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Ducati Panigale makes group test debut

16 October 2012

Ducati's new 1199 Panigale has made a low profile debut in the presence of its World Superbike rivals for the first time by participating in a post-season group test at Motorland Aragon.

The much vaunted machine, which replaces the 2008 and 2011 title winning 1098/1198R from 2013, was on course with Althea Racing's Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano assuming rider duties.

Running without the 6kg weight increase that was applied to the 1098R during the 2012 season, Checa lapped in 1min 59secs, less than a second off pace setter Leon Camier, who got down to work on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki he will continue to ride in 2013.

With strong winds hampering the riders' efforts for much of the day, 2012 runner-up Tom Sykes was second fastest on the 2013-specification Kawasaki ZX-10R, ahead of champion Max Biaggi, who is at the Aragon test with a view to deciding whether he will retire on a high or defend his title next season.

Checa was fourth fastest on the Panigale, ahead of Michel Fabrizio – making his debut on the Red Devils Roma Aprilia -, Eugene Laverty (Aprilia), Loris Baz (Kawasaki), Alex Hofmann (Aprilia), Josh Waters (Suzuki) and Davide Giugliano (Ducati).

BMW and Honda are not present at the test, but are expected to be on track in November.

Testing continues on Tuesday and Wednesday.