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.