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Bayliss and Hodgson Complete First Tests of New Ducati Race Bikes

The following press release from Ducati describes the results of initial testing of the new MotoGP bike by Troy Bayliss, and the new 999 Superbike by Neil Hodgson at Mugello. Ducati has the huge task of preparing two new machines for MotoGP and Superbike racing before the start of the next season in each category.

Ducati Corse concluded a two-day testing session at the Mugello Circuit in Tuscany, where factory riders Troy Bayliss and Neil Hodgson were able to put in their first laps on their respective 2003 factory Ducati Desmosedici and Ducati 999 Superbike bikes.

Cool 15° temperatures and slight rain disturbed the day’s testing for Ducati Corse throughout the day, but despite this the scheduled programme both for the MotoGP bike and the Superbike was completed on time.

After yesterday’s first contact with the Desmosedici, Troy, who will line up with Loris Capirossi in next year’s MotoGP championship, completed 30 laps of the 5.245 km Tuscany circuit, saying that he was delighted to form part of a brand-new project and to be able to develop the new bike right from scratch.

“I’m very excited to be part of this project” declared Troy. “We all know we’ve got a difficult job ahead of us but we’re all very keen. My first impression after hopping on the bike was very good, it’s got a lot of power and it’s been an exciting couple of days and we’ve made some good progress since we arrived. We have lots of tests before the season starts next year and we’re going to do everything we can possibly do to get the bike to a competitive level. At the moment we have a lot of horsepower, the bike is very fast and it’s a lot lighter than the Superbike. There aren’t many places where you use full gas at Mugello so you have to make the bike work good. That’s our main priority at the moment and we’re heading in that direction. All systems are go and we’re up for it!”

Neil Hodgson also continued development work on the Superbike version of the Ducati 999, the bike that will be called upon to replace the glorious 998, with which Ducati this year won its 11th World Superbike Constructors’ title reserved for production-based racing motorbikes.

The British rider completed a total of 45 laps during the day, searching mainly for the right feeling with a bike that is totally different from the HM Plant-backed satellite Ducati 998 F01 with which he finished third in this year’s World Superbike championship.

“My first impression with the 999 is that it’s very different to the 998” commented Neil. “The engine feels better and the dual swinging-arm makes the suspension completely different to what I was used to.

“I’m already really looking forward to next season’s World Superbike Championship” he added. “The 999 has got a lot of potential and it can improve a lot more so I think that in the next 3 or 4 tests we will be able to turn a good bike into a fantastic one.

Ducati Corse will move away from Italy for its next session with Troy Bayliss and Neil Hodgson doing testing duties at the Valencia Circuit in Spain on 22 and 23 October. The Spanish track is ideal for development work on the Desmosedici and the 999 Superbike, as it is included in both the MotoGP and World Superbike calendars for next year.

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