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Feb 22, 2003

Rain Hinders Ducati WSB And MotoGP Testing In Spain

From press releases issued by Ducati Corse:<BR><BR>SECOND DAY OF SBK WINTER TESTING AT VALENCIA <BR>INTERRUPTED BY BAD WEATHER <BR><BR>Ruben Xaus (Team Ducati Fila) headed the timesheets today on the second day of official SBK pre-season testing at Valencia. In the afternoon the two Ducati Fila riders, Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus did not go out onto the track after rain started to fall and two of the scheduled four sessions were not completed. <BR><BR>Spain's Xaus completed a total of 55 laps on the Ducati 999, the Italian manufacturer's new Superbike model, recording a time of 1:34.75, one-tenth of a second slower than the circuit record set by Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) and six tenths of a second quicker than his time recorded one month ago at the same track. Ruben tested new rear tyres made available by Michelin, and constantly lapped at this pace during his mini race simulation in the morning. <BR><BR>"Everything is going really well" declared Ruben at the end of the day. "We tried some new race tyres, even though we couldn't complete the entire programme due to the rain. The team is working well, and I'm getting a better felling with the 999 all the time. I made a good step forward with the bike here at Valencia because my time of 1:34.75 is the best I've ever recorded around here." <BR><BR>Neil Hodgson focussed mainly on bike settings, trying to eliminate weight transfer imbalance in braking and acceleration and the British rider completed 38 laps today, setting a best time of 1:35.04. <BR><BR>"I got caught out with the weather because I wanted to save my best time for the end of the day, but it's the same for everyone" commented Neil. "Today we made some progress with the 999 after going back to the settings I used in December. The handling now feels much better and I have a lot more confidence so I'm sure I can improve again tomorrow." <BR><BR>Tomorrow will see the third and final day of official SBK testing at Valencia. <BR><BR>OFFICIAL TIMES: 1. Xaus (Ducati Fila) 1:34.75; 2. Hodgson (Ducati Fila) 1:35.04; 3. Laconi (Ducati NCR) 1:35.68; 4. Chili (Ducati) 1:36.06; 5. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) 1:36.06; 6. Walker (HM Plant Ducati) 1:36.12; 7. Corser (Foggy Petronas) 1:36.40; 8. Lavilla (Suzuki) 1:36.47; 9. Borja (Ducati DFX) 1:36.51; 10. Garcia (Ducati NCR) 1:36.87. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR><BR><BR>BAYLISS & CAPIROSSI PRAY FOR SUN AT RAINY JEREZ <BR><BR>IRTA tests, Jerez, Spain <BR>Saturday, February 22, 2003 <BR><BR>Ducati Marlboro Team riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi continued to make excellent progress during the year's first IRTA tests at Jerez today, despite heavy rain showers that forced them to spend much of the morning in the pits. Both men are hoping to make up for lost time during tomorrow's final day, when the weather is expected to be better. <BR> <BR>As yesterday, the Australian and the Italian focused on fine tuning chassis settings, even though the circuit was in poor condition throughout, the rain having washed dust and dirt onto the track. <BR> <BR>"The work we're doing here is very important," said Ducati Corse CEO Claudio Domenicali. "We have a very precise schedule of work to do before the first race in April, with a lot to do in a short time. At the moment we have no real references at most of the GP circuits, so we have to work very efficiently, and losing half a day of a three-day test here could be critical. But we believe in the project and we believe in the enthusiasm and professionalism of the whole team. I'm particularly grateful to Troy and Loris today, because in spite of the conditions they both continued working to give us the maximum amount of information about the bike." <BR> <BR>Former World Superbike champ Bayliss, who has never raced at Jerez, managed to ride 47 laps today, usefully expanding his knowledge of the Spanish circuit. "I could've sat around and done nothing, but even though the track wasn't in a great state, you never know what kind of conditions you're going to have to race in," he smiled. "Even at the end of the day a couple of the corners were still a bit sketchy, with a couple of guys going down, so I just hope we have a good day tomorrow. We've been mostly playing with chassis setting, plus I tried a few different front Michelins. I found a couple of things I liked today, so I'm feeling keen for tomorrow. I want a bit of sun, so I can do a lot of laps." <BR> <BR>Capirossi, who has been racing here since 1990, rode 24 laps today, preferring not to take risks in the tricky conditions. But he also ended the day in good spirits. "The track was very dirty after the rain, which compromised our work today, but we still managed to get a lot done," he said. "We tried some new chassis solutions and different configurations, so we've kept moving ahead. But tomorrow we need sun!" <BR> <BR>Tomorrow both riders plan to do their first serious tyre testing with Michelin's range of 2003 tyres, weather permitting. <BR><BR>Lap times <BR>Troy Bayliss (Ducati Marlboro Team) 1:45.640 <BR>Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 1:48.091 <BR> <BR> <BR>More, from a press release issued by Scuderia Caracchi NCR: <BR><BR>LACONI ON THE TOP AND GARCIA GROWS UP <BR><BR>(Valencia 2003, February 22) <BR><BR>A soft rain stopped today test on Valencia circuit. But the two practice sessions on the dry track showed a great Regis Laconi. The French rider of 998RS Caracchi NCR Nortel Networks recorsed the third fastest overall, leaded only by the two Fila Ducati factory bikes. <BR><BR>"Today too we worked first to find the best set up," - declared at the end of the test day Regis Laconi - "Handling and gearbox have been our aim today, and we rode immediately one second faster as yesterday laptime; then we set at the best the hand lever for rear brake that I asked to Stefano as I like it works, well, a classic test day, but the third fastest we score shows that we are in the right direction. It has a pity that the rain forced us to stop working, we must set at the best the gearbox ratio, but I'm really satisfied about the work we have done." <BR><BR>David Garcia, always very quiet in the pit, goes on to upgrade recording the tenth fastest of today practice. <BR><BR>"The rain ruined everything," - said a disappointed Garcia - "I need to stay on the bike and ride kilometers on the 998RS, and unfortunately in the afternoon we couldn't practice at all. In the morning sessions I feel very well, the gearbox was running well and I'm confident that, if the practices could go on, I could be faster. I found a good feeling with the team and now I am confident in a good racing debut next week-end." <BR><BR>Unfortunately also for tomorrow, Sunday February 23, closing test day, the weather forecast doesn't show anything good. <BR><BR>Two days test - Overall results: <BR><BR>1.XAUS Ruben (Ducati) 1:34.755; 2.HODGSON Neil (Ducati) 1:35.044; 3.LACONI Regis (Caracchi NCR Ducati Nortel Networks) 1:35.685; 4.WALKER Chris (Ducati) 1:35.842; 5.TOSELAND James (Ducati) 1:35.932 ; 6.MARTIN Steve (Ducati) 1:36.061; 7.CHILI Pierfrancesco (Ducati) 1:36.061; 8.CORSER Troy (Foggy Petronas) 1:36.408; 9.LAVILLA Gregorio (Suzuki) 1:36.477; 10.BORJA Juan Batista (Ducati) 1:36.516; 11.GARCIA David (Caracchi NCR Ducati Nortel Networks) 1:36.877 <BR> <BR> <BR>