Troy Bayliss concluded his first Ducati Desmosedici GP9 test by setting a lap time just over one-second from Casey Stoner's Mugello race lap record.

The test marked the first time the reigning triple World Superbike champion had ridden a grand prix machine since the final round of 2006, when he took a shock first (and last) MotoGP win during a one-off ride to replace the injured Sete Gibernau.

It was also the first time Bayliss had experienced an 800cc MotoGP bike and his first two-wheeled track action since concluding his motorcycle racing career with a double victory at the 2008 Portimao WSBK season finale.

During the three day test, the Australian set a best lap time of 1min 51.2sec, compared with countryman Stoner's lap record - set on the GP8 in last June's Italian Grand Prix - of 1min 50.003sec.

The three other Ducati riders in the race set a best lap of 1min 51.181sec (Marco Melandri), 1min 51.793sec (Toni Elias) and 1min 51.830sec (Sylvain Guintoli). The 2009 Italian Grand Prix takes place on May 31.

"I've had three good days during which I've felt like a rider again", said a smiling Bayliss. "It didn't take long to get back into it but, before anyone gets any ideas, I will also say that I'm happy to be heading back to the airport and towards Australia and home this evening: I have no intention of returning to racing!

"Having said that, I have had fun and I hope at the same time that I've been of use to Filippo [Preziosi]. We worked each day on the bike and each day I was able to push harder, until I started to record some respectable times.

"Now I'll stay home for a while but later in June or July I'll be back in Europe for a few weeks. I will probably test the bike again during that time, I don't know exactly when, but I am very happy to play a part in this project!"

"Working with Troy has been useful because he has a very different riding style to Vittoriano" commented Filippo Preziosi, "and so it's been interesting and beneficial to hear his impressions of the GP9 also.

"We worked on chassis set-ups that are pretty different from those which we usually use and the results were promising although we need to look at this further."

Although Troy's feedback about the GP9 is important, Ducati must have been hoping that Bayliss could set a competitive pace in order to help show that it is not just Stoner who can be fast on the bike.

Ducati stated as much after Sete Gibernau was asked to test the Desmosedici, with impressive results, last season - when all but Stoner once again struggled early in the year.

However, Gibernau has also been left in Stoner's wake on his return to MotoGP competition (on a satellite Ducati) this season, highlighting the difference between test and race performances.

Meanwhile, official Ducati GP test rider Vittoriano Guareschi recorded a his best ever Mugello lap time, a few tenths behind Bayliss, with a 1min 51.4sec.

"Congratulations to Vittoriano who is in great shape right now!" said Preziosi. "After his excellent results in the Jerez Time Attack, he has also recorded his best ever time at Mugello this week with a 1min 51.4sec. We are proud to have such a diligent and fast test rider and that we can count on Troy's great experience to continue to improve our bike."

Heading into this weekend's fourth round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship, Stoner and the carbon-fibre GP9 sit second in the championship, but the four other Ducati riders are only eleventh (Mika Kallio), 15th (Gibernau), 17th (Hayden) and 18th (Niccolo Canepa).


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