Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo completed their final pre-season test today, at Phillip island in Australia, with Lucas sixth quickest and Hikari seventh overall.
Still in the relatively early stages of his relationship with his 2019 racebike Mahias, the 2017 World Champion, earned a sixth place overall. He was the last of the leading riders to get under the 1’34 barrier, setting a 1’33.872 best lap time.
With some issues of tyre wear already developing, due to the heavily left-handed and fast nature of the Phillip Island track layout, Mahias hopes a solution will be found before race weekend.
For Okubo, his 2019 testing pace is already faster than his early 2018 pace, as he approaches his second season riding with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing squad.
After the tests, which were completed in dry and windy conditions, Mahias and Okubo are now planning their race weekend preparations, which will culminate in a scheduled 18-lap race at the 4.445km long Phillip Island circuit on Sunday the 24th of February.
Lucas Mahias stated: “A difficult day for me and I worked a lot during the test to improve the bike and to understand it more. Again, it is early for me in this project but I am very happy with my team and my crew because they are working a lot. I am a little bit sorry because I am not in the top position or the top three. It is a test, so no points for this. I think the bike is maybe not best suited to Phillip Island but I am confident for the race because it will be really different to the test.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I am not happy because I am in seventh position but my lap time is not so bad. It was 1’34.8 last year and now I set a 1’34.1, so that is a big step, I think. I expect a hard race on Sunday because the tyre is spinning a lot after five or six laps. My best lap with a new tyre was a 1’34.1 and my second best lap was 1’34.2. I feel happy in my consistency. I wanted to make more of a step but I could not during this two-day test. With two days off I will push hard again on race weekend. My feeling right now is that things are not perfect, but I feel very positive.”