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Feb 1, 2002

Updated Post With Photos: More From Phillip Island World Superbike And World Supersport Testing

From a Ducati press release:<BR><BR>DUCATI CORSE PRESS INFORMATION<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR><BR>SBK Winter Testing – Phillip Island (Australia)<BR><BR>Friday 1 February<BR><BR>BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) QUICKEST IN PHILLIP ISLAND TESTING<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) got his 2002 Superbike campaign off to the best possible start with quickest time in pre-season testing at Phillip Island, Australia, which will host round 2 of the championship on March 24. His Ducati Infostrada teammate Ruben Xaus was right on the pace in second place, while Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) made a further improvement on the final day to slot into fourth, just behind Edwards (Honda).<BR><BR>Windy conditions on Thursday and warm temperatures today (air 30° C/ track 50° C) left Troy as the only rider to set a sub-1:33 time in the official three-day tests, which saw the participation of 11 riders from the factory Ducati, Honda, Aprilia and Kawasaki teams as well as the ‘satellite' Ducati GSE and Ducati DFX squads.<BR><BR>Bayliss, on Michelin tyres, fired off a warning to his championship rivals with a time of 1:32.944, set on the afternoon of day 1, which remained unbeaten Thursday and Friday. "I am really pleased to have set the quickest time at my home track", declared Troy. "I‘ve never won a world superbike race here but after these three days of tests, in which we found the right set-up and the right tyre, I'm sure I can get a win now in March".<BR><BR>Xaus, also on Michelins, completed the Ducati Infostrada 1-2 with a time of 1:33.136, set on Friday morning, and the 23-year-old Spanish rider was also delighted to have started off his 2002 season in the best possible way. "The tests here at Phillip Island went really well and I feel very confident for the start of the season", said Ruben. "Today was good, I did a long run in the morning and set my quickest time of the three days in race trim, which is the important thing, and I can't wait to start the season".<BR><BR>Bostrom was the quickest Dunlop runner in the tests with a time of 1:33.377, also set on Friday morning, and the 27-year-old Californian was pleased that he finally managed to get a set-up that was more to his liking on the seaside circuit. "This is not one of my favourite tracks so finishing the tests in fourth place is pretty good. We ironed out most of the grip problems and get a good set-up for the race so today I managed to lap pretty consistently on race rubber".<BR><BR>The final pre-season test session will be held in Valencia, Spain from February 23-25, while the 2002 championship will get underway at the Spanish track on March 10.<BR><BR>FINAL TIMES:<BR>1. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:32.944 (207 laps)<BR><BR>2. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:33.136 (172)<BR><BR>3. Edwards (Honda) 1:33.143 (204)<BR><BR>4. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) 1:33.377 (205)<BR><BR>5. Hodgson (Ducati GSE) 1:33.443 (280)<BR><BR>6. Haga (Aprilia) 1:33.456 (208)<BR><BR>7. Izutsu (Kawasaki) 1:33.650 (184)<BR><BR>8. Martin (Ducati DFX) 1:33.818 (168)<BR><BR>9. Toseland (Ducati GSE) 1:34.201 (257)<BR><BR>10. Antonello (Ducati DFX) 1:35.179 (145)<BR><BR>11. Walker (Kawasaki) 1:35.694 (250)<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>From a press release issued by SBK, organizers of the Superbike World Championship:<BR><BR>World Superbike Championship<BR>Winter Tests<BR>Phillip Island 1 February 2002.<BR><BR>The final day of Phillip Island testing saw Troy Bayliss at the head of the final timesheets, thanks to his 1:32.944 from the first afternoon session.<BR><BR>Second fastest, less than two tenths of a second behind, was the second Ducati Infostrada rider Ruben Xaus, who had completed so much testing in the previous sessions that he elected to miss the final afternoon of track action.<BR><BR>Also finishing one session early was 2000 season World Champion Colin Edwards, less than two tenths of a second slower than Bayliss, after setting over 200 laps on his Honda. L&M Ducati rider Ben Bostrom ran the top three riders close with his best lap of 1:33.377, set on the morning session of the last day.<BR><BR>Neil Hodgson proved to be the fastest privateer, running his HM Plant Ducati into fifth place on the timesheets, before concentrating his efforts on selecting race tyres during the final sessions. He recorded a massive total of 280 laps over the three days.<BR><BR>Noriyuki Haga ended his first proper fair-weather Aprilia test sixth fastest, one place ahead of his compatriot - and the top Kawasaki finisher - Hitoyasu Izutsu.<BR><BR>Steve Martin suffered a fast highside crash on the exit of turn two during the morning session, and had to sit out the final section of the test. He slipped to eighth quickest overall, but his earlier time was fast enough to head off James Toseland, from the HM Plant squad.<BR><BR>Alessandro Antonello, a faller like his teammate Martin, suffered a high-speed crash at the Hayshed corner, destroying his DFX Ducati Pirelli machine. He was also forced to miss the final session. <BR><BR>Chris Walker, on the second factory Kawasaki, rounded out the Superbike classification.<BR><BR>In the Supersport Championship category Ten Kate Honda rider Pere Riba was entirely dominant, with the Spaniard setting best time in class of 1:35.778. He was over half a second faster than his teammate Fabien Foret in second place, and Riba's astonishing time was 1.1 seconds inside the existing Supersport circuit record. It was also almost as fast as Chris Walker's 1:35.694 Superbike time.<BR><BR>Andrew Pitt, the reigning World Champion, was third on his home track, holding off his rejuvenated countryman Chris Vermeulen, from the Van zon Honda team.<BR><BR>James Ellison had the pleasure of being far from the slowest man in his debut official Supersport test, running his Kawasaki to fifth fastest, ahead of Karl Muggeridge and his injured Honda UK team mate John McGuinness.<BR><BR>The next official SBK tests take place at Valencia on 23-25 February.<BR><BR><BR>From a Team Ten Kate press release:<BR><BR>Ten Kate Honda racing on top of the world down under.<BR><BR>The Ten Kate Honda team have signalled their intentions loud and clear during three days of testing down under on Phillip Island, Australia. Pere Riba recorded an incredible time on the last day of testing, fully 1.1 seconds inside the existing Supersport lap record at the windswept circuit. His team mate Fabien Foret wasn't far behind and was second fastest overall.<BR><BR>Conditions were less than ideal over the period of the test, including high winds and, on the last day when the winds died down, some very hot track temperatures. But despite this the two riders put in an impressive display to dominate proceedings on their Honda CBR600FS machines. Riba's fastest time of 1:35.778 was truly incredible. Foret was only half a second down on his teammate at 1:36.290.<BR><BR>The Van Zon Honda TKR (Ten Kate Racing) rider Chris Vermeulen, who is also riding a Ten Kate prepared CBR600FS this season, showed his potential by lapping fourth fastest during the tests. Vermeulen looked rejuvenated with a best time of 1:37.056.<BR><BR>Pere Riba was obviously delighted to start the New Year in such fine form, "We've all been working so hard during the winter," explained the Spanish rider, "my times today prove that it's all been worthwhile. I want to thank my team and also Pirelli, who have done so much to make the Pirelli tyres even better than they already were. It's all very encouraging for me and the team."<BR><BR>Considering that before this week Phillip Island hadn't been a favoured track, Foret's times were also very impressive. "I haven't been very comfortable at this track in the past so this has been very important for me," admitted Foret, "I am much happier with the circuit now. We concentrated on improving the set up of the bike step by step but we still have maybe 5% more to find. I agree with Pere, the tyres are fantastic, Pirelli have done an amazing job this winter improving what was already the best rubber in the series."<BR><BR>Now the members of the Ten Kate Honda team that travelled to Australia will return to their base in Holland to join their colleagues. Several key personnel have stayed behind to complete work on the 2002 specification bikes. At Phillip Island the team were running 2001 bikes fitted with some parts from the 2002 specification. At the next test in Valencia during 23 - 25 February the full 2002 specification will be used for the first time.<BR><BR>Times<BR>1. Pere Riba 1:35.7<BR>2. Fabien Foret 1:36.2<BR>3. Andrew pitt 1:36.5<BR>4. Chris Vermeulen 1:37.0<BR>5. James Ellison 1:37.2<BR>6. Karl Muggeridge 1:37.7<BR>7. John McGuinness 1:38.5<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>From a Castrol Honda press release:<BR><BR>Issued: Friday February 1 2002<BR><BR>EDWARDS READY FOR SEASON START<BR><BR>Castrol Honda¹s Colin Edwards was in buoyant mood following three days of testing at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia this week.<BR><BR>The 2000 World Superbike champion recorded his fastest ever lap around the picturesque venue near Melbourne before declaring the three days a success.<BR><BR>"I'm more than happy with the progress we've made," said Edwards. "We arrived in positive mood after the Kyalami test and then improved the new SP-2 machine even more.<BR><BR>"We found some good settings, especially with the chassis set-up and front forks - even if it did mean a little crash on Thursday as I found the limit with the new front end! We also learnt a little more about the new Michelin tyres we'll have for this year.<BR><BR>"We've made some definite decisions about settings for the year and we've got an improved motor on its way so I'm looking forward to the Valencia test in three weeks and the first round there a couple of weeks later."<BR><BR>Edwards ended the three-day test in Australia with the third fastest time, setting his fastest lap in Thursday morning's session.<BR><BR>Combined, fastest test times:<BR>1. Troy Bayliss, Australia (Ducati), 1:32.944<BR><BR>2. Ruben Xaus, Spain (Ducati). 1:33.136<BR><BR>3. Colin Edwards, USA (Castrol Honda), 1:33.143<BR><BR>4. Ben Bostrom, USA (Ducati), 1:33.377<BR><BR>5. Neil Hodgson, GB (Ducati), 1:33.443<BR><BR>6. Noriyuki Haga, Japan (Aprilia), 1:33.456<BR><BR>7. Hitoyasu Izutsu, Japan (Kawasaki), 1:33.650<BR><BR>8. Steve Martin, Australia (Ducati), 1:33.818<BR><BR>9. James Toseland, GB (Ducati), 1:34.201<BR><BR>10. Alessandro Antonello, Italy (Ducati), 1:35.179<BR><BR><BR>From a Aprilia press release:<BR><BR>Aprilia Racing Press Information<BR><BR>FGF Team conclude tests at Phillip Island.<hr noshade size="1" width="300" align="left"><img src="../issues/jan02/haga2.jpg"><hr noshade size="1" width="300" align="left">Japanese ace Noriyuki Haga makes fine 2002 debut on his RSV Mille Superbike.<BR><BR>PHILLIP ISLAND (Australia) Friday 1 February 2002 – The FGF team has concluded its first round of winter tests in Phillip Island (Australia), preparing for the Superbike World Championship all set to start on 10 March in Valencia. This was the first official sortie for Noriyuki Haga. Haga had already got a taste of the RSV's potential in Valencia last December but, due to terrible weather conditions, it was little more than a test outing. During the thee-day trials, Noriyuki Haga mainly concentrated on learning how to handle the Aprilia RSV and this made it possible to develop the bike to suit his riding style. In any case, he notched up some very interesting times: he did his first fast lap, on racing tyres, in 1:33.456, just three-tenths of a second away from the official track record.<hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left"><img src="../issues/jan02/haga3.jpg"><hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left">Up against his adversaries for the first time, Haga put on a good performance, matching the times of his more accredited competitors who were able to benefit from longer experience of the bikes they were riding. In three days, Haga covered 208 laps on the 4,450-metre Phillip Island circuit, mounting up a total distance nine times longer than an actual race! With the team technicians and those of the suppliers Ohlins (suspension) and Dunlop (tyres), Noriyuki worked on perfecting the set-up and the suspension settings, with an eye also on the Australia GP which will be fought out on this track on 24 March. The Japanese rider used two 2001-version bikes which mounted the latest equipment created during the winter by the Racing Department: in particular, a new hub carrier and some new features in the engine.<hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left"><img src="../issues/jan02/haga1.jpg"><hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left">For the next meeting, in Valencia (Spain), from 23 to 25 February, Haga will have the new 2002 RSV which he will be using for the Championship. The opening round is all set for 10 March, again in Valencia. <BR><BR>"We'll be going back home satisfied" said Giacomo Guidotti, Chief Technician at FGF. "We got to within half a second of the world champion's time and we couldn't have hoped for more. Haga's style of riding is very different from that of those who've ridden the RSV Mille over the past few years, and we've had to adopt some pretty different set-up solutions. We're happy because Haga has enormous enthusiasm and is determined to get the set-up right: he's given us some invaluable indications. Language hasn't been a problem either: with a sort of Anglo-Japanese slang we get by perfectly. Now we're going back home to assemble the new bikes we'll be using for the World Championships and for the next tests in Valencia, a circuit for which we have far more references than we have for Phillip Island. We're going to try and inch up there too." <BR><BR>"This fast, technical track was just right for me to get an idea of the potential of the Aprilia bike: it's great!" said Noriyuka Haga. "I've spent most of my career on four-cylinder machines but I immediately got to grips with the Italian V2. I found it harder to get used to the set-up, because the RSV Mille is a very special machine, developed by riders who've got a very different style from mine. We've got off to a good start but I think it'll take three or four races for me to get totally familiarised with the bike. Once the test was over, I realised I really did make the right choice: with this Aprilia and this team, the sky's the limit."<BR><BR>ALL HAGA'S TIMES<BR><BR>Wednesday 30 January: morning 1:34.439, afternoon 1:34.445.<BR><BR>Thursday 31 January: morning 1:34.060, afternoon 1:33.456<BR><BR>Friday 1 February: morning 1:33.818, afternoon 1:33.690