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Jan 25, 2003

HM Plant Ducati Ends Almeria Test Early

From a press release issued by HM Plant Ducati:<BR><BR><BR> <BR>Walker stars in Almeria test <BR> <BR>Chris Walker has successfully completed a two-day test at Almeria in Spain Friday. The HM Plant Ducati star recorded a superb time of 1:36.9, which eclipsed all the other Superbike riders at the Andalucia circuit. <BR> <BR>"I've put in a lot of laps over the past two days and feel really at home with HM Plant Ducati and my new team," explained Walker. "I have definitely found a good base setting from which to fine-tune everything in time for the first round of the championship next month. The whole package is awesome and I am delighted with how my ankle is standing up to the physical pressure it has been subjected to over the past week." <BR> <BR>Walker's time - set on Dunlop race tyres - was over half-a-second inside the fastest lap recorded on qualifying rubber by factory Ducati rider and former World Champion Troy Bayliss during a pre-season test last winter. <BR> <BR>However, the team's joy was dampened slightly when Walker's team-mate James Toseland had to withdraw from the test with a swollen right hand. He had sustained the injury in a practice crash at Valencia last week and was unable to cope with the demands of the technical Almeria track. <BR> <BR>Toseland was optimistic after being sent home early for further medical consultation: "I tried a few laps yesterday morning, but my hand was too badly swollen to continue. The main problem I had was with braking and cornering, which is critical on a tight and twisty circuit like this. At least I was able to get on the first plane home and I'm on my way to see a specialist. That was definitely the best course of action under the circumstances." <BR> <BR>HM Plant Ducati Team Manager Colin Wright had mixed emotions after a hectic testing schedule over the past week. "Chris has once again confirmed his status as one of the leading contenders for this year's World Superbike series. His performance was very encouraging and he looked extremely comfortable on the HM Plant Ducati. I would also like to thank Dunlop for the excellent work they have done with Chris. It's just a shame that James had to withdraw, but at least we are taking the right steps to ensure that he is ready for the next test at Valencia in February." <BR> <BR>HM Plant Ducati was originally scheduled to complete a third day of testing at Almeria on Sunday but the team will now return to the UK after making such good progress at the Spanish circuits. <BR> <BR><BR><BR>