Randy de Puniet made an impressive Ducati debut during testing at Valencia on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Frenchman setting the eighth fastest lap time to be the second best of the riders switching brands, after Casey Stoner.

Few would have predicted that the Frenchman, an LCR Honda rider for the past three seasons, would outpace Valentino Rossi on their first Desmosedici appearance.

But Randy comfortably beat not only the seven time MotoGP champion, riding for the factory team, but also his own Pramac team-mate Loris Capirossi, a former seven time Ducati race winner.

"The thing that surprised me most is the ease of entry into the corner," revealed de Puniet, who was fifth in this year's championship until he broke his leg at round eight in Germany. "I can always brake at the last moment and keep the brakes in the first part of the turn.

"The release of the power of the engine is very smooth and this allowed me to push with confidence from the first laps. The Ducati seems very suited to my riding style and I am confident that the evolution of 2011 will be even better.

"I still have to improve my riding position when cornering because I am not yet in perfect harmony with the seating. The lap times are good and I think that the general impression of this first two days can be positive.

"A pity about the fall: probably the rear tyre was still too cold and while trying to improve my best lap time I lost control of the rear and slipped in the first right-hand turn. I am happy anyway also because with the team I found myself at ease straight away and this can only help us for our adventure together."

de Puniet was just 0.253sec behind the fastest Ducati rider, Nicky Hayden (sixth).

Capirossi wasn't allowed to officially comment due to his early release from Suzuki, but Pramac technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini claimed the Italian was 'confident' despite his 14th position on the timesheets.

"Loris is confident, he sees many areas for improvement and in the first test at Sepang in 2011 we will work with confidence on performance over a single lap," he said. "We are pleased with our new riders and we are sure that next year, the tenth in MotoGP for Pramac, we can take much satisfaction."

 

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