Nov 13, 2001
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From a Ducati press release:<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR>Testing - Valencia (Spain)<BR>Tuesday, 13th November, 2001<BR><BR>BAYLISS AND XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) BACK ON TRACK AT VALENCIA<BR><BR>Ducati Corse's preparations for the 2002 World Superbike Championship season switched into top gear on the first day of a three-day test session at the Valencia circuit in Spain.<BR><BR>Testing duties were carried out on the Ducati 998 Factory bike, fitted with the '02 engine for next season, by 2001 WSBK Champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada), back in action for the first time since his crash at Imola, and his Spanish team-mate Ruben Xaus. Ducati L&M rider Ben Bostrom is still convalescing after a recent operation to put his shoulder right and will test the bike in Kyalami, South Africa at the start of December.<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada), who completed 77 laps of the 4.005 km circuit with a best time of 1:35.61, was one-tenth of a second off Corser's qualifying time in March and said he was very happy to be back in action after such a long break. "It feels like a comeback after six weeks off the bike!", he enthused, "so I've got to be really happy with my time, because on a proper race tyre I went much faster than qualifying here for the race. This time of the year we usually go faster but seeing as I'm a bit rusty, all things considered I'm pretty pleased. The new engine is working really well and has improved a lot since Mugello. The bike already feels smooth and easy to ride and the suspension is working well. We also tried a different front fork, which also worked good. This test is really good for me, because it'll help me get back into top shape for next season".<BR><BR>Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada), who totalled 64 laps with a best time of 1:36.05, was impressed with the improvement the bike had made since he tested at Sugo immediately after Imola. "The engine has improved a lot", he declared. "The engineers have done a good job and have already found the right direction in which to work. The bike feels good, is more progressive and ‘clean' and my quickest lap was much better than I did here in the Valencia race. I feel very relaxed, but I already desperately want to race. I think I've changed a lot since the start of this year and Ducati have helped me to make that change".<BR><BR>Chief Engineer Corrado Cecchinelli declared: "We are really pleased with the test so far because both riders went quicker in race set-up than they did in the race last March. The times are positive especially considering the fact that the track was in far from perfect condition and the riders didn't have the stimulus that comes during a race weekend".<BR><BR>Team Manager Davide Tardozzi is absent from the Valencia test after being involved in a car crash on Sunday, in which he suffered a broken leg.<BR><BR>UNOFFICIAL TIMES (Qualifying record – Corser, Aprilia 1:35.504; Lap record – Corser, Aprilia 1:36.128); Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) 1:35.61, Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) 1:36.05.