World Superbike debutant Niccolo Canepa is feeling optimistic about his chances ahead of 2012 after an encouraging two-day test at Vallelunga with Red Devils Roma Ducati.
The Italian, who competed in MotoGP with Pramac Ducati in 2010 before reverting back to the FIM Superstock 1000 in 2011, steps up to World Superbikes in 2012 with Red Devils Roma Ducati (formerly known as Ducati Team Roma).
Taking to the Italian circuit – last present on the WSBK calendar in 2008 - before jetting off to Phillip Island for pre-season testing in three weeks, Canepa was pleased with his best unofficial lap of 1min 36.5, just over six tenths slower than Troy Bayliss' lap record.
"We had a very good couple of days testing, which represent a good starting point for the 2012 season.
"In just a couple of days we tested a lot of new things and did more than 90 laps. On Sunday afternoon I tried to do a few quick laps and got my times down a lot.
"With the softest tyre I lapped in 1'36"5 and this made me particularly satisfied not only for my form, but also because I'm convinced we can do a lot better when we are further along with the work.
"I know there's a lot more to do and I don't feel that the bike is completely mine yet, but we'll have another couple of days in Australia to work on improving.
"At Phillip Island I'll also have a chance to shape up to my rivals so we'll know where we are. I'm optimistic about leaving for Australia. It's going to be a tough world championship, but for me this will be stimulate me to always give my best."
Canepa has previously made two WSBK starts, riding for the factory Ducati Xerox team at Brno in 2008.