A STEEP LEARNING CURVE FOR THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM AT NEW-LOOK SILVERSTONE TODAY Silverstone (UK), Friday 30th July : the Superbike action got under way today at the new-look Silverstone track and Ducati Xerox riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki...
A STEEP LEARNING CURVE FOR THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM AT NEW-LOOK SILVERSTONE TODAY
Silverstone (UK), Friday 30th July : the Superbike action got under way today at the new-look Silverstone track and Ducati Xerox riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga had to learn fast, closing first qualifying in fifth and twelfth position respectively.
After some major restructuring work over recent months, the Silverstone track presented a fresh challenge today as very few of the Superbike riders had seen the track in its new configuration. Riders therefore concentrated, particularly in the first free practice session, on getting to grips with the long and tricky circuit, before turning their attention to optimizing machine set-up during first qualifying.
Both Ducati Xerox riders made continuous and steady improvement during the first practice session, concentrating on the "hard" rear tyres, but, perhaps inevitably, it was the British contingent who were quickest off the mark, all seven of them closing the first session in the top nine, ahead of Noriyuki in tenth and Michel in thirteenth.
Exchanging the rear for a softer compound at the start of first qualifying seemed to make a significant difference to lap times with an improvement of a second and a half for both Haga and Fabrizio. They remained in the top five for the best part of the session, during which various modifications were made to the set-up of the Ducati 1198 machines, with riders also trying different tyre configurations. A final fast lap for Michel saw him close first qualifying in fifth position but with the same lap time (2m06.0) as Rea, Corser and Camier, respectively second, third and fourth. Noriyuki, losing valuable tenths in the first split mainly due to problems with grip, eventually closed day one in twelfth place.
"I really like the new configuration of the track. I liked the previous long version that we raced on years back, in 2003 I think, but once they shortened it I could never get the results. Now it's been lengthened once more I'm enjoying it, it's only a pity that they removed the little bridge that was the best point as far as I'm concerned. We've made a good start today but we're all very close, second to fifth position all with the same lap time! I think we can improve further tomorrow, if the weather permits that is."
"To tell the truth I preferred the old layout; particularly the final section. What surprised me is that some of the new sections are more or less blind corners which made today a little difficult. It was also hard to time exactly when to open the throttle through the corners but I hope that, with the time available tomorrow, we'll be able to resolve a few things and improve. The bike doesn't seem bad and the tyres have given me pretty good feeling."