Tom Toparis pre-season Supersport tests

FASTEST: Toparis was the fastest rider over the last two days at the 'Island', setting a 1min36.354. Picture Russell Colvin
FASTEST: Toparis was the fastest rider over the last two days at the 'Island', setting a 1min36.354. Picture Russell Colvin

Goulburn’s Tom Toparis walked away from the official two day Pre-Season Test of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) as the fastest Supersport rider.

The 17-year-old’s fastest lap around the 4.445km Phillip Island Circuit was a 1min36.354, which he posted in the second thirty minute session yesterday. Surprisingly, Toparis labelled his lap time as “weird” as he felt like he wasn’t that fast.  

Toparis, who finished third in last year’s Australian Supersport Championship explained to the Goulburn Post that his Cube Racing ZX6R machine was not too bad, but he does know there room for improvement, which should see him being able to go much faster.

“Come round one we will hopefully be onto the small issues which has plagued us over the last two day,” said Toparis.

“We have some time to think about it and make a bit of a plan.

SPILLS: Toparis lost rear end on the exit of Siberia in Wednesday's second session, but he was able to walk away unharmed. Picture Russell Colvin

SPILLS: Toparis lost rear end on the exit of Siberia in Wednesday's second session, but he was able to walk away unharmed. Picture Russell Colvin

Toparis, who will also fly the Aussie flag in the opening round of the FIM World Supersport Championship at the end of this month at the ‘Island’ as the sole wildcard rider was also working on making sure that his Pirelli tyres were lasting for eighteen laps, as that will be the race distance for the World Supersport race.

“There are just so many pieces to the puzzle and at the end we just have to put it all together and hopefully come out with a good result.”

While the weather was pretty good, the typical Phillip Island wind was the biggest hurdle for Toparis and his rivals, as it kept changing.

“The wind was just annoying. You go to tip the bike into a corner one lap and it would be fine, then the next lap around it would pick you up and blow you off line. It is what it is and you just have to deal with it.”

Toparis may have been the pace setter in terms of the combined times, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for him, as in the second session yesterday he lost rear end on the exit of Siberia which pretty much left his bike looking a tad second hand and worse to wear.

Toparis explained; “It was just a simple mistake really. I was pushing pretty hard and paid the price. I’m fine, but the bike has seen better days.”

REPAIRS NEEDED: While the 17-year-old did hit the deck, he was ok. His bike on the other hand was a bit of a mess. Picture Russell Colvin

REPAIRS NEEDED: While the 17-year-old did hit the deck, he was ok. His bike on the other hand was a bit of a mess. Picture Russell Colvin

The end result saw Toparis being just 0.24 seconds faster than Lachlan Epis, who will compete full time in the World Supersport Championship, while Yamaha Racing Team’s factory rider Cru Halliday was third fastest with a time of 1min36.474.

Toparis and his Cube Racing team now turn their attention to the official two day World Supersport test, which runs from 19-20 February. When asked if Toparis was confident in being able to solve these teething issues, he replied with; “I think it’s got to be doable, for sure.”

At the World Supersport test, Toparis and the team will focus 100% be on the World Supersport machine, which will be the first time that he will ride the bike.

“We have six hours in total to get the bike sorted. I know we can do it because we have done it before when I raced here last year and it wasn’t bad. We’ll sort it out and be fast,” declared Toparis.

WORLDS NEXT: Next time Toparis will be on track will be for the two day World Supersport official  Pre-Season test. Photo: Russell Colvin

WORLDS NEXT: Next time Toparis will be on track will be for the two day World Supersport official Pre-Season test. Photo: Russell Colvin

For information regarding tickets for this year’s Yamaha Finance round of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, head to www.worldsbk.com.au or contact the Phillip Island circuit on (03) 5952 2710.

Fastest Provisional Overall Times:

1. Tom TOPARIS Kawasaki 1min36.354       

2. Lachlan EPIS Kawasaki 1min36.378   

3. Cru HALLIDAY Yamaha 1min36.474

4. Tom EDWARDS Yamaha 1min37.220          

5. Nic LIMINTON Yamaha 1min37.425     

6. Giuseppe SCARCELLA Kawasaki 1min37.794         

7. Broc PEARSON Yamaha 1min38.242          

8. Damon REES Honda 1min38.268         

9. Brendan CLARKE Kawasaki 1min38.712    

10. Rhys BELLING Yamaha 1min38.929

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