Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Max Biaggi recorded the fourth quickest lap of the two-day World Superbike tests at Valencia, easily inside the lap record of 1:35.007 set by Briton Neil Hodgson (Ducati) in 2003.
Biaggi and the team used the two days to evaluate different set-ups and mappings and although he was unable to find the perfect balance for his bike, he was able to finish within 600ths of a second of the best time.
His team mate Yukio Kagayama defied the pain barrier throughout the two days and ended with the 12th fastest lap overall: His left shoulder joint was heavily strapped - a legacy of his heavy crash in Phillip island recently - and although his discomfort was severe he still managed to help the team test a variety of components and settings.
Aussie Troy Bayliss (Ducati) stormed to the top of the standings with a lap of 1:34.102, despite the windy conditions this afternoon. Second quickest was Spaniard Ruben Xaus (Ducati) with Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) third.
"I think Valencia is quite a good track for testing, possibly because it is quite a technical track. It is not a very fast track and because there are so many slow corners you need to find a good set-up for your bike to make fast laps here. The temperature has been good these two days and we tried many different ideas, but when we come back here for the race in one month's time, conditions may be very different and we will have to think again.
"We started trying to get a good set-up and balance because, when I find a good feeling with a bike, I can push hard. We've also been working on the bike's electronics and mapping etc. There are lots of things we can change on the bike and sometimes small changes can make big differences, so we must use a step-by-step approach. We tried a few different rear tyres here also.
"Now we have to sit down and analyse all the data so that we can make progress. The Suzuki is a good bike and I feel that there is quite a bit more to come from it. Every time we go out we learn a little bit more and this is the way we have to go so that we can compete at the top level. Today was a little frustrating at times, but that is the nature of testing. There was a lot to do and I think we probably did most of it."
"On the first day I could feel pain in my left shoulder, but I wanted to help in this test so I tried to forget about it. On the bike it was not so bad, but in the evening I could feel it for sure. I didn't take any pain-killers at all because I wanted to feel what was going on with my bike as much as possible. There are many things to test here so it was just a case of getting on with it. Fortunately the weather was good on both days and we were able to do a lot of work. For me it was difficult to ride for more than about five or six laps in one go - because of my shoulder - so I tried to concentrate on the important things we had to test - different links, ignition etc. Some of this work will be very useful in the future and tests are the best place to try these things, not during a race weekend.
"I had some tyre problems today - like others - and I could not get the best performance from the rears. The other problem today was the wind! It was so strong, kept changing direction and every lap was different which made life difficult. It is bad enough trying to hang on to a bike in strong winds when you are 100% fit, but it is much more difficult when your shoulder is not as strong as it should be! But I got through the tests ok and now I have some time before Donington for my shoulder to improve."
Overall results -Laps - Best Lap:
- 1. Bayliss (Aus-Ducati) 165 - 1:34.102
- 2. Xaus (E-Ducati) 96 - 1:34.565
- 3. Lanzi (I-Ducati) 120 - 1:34.584
- 4. Biaggi (I-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 144 - 1:34.708
- 5. Corser (Aus-Yamaha) 129 - 1:34.851
- 6. Haga (J-Yamaha) 92 - 1:35.029
- 7. Nieto (E-Kawasaki) 97 - 1:35.410
- 8. Muggeridge (Aus-Honda) 78 - 1:35.470
- 9. Neukirchner (D-Suzuki) 92 - 1:35.532
- 10. Laconi (F-Kawasaki) 124 - 1:35.639
- 12. Kagayama (J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra 115 - 1:35.785