Nick Medd made his debut aboard the Renegade Ducati 998 Testastretta he'll campaign in this year's British Superbike Championship during a successful two-day shakedown test at the Almeria circuit in Southern Spain.

The Almeria test marked Medd's first outing aboard a v-twin, but with British Superbike Championship runner-up - and team Renegade Ducati teammate - Michael Rutter on hand to offer advice and assistance, the 22-year-old quickly got to grips with the 998, improving his lap times in every session.

"This was the first time I've ever ridden a v-twin so the aim of these two days was simply to get comfortable on the bike, in preparation for the test programme planned for the end of February," said Medd, who joined Team Renegade Ducati at the start of the year. "The Ducati demands a very different riding style to the four-cylinder bikes I've ridden previously, but with Michael's help, I've managed to start the process of adapting my style to suit the characteristics of the bike.

"I guess the biggest difference with the Ducati is how early, and how hard, you can get on the gas exiting the turns," Medd revealed. "On a four-cylinder machine you're always wary of highsiding as you open the throttle but, while the Ducati will spin up the rear on the gas, the slide seems a lot more progressive and controllable."

"It's all about having the confidence to use these characteristics to best advantage, and that's something that will definitely come with more time on the bike. Overall, my first impression of the bike was that it's an awesome piece of kit and I can't wait to ride it again in February," he added.

With his factory 998 FO2 Testastretta not due to arrive at the Renegade workshop until the end of the month, Rutter took to the Almeria circuit aboard the bike he took to second place in last year's British Superbike Championship.

On hand primarily to offer advice and guidance to Medd, Rutter also found time to try a number of new brake pad compounds during the course of the two-day test.

"It's good to get back out on the bike and blow away the cobwebs after what seems like a long winter lay off," declared Rutter. "Conditions weren't really ideal on the first day, with blustery winds coating the track surface with a layer of dust, but I did get a chance to test some new components, as well as helping Nick get up to speed on a bike that's completely new to him."

"We finished the test schedule early on day two and concentrated on helping Nick, as he worked on finding a good base setting on his bike ready for the start of pre-season testing proper at the end of February. Overall, although we weren't trying for fast laps, I'm pretty happy with my times over the two days. Now I can't wait for the factory bikes to arrive and the proper testing to start," continued the 29-year-old West Midlander.

Team owner Mark Griffiths explained that the team wasn't looking for - or expecting - quick lap times from Medd at this stage and that the test was primarily designed to make Nick comfortable on the Italian V twin.

"This test provided Nick with his first opportunity to experience riding the Ducati, so we weren't looking for fast lap times from him," stated Griffiths. "The aim was for Nick to get comfortable on the bike, before the test programme intensifies at the end of February, and I think he's achieved that over these two days. At the next test he'll be able to focus more on improving his set-up and increasing his speed, and I don't think it will be long before he's bettering his lap times from last season."



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