WSBK – The Emperor is preparing his return! –

The Emperor prepares his return !

WSBK - The Emperor is preparing his return! -

The first official Pirelli tests at the World Superbike ended yesterday. On the small track in Valence, the two drivers from each official team met for two days. And it was Max Biaggi who won !

Pirelli organized the first tests of the 2007 World Superbike season on Tuesday and Wednesday. The perfect climatic conditions (23 ° C, sunny) allowed the ten top riders to chain laps on the handlebars of their new mounts.

Superbike testing

And from his first official outing, Max Biaggi took the best time: 1 ‘33.9! Used to thunderous arrivals – we will long remember his first race in 500 cc – the Roman Emperor seems to have found his marks on his new Suzuki, although he denies it by recalling his status as a rookie in the discipline….

"This championship is full of specialists and I’m just discovering, so I know I have to adapt to the new way of riding a Superbike.", humbly declares the Italian.

It is true that on a fluid track, Max remains excessively fast … But he knows that managing a comeback within the peloton or withstanding the assaults of a Haga – for example – is another kettle of fish….

"Valencia is a very narrow track and there is not much opportunity to catch your breath", recalls the pilot of 33 years, specifying that"the baffles seem to be linked one after the other and even if it is not my favorite track, I had a lot of fun operating the bike there".

His last visit to the circuit was last year, during his last lap in the Continental Circus (read). Riding the official RCV, Max had set his best lap in 1 ‘34.008. The Emperor is therefore firmly in the game on his Suzuki Alstare K7 !

"We had a lot to test and I focused on two points", conscientiously develops Biaggi:"the first thing was for the bike to steer the way I wanted in the bends, all smoothly, and the second was about the behavior of the tires after several laps".

Some 157 laps later, the Italian is therefore satisfied with his job, having pushed the machine "to its maximum in order to give a lot of information to Japanese technicians". The ball is now in their court, pending the next tests !

Second best time on race tires at the end of the two days, Lorenzo Lanzi finished two tenths behind rookie Biaggi. The young official rider is also just one tenth ahead of 2006 world champion Troy Bayliss, recent winner of the last MotoGP event contested … on the same circuit. !

The Ducati 999s therefore remain at the forefront, but the Suzuki are dangerously pointing the tip of their noses! Because Max’s teammate, Yukio Kagayama, is in fourth position despite a slight drop from the front without serious for him but much more penalizing for his session. "I’m sorry for my mechanics for giving them extra work", the Japanese apologize.

Behind Yukio is James Toseland, vice-champion 2006 who found his CBR1000RR after an escapade on Dani Pedrosa’s RCV a few days before. Alongside James was Roberto Rolfo – 10th in the test -, whose arrival within the Ten Kate team was formalized this morning, as was the name of their new sponsor..

Winston no longer wishing to invest in mechanical competition – like Camel in MotoGP, the two brands belonging to the giant JIT -, it will be under the colors of Hannspree – manufacturer of LCD screens and televisions – that will ride the official Honda, in Superbike but also in Supersport, MX1 and MX2.

Sixth in practice, Nieto improved his time by one second compared to the first day. At the same time, Regis Laconi set the 8th fastest time on the handlebars of his ZX-10R. And between the two Ninjas is inserted Troy Corser, who discovered for the first time the new R1 (read).

Like all his little comrades, the Australian had a busy schedule: "we tried new swingarms and changed the wheelbase and despite that our times weren’t bad", explains the" old "crocodile…

Compared to the 2006 model, Troy considers that the 2007 R1 is already better in braking stability and that the revs are both more straightforward and linear. A finding that his new teammate Haga fully shares…

Knowing the R1 on the back of his hand – this will be his third season riding – Noriyuki Haga thinks that "the feeling is different in the front and in the back and the bike turns a little better". The Japanese also believe that the new version of the engine is"easier to control".

Nitro Nori, author of the penultimate time during these first tests, remains nevertheless one of the big favorites of this new promising season: strongly 2007 !

SBK Valence test results:

Pilot Team Tuesday Wednesday
Racing tires Qualif tires
1 Biaggi M. Suzuki 1 ‘35.2 1 ‘33.9
2 Lanzi L. Ducati 1 ‘34.9 1 ‘34.1 1 ‘33.9
3 Bayliss T. Ducati 1 ‘34.8 1 ‘34.2
4 Kagayama Y. Suzuki 1 ‘35.1 1 ‘34.2 1 ‘34.7
5 Toseland J. Honda 1 ‘34.7 1 ‘34.6 1 ‘34.2
6 Nieto F. Kawasaki 1 ‘35.8 1 ‘34.8 1 ‘35.1
7 Corser T. Yamaha 1 ‘35.6 1 ‘34.9
8 Laconi R. Kawasaki 1 ‘35.4 1 ‘35.1 1 ‘34.8
9 Haga N. Yamaha 1 ‘35.8 1 ‘35.3 1 ‘35.1
10 Rolfo R. Honda 1 ‘37.4 1 ‘36.7

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

Supersport testing

The Supersports also made the trip: after a shy first day, Sebastien Charpentier not only set the best time on the second day but also broke the track record on 600 cc. !

The double world champion is followed at 4 tenths by his teammate Kenan Sofuoglu, then at half a second by Gianluca Nannelli on his Ducati! The Italian pilot proves that the new Pirelli work wonderfully on his 749 !

Fourth in testing, Broc Parkes was developing the Yamaha R6 on his own, Kevin Curtain having remained in Australia. Parkes therefore took advantage of these two days of driving to introduce a new "quick shift" system..

Fabien Foret, on the new ZX-6RR equipped with a standard front fork, managed to turn almost a second faster than General Seb during the 2006 test, attesting to the shape of the new Ninja !

SSP Valence test results:

Pilot Team Tuesday Wednesday
1 Carpenter S. Honda 1 ‘37.9 1 ‘36.4
2 Sofuoglu K. Honda 1 ‘37.2 1 ‘36.8
3 Nannelli G. Ducati 1 ‘37.4 1 ‘36.9
4 Parkes B. Yamaha 1 ‘37.0
5 Drill F. Kawasaki 1 ‘38.9 1 ‘37.7
6 Veneman B. Suzuki 1 ‘39.4 1 ‘38.6
7 Riba P. Kawasaki 1 ‘39.8 1 ‘39.3

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

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