Ducati Factory WSBK Team Gets Down To Winter Testing in Valencia

Valencia (Spain), 18 November 2004: One month after the end of the 2004 season, Ducati's championship-winning World Superbike team got its 2005 campaign underway with a three-day test session involving several of the top SBK teams at Valencia in preparation for next year.

Reigning champion James Toseland and team-mate Regis Laconi were present at the Spanish circuit to test updated versions of the Ducati 999 Factory bikes for the first time in a session organised by the championship's exclusive tyre supplier Pirelli.

In addition to tyre development for next year, the two Ducati riders also tested new electronic components, including a Marelli EFI engine management system, together with new Ohlins front forks.

Toseland, who was lapping in some difficulty due to a dislocated right thumb following a recent accident on an enduro bike, was third quickest behind pace-setter Troy Corser (Suzuki) and Laconi.

"It feels good to be back on the bike again" declared Toseland, "and Valencia is a good place to go testing. I cracked a bone in my right thumb last week so I've been in a bit of discomfort these days, but these things happen and it won't be an issue in the future.

"Even though I only had one full day on the 2005-spec bike, the changes make it feel quite different. The front forks are one of the biggest improvements and the electronics are also a step in the right direction so now I'm looking forward to a full test at Jerez".

After getting to within one-tenth of a second of Corser's best time this afternoon, Laconi also expressed his satisfaction with the progress that had been made by Ducati during the tests.

"I gave my best these three days and we really did a lot of work" commented Regis. "We're already faster with this bike than the 2004 version and everybody is working hard to make it even faster.

"With the new Ohlins front forks the feeling is already very good, and Pirelli brought along a new front tyre for everyone, which was a big help as it was exactly what I wanted.

"I wasn't surprised to see Corser up at the front but I wanted to get as close as possible to him by the end of the tests," he concluded.

Ducati Corse's next World Superbike testing session will be at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain on December 16-17.

TIMES: 1. Corser (Suzuki) 1'36.0; 2. Laconi (Ducati) 1'36.1; 3. Toseland (Ducati) 1'36.8; 4. Pitt (Yamaha) 1'36.9; 5. Muggeridge (Honda) 1'37.2; 6. Gimbert (Yamaha) 1'37.3; 7. Lanzi (Ducati) 1'37.4; 8. Martin (Petronas) 1'38.5; etc.