Two former World Superbike champions in the United States, both considered “washed up” by certain members of the press during the past few years, got around Daytona pretty quickly at the recently completed Dunlop tire tests.
Faster than any other AMA Superbike rider at the test, Ducati’s John Kocinski showed that his recent struggles with a privateer Honda 500 GP bike had nothing to do with the deterioration of his talents … he still rips! Even quicker than Suzuki’s Mat Mladin (who has had more test time at Daytona this year than anyone), Kocinski, nonetheless, feels there is a lot more to come from him — after he sets up his new bike to his liking.
Meanwhile, former AMA and World Superbike champion Scott Russell, also on a Ducati (he, for the first time), was lapping with the fast guys, once again. Two years on the Harley-Davidson team may have taken its toll on Russell’s confidence, but his talent remains intact. Although not as quick as Kocinski, Russell’s times were “mid-pack” with the Japanese and Ducati factory riders — far quicker than he had ever been on the Harley. Kocinski has ridden a Ducati before, and Russell may prove to be just as fast once the season gets going. It looks like the AMA Superbike “dream season” may really happen next year.
By the way, Ducati tells us Russell and Kocinski will be on equivalent machinery when the season starts, contrary to our earlier speculation.