Shane Byrne may have been forced to wait a day longer than planned to make his Aprilia debut, following heavy rain at Jerez yesterday, but the Brit found the wait well worth it when he threw his leg over the RS Cube for the first time today (Tuesday).

Despite two small falls, due mainly to the still wet surface, Byrne completed a considerable 62 laps as he adapted to the hi-tech three-cylinder, after taking a v-twin 998 Ducati to this year's BSB title.

"I was riding at 12,000 rpm and thinking the bike was incredibly fast, then I realised I still had an extra 4,500 rpm at my disposal!" beamed Shane. "I opened the gas and discovered the cube has much more power - it's got incredible power, torque and acceleration. Amazing! This bike is really fast!"

Byrne set a best lap time of 1min 46.7secs - a credible performance when compared to the pace of Ducati riders Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss, also at Jerez today, who set best lap times of 1min 44.28secs and 1min 44.33secs on their Desmosedicis.

Meanwhile, with Byrne finding his feet, Aprilia test rider Marcellino Lucchi spent the day putting valuable mileage on the Italian marque's 2004 spec Cube. No lap times were released.

Also at Jerez for Aprilia was 250cc star Randy De Puniet, who set a lap time 1.6secs quicker than Byrne on the 2004 spec two-stroke. Reigning world champions Manuel Poggiali will try the new machine tomorrow (Wednesday).

125cc Youichi Ui completed his second day on a kitted Aprilia 250, while former KTM rider Roberto Locatelli notched up 60laps on the 125cc racer he'll enter in the 2004 championship.



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