BATTLE COMMENCES FOR THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM AT PHILLIP ISLAND AS THE 2009 SUPERBIKE SEASON GETS UNDERWAY Phillip Island (Australia) Tuesday 24th February 2009: The Ducati Xerox Team flew half way around the world last week to land in Australia...
BATTLE COMMENCES FOR THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM AT PHILLIP ISLAND AS THE 2009 SUPERBIKE SEASON GETS UNDERWAY
Phillip Island (Australia) Tuesday 24th February 2009: The Ducati Xerox Team flew half way around the world last week to land in Australia for Round 1 of the 2009 World Superbike Championship. The 14-round series recommences this weekend at Phillip Island, the historic track that has featured on the calendar every year since 1990, with more World Superbike events having been held here than anywhere else.
New Ducati rider Noriyuki Haga will line up on the grid for the first time on board his Ducati 1198 and alongside team-mate Michel Fabrizio, now in his second season with the factory squad. Both riders are eager to make an impact on the championship standings right from the very first race and have trained hard all winter to be in the best possible shape for this, Round 1 of what is sure to be a challenging and exciting season.
Last weekend the Ducati factory riders took part in a useful two-day test session here at the Island, using the time to work on bike settings with their teams. Both riders were satisfied with the progress they made and were able to clock up some fast laps in preparation for the upcoming race.
Noriyuki's best result at this track was a third place finish in 2007. In his first race on board the factory Ducati 1198, he is ready to make an immediate impact on the 2009 championship.
"I have to say it's a track that I like but I have had very mixed results here over the years. In the last few years my best result was a third in 2007 but in 1998 I won Race 2. Since then I haven't had so much luck but I am hoping that I can change this this year! The tests last weekend went well and we'll continue to test various things on Friday in preparation for Sunday's races."
Michel stepped on to the podium at Phillip Island last year and is keen to kick off the 2009 season in a similar fashion.
"Last year I felt that some teams weren't totally ready for the start of the season while this year we all seem to be more prepared which means that on Sunday I think we'll be seeing a real fight up at the front for those podium places. I'm happy with how we've been progressing in winter testing and the tests here this weekend were definitely beneficial too. I like this track and am ready to get this championship started."
Name: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
Length of circuit: 4.445 km
Pole Position: left
Length of straight: 835 m
Race distance: 22 laps/97.790 km
Best lap: Corser (Yamaha), 1m31.826s (2007).
Superpole: Bayliss (Ducati), 1m31.493s (2008).