Team Renegade Ducati got their 2003 British Championship campaign off to a flying start with a successful two-day test at Cadwell Park this weekend.

For the team's new signing, Sean Emmett, the Cadwell test was his first return to the track since sustaining a fractured wrist in the final round of the 2002 season.

Despite the long layoff, the 32-year-old rider quickly got to grips with his Renegade Ducati 998 Testastretta, posting a fastest time of 1m 25.5s despite less than ideal track conditions.

"It was good to get back out on a bike again, and even better to be up to speed almost straight away," commented Emmett. "The bike is a big improvement on the Ducati I rode last season and I felt comfortable on it from the off. I'd be happy to race it as it is now - it's an awesome bit of kit. Having said that, I'm obviously looking forward to getting my hands on the 998FO2 that I'll be racing this season, as I expect that will be a further step up in terms of performance."

"Testing at Cadwell Park, one of the more physically demanding tracks on the calendar, was also a good opportunity to see how well the wrist I injured at the end of 2002 has healed over the winter. Although a bit sore after the first day, it hasn't caused me any problems on the bike and it feels absolutely fine now," continued the Surrey based rider.

With the factory Ducati 998FO2 machine he'll campaign in this year's British Superbike Championship yet to arrive in the UK, Michael Rutter used the two-day Cadwell test to try out a number of different set-ups on the bike he took to second place in last year's domestic series.

"I'm real happy with the way things have gone during this test," declared Rutter. "The track conditions limited us on what we could achieve in terms of lap times, but fast laps weren't the aim this weekend, it was more about getting comfortable on the bike again and trying out a few of the ideas we had about set-up over the winter. The opportunity to experiment during these two days will no doubt stand us in good stead once the new 998FO2 bikes arrive, ready for the start of the season in a fortnight's time."

For Leon Haslam, the two-day test provided an ideal opportunity to re-learn the Cadwell Park circuit, after three seasons away on World Championship duty. With the race bike he'll contest this year's British Supersport Championship on still to be delivered to Team Renegade Ducati's Cheshire workshop, the 19-year-old former GP rider used a standard Ducati 748 road bike to post a respectable lap time of 1m 32.0s around the Lincolnshire circuit.

"Obviously I'd prefer to be out on the race bike, but riding the standard bike has at least allowed me to get used to the characteristics of a four-stroke V-twin after a career spent on two-strokes," said Haslam. "It's also proved a useful way of learning the circuits, as I haven't raced in the UK for almost three years. I'm happy with the progress I've made with the standard bike, but I'm looking forward to the arrival of the race bike and to getting down to some serious testing before the season gets underway at Silverstone."

Team Renegade Ducati's third Superbike Rider, Nick Medd, was forced to sit out the Cadwell Park test after sustaining a fractured collarbone after a crash while training on his motocross bike earlier in the week.

"Fracturing your collarbone isn't the best way to start the season, but thankfully the injury isn't as serious as was first thought," said a still upbeat Medd, who returned home from hospital today. "The collarbone has been pinned to speed recovery and the doctors have assured me that the injury will have healed in time to allow me to ride at the opening round at Silverstone on March 30th. So, although I'm obviously disappointed to have injured myself so close to the start of the season, I guess it could have been a lot worse."

 

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