Oct 7, 2002
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DUCATI CORSE PRESS INFORMATION<BR>From a press release issued by Ducati Corse:<BR><BR>Mugello, 7 October 2002 <BR><BR>DOUBLE DEBUT FOR DUCATI AT MUGELLO WITH BAYLISS (DESMOSEDICI MOTOGP) AND HODGSON (999 SUPERBIKE)<BR><BR>Today saw a double debut for Ducati at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello as Troy Bayliss and Neil Hodgson stepped onto their 2003 bikes for the first time. One week after the final round of the World Superbike Championship at Imola, another chapter began in the extraordinary career of Troy Bayliss, who did his first laps on the new Ducati Desmosedici. Britain's Neil Hodgson also made his track debut with the Superbike version of the Ducati 999.<BR><BR>The 33 year old Australian, WSBK champion in 2001 and runner-up this year, who completed 30 laps on the new Ducati prototype, which will make its debut next year in the MotoGP championship, was enthusiastic and satisfied with the work completed today.<hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left"><img src="../issues/sep02/ducmotogptest.jpg"><hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left">"It's a completely new toy!" declared Troy. "The last few months I've been seeing the bike and I've wanted to get on it for a long time. It took a while before we got going this morning because it was so foggy and the track was quite wet and we didn't really start until after lunch. <BR><BR>"We know we've got a great big job ahead of us but I've enjoyed what we've done so far and we're making pretty good progress already. That's why we've started a week after Imola, we know we've got a lot of work ahead of us and that's what we're doing. We've got plenty of tests before the racing starts but we're looking forward to it. <BR><BR>"This is not my Superbike for sure!" he added. "It's very different, much lighter and more powerful, there is nothing from the Superbike on this, we've just got to start and learn everything again. Vito has already been testing on it, he's done a good job, but basically I have to start from scratch and get ready for MotoGP."<BR><BR>While Troy was lapping with the Desmosedici, development work was continuing on the new Ducati 999 Superbike, for the first time with Neil Hodgson doing the riding duties. The 29 year-old British rider, third this year with team HM Plant Ducati in the WSBK championship, has been promoted to the factory team for 2003, the year in which Ducati will be trying to take back the Riders' championship title.<BR><BR>Hodgson, after riding the 999 for the first time, also expressed positive comments about the Italian manufacturer's new bike after completing a total of 70 laps on the spectacular Tuscany circuit.<hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left"><img src="../issues/sep02/duc999test.jpg"><hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left">"I feel a lot less nervous than I did this morning when I was quite excited about how it would be to ride the 999" declared Neil. "It's a big step for me, but already now I feel much more relaxed after the first day with my new team.<BR><BR>"The bike feels very different to my 998, with the new aerodynamics and the tyres" he added. "Even the riding position feels different so it's taking a bit more time to feel very comfortable. The engine is fantastic and the power feels very smooth, better than my old bike for sure.<BR><BR>"I also rode on Michelins for the first time today since 1997. After a few laps to get used to them, the feeling was really positive and every tyre we've tried so far has been good."<BR><BR>Tomorrow will see the second and final day of testing at Mugello for Bayliss with the Ducati Desmosedici and Hodgson on the Ducati 999 Superbike.