Phillip Island (Australia), 25 February 2011 – With the first day of practice (free and timed) on the Australian track at Phillip Island, the 2011 World SBK got underway. The Italian team had their first satisfaction of the season watching Max Biaggi take the track with the World Champion No. 1 on his Aprilia RSV4.
For Max it was a day full of work, starting with the free practice in the morning when he was out on the track longer than any of the other riders searching for the best setup, and later with the first Qualifying Practice where the five-time world champion stopped the clock at 1.32.009, earning a respectable fourth place at 432 thousandths behind Checa's best time (1.31.577)
But, as Biaggi explained at the end of the session, the road to full competitiveness for the RSV4 on this track which is traditionally unfavourable is still difficult: "We still have a lot of work to do. There are problems with the engine brake which triggers a very marked chattering. We tried different solutions, even changing bikes often, but we haven't had any great advantages. There is still work to be done just to understand what needs to be adjusted. The pace isn't bad, but when I try to push it the problems I've mentioned come into play. I think that Checa has a pretty good advantage over us at the moment, but I need to look at my own pit and try to draw out the best from what is available to me. For tomorrow I'd like to improve on the fast lap".
It was a rough day, on the other hand, for Leon Camier who has been fighting a bothersome form of the flu for some days now. For the English rider it was hard work to take the track also because of difficulty breathing.
Leon fought to end in 16th place at 1.33.084. "Unfortunately my performance is effected by the ailment – stated Camier – already after a few laps I'm struggling to breathe and in general I'm not able to concentrate on my riding. This hinders me from understanding best what needs to be done for the bike setup, above all because I can't take my RSV4 to the limit. Now I'm just thinking about resting. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow so I need to recover... at least a bit".