The 2007 World Superbike Championship slips into top gear this weekend with round 2 at the spectacular Phillip Island track in Australia, the second race in as many weekends.
Following the difficult opener for the Ducati Xerox Team in Qatar a few days ago, the fast and flowing Australian circuit should better suit the twin-cylinder Ducati 999 F07 machines of Troy Bayliss and Lorenzo Lanzi, who could only muster one podium between them in the two races at Losail.
37-year-old Troy has won three times at Phillip Island in his four years spent in World Superbikes and now, after putting the Qatar results behind him, he is aiming to get his season back on track this weekend. When the Ducati Xerox Team tested here in January, Bayliss set an amazing time of 1m30.7s but admits that a race weekend is something different.
"It's all about points, but the points in Qatar were not what we wanted" declared Troy. "We knew it was going to be difficult there but it turned out to be more difficult than expected. All the tests we've done in the winter, including the one at Phillip Island in January, we've been really fast, but you can't rely on that testing. Racing is totally different and each weekend can throw different things at you. You also can't rely on being the champion from last year, you have to concentrate on the weekend ahead and that's what I plan to do this weekend. We'd like to think that this round is where it turns around for us, because we go well here. Everyone likes to come to Phillip Island and it makes for great racing, it really brings out the rider in everyone and I'm sure it'll be no different this weekend."
Lorenzo Lanzi put in a determined rode last Saturday to score his first podium of the year in the opening race and the 25-year-old Italian will be looking to continue that sort of form in Australia.
"I would say that my start to the season was much better than last year's, a good podium in race 1 but a few problems in race 2" commented Lorenzo. "Now at Phillip Island things should go better for us because the track is a lot more congenial for our 999 machine. There are no slow corners like the ones in Qatar, they are almost all fast curves and so we shouldn't lose out very much because we won't be inferior to the Japanese four-cylinder bikes. In fact here we are much more competitive, as we showed in the winter tests at this circuit, but we have to set the bike up as best as possible to be competitive from the first to the very last lap. In Qatar there hadn't been two Italians on the podium for many years and it was great to be there with Biaggi. Let's hope it continues but with the positions reversed!".