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Feb 24, 2002

Updated Post: Ducati's Take On Valencia Press Conference And Testing

From a press release:<BR><BR>DUCATI CORSE PRESS INFORMATION<BR><BR>DUCATI CORSE 2002 WORLD SUPERBIKE PROGRAMME PRESENTED IN VALENCIA<BR><BR>Ducati Corse's main aim for this year will be to repeat its triumphant 2001 season when the World Superbike contenders converge on the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia (Spain) on March 10th for the first round of the 15th edition of the championship.<BR><BR>The Italian manufacturer's 2002 WSBK programme was illustrated to international media guests Saturday at the Valencia circuit at the end of<BR>the first day of official pre-season testing, organised by SBK International.<BR><BR>Last year Ducati took a clean sweep of the World Superbike titles, winning a ninth Riders' crown with Troy Bayliss and a tenth Constructors' trophy with its 996R bike.<BR><BR>The team programme was presented by Ducati Corse Managing Director Claudio Domenicali, who was flanked on the stage by Paolo Alberto Flammini, President of SBK International and the three factory Ducati riders, world champion Troy Bayliss, Ruben Xaus and Ben Bostrom.<BR><BR>Claudio Domenicali illustrated the modifications, mainly regarding the engine, that had been made to the 998R Factory '02 for the new season: "We did an incredible job on the engine, which has been almost completely redesigned", he declared. "We tried to have more horsepower and driveability which were so successful last year. So we decided to increase the bore from 100mm to 104mm, which gives 13 HP more than the 2001 engine. Everything has been redesigned so it's much easier to say the parts that are the same rather than those that are different".<BR><BR>Paolo Flammini said it was a pleasure and an honour to be a guest of Ducati Corse at the media presentation. "For us as a championship organiser it's always an element of pride to see the effort that a manufacturer like Ducati puts into Superbike" he declared. "With a team like this and three rides like Bayliss, Bostrom and Xaus, we couldn't expect more".<BR><BR>Bayliss, 32, from Taree, Australia and Xaus, 24, from Barcelona, Spain, will start their second season as team-mates in the Ducati Infostrada team, backed by the Italian telecommunications company.<BR><BR>Champion Bayliss said he was determined to keep the # 1 slot this year: "There are quite a few guys who will win races this year, but I think the championship battle will be between Edwards, Haga and myself. The new bike really feels comfortable and I can't wait to get the season underway, especially after today's test here which went really well".<BR><BR>Xaus will be aiming to start his second WSBK season the same way as last year - on the winners' podium: "This is my second year with the factory Ducati Infostrada team and I obviously feel a lot more at home than twelve months ago. Now I want to become one of the challengers for the title. I went really well in the last few races of last year, so now I aim to continue where I left off"<BR><BR>27-year-old Californian Bostrom, who will line up for the 13-round championship in Ducati L&M colours, was also confident of being one of the main contenders this year after his spectacular 2001 season: "I want to start the ball rolling in the best way this year. Although I won early on in 2001, it took me a few races to get moving and I don't want to make the same mistake twice. This year, I want to get points on the board because I plan to win".<BR><BR>All three riders will have at their disposal the latest weapon from the Borgo Panigale manufacturer, the 998R Factory '02, the definitive version of which was seen out on the Valencia track today.<BR><BR>The Factory '02 is an extreme evolution version of last year's successful bike, in particular in the engine department. It is characterized by an increase in bore size from 100 mm to 104 mm, and the Testastretta engine now produces 188 HP @ 12500 rpm, an increase of 13 HP over the 2001 bike.<BR><BR>The design of the 998R Factory '02 engine got underway in July 2000, and it ran on the dyno for the first time in December 2000.<BR><BR>Meanwhile on day 1 of testing, Bayliss, Xaus and Bostrom set third, fourth and fifth quickest times respectively. World Superbikes will continue to test on Sunday and Monday, in preparation for the start of the championship<BR>in two weeks time.<BR><BR>TIMES:<BR>1. Edwards (Honda) 1:35.168<BR>2. Haga (Aprilia) 1:35.460<BR>3. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:35.495<BR>4. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:35.648<BR>5. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) 1:35.650<BR>6. Martin (Ducati DFX) 1:36.127<BR>7. Chili (Ducati NCR) 1:36.128<BR>8. Pedercini (Ducati) 1:36.223<BR>9. Lavilla (Suzuki) 1:36.423<BR>10. Izutsu (Kawasaki) 1:36.547.<BR><BR><BR><BR>From another press release:<BR><BR>DUCATI CORSE PRESS INFORMATION<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR>Superbike Testing - Valencia (Spain)<BR>Sunday February 24th 2002<BR><BR>BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) LEADS THE WAY ON DAY 2 OF VALENCIA TESTING<BR><BR>Ducati Infostrada's Troy Bayliss led the way on the second day of World Superbike pre-season testing in Valencia, Spain. The 2001 world champion powered round the 4.005 km circuit in a time of 1:34.922, a fraction ahead of Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) and Ducati L&M rider Ben Bostrom. Honda's Colin Edwards was fourth quickest, with Bayliss's Ducati Infostrada teammate Ruben Xaus one-tenth behind in fifth.<BR><BR>Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada), who completed 80 laps on the 2002-spec Ducati 998R Factory '02, declared: "I did two long runs today, that's two race distances, and my times in both were better than last year. The new bike feels really nice underneath and that's important. I did a constant 1:35.5 on my race tyre, while tomorrow we'll try a couple more things and then I'll go out and do a quick lap in the afternoon".<BR><BR>Bostrom (Ducati L&M) covered 68 laps around Valencia, clocking third quickest time of 1:35.260 in the late morning session. "We were making a lot of progress today but then ran into a bit of 'chattering' at the rear, which slowed us down", he said. "Once we get that over with, I know we'll be there, because I'm planning on doing a mid 1:34 on race tyres around here tomorrow."<BR><BR>Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) had two harmless crashes today during his 53 laps, but still managed to set his quickest time of 1:35.327 late in the final session. "Apart from my crashes which dented my confidence a bit, things went OK", he said. "I did my fastest lap on race tyres late on but overall I'm very happy with my lap times, and we were up at the front all day."<BR><BR>TIMES:<BR>1. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:34.922<BR>2. Haga (Aprilia) 1:34.957<BR>3. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) 1:35.260<BR>4. Edwards (Honda) 1:35.261<BR>5. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:35.327<BR>6. Chili (Ducati NCR) 1:35.668<BR>7. Martin (Ducati DFX) 1:35.962<BR>8. Pedercini (Ducati) 1:35.962<BR>9. Izutsu (Kawasaki) 1:36.032<BR>10. Toseland (Ducati HM Plant) 1:36.305<BR>