The annual mid-season World Superbike test at Imola will get underway this week with Max Biaggi looking to build on a superb run of form that has seen him sprint into the lead of the overall standings.
The Italian's double at Misano – his seventh and eighth wins of the season - has moved him 37 points clear of Leon Haslam in the overall standings.
Heading to Imola, which will see every manufacturer and most of the privateer entries testing ahead of the annual event there later this season, Aprilia have also pulled 30 points gap over Suzuki in the manufacturer standings.
Ominously for Suzuki, Biaggi and Aprilia will head to the next round at Brno confident in the knowledge it was victorious for the first time twelve months ago, a win that kick-started a run of strong late-season form – which appropriately saw Biaggi catch and pass a Stiggy Honda-mounted Haslam -,
It has prompted the Englishman to issue a plea to the Suzuki factory for piling more resources into the Alstare team if it is to ever reel Aprilia back in.
Meanwhile, World Superbikes continues to close the gap down to MotoGP in terms of speed, with Troy Corser's pole-winning lap time of 1min 35.001secs placing him fifth on the San Marino Grand Prix grid in 2009.
Even James Toseland, who could only qualify 13th on the Yamaha R1 this year, fell less than two tenths short of his qualifying time on the Tech 3 Yamaha in 2009 when he started just one position lower…
Testing at Imola gets underway on Tuesday and Wednesday.