed too much more today because we had a problem with the weather this morning and still had some gremlins with the electronics. But we’ve found out what the problem is and, even with the bike cutting out intermittently all the way round my best lap this afternoon, I still managed to do a decent time. We’ve still got more work to do and more things to try but now we go in to Friday looking for a set-up that will make the tyres last on race day. I’m happy to be in that position and, if all goes well, we can maybe try some of those new things, but the priority now is race set-up and tyres.

Pieter Breddels– technical co-ordinator
After our problems in Jerez, I’m very happy with the results of these two tests in Phillip Island. We were a little anxious about the amount of work we had to do here in order to close the gap to the competition but, from what we have seen over these four days, it looks like we’ve been able to do it. We’ve finally started to get the hang of the new electronics and we’ve had enough track time to make the adjustments that have been required. Leon especially has been comfortably on the pace here throughout all four days. Jonathan had a good private test last week but lost a little confidence yesterday. Today the bike was better and his confidence returned and he finished very strongly near the front. Now we look forward to the weekend and I have to say that it’s great to have not one buttwocompetitive riders – it’s certainly going to be an exciting first round.

Official 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship test

Phillip Island, Australia, 18-19 February – overall times

1. Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 1m31.059s (Tuesday)
2. Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1m31.237s (Tuesday)
3. Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki 1m31.243s (Monday)
4. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m31.261s (Tuesday)
5. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia 1m31.350s (Tuesday)
6. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Pata Honda 1m31.356s (Tuesday)
7. Leon Haslam (GBR) Pata Honda !m31.396s (Monday)

8. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 1m31.452s (Monday)
9. Davide Guigliano (ITA) Aprilia 1m31.640s (Tuesday)
10. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia 1m31.658s (Tuesday)

2013 World Superbike championship, round 1

Phillip Island, Australia – weekend schedule (local times – GMT+11)

Friday 22 February
11.45-12.30 Free practice
15.30-16.15 Qualifying 1

Saturday 23 February
09.45-10.30 Qualifying 2
12.30-13.15 Free practice
15.00-15.14 Superpole 1
15.21-15.33 Superpole 2
15.40-15.50 Superpole 3

Sunday 24 February
09.20-09.35 Warm-up
12.00 Race 1 (22 laps 97.790km)
15.30 Race 2 (22 laps 97.790km)

{lang: 'en-GB'}