Foggy PETRONAS Racing riders Garry McCoy and Steve Martin intend to capitalise on their familiarity with the Phillip Island circuit when Superbike World Championship action resumes in Australia this weekend.
The Aussie pair, who were involved in a head-to-head battle for the second race win last year before a blown engine ended Steve's challenge and opened the door for Garry's first World Superbike victory, made significant progress on the PETRONAS FP1 during a two-day test at their home circuit last weekend.
The riders were also able to carry out further valuable set-up at a test in Spain earlier in the month and, with further engine developments imminent, are confident of working their way up through a competitive championship field.
Team owner Carl Fogarty, who is returning to the circuit where he suffered his career-ending crash in 2000 for the first time, said: "I am definitely hoping for better results than those we had at Qatar - and I think we will be able to achieve that. Steve and Garry have now had more time on the bike and tested here just last weekend, so top ten finishes are now realistic targets. We already know how tough the competition is going to be this season but we are confident that we are moving in the right direction."
Steve, who was on pole position last year, said: "I am really excited about this weekend. I hope we can keep the ball rolling after the test we had here as I am very happy with the direction in which we are going. This is my home track but there are a lot of Aussies out there and a lot of the other guys have tested here, so I am not sure there will be that much home advantage. It's a fantastic circuit to ride and will suit our bike better than Qatar, as there are not so many stop-start corners. If we can get a good start anything can happen and, while I am hoping for a dream result, a top six finish would be an achievement."
Garry said: "Our test last weekend went pretty well and we were able to sort a few things out. It was important to get quite a few laps under my belt and get the bike more comfortable for my riding style. While I am still not 100 per cent comfortable, I am happy with the way things are going. The team is still working on the development of the bike and I am sure there is still a lot more to come."
Circuit information: Phillip Island, Australia
- Best lap: Troy Corser, 1:32.193 (Superpole, 1999)
- Lap record: Troy Corser 1:33.019 (1999)
- Best lap on PETRONAS FP1: Steve Martin 1:34.27 (2005 test)
- Pole position: Left
- Circuit length: 4.445km
- Corners: 7 left, 5 right
- Corner radius: 20m maximum, 23m minimum
- Maximum slope: 57m uphill