Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WSBK Valencia Test Day 1

The unofficial test times for day 1 of the WSBK test at Valencia have been posted online.
Ten Kate Honda's James Toseland topped the timesheets with a 1:34.7 lap, just ahead of the two Ducatis of Troy Bayliss on 1:34.8 and Lorenzo Lanzi on 1:34.9. The two Suzukis were next, with Yukio Kagayama posting a 1:35.1 and Max Biaggi a 1:35.2. The first Kawasaki was Regis Laconi with a 1:35.4, followed by the two Yamahas of Troy Corser on 1:35.6 and Noriyuki Haga on 1:35.8.
What does this tell us? First of all, Max Biaggi is quick on a superbike. That shouldn't really come as a surprise since he was quick on 250GP, 500GP and 990cc MotoGP machines, but there was still some doubt in everyone's mind as to whether Max could adapt to the road-based World Superbikes. It looks good for next year. Max is well known for his forceful overtaking and close racing, so having him race alongside other hard racers like Toseland and Haga should be spectacular.
Secondly, Lorenzo Lanzi seems to have speeded up after signing another Ducati contract. He was hugely fast when he first rode a factory Ducati, but last year was very disappointing. Maybe this test will boost his confidence and bring him back to race-winning form.
What else? Toseland is very quick. He really seems to have settled in to the Ten Kate team and the 4-cylinder Honda after winning the title on a Ducati twin. He is highly motivated, having turned down the chance of MotoGP to try and win the title for Honda and impress them enough to give him a bike in MotoGP.
The Yamaha is a new bike, so we don't know how much to make of Corser and Haga's times. The team will still be working out how to set up the new machine. Corser will still be very pleased to have beaten his new team-mate.

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