When Ducati MotoGP test rider Vittoriano Guareschi suffered a minor injury during testing at Mugello, former seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher was called up to take his place on Thursday - but once again denied any racing ambitions.

Guareschi hit the ground during the second day of a three-day Ducati Corse Development Team test and, although not seriously injured, a bad knock to his coccyx meant the Italian was unable to continue.

That led to Ducati offering Schumacher the chance to make his third appearance on a Desmosedici grand prix machine - and the German, who finished fourth during his 'official' motorcycle race debut, during a KTM Trophy round at Misano last Sunday, 'did not hesitate for a second'.

Despite 'difficult' weather conditions, Schumacher completed 42 laps on the 800cc GP8, with a best lap time 'in 1min 58.0secs'.

The fastest race laps during the 2007 Italian Grand Prix ranged from a 1min 50.357secs, set by Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, to a 1min 53.735secs, set by Kurtis Roberts on the KR212V.

"It was a nice surprise yesterday when I received the sudden offer to come to Mugello today," Michael said. "And despite the difficult weather conditions it was again big fun to ride the Ducati. But I repeat it very clearly that I have no intention at all to step into any kind of MotoGP competitions."

Schumacher impressed the two-wheeled world by lapping within five seconds of the lap record during post-race testing at Valencia last November, having made his 'MotoGP debut' - on the 990cc version of the Desmosedici - during a test at Mugello in October of 2005.

On that occasion Schumacher, then still racing for Ferrari, was reported to have circulated 16 seconds off MotoGP pace, illustrating his impressive rate of progress since.

 

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