Laconi and Toseland (Ducati Fila) start 2004 testing in Australia.
Phillip Island (Australia), 13 January: Regis Laconi and James Toseland returned to testing duties for Ducati Fila, together with the Foggy Petronas team, at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia on the first day of a three-day pre-season session. Strong winds in the afternoon prevented any improvement from being made on the morning's times, when warm conditions (27C air/33C track) prevailed.
Laconi (75 laps) and Toseland (71) put in a considerable amount of mileage around the spectacular 4.448 km Phillip Island circuit, and concentrated on getting back into the racing groove for the new season which starts in just over six weeks time. The 999 bikes used in Australia were still in 2003 spec, but Ducati Fila engineers were also able to experiment with a new clutch.
The first day of testing also focussed on getting to grips with the new Pirelli tyres which will be used by all competitors in this year's World Superbike championship. Ugo Forner, Pirelli's Motorcycle Director, was on hand to oversee the development work.
"That wasn't too bad for first time out" declared Laconi, "but it was very windy and hard to ride today. We're working on the bike and making changes all the time and the front feels really good. It's been a long time since I was last on the 999 and I'm sure we can get the times down more tomorrow".
"I felt a bit rusty out there this morning" added Toseland. "It's so fast round here compared to Valencia, which was the last time I rode a bike, and by the time I got going, it was blowing a Force 9 gale! My 999 felt a lot better than Valencia and although it's difficult to get it to turn in with the conditions, I'm pretty happy with the way things are going."
Times: Laconi 1'35.19, Toseland 1'35.80
LANZI CRASHES OUT ON DUCATI 749R SUPERSPORT
Lorenzo Lanzi crashed out today on the first day of testing at Phillip Island with the Ducati 749R Supersport. The Italian, who was lapping on track with the Ducati and Petronas Superbikes, flew off on oil deposited by Troy Corser (Petronas), but was unhurt.
By then Lanzi had completed a total of 17 laps, recording a time of 1'38.39. The bike was repaired in the afternoon, but the Italian was only able to complete a few more laps due to the windy conditions.