Having allowed its satellite Althea operation to steal the headlines over the winter so far, Michel Fabrizio returned Ducati Xerox to the top of the timesheets for the first time as the final day of pre-season testing got underway at Phillip Island.

Despite overnight rain limiting mileage during the first half of the 150-minute session, Fabrizio set the fastest lap of the test so far with an effort of 1min 31.650secs, the Italian leading the way as five Ducati riders filled the top six positions.

Shane Byrne got closest to his 1198 counterpart, falling little more than a hundredth short of Fabrizio, while Sunday pace setter Carlos Checa followed his team-mate in third to keep Althea very much in the mix at the front.

Noriyuki Haga emerged in fourth aboard the second factory Ducati, while Jakub Smrz continued to creep up the order in sixth position aboard the Borciani/Guandalini machine.

Only Leon Haslam was able to breach the Ducati deadlock in fifth position on the Suzuki Alstare, but he would find himself six tenths adrift of Fabrizio on the clock.

Even so, despite Ducati's domination of the session, things remained relatively tight throughout the field, with just a second covering Checa in third down to Chris Vermeulen in 16th.

One of the biggest improvers between sessions was Leon Camier, who catapulted up the order to enter the top ten in ninth, marginally behind Aprilia team-mate Max Biaggi and Jonathan Rea. Max Neukirchner rounded out the leading positions in tenth.

James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow finished up in 11th and 14th, while Tom Sykes was only 18th quickest after suffering a fall.

Joshua Brookes failed to set a time on the Echo CRS Honda are encountering technical difficulties.

Just one more session remains for the World Superbike riders before attentions turn to the opening round in less than a week's time.


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