LACONI CONFIRMS PACE FOR DUCATI XEROX TEAM - UNLUCKY THIRTEEN FOR TOSELAND AFTER SECOND HIGHSIDE Valencia (Spain), Sunday 13 March: Two days of World Superbike testing at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia confirmed that Ducati Xeroz Team's...
LACONI CONFIRMS PACE FOR DUCATI XEROX TEAM - UNLUCKY THIRTEEN FOR TOSELAND AFTER SECOND HIGHSIDE
Valencia (Spain), Sunday 13 March: Two days of World Superbike testing at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia confirmed that Ducati Xeroz Team's Régis Laconi is one of the pacesetters in this year's championship, which got underway two weeks ago in Qatar. Team-mate and reigning champion James Toseland continues his early-season quest to find championship-winning form but a second highside today left him outside the top 10.
After another five hours of testing today, Laconi and Toseland's efforts to set a quick time on qualifying tyres in the final minutes came to nothing as Bostrom's Honda crashed and caught fire, bringing the test to a end. Laconi, who had kept a firm hold on second place behind Corser throughout the two days was left with fourth quickest time of 1m35.881s.
"I am quite pleased with what we did in these past two days because we did a lot of laps and everything we set out to do" commented Laconi. "We worked a lot on my starts because we have to find the right configuration to start better. I normally don't start badly but in Qatar they were not so good. Here we did well but it's easy in testing, racing is another thing. In the afternoon we found it difficult to improve our times, but what consoles me is that there were no riders who did more than 7 or 8 laps in succession. We did 12 in a long-run twice with the same tyre, at around low 37s, which is quite slow here. It's going to be a tough race for that reason when we come back here in April. All things considered we are not that far from the top so I am quite satisfied".
Toseland went away from Valencia with a bruised elbow and a sore head from a second highside after an oil leak caused him to be pitched off his bike with twenty minutes remaining of the morning session. The 24 year-old improved his time in the afternoon to 1m37.183s, but that was only good enough for thirteenth place.
"Today we set off pretty good, got down to some decent times but unfortunately we had an oil leak and it flicked me off fast again, which makes it two crashes in two days that were not my fault. I banged my head badly and so I'm sitting here wondering what went wrong" he explained. "We got back on this afternoon and on race tyres we are more or less as quick as everybody with low 37s, which is quite good. We put a qualifying tyre on at the end but then there was an inferno which brought the red flags out just as I started my last lap and that was it. Everybody had done theirs by then so it put me in thirteenth, just like in Qatar. Unlucky for me at the moment but it can't last forever. I'm as fast as anyone on race tyres and I promise that you won't see me in thirteenth again this year".
This final official winter testing session at Valencia comes just two weeks before round 2 of the championship at Phillip Island (Australia), while the Spanish round will be held at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on April 24.
<pre> TIMES: 1. Corser Suzuki 1m35.566s 2. Kagayama Suzuki 1m35.698s 3. Vermeulen Honda 1m35.724s 4. Laconi Ducati Xerox 1m35.881s 5. Muggeridge Honda 1m36.084s 6. Haga Yamaha 1m36.347s 7. Cardoso Yamaha 1m36.443s 8. Pitt Yamaha 1m36.766s ... 13. Toseland Ducati Xerox 1m37.183s.