Father Bayliss does not give gifts !
The last tests of the year were held over the last three days on the technical, sandy and windy Losail track. Bayliss has shown himself imperial again, giving no gifts – despite the approach of Christmas – to his opponents. It promises !
The weather will have played a lot of tricks on the official World Superbike teams! On the first day, the pilots had to deal with a particularly slippery Qatari track: "It was like driving on a clay tennis court", testifies Kevin Curtain, vice-world champion of Supersport who was one of the five 600 cc competitors also present..
On the second day, the sand went away – on the edges of the track and especially on the poor Pirelli tires! – but the wind is still there. However, the lap times suddenly dropped and the records set last year during testing were quickly forgotten..
Finally, on the third day, the 2007 Superbike models continued to cause the powder, heralding the best for the coming season … even if Bayliss proves that for the moment there remains a tone above. !
Indeed, for three days, Troy Bayliss offered the best lap times against his main opponents for 2007. His best time of 1 ‘58.1 – 1.5 seconds faster than during his 2005 superpole – gives him a comfortable lead. on his closest rivals: Troy Corser and Max Biaggi, yet authors of an excellent 1 ‘58.9.
Waiting for the 1198 ?
The best times of each driver were posted on soft tires. But if Troy Bayliss admits that he could not chain a 1 ’58 over the whole of a race, he also wants to reassure us: "We almost covered the distance of a race and I was much faster than during the race last February".
On its 999, Ducati’s n ° 21 therefore "does a good job". The twin seems to suit him still as much even if in a recent interview with our colleagues from Moto Revue, the Australian is impatiently waiting for 2008 to run on the 1098 (read)…
Unless it’s an 1198? Because already, the English Superbike regulations propose an increase in the limit of the displacement of two-cylinder to 1200 cc for the year 2008! Case to follow…
"That’s why we signed it !"
Troy Corser finished second best driver over all three days. His reports "concise, clear, precise and easily understood by engineers", fully validate the choice of Laurens Klein Koerkamp, manager of Yamaha Racing.
However, satisfaction is mutual. Corser was more interested in adjusting to his new mount than teasing the stopwatch. To complete the difficulty, Yamaha even offered its newcomer a panel of three chassis and three swingarms to test, all adorned with many new Italian tires….
Finally, "the times still came", observes the Australian crocodile who has not lost any of his abilities … Just like another eminent specialist in two-wheeled monsters: Max Biaggi !
"Probably more work than the others"
If he did not repeat his performance in Valencia (read), Max Biaggi has again proven that he will have to be counted on for the 2007 season !
After a shy first day during which the Italian did not want to be surprised by a coating worthy of the Paris-Dakar, Max has continued to increase his pace. On his very last lap of the third day, he even set the same time as Corser, which he replaced on the Suzuki GSX-R 1000..
Yet on the second day, conditions improving, the Roman’s finding was clear: "we quickly realized that we would have a lot of work, probably more than the others". The main difficulty pointed out by Biaggi – but also by his teammate Kagayama – concerns the docility of the engine of the new K7. A shame for a motorcycle which offers three different maps as standard (read) !
"Last year was difficult"
Fourth of these tests: James Toseland on the handlebars of his CBR1000RR! Unlike the two previous drivers, James has the advantage of knowing his team and his horse, which has not evolved as much as the R1 and "Gex 1000". The British therefore intends to take full advantage of this asset next year.
Toseland was therefore able to concentrate on fine-tuning his Honda, completing his fastest lap on the second day and not the third: "As a team we work well together and I am confident for the year ahead.", says the 2004 world champion.
However, the n ° 52 wants to be cautious about the event taking place on the same circuit of Losail: "the climatic conditions are so extreme that we cannot predict anything in advance"…
"The ZX-10R more suited to my driving"
To ideally complete the top 5 of these last winter tests 2006, Regis Laconi took advantage of the last day to improve his best time by 1.4 seconds compared to the day before! He thus places his ZX-10R behind the Ducati, the Yam, the Suz and the Honda.
"We are making progress and the new Kawasaki seems to be more suited to my riding than this year’s", rejoices the Moselle before adding:"the result is encouraging, it will be necessary to confirm as soon as testing resumes in 2007" !
Worn out by his large number of laps, Lorenzo Lanzi for his part was unable to take advantage of his soft tires to panic the clock. "But it’s OK because I had a good time with the race tires", specifies the second Ducati rider.
Eclipsed all last season by the imposing Bayliss, the young Italian regains confidence after his "second place" in the Valencia tests. According to him, the only downside to these latest tests is "tire endurance, which is essential here".
Pirelli severely tested
Behind the Ducati lieutenant is Fonsi Nieto. Victim of a fall Wednesday, the Spaniard was unable to improve his time the next day. However, his time of 1 ‘59.5 remains better than the pole of last year..
Noriyuki Haga’s performance is more disappointing. The Japanese would have found "a good chassis / swingarm combination", but is less satisfied with the behavior of the latest Pirelli tires.
"With new tires we can have good timesUnfortunately, Nitro Nori was unable to complete its endurance test, the rear tire giving up the ghost early. A problem that should not be added to the one who had it. disabled all last season: the R1 n ° 41 tends to err in qualifying tires…
Yukio Kagayama finished 9th but did not worry too much: if he did not manage to go below the 2 minutes mark, it was because of a poor choice of tires. Thus the Japanese is delighted to have found good settings on his new GSX-R, making it "more comfortable and fun to ride".
Aware that there are only two winter tests left before the opening of the 2007 championship, Yukio remains "rather optimistic"and will do its utmost to improve"engine behavior and make it smoother".
Finally, tenth at the end of the three days, Roberto Rolfo tested for the first time the electronic system of "traction control"equipping the Honda Ten Kate. Far from the frantic pace of the top three, the Italian takes his troubles patiently: after all, neither Rome nor even its Emperor Biaggi were made in a single day !
SBK Losail test results:
|1||Bayliss T.||Ducati||2 ‘00.7||1 ‘58.9||1 ‘58.1|
|2||Corser T.||Yamaha||2 ‘ 01.1||1 ‘59.7||1 ‘58.9|
|2||Biaggi M.||Suzuki||2 ‘ 02.8||2 ‘00.4||1 ‘58.9|
|4||Toseland J.||Honda||2 ‘01.4||1 ‘59.1||1 ‘59.4|
|5||Laconi R.||Kawasaki||2 ‘ 02.2||2 ‘00.6||1 ‘59.2|
|6||Lanzi L.||Ducati||2 ‘01.3||2 ‘00.3||1 ‘59.3|
|7||Nieto F.||Kawasaki||2 ‘ 01.6||1 ‘59.5||2 ‘00.5|
|8||Haga N.||Yamaha||2 ‘ 01.4||2 ‘00.6||1 ‘59.7|
|9||Kagayama Y.||Suzuki||2 ‘ 03.0||2 ‘ 00.7||2 ‘00.1|
|10||Rolfo R.||Honda||2 ‘ 03.1||2 ‘ 02.2||2 ‘01.7|
Best lap in the race: 2 ‘00.061 – Bayliss (2006)
Best time: 1 ‘59.696 – Bayliss (2006)
On the Supersport side, the Yamaha have shown themselves to be intractable … in the absence of the Honda! A fact that Broc Parkes does not fail to point out: "it would have been good to have even more competitive motorcycles by our side to better situate ourselves", regrets the Australian who dominated the first two sessions.
Sebastien Charpentier’s best time – largely exceeded by the two R6s – indeed offered a very lean stallion in view of the improvements in SBK lap times … But each additional lap is worth taking and could make the difference at the start seasonal at least.
As Kevin Curtain points out, these tests will have allowed Broc and himself to know "which tires will work or not, even if extensive work on the rear tires remains to be done". Behind the Yamaha boys is Gianluca Nannelli and his Ducati just ahead of Fabien Foret and Pere Riba on Kawasaki.
SSP Losail test results:
|1||Curtain K.||Yamaha||2 ‘05.5||2 ‘03.9||2 ‘02.5|
|2||Parkes B.||Yamaha||2 ‘05.13||2 ‘03.3||2 ‘02.6|
|3||Nannelli G.||Ducati||2 ‘06.0||2 ‘03.4||2 ‘03.3|
|4||Drill F.||Kawasaki||2 ‘07.3||2 ‘04.7||2 ‘04.5|
|5||Riba P.||Kawasaki||2 ‘07.9||2 ‘06.3||2 ‘05.2|
Best lap in the race: 2 ‘03.921 – Carpenter (2006)
Best time: 2 ‘03.093 – Carpenter (2006)
Next meeting with the World Superbike: January 13, 14 and 15, 2007 at Phillip Island !
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