FABRIZIO (DUCATI XEROX) ON TOP AS TESTING CONCLUDES TODAY AT PHILLIP ISLAND Phillip Island (Australia), Monday 22nd February: after rain showers during the night the Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio waited for an hour this...
FABRIZIO (DUCATI XEROX) ON TOP AS TESTING CONCLUDES TODAY AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Phillip Island (Australia), Monday 22nd February: after rain showers during the night the Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio waited for an hour this morning before exiting on track to continue with yesterday's work. The two team-mates made the remaining part of the session count, clocking up some consistently fast times. In the final minutes of the session, Michel was able to improve on the best time he set yesterday by seven tenths of a second, to register the fastest time of the morning (1m31.650), an extremely impressive lap time for a Superbike at Phillip Island. Only Fabrizio and Byrne, he too on the Ducati 1198 with team Althea Racing, ducked under the 1m32 barrier this morning, followed by Checa, team-mate to Byrne, and Haga in fourth.
In the final session this afternoon Michel was once again very fast but did not manage to improve on the flying lap made this morning. Progress was however made and both Michel and Noriyuki deemed the test a success. At the end of the two-day test, it was Ducati Xerox's Italian rider who topped the timesheets, followed by the Ducati 1198s of privateers Byrne, Smrz and Checa; Haga closed in overall sixth position.
The Ducati Xerox Team can now enjoy two days of relaxation before returning to the track on Thursday to make final preparations before the first round of the World Superbike Championship kicks off on Friday.
"I'm satisfied with the lap times because we were consistently
fast. I found good race pace with one of the tyre compounds in particular and this bodes well for the weekend but the result will very much depend on the weather. There are several fast guys here, so it will undoubtedly be a tough race weekend, as well as a hard-fought championship. It's a difficult challenge but I'm ready to face it."
"Today we concentrated on suspension settings, making various changes during the day, but for some reason I didn't find the same good feeling that I had yesterday. Having said that the lap times were fairly fast. With regard to tyres the difficulties are caused by temperature because an increase of just one or two degrees can make a difference. I can't really predict how the races will go on Sunday; I'm going to relax for two days and then we'll start work again on Friday."
Ernesto Marinelli -- Team Manager
"We can be nothing but extremely satisfied with today's testing. The team and the riders have worked very hard and Michel in particular was very fast. The potential of the 1198 bikes is demonstrated by the fact that there are five Ducatis in the top six. The race weekend will nonetheless be a tough one but we have a good baseline from which to start."