Jan 24, 2002
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From a press release:<BR><BR>DUCATI CORSE PRESS INFORMATION<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR><BR>Testing - Kyalami (South Africa)<BR><BR>Thursday 24 January 2002 <BR><BR>DUCATI'S 2002 WSBK CAMPAIGN GETS UNDERWAY IN SOUTH AFRICA<BR><BR>Ducati Corse kicked off its 2002 World Superbike Championship campaign in South Africa on Thursday with the first day of a three-day Michelin tyre test session at the high-altitude Kyalami circuit on the outskirts of Johannesburg.<BR><BR>The Italian manufacturer was present with brand-new 2002-spec Ducati 998R Factory bikes for reigning world champion Troy Bayliss, from Australia and his young Spanish teammate Ruben Xaus, winner of two races last year.<BR><BR>The first day of testing began late morning and revolved around general suspension set-up work, and putting some mileage on the new bikes on standard tyres.<BR><BR>Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada), who ran a total of 56 laps in hot weather (track 52° C/ air 30° C), was feeling confident after recording a best time of 1:43.5. <BR><BR>"I didn't push too hard today because I had to get to grips with the new bike after a few weeks away from the track", declared the 32-year-old Australian.<BR><BR>"Even though we are running at more than 1700 metres altitude, I can feel the new engine has got a lot of power", he added.<BR><BR>Teammate Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) completed 15 laps before having a harmless slide at Turn 3. The 23-year-old Spanish rider's best time at that point was 1:46.9".<BR><BR>Testing for the Ducati Infostrada team at Kyalami continues Friday and Saturday.<BR><BR>The third factory rider Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M), from California, will bring the team up to full strength at next week's scheduled SBK Winter Tests at Phillip Island, Australia.