Following his 'very encouraging' Foggy Petronas Racing debut on Wednesday, Chris Walker was brought back down to earth slightly on the second and final day as his progress was hampered by mechanical problems with his FP1. However, that wasn't enough to dent Carl Fogarty delight at his new rider, whom he says 'surprised' him with his immediate speed.

The former HM Plant Ducati star finished the first day with a best time of 1min 38.2secs, just half a second down on experienced team-mate Troy Corser. But, while the Aussie broke into the 1min 36s on the second day, mechanical problems prevented 'The Stalker' from improving his lap times.

"This has been one of the best tests I have been to and the atmosphere within the team has been really positive," enthused Foggy. "Chris had a few mechanical problems on the second day but the first day went very well. He loved the bike from the word go, especially the way it handled in the corners. And I was very surprised to see that he was nearly as fast as Troy at such an early stage. Chris did not really have much of a chance to test the Pirelli tyres, but Troy went very well on them on the second day."

"I spent the first day familiarising with the bike and the way the team works, but I was unable to make much progress on the second day because of a few problems with the bike," confirmed Chris. "But I already know that the bike does certain things very well. All I can do at this early stage is use Troy as a benchmark and I was only half a second behind him on the first day which was very encouraging. I didn't get much chance to test the new tyres but there will be time for that."

Meanwhile, Corser was left to evaluate the new Pirelli tyres which all teams will use next season - and after initial doubts, the idea of a single tyre series is growing on the former world champion, who finished the test third behind Ducati Fila team-mates Regis Laconi and James Toseland. However, he does have some concerns about chatter.

"I'm reasonably happy with our first time with Pirelli. We never found an ideal combination of what we wanted, but we gave Pirelli a lot to work on and now we will wait and see what they produce," said Corser, who set a 1min 35.2secs lap time in Valencia qualifying earlier this year. "The Pirellis gave us pretty good grip, but we also experienced quite a bit of chattering and we'll have to sort that out before we can push really hard.

"All in all, I think the test was productive and Pirelli have learnt something from us all in these two days," he continued. "I was doing lap times today as good as the ones at our last test here, with similar engine performance. It is still early days in our selection but the signs are that the one-tyre rule is going to work well for the championship."

"I was very impressed with Troy's performance," added Foggy. "He did around 16 laps on the same tyre, with his last lap quicker than the first. I don't think I ever saw that with our Michelins. We still have a bit of work to find the perfect tyre for our bike but Troy said the Pirelli tyres gave good consistent grip throughout. So everything looks good for exciting racing and close competition in the championship next year."

Leading Superbike times - Valencia test.

1. Regis Laconi FRA Ducati Fila 1min 35.6secs
2. James Toseland GBR Ducati Fila 1min 36.4secs
3. Troy Corser AUS Foggy Petronas Racing 1min 36.9secs
4. Chris Walker GBR Foggy Petronas Racing 1min 38.2secs

Comparative lap times - 2003 Valencia WSBK:

Qualifying: Neil Hodgson GBR Ducati Fila 1min 34.932secsRace:: Neil Hodgson GBR Ducati Fila 1min 35.007secs

 

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