BAYLISS BACK AT THE TOP FOR THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM IN QATAR TESTING
Losail (Qatar), Tuesday 6 December: The Ducati Xerox Team has concluded its final test of the year at the Losail desert circuit in Qatar in superb form. After three days of intense testing, the two riders of the Italian team Troy Bayliss and Lorenzo Lanzi have successfully laid the groundwork for the 2006 championship season.
After testing next year's 'evolution' race tyres yesterday, today the riders were provided with the latest generation of qualifying tyres. The considerable progress made by championship one-make supplier Pirelli, together with the latest generation of front and rear suspension units brought to Losail by Ohlins, allowed the two Ducati Xerox Team riders to conclude the tests with the first and third quickest times respectively.
Despite the lack of a direct face-off between the two Australians due to Corser (Suzuki) missing the final day with a physical complaint, Bayliss demonstrated that he has lost none of his spectacular form from three years back, the Australian setting the quickest time of the test on race tyres, in 1m59.13s. Even more impressive was the time he recorded today on qualifying tyres, 1m58.60s, a full three seconds under the pole position mark set by Regis Laconi (Ducati Xerox) in last February's race.
"I'm very happy with the way things went here, we made progress every day" declared Troy. "I did a lot of laps and my wrist stood up well. I did a great time on qualifying tyres today but the best thing is the improvement made by the Pirelli race tyres since the start of the year. I did a full race simulation, with lots of laps in the 59s so things are looking good. I love working with the guys in the team, everything went really smoothly and now I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike again after the Christmas break".
Lorenzo Lanzi also improved on yesterday, the Italian joining the two Australians under the two minute barrier with a time of 1m59.40s. Lorenzo wrapped up his Qatar testing at the end of the morning as he was still feeling pain from his Sunday crash.
"Today we went back to the first day's settings after trying something different yesterday, and my lap times improved once again" commented Lorenzo. "I am quite pleased with my performance over the past three days, I went quicker day after day, but I have to admit that the crash on day 1 really left its mark. I was still feeling the effects today so we finished testing after lunchtime. However I feel that I have demonstrated that I am in good form and that for sure I can improve even more".
The Ducati Xerox Team will next be in track action at Valencia, on February 6/7 next year for its final winter test, two weeks before the start of the 2006 World Superbike Championship, which kicks off at the Losail circuit.
OVERALL TIMES: 1. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1'58"60; 2. Corser (Suzuki) 1'59"17; 3. Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) 1'59"40; 4. Toseland (Honda) 2'00"10; 5. Haga (Yamaha) 2'00"46; 6. Kagayama (Suzuki) 2'00"62; 7. Muggeridge (Honda) 2'00"68; 8. Pitt (Yamaha) 2'00"81; 9. Martin (Petronas) 2'01"80; 10. Jones (Petronas) 2'02"50.