Max Biaggi slashed almost a second from his fastest time on day one to wind up on top at the end of the two-day Valencia World Superbike Championship (WSBK) test – as British competitors filled the next four places on the timesheets.
On a day when the times tumbled across the board, former MotoGP runner-up Biaggi was the only one of the eight riders present to break the 1m34s barrier – and the Italian was consistently fast on race-style runs too aboard his Aprilia.
Next up was Leon Haslam for Suzuki, the former Stiggy Honda ace lopping half a second off his best Wednesday effort, with reigning World Supersport Champion Cal Crutchlow third-quickest just another tenth of a second behind, though the Yamaha star was forced to stop shortly before the end – dashing his hopes of leaping to the top of the order.
“Today was even better than the first day,” remarked the 24-year-old. “We worked through a lot more settings in the sessions. I'm disappointed with my final time, though, as I think I could have been fastest at the end of the day but I didn't get a chance to use the fastest tyre.
“I'm happy enough with my overall pace and consistency. We've still got more to do, so I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike in January and keeping up the development.”
Jonathan Rea ended up just another tenth further in arrears in fourth on his Honda, with MotoGP exile James Toseland lapping close to team-mate Crutchlow's pace in fifth as both Yamaha riders covered more than 60 laps.
“A really encouraging test for me,” concluded the Yorkshireman. “Again, I'm happy being on a track I know so I can concentrate on the bike set-up – and I feel we've come on quite a bit with the bike over the last two days.
“I didn't utilise the quick tyre to its full potential as I got held up, which is a shame as I was quite confident of getting into the 1m33s. I ended up on 1m34.3s, which was a good pace. I'm getting used to the way of riding the bike and getting confident with the team as well. I think if we had a race tomorrow we'd be in with a shout!”
“For the second test for both riders and last test of the season I'm very satisfied,” echoed Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike team manager Massimo Meregalli. “We've made some good improvements to the feel of the electronics and suspension, with some very useful feedback from the riders. We'll take a break now and come back to it in January – when I think we will achieve even more.”
The remaining three riders were a little further away from the pace, with Honda new boy Max Neukirchner sixth and his Suzuki replacement Sylvain Guintoli seventh, as runaway 2009 British Superbike (BSB) Champion Leon Camier paid the price for a brace of crashes by bringing up the rear of the order as he focussed his efforts more on set-up work rather than chasing outright lap times.
In Supersport, Ten Kate Honda duo Kenan Sofuoglu and Michele Pirro were again the sole riders present, with the pair split once more by three tenths of a second in the Turk's favour. Testing will now resume for most WSBK and WSS teams at Portimão in Portugal's Algarve at the end of January.
1. Max Biaggi
(Aprilia) 1min 33.8sec
2. Leon Haslam
(Suzuki) 1min 34.0sec
3. Cal Crutchlow
(Yamaha) 1min 34.1sec
4. Jonathan Rea
(Honda) 1min 34.2sec
5. James Toseland
(Yamaha) 1min 34.3sec
6. Max Neukirchner
(Honda) 1min 34.7sec
7. Sylvain Guintoli
(Suzuki) 1min 35.0sec
8. Leon Camier
(Aprilia) 1min 35.2sec
1. Kenan Sofuoglu
(Honda) 1min 36.1ec
2. Michele Pirro
(Honda) 1min 37.4sec