Testing In Vallelunga

Gordon Ritchie | July 9, 2008

The combined Development Team and Official FGSport tests at Vallelunga, on July 8-9, were something of a Ducati festival in the top World Superbike places, with Misano race winner Ruben Xaus ripping to a near Superbike track record time of 1:36.032 on qualifying rubber and a 1:36.6 on Pirelli’s regular race rubber – as he is not one of the riders who gets to try the development rubber anymore. The Catalan privateer Sterilgarda Go Eleven rider was so happy with his performance in the first session of the final day that he sat out the blistering afternoon session, when track temperatures hit 62°C. “We set the bike up well this morning and I was happy with what we had tested,” Xaus said. “We didn’t have any particular tires to test in the afternoon and so we decided to save our engine for the Brno race. I lapped in 36.6 in race trim and 36.0 on qualifiers so I’m pretty happy about that.” Xaus is riding high on a wave of confidence, but on his 2009 development 1098 machine – albeit with very little new material inside – Niccolo Canepa, riding for the Ducati Test Team, announced he will be a force to be reckoned with at the next race in Brno after securing the second best time, ahead of both Troy Bayliss and Michel Fabrizio, who completed the Ducati quartet. “It went well, to be honest I didn’t expect to be competitive right away, because this is the first time this year that I’ve been on a Superbike,” Canepa said. “In among all this, yesterday morning I crashed right away and took a big bang on my neck and shoulders, which are still hurting, so these two days of testing have been a real effort for me.” The fastest four-cylinder belonged to Troy Corser, who took his YZF-R1 to fifth best time, just over .7 of a second from Xaus. Both he and his teammate Noriyuki Haga had the chance to test new Öhlins suspension, with electronic damping control, but spent most time on more conventional Öhlins TTX units. Ryuichi Kiyonari was fastest Honda rider, sixth overall and just ahead of teammate Carlos Checa. Notable by their absence were the PSG-1 Corse Kawasaki team and the Alstare Suzukis. In the World Supersport class, Privateer Craig Jones took his Parkalgar Honda to the top slot, without the aid of development rubber, just ahead of Broc Parkes and then Fabien Foret and their Yamaha World Supersport R6s.

Gordon Ritchie | World Superbike Editor

You may not understand Ritchie and his Scottish accent if you had him on the phone, but you can definitely understand what he writes as our World Superbike editor.