Ducati World Superbike testing concluded yesterday for the Xerox team and riders Noriyuki Haga, Michel Fabrizio and Troy Bayliss. The retired road-racing veteran (and SBK Champion) Bayliss topped both the current Factory riders on the timesheets.
The three-day test session took place on Thursday, Sunday and today, with the first two days of testing coinciding with the first and last day of World Ducati Week, allowing the huge crowds of Ducatisti to witness an official testing session first hand.
Noriyuki and Michel were on track on their factory 1198 bikes while Troy Bayliss, testing for the second time this season, rode the development machine, aided by Ducati’s Superbike development team under the guidance of Ernesto Marinelli who, as well as undertaking the role of Team Manager, acted as Bayliss’ race engineer once more on occasion of the tests.
Also present for the tests were other Ducati privateer teams including World Superbike outfits Althea Racing with riders Carlos Checa and Shane Byrne, the DFX Corse riders Lorenzo Lanzi and Regis Laconi, as well as the Supersonic Racing Team with Italian rider Luca Scassa.
The three Ducati Xerox riders completed five hours of testing on Thursday, registering some very fast lap times, maintaining a good rhythm despite the very hot conditions (which didn’t drop below 30°C air and 40°C track temperature).
By the end of this first day, Michel had recorded the fastest unofficial time of the Ducati Xerox riders, stopping the clock at 1m36.2. During Sunday afternoon’s session temperatures were slightly lower but a light rain shower interrupted the short session.
Both Noriyuki and Michel made some consistently fast laps and were satisfied with the progress made (while Bayliss elected not to ride).
Today’s test was private, with the WDW event having closed yesterday, and all three riders were on track all day, alongside private teams Althea Racing, DFX Corse and Supersonic.
Pirelli provided some new tyres for Noriyuki, Michel and Troy to test but tyre test aside, most of the work involved preparation for the Misano SBK round, in which Noriyuki and Michel will participate at the end of this month. The team was satisfied with the times set, Bayliss 1m35.6, Fabrizio 1m36.0 and Haga 1m36.4, and return to the factory in Borgo-Panigale in a positive state of mind.
Noriyuki Haga says: “It’s definitely been a useful test session, even though it was very hot! I enjoyed WDW, my first as a Ducati factory rider, but today we got the real work done, and I’m feeling more confident about the next Misano race. We tested the new tyre and we made various modifications to my bike through the day. All in all I think we can say it was a very positive test. Now we go home for a few days and then we are back here for the race!”
Michel Fabrizio says: “It was great to do some testing during WDW as the fans were able to see what goes on. Today was the only full day on track and we got a lot done in preparation for the race here in two weeks. It’s been extremely hot but conditions will undoubtedly be similar for the race so it was definitely useful. I’m happy with the times; my best was a 1m36.2 which is fairly good in this heat, and I would say that we leave here in a positive state of mind, ready for the race in two weeks time.”
Troy Bayliss says: “The testing’s gone really well and with more time on track today the times improved quite a bit this morning. I’m happy with how it all went and hope my feedback can help Nori and Michel, but I’m also tired because we’ve had a lot to do during this edition of WDW, both on and off track! As I said during Saturday’s WDW press conference, I have made up my mind and I won’t be coming back to the racing but I will undertake one more Superbike test later this year, just before the Imola SBK round, as agreed with Ducati at the start of the season.”
Ernesto Marinelli says: “It’s definitely been an intense weekend, but also one of the best I’ve had. The whole team and the riders have worked hard, and the passion of the Ducatisti here never dwindled for a second, despite the sweltering heat that we had here every day. In the last few months we have had some difficult and frustrating times but the support and affection that every fan has shown this weekend has definitely given us a unique motivation. A huge thank-you to all the Ducatisti! The test was very positive and we are confident ahead of the race.”