WSBK – The Ducatis are on the rise –

Ducatis have the wind in their sails

WSBK - Ducatis have the wind in their sails -

Mistreated by a violent wind, the World Superbike and Supersport riders carried out two days of testing on the track in Valence, while awaiting the resumption of hostilities in two weeks at Donington. Official chronos and driver reviews…

After the first two events contested in Losail (read) and then at Phillip Island (read), the main Mondial Superbike and Supersport teams went to the Valencia circuit to prepare for their European tour..

The only notable absentees from these two days of testing, Ronald Ten Kate’s SBK and SSP teams did not take advantage of these private tests to perfect their settings on the track which will host the Spanish stage of the championship on April 15th..

However, we can bet that James Toseland and Kenan Sofuoglu – leaders of the two provisional rankings – and especially Sebastien Charpentier – our double 600 world champion, to whom you can ask all your questions within the framework of our video interviews – will be present at the forefront. from the next event, which will be held at Donington Park on April 1 !

Troy Bayliss was indeed present during the last tests in Valence, setting the best time of the two days in 1’34.102 … barely half a second less than the best time on the track, established by its care during the same 2006 tests (read), and 7 tenths faster than its superpole last year !

"A year has passed and I’m going slower: I must be getting old !", jokes Troy who has in truth lost nothing of his efficiency. Author of a brilliant time on qualifying rubber, the n ° 21 Ducati also signed the best time on racing rubber: 1’34.482.

For the race, the "old" kangaroo could well use the same tires as last year (read): these compounds had indeed offered him foolproof endurance … and doubled it! "But who knows what will happen in a month", tempers Bayliss who will first have to focus on Donington to move up the standings.

The fastest driver on the track for much of the second day, Lorenzo Lanzi finished these tests in a promising third place. Braving the violent and irregular wind on the handlebars of the second official Ducati, the young Italian turned in 1’34.584.

Putting on soft tires in the very last quarter of an hour, Lorenzo was unable to take full advantage of his qualifying tires, more destabilized by the weather conditions than his colleagues at Ducati.

"Heavy gusts and dust hit the track and Ruben (Xaus) and Troy walked past me", regrets Lanzi, beaten by 21 thousandths by the private Ducati rider n ° 111 who however rode less than his comrades: 96 laps for the Spanish against 120 for the Italian and 165 for the Australian Bayliss !

On his 999 F06 from Team Sterilgarda, Ruben Xaus has therefore proven that "on this track and with this motorbike i can face anyone !"His team manager, Marco Borciani, further claims that the traction control system present on the 2006 Ducati model allows his colt to be on par with the official team,"his talent doing the rest".

New recruit to the private team, Giovanni Bussei – ex-Kawa driver – quickly acclimatized to his new mount, turning just 1.3 seconds above his teammate’s times at the end of practice. The fight in the middle of the pack promises to be tight !

Regis Laconi and Fonsi Nieto were apparently more bothered by the strong wind than the Italian trainers: at the controls of his ZX-10R, the Meuse pilot (and not Moselle, as a very good reader pointed out to us. attentive!) even experienced "many difficulties"to achieve his best time, 10th in the final classification.

Disappointed by his time, Regis prefers to estimate that "the conditions will be different"by their return in mid-April. But before that, the No.55 will travel with her comrades to Donington Park:"a track that I really like", rejoices the former GP500 driver !

If the Ducatis had the wind in their sails, Fonsi Nieto does not hesitate to argue that the Ninjas were more sensitive to gusts of wind than their competitors. "It’s hard to know if we have found a good setting for the race", remarks the Spanish.

Fonsi nevertheless wishes to recall that last year, Valence had rather smiled on the green drivers: in the second round they had finished 6th, 7th and 8th … just two seconds from the podium !

Easier to take than the Kawa in these difficult conditions, the Yamaha are no less difficult to manage over the course of a race. Flushing their new Pirelli in less than ten laps in the first four rounds of the season, the drivers and engineers have put a lot of work into the swingarm and its suspension….

Succeeding in making the new R1 "better and easier"According to Troy Corser, Team Yamaha Motor Italia unfortunately failed to increase the life of the rear tires!"No matter what tire choice was, none of them seemed to be able to go the distance", notes the Australian pilot bitterly…

For his part, Haga has certainly found "a good front tire", but his rear rubber concern remains too important to consider these two days of testing satisfactory. Fell twice on Monday morning"once on the left and the other on the right", Nitro Nori even announces that he still has"a lot of work to do on the suspension coming back here for the race" !

Also immersed in this phase of discovering a new motorcycle, Francis Batta’s men did not seem to encounter such major problems on their GSX-R 1000 K7. However, their task is not easy, especially for Yukio Kagayama, injured following a heavy fall on Phillip Island….

12th in the ranking, the performance of the Japanese is also very respectable: "I did not take any painkillers, because I wanted to feel as well as possible what was happening on the bike", reveals Yukio. Buckling with difficulty"five or six rounds in a row", the n ° 71 still noted tire problems…

"Like others, I couldn’t get the best out of the rear tires", remarks Kagayama while his teammate Max Biaggi is more discreet about it.

Author of the 4th fastest time, the Roman Emperor also multiplied the electronic tests, experimented with different settings and tested several rear tires, without finding the perfect balance allowing him "to find a good feeling on the bike and to push hard".

But "there are a lot of things we can tweak and sometimes small tweaks lead to big changes so we have to take it step by step", explains Biaggi who considers that the new Suz still has a lot to offer.

Finally, it should be noted that the DFXTrem team, absent from these Spanish tests, will only have one driver: Michel Fabrizio. The young Italian being an official Honda Europe rider – therefore financed directly by Honda – he will participate for the rest of the season, unlike his teammate Steve Martin…

"I am disgusted", launches the Australian to whom the team had promised that he had the sufficient budget"to run both Fabrizio and me throughout the season"… Disgusted but far from being discouraged, Steve intends to continue his 9th – consecutive! – World Superbike season and will therefore be present at the next European events in search of sponsors … A race in the race, in somehow !

SBK Valence test results:

Pilot Team Sunday On Monday Tours
1 Bayliss T. Ducati 1 ‘34,482 1 ‘34.102 165
2 Xaus R. Ducati 1 ‘35.627 1 ‘34.565 96
3 Lanzi L. Ducati 1 ‘35,128 1 ‘34.584 120
4 Biaggi M. Suzuki 1 ‘35.203 1 ‘34,708 144
5 Corser T. Yamaha 1 ‘34,895 1 ‘34.851 129
6 Haga N. Yamaha 1 ‘35.593 1 ‘35.029 92
7 Nieto F. Kawasaki 1 ‘35,607 1 ‘35.410 97
8 Muggeridge K. Honda 1 ‘38.457 1 ‘35,470 78
9 Neukirchner M. Honda 1 ‘36,126 1 ‘35.532 92
10 Laconi R. Kawasaki 1 ‘35,785 1 ‘35.639 124
11 Polita A. Suzuki 1 ‘35,769 1 ‘35,749 129
12 Kagayama Y. Suzuki 1 ‘35,785 1 ‘35.999 115
13 Bussei G. Ducati 1 ‘37,079 1 ‘35.830 131
14 Brookes J. Honda 1 ‘37.031 1 ‘36.106 105
15 Nakatomi S. Yamaha 1 ‘37.363 1 ‘36.832 134
16 Zaiser C. MV Agusta 1 ‘39,286 1 ‘38.192 49
17 Morelli L. Ducati 1 ‘39.936 1 ‘39.444 140
18 Ellison D. Ducati 1 ‘39.644 1 ‘40.335 24

Best lap in the race: 1 ‘35.007 – Hodgson (2003)
Best time: 1 ‘33.758 Bayliss (2006)

Supersport side, the Yamaha have monopolized the outposts, taking advantage of the absence of the Ten Kate team to place four R6s in the first six places. !

At the top of the standings, Kevin Curtain insists that these tests have mainly focused on the race pace rather than the stopwatch alone. Multiplying the long series, the Australian focused in particular on the endurance of his rear tire.

Like their comrades on R1, the R6 pilots have worked a lot on their rear suspension settings. A rewarded work, since the vice-world champion declared Monday evening: "I think we have doubled the life of our rear tire" !

A finding confirmed by his teammate Broc Parkes, who considers that when it comes to adjusting his new swingarm, "we are in the right direction". Covering 118 laps over the entire test, the Australian driver did not bother to put on qualifying tires, partly explaining his time (5th fastest) rather discreet..

But Broc does not worry about it: "even with race settings and a full tank we were still pretty quick", he assures !

Second of these tests, Massimo Roccoli is just as confident. "These tests were good, because I have had problems on this track in the past.", concedes the Italian. But 2007 could be different for the No. 55 Yamaha:"we found good settings for the race"he promises !

The Yamaha are not, however, alone in the world: as proof, on the first day, Fabien Foret set the best time on the handlebars of his ZX-6R! Without improving his time the next day, the Frenchman continued to work on his front fork: "we found some interesting stuff it was better but nothing amazing either", admits n ° 9.

In the end, Fabien declared himself satisfied with his stopover in Spain: "it was a good test in anticipation of the race and we will have a good base on which to start", he rejoices.

As for his teammate Pere Riba, he tried a multitude of things: "new chassis geometry, new rear gums, new rear shock absorber settings and at Donington we will have a new engine evolution", reveals the Spanish.

On the French side, apart from Foret, Matthieu Lagrive is 13th, 1.5 seconds behind Curtain and Gregory Leblanc 15th. Julien Enjolras finished last in the standings on the first day, leaving Arnaud Vincent – registered for the French Superbike Championship (read) – to turn the next day in 1 ‘40.622.

SSP Valence test results:

Pilot Team Sunday On Monday Tours
1 Curtain K. Yamaha 1 ‘38,260 1 ‘37,126 108
2 Roccoli M. Yamaha 1 ‘37,747 1 ‘37.498 105
3 Drill F. Kawasaki 1 ‘37.556 1 ‘37.875 88
4 Fujiwara K. Honda 1 ‘37.590 1 ‘37,799 97
5 Parkes B. Yamaha 1 ‘38.264 1 ‘37.635 118
6 Salom D. Yamaha 1 ‘38.675 1 ‘37,984 108
7 Alfonsi L. Honda 1 ‘38.499 1 ‘38.104 115
8 Riba P. Kawasaki 1 ‘38.145 1 ‘38.833 77
9 Kallio V. Suzuki 1 ‘39.109 1 ‘38.333 113
10 Lascorz J. Honda 1 ‘39.392 1 ‘38.568 104
11 Ivanov V. Yamaha 1 ‘38.575 1 ‘39,073 101
12 Veneman B. Suzuki 1 ‘38.984 1 ‘38.582 100
13 Lagrive M. Honda 1 ‘40.101 1 ‘38.617 81
14 Peris C. Yamaha 1 ‘38.724 1 ‘38.956 83
15 Leblanc G. Honda 1 ‘38,880 1 ‘39,270 113
16 Sanna S. Honda 1 ‘38.992 1 ‘39.415 84
17 Giugliano D. Kawasaki 1 ‘39.664 1 ‘39,474 99
18 Gunther J. Honda 1 ‘40.858 1 ‘39.890 111
19 Talmacsi G. Yamaha 1 ‘41,746 1 ‘39.966 98
20 Forner D. Yamaha 1 ‘40.960 1 ‘40,174 105
21 Polzer Y. Ducati 1 ‘41.180 1 ‘40.323 110
22 Lauslehto T. Honda 1 ‘41,266 1 ‘40.395 99
23 Praia M. Honda 1 ‘40.849 1 ‘40,424 99
24 Vincent A. Yamaha 1 ‘40.622 60
25 Enjolras J. Yamaha 1 ‘40.883 52

Best lap in the race: 1 ‘38.664 – Carpenter (2006)
Best time: 1 ‘36.4 – Charpentier S. (winter test 2006)

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