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Testing concludes at Portimao; Encouraging finish for Haga and Fabrizio

Portimao (Portugal), Sunday 24th January 2010 – On the third and final day of Superbike testing at the Portuguese track, the Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio were finally able to get properly to work having been impeded over the last two days by both the heavy rain and, for Michel, influenza.

The asphalt had completely dried out by mid-morning and lap times started to tumble with Noriyuki and Michel able to clock up a decent number of fast laps during the first of the day’s two sessions. The riders made small set-up changes and tested the three rear solutions that Pirelli provided and by lunchtime the team-mates had powered their Ducati 1198 machines to 3rd (Noriyuki) and 4th (Michel) place.

The afternoon remained dry and the final two-hour session saw Noriyuki and Michel continuing to work with various rear tyre compounds in an attempt to maximize grip, but unfortunately the softer compounds didn’t bring the results that were hoped for.

Over the three-day testing period, consistently fast performances have come mainly from the “Brit-pack”, or rather Rea, Haslam, Byrne and Crutchlow and in the final list of timings over all three days, it was those four riders ahead of Michel with the fifth fastest time and Noriyuki with the eighth. Respectable performances were also given by Ducati privateers Team Althea Racing, with Shane Byrne and Carlos Checa riding their Ducati 1198 bikes to 3rd and 11th position respectively.

Noriyuki Haga
“We got in a lot more track time today, and the weather held thankfully. This morning I had a fairly good feeling on my bike and was able to record some consistently fast laps but then in the afternoon, even though we didn’t make many changes between the sessions, I found it harder to improve. It seems like today was the day of the four cylinders! Having said this, these days were definitely useful after the long break over winter. We have worked well as a team and now we go straight on to Valencia to continue with the work.”

Michel Fabrizio
“Today wasn’t an easy day, despite the fact that the weather stayed dry. I don’t know why but I just didn’t find the right feeling. We tried three different tyres and we also changed the clutch but I couldn’t really feel the differences in riding the bike. Maybe we needed more track time in order to solve the problem. I hoped to go faster but we’re remaining positive; we’ll see if we can make further improvements at Valencia this week.”

Ernesto Marinelli – Team Manager
“In the last three days we have started the work that we will continue for a year, we have seen some changes of personnel and the team is responding well. This first test didn’t give us exactly the results we were hoping for but the long break away from the track and the difficult conditions yesterday certainly didn’t help. Now the team travels directly to Valencia where we will carry out two more days worth of important testing; it will be a hard-fought championship but we are ready to give it our all.”

TIMES - FINAL DAY – 1. Rea (Honda) 1’42.2; 2. Haslam (Suzuki) 1’42.5; 3. Byrne (Althea Racing) 1’42.8; 4. Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’42.9; 5. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 1’43.1; 6. Toseland (Yamaha) 1’43.1; 7. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’43.3; 8. Haga (Ducati Xerox) 1’43.4.


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