Christian Iddon lauded his new Bimota BB3 Superbike after debuting the all-new machine in free practice at the second round of the World Superbike series in Aragon.

Iddon finished Friday 22nd overall and the ninth fastest of the 'Evo' entries despite missing the first round in Australia and limited preseason testing.

The 29-year old admitted to suffering frayed nerves before he took to the track but the BMW powered BB3 showed impressive pace in both free practice sessions. Iddon's team-mate Ayrton Badovini finished Friday morning 15th, two places ahead of Claudio Corti's MV Agusta 'Superbike' entry and Iddon believes the initial signs are good.

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Speaking exclusively to he said, "I was pretty apprehensive. It was my first World Superbike session and we've obviously not had the preseason we'd have hoped for in terms of track time. Normally I'm pretty cool and relaxed but today I was a bit quiet."

"I think it's amazingly positive how good it rides considering how many miles it's got on it. [It's] absolutely spot on. We've done three or four times the amount today than what we did in testing so it's amazing," he said.

The Alstare squad faced a demoralising pre-season test in Portim?o where bad weather and teething issues prevented Iddon from putting some much needed miles on the clock.

"We did a test in Portim?o and all it did was rain the whole time. With the new bike we had a lot of things to do and I did about ten laps in the dry in five days. Some days we did two laps, which was hard. Say if Pata Honda went testing and they did ten laps of testing they'd be gutted. The fact they've ridden their bike for four or five years [is a help]. Our bike is absolutely brand new, that was the first time it had turned a wheel. For us we were just bedding the bike in," Iddon said.

"The chassis is brilliant. We could have got on it and it wouldn't turn. With new bikes you get that. But the bike is agile, it turns well, it holds a line. It's stable. It's everything and more you could want than where we're at with development."

The Englishman remained positive even though his technicians were frustrated by the machine's standard BMW electronics.

"The electronics are standard BMW ones but they're blocked in terms of what you're allowed to do, which is fine. But they're also blocked in terms of what my engineers can see. It's difficult for them as they have to see what's going on with the bike and it's not giving me any power on the exits of corner. And I mean zero."

"We've still done next to nothing with settings. We don't know whether it's too high or low on its arse. We haven't got that far yet as we have some other issues that take precedent. By the end of the weekend we'll probably get there with that. It's going to be three or four races before we see the real [potential]."

The Alstare team's performance comes a day after series organisers announced the machine won't be allowed to score world championship points. Iddon was quick to insist the behind-the-scenes actions won't affect his riding preparation and feels Bimota's participation may attract other manufacturers to the series.

"What they decide to do is up to them. I'm just here to do the best job I can do. Whether we do or don't take points, to be honest, has no bearing on me. I do think it's good that they [the organisers] have been open to our situation. Now it's hopefully opened the door to other manufacturers."

by Neil Morrison