2001 World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss can't wait to break his three-year win drought, accumulated during his time in MotoGP, when he returns to World Superbike action this season.source: crash.net
The reason for Troy's optimism at getting back into race and championship winning contention is a near perfect set of pre-season performances - culminating in the Australian ending his final pre-season outing, at Valencia yesterday, with a record breaking pace that put him over one second ahead of his nearest rival.
"Obviously I feel pretty comfortable on the bike and things are going really well so that makes me happy. The start of the championship is just around the corner and we haven't had to change the bike a lot since I first hopped on it," said Troy afterwards.
"I'm feeling confident and I'm sure I'm going to be a contender for the championship and especially for race wins," he confirmed. "It's been quite a while since I've won so I'm a bit excited about that and can't wait to get one under my belt. I'm very impressed with the bike and feel good on it. I haven't felt this much at home for a long time!"
The Ducati Xerox rider set a 1min 34.4secs on race tyres (and a 1min 34.3secs on qualifying tyres) to comfortably beat the fastest official Valencia lap time of 1min 34.6secs, set on qualifying tyres by Neil Hodgson during the 2003 race weekend.
New Winston Ten Kate Honda James Toseland was the second fastest rider on qualifying tyres (+1.0secs from Bayliss), with Bayliss' team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi the second fastest when using race rubber (+1.2secs from Bayliss). However, Suzuki's reigning world champion Troy Corser and Yamaha number one Noriyuki Haga weren't at the test.
Meanwhile, Lanzi took a bit more time than Bayliss to settle in at the test - the Italian setting the fourth fastest time on day one - but made a big improvement on the second day to end up second on race tyres and third on qualifiers.
"I felt that I rode well and am pleased with that, I made a good improvement over yesterday when I struggled to get into the groove and back onto the bike after a break of two months" said Lorenzo. "Today I did some good times, on race tyres we're just two or three tenths away from Troy's pace with 1m35s.
"The feeling with the bike is good and we learnt a lot these two days so I now think we're ready for Qatar. The championship finally gets underway in a couple of weeks time and it'll be great to get back to racing, especially with the factory Ducati, and the prospects are looking good," added the 2005 WSBK race winner.