Michel Fabrizio received a welcome boost in confidence by setting the fastest lap time during a two-day WSBK test session, attended by four factory teams, at Misano.
“We've worked really hard, my best time of 1m 35.2s on a qualifier was good but I'm more satisfied with the 1m 35.7s that I set on a race tyre and the fact I was able to lap consistently fast,” said the Italian.
“My technicians made various changes to the suspension settings of my 1198 and I didn't have any real problems. At Monza we absolutely must do well, we need to make good points in order to make up lost ground. We'll see.”
The nearest rider to Fabrizio was Yamaha Sterilgarda's James Toseland, with a 1min 35.6s.
“We've achieved a lot, and ended up second today. Fabrizio did a really good low 35 second lap on a qualifier but I think on race tyres there were definitely consistent 35s to be had for us as well,” said the Englishman, who claimed a double podium last Sunday at Assen.
“The fastest race time last year was a 37 so it shows how much everyone has improved, we're 1.3 seconds under the lap record. Misano is definitely suited to the Ducati, it's their strongest track I think, however I did ten laps in the low 36s which is great for race pace and the important thing is we've moved forward on durability for race pace which is key.”
Toseland's team-mate Cal Crutchlow was just 0.1sec slower: “I was pleased with the pace we had, we were consistently in the top three without using a qualifier tyre, so we're good with race tyres which is important. I have to keep working and hopefully it has put us in a good set for Monza.”
Aprilia riders Max Biaggi and Leon Camier were fourth and fifth, with best lap times in the low 1min 36s. Then came BMW's Troy Corser, while Fabrizio's team-mate Noriyuki Haga was left with a 1min 36.6s best after halting testing early due to sickness.
“Yesterday everything was going well, lap times were better than they were during last year's racing, but of course track temperatures were lower too of course which helped,” said Haga. “The feeling I had with the tyres was good and we also identified a better suspension setting, as well as trying some engine settings too.
“Now we have to see how those solutions work at Monza. Everyone knows that Monza has many long straights where we have difficulty with top speed but I plan to open the gas and give it my all.”