Team Hero EBR's determined off-season developments appear to be reaping early dividends as Niccolo Canepa squeezed the manufacturer in the World Superbike top ten for the first time during testing in Australia.

A big name signing for a manufacturer that failed to score in its factory guise during its first season of World Superbike competition last year, Canepa has proven encouragingly quick during pre-season testing and was inside the top fifteen on the first day of action.

However, the former MotoGP rider would forge even further up the order on day two, lapping in a 1min 32.002secs. As a reference, the best time set by EBR during its first-ever WSBK test at the same circuit twelve months ago was a 1min 34.750secs.

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It is a result that Canepa was thrilled with and says gives the team a big boost ahead of this weekend's season opener.

"It is incredible to be here today just over one second slower than the fastest lap. It is wonderful for Hero EBR, the team, everybody. I want to say thanks to my team because they are doing a very good job, working hard, and they worked a lot on development at home this winter.

"For sure it will be a tough season for us because it is never easy and we have no data that we can really use from last year because the bike is different in some areas. When we go to a new track to find a new set-up we will not always have two days of extra testing before race weekend but the bike is improving a lot and we are working well.

"I am happy, confident and being so close to the top at this stage is like a dream for us. Every time we test we start working in the right direction and this is very important. I think we are close to the limit but we still have some more things to do to make further improvements."