Aprilia, Ducati and BMW all headed to Valencia for more testing after spending the weekend testing at Portimao in Portugal. Ducati tested on Wednesday and Thursday, and were hampered by wet and cold conditions. As usual Noriyuki Haga was optimistic, “We continued with the work started at Portimao, testing suspension settings and various tire compounds. I also tried a new clutch which seemed to perform well, and my lap times were fairly fast seeing as it was extremely cold. I'd say we're very happy, although we've seen that the privateer Ducatis of Checa and Byrne were also very fast so I guess the first race of the season will be very interesting.”
Carlos Checa and Shakey Byrne were riding the Althea Racing Ducatis, and Checa was the quickest of all the riders on hand for the test. Checa moved over to the team in the off season after spending last year with the Ten Kate Honda team, "I'm happy with my test today. We have worked very well, despite the cold temperature. After Portimao and Valencia test I'm feeling more comfortable on both my Ducati 1198 bikes. This afternoon I scored the best lap time, that's always something good.”
Aprilia was another team that was forced to suffer through the bad weather, and they decided to leave the test a day early. Although last year’s return to the class was marked by continuous progress Max Biaggi for one was feeling the need for more test time, "This could be a problem because we didn't get the confirmation we were looking for. Now the situation is a bit more complicated, we'll be testing in Australia before the race, but if there are any problems then it will be too late to do anything.”
The factory BMW notched the slowest times of the test under new team manager David Tardozzi, but Troy Corser was upbeat, “We’ve gained a lot of useful information for the engineers and technicians during these two days, and if I had to race the bike tomorrow I wouldn’t be unhappy at all. We used standard tires throughout the test, and if the conditions had been a bit better and more rubber had been down, I’m sure I could’ve gone faster.”
In other World Superbike news Yoshimura Suzuki has announced that they will enter the Assen and Magny-Cours rounds with Yukio Kagayama and the Imola race with Daisaku Sakai. This announcement would seem to end any chance of Matt Mladin racing in the championship this year. Mladin was rumored to be a possible rider for both Yoshimura and BMW after retiring at the end of the AMA Superbike season. Mladin added fuel to those stories when he posted on Twitter saying he was looking at some interesting offers.
The final pre-season tests will be held in Australia on February 21-22 prior to the first round of the season at Phillip Island on February 28th.
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