Regis Laconi has revealed himself to be a potential dark horse in this year's World Superbike Championship after a star turn during testing this week at Phillip Island.
One of the most experienced riders on the grid, the Frenchman is entering a new chapter in his career this season having joined the privateer DFX Corse team following three seasons at PSG-1 Kawasaki.
Also signalling a return to riding a Ducati, something he hasn't done since he was the manufacturer's factory supported rider in 2004 and 2005, Laconi is quickly establishing himself as a leading privateer entrant.
Matching Shinya Nakano's best time on day one at Phillip Island, Laconi trailed only Max Biaggi by the end of the test, despite having his progress being disrupted by an accident that dislocated his finger.
"We saw yesterday that the bike had a good set-up and so I was sure that today we could have improved. The high tarmac temperatures once again made life difficult for us riders, because the track became much slower and put more stress on the tyres.
“I could have done without the crash but luckily there wasn't much damage and I was able to get out again pretty soon. I picked up a nasty bang on the ring finger of my left hand; at first it seemed like a fracture, but it turned out to be dislocated and that's all. It's a troublesome injury but one that doesn't rule out in any way my presence at the start of the season.
“I'd like to thank all the team because we've all done a great job. It was important to get off to a good start and now we've done that, I'm even more convinced that I made the right decision for 2009."