However, the Australian is renowned for his developmental nous, suggesting the difference should decrease through the season as Xaus gradually becomes more accustomed with the S1000RR.
What is clear though, this is a big chance for Xaus and he needs to take it with both hands.
Max Biaggi – Aprilia
When Max Biaggi
took victory in his first ever World Superbike race at the start of 2007, most would have been forgiven for thinking the MotoGP race winner was destined to become a legend of the discipline.
However, while he has certainly been a regular front runner and lost none of the characteristics that continue to make him a controversial figure, Biaggi hasn't quite been the revelation that his maiden win in Qatar promised.
It isn't through lack of trying though. Biaggi was quick with Suzuki in 2007, but fell victim of the team's decision to chip away at his wage demands, while his time at Sterilgarda Ducati in 2008 was expected to act as a prelude to a Xerox switch.
This never occurred though and, after a winless 2008 season, Biaggi is heading for his third team in as many seasons after being snapped up by WSBK returnees Aprilia.
An Italian team with an Italian icon at its helm, Biaggi on an Aprilia certainly makes sense because when the 'Roman Emperor' is happy, he is quick. Of course, Aprilia has not developed a race winning machine yet, but Biaggi and team-mate Shinya Nakano have shown flashes that the RSV-4 can be a front runner eventually.
It means Biaggi can expect to eke his way up the grid as the season progresses and podiums are certainly not out of the question. After two seasons of failing to get entirely settled with his surroundings, Biaggi has a good chance to finally make his home at Aprilia.
Tomorrow: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again...