The World Superbike Championship resumes its championship trail in Valencia, two weeks after the Donington Park round that produced a major setback for the Ducati Xerox Team. Defending champion Troy Bayliss suffered a nasty crash at the British circuit in the first race and was left reeling from injuries to his right hand and his groin.
Following the immediate amputation of the top two joints of his little finger and an exploratory check in the groin area, Troy has now had ten days' rest to recover for the next round of the championship this weekend. The final medical check was scheduled to take place Thursday afternoon at the Valencia circuit for Troy to be given the all-clear by the Clinica Mobile medical staff to face up to this weekend's Spanish round, but at the time of writing the Australian was stuck in Paris with flight delays and was scheduled to arrive late in the afternoon.
Troy Bayliss, 6th in championship (64 points);
Troy has taken four victories in eight Superbike races at Valencia, both double wins in his 2001 and 2006 title years. Two second places and a third, together with sensational MotoGP win at the end of last year, make up an incredible record for the Australian around the Valencia track.
"I'm feeling OK but the situation is a bit unknown until I get on the bike" declared Troy. "I've got to be careful not to hit myself down below obviously but the hand feels good. It's certainly going to be different, after all I've only been racing with my little finger for the last twenty years! I've had many worse crashes over the years, this one was just unlucky as far as losing a finger goes. If you looked at me you wouldn't think I'd been in a motorbike accident, you'd think I hadn't paid some bill and the mafia had come and chopped one finger off with a pair of scissors and hit my nuts with a hammer because I haven't got another mark on my body!"
Lorenzo Lanzi, 5th in championship (66 points);
In 2006 Lorenzo scored his best results of the year at Valencia, the Italian twice stepping up onto the podium in third place and he will be looking to at least repeat those results this time round.
"Last year I scored my best results of the season here, two podiums but the conditions were different and this weekend doesn't look" commented Lorenzo. "I am optimistic, I feel quite good in the wet conditions and I'll try and get the best start in qualifying tomorrow. The tests here one month ago went well, unfortunately we've been here four times and we've never found wet conditions. The track is a good one for Ducati, we have shown that in testing and in the previous years' races. I am currently lying in fifth in the championship, 22 points down on third place, so I'll try and move up this weekend".