Troy Bayliss brought the Ducati Xerox Team's successful year to a close with a record pace on the final day of Pirelli tyre testing at the Losail circuit in Qatar. In much improved conditions the 2006 champion set a time of 1m58.1s, the fastest ever recorded by a Superbike around the desert track and 1.5 quicker than his own pole position time from earlier this year.
"I'm very happy to have come away from the test in this sort of form and it's great to be able to go home for Christmas knowing that you've done a good job" declared Troy. "That time was set on a softer tyre which it's not possible to do a race distance on but my long run was good as well. We did almost race distance and I was a lot quicker than in last February's race. It's been a long hard year but it's been great and certainly worth all the effort. I've had a great time being back in Superbike and couldn't have asked for more. Now everyone can go home for Christmas with the knowledge that they've done a great job. Next year is going to be a hard one and we're under no illusions but the bike is great, the team also and we're ready for it".
Lorenzo Lanzi also made a good improvement on the final day of the test, knocking a full second off his time to end up sixth quickest.
"I am quite pleased with my performance" commented Lorenzo. "Unfortunately when I had a good tyre to improve late in the afternoon I felt a bit of tiredness set in because I had done a lot of laps. I wanted to do a high '58' but it's OK because I did some good times on race tyres. The only problem I found was with the duration of the tyre, which is critical around here. In the last two tests in Valencia and Losail I am pleased that I have been able to finish the year on the up, I'm always up front with the top guys and that gives me a lot of confidence for next year".
The Ducati Xerox Team will next be seen out on the track in a month's time with a further three days of testing at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia from January 13th to 15th.
Troy Corser - Yamaha Motor Italia;
"Even given the conditions in the first couple of days this test has been good for us. We tried out three different rear swingarms, and three chassis, and worked our way through the various combinations of each. Trying out various new tyres at the same time makes it a bit harder but we are pretty happy overall. The longest run I did was about ten laps on the final afternoon and I think Troy Bayliss and I were about the only ones who could get the tyres to do a longish run. I only stopped my long run because the tyre had spun on the rim. We still have some things to work though, because we lost time by having to go in and out of the pits so much to change tyres. We still have a few things to go over again at Phillip Island but the main thing is that I feel comfortable on the bike after only a short time riding it. We were not that worried about lap times this test, as it was more about getting a feeling with the bike - but the lap times were coming in any case."
Noriyuki Haga - Yamaha Motor Italia;
"We have new swingarms and chassis to test but it is very hard to evaluate them when the track is the way it was in the first couple of days. But in the end we found a good combination of chassis and swingarm, but we did not get such a good feeling from the tyres as we hoped. We still need to work on the set-up of the back end of the bike because with so little grip from the track it is difficult to know the exact direction to take. On fresh tyres we can do the times. We did a long run but we could have made a longer one if we had more duration from the tyre life."
"We've had a really good test," said James, "but we still have a lot of work
to do. Last year was difficult for me because I had a new bike and team to
get used to. I was always trying to catch up with my competitors because of
those disadvantages. As a team we are working well together and I feel
confident about the year ahead. The weather conditions in Qatar are so
extreme that we can't predict what will happen on race day, but I think that
we are well prepared."
Fonsi Nieto (2'01''6 - 45 laps): " I'm satisfied. We continue to try differents solutions and the results are supporting us. It's really important this kind of work, and these test days are useful because there's time to make things right. The only bad situation was the circuit conditions, too dirty to open the gas. Anyway the weather wasn't bad and I hope it will give us a hand in the next two days. It will be important even to see the new wheels brought by Pirelli, the ones we used today were the same used here last February.
Regis Laconi (2'02''1 - 55 laps): " Let say that I'm quite happy considering the conditions of the circuit. Naturally I didn't look for the time, there was no need, I was trying to find more feeling with a bike that I really like. We did a good job with the suspensions expecially with the front one, now I'm waiting for the new Pirelli wheels, to understand in which direction we should work looking forward the next race on February 2007.
Overall Best Times (provided by Pirelli):
- 1. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1m58.1s
- 2. Corser (Yamaha) & Biaggi (Suzuki) 1m58.9s
- 4. Toseland (Honda) 1m59.1s
- 5. Laconi (Kawasaki) 1m59.2s
- 6. Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) 1m59.3s
- 7. Nieto (Kawasaki) 1m59.5s
- 8. Haga (Yamaha) 1m59.7s
- 9. Kagayama (Suzuki) 2m00.1s
- 10. Rolfo (Honda) 2m01.7s