However, in the combined times of Friday’s both free sessions, this meant third overall for the newly crowned two-time champion Dominique Aegerter.
The start of the last race weekend of the year on picturesque Phillip Island, an hour and a half's drive south of Melbourne, was marked by glorious Australian early summer weather. Bright blue skies and air temperatures of just under 20 degrees enabled the teams and riders to get their racing machines properly tuned.
The ultra-fast circuit at Phillip Island is not unfamiliar territory for Dominique Aegerter. But with the Supersport bike, it was uncharted terrain for the 32-year-old Swiss and his technicians from the Dutch Ten Kate team until the first practice session on Friday morning. However, the well-rehearsed duo quickly found a suitable set-up for the Yamaha R6 and Aegerter was able to improve by almost three tenths of a second in the afternoon compared to the first session.
On Saturday morning, it's straight into Superpole before the first race of the weekend gets underway at 14:30 local time (04:30 CET). While ServusTV will offer a live stream in German-speaking countries as usual, "Eurosport 2" will go on air 15 minutes before the starting lights go out.
#77 Dominique AEGERTER (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha, Yamaha YZF R6)
FP1: P2 - 1´34.714 / FP2: P2 - 1´34.458
"It is great to be back at Phillip Island, and in this beautiful weather too. I like it being at this small island and the track is just fantastic either. However, it takes a lot of courage and overcoming here although, conditions were perfect today. With lots of sunshine, it was a bit windy, but that did not matter, and in the afternoon asphalt temperatures reached up to over 40 degrees, something I have not experienced here so often. I knew Phillip Island from my time in the 125cc and Moto2 classes. However, this is my first time here with the Ten Kate team. Therefore, we had virtually no data when it started this morning with the first practice. We therefore started with a base set-up, which did not work too badly as we finished FP1 in second place. In the afternoon we were second again, but overall, we ended up in P3, 0.4 seconds behind."
"There are two new rear tyres for this weekend, which we tried in both practices, and if it stays dry, our choice is already decided. In addition, we had some set-up work to do, such as to the setup, the gear ratio and also with the engine brake. For these tasks, two free practice sessions are pretty tight, because tomorrow we go directly into Superpole. But we will work hard today to find a good solution for the one hot qualifying lap. As far as race pace is concerned, I am very confident, because my lap times today were very consistent and fast. Hopefully the weather will also remain stable. Either it is raining, or it is dry. Of course, I would prefer dry conditions when the second last race of the season is on the agenda tomorrow afternoon."
#AUSWorldSBK - WorldSSP Combined Practice Times (FP1/FP2):
1 Nicolo BULEGA / ITA / Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team / Ducati Panigale V2 / 1´34.027 (FP2)
2 Federico CARICASULO / ITA / Althea Racing / Ducati Panigale V2 / 1´34.067 +0.040 (FP1)
3 #77 Dominique AEGERTER / SWI / Ten Kate Racing Yamaha / Yamaha YZF R6 / 1´34.458 +0.431 (FP2)
#AUSWorldSBK - WorldSSP Time Schedule for Saturday November 19th (CET):
02:25 - 02:45 Superpole
04:30 Race 1 (18 Laps - 80,010 km)