New Foggy Petronas rider Chris Walker will leave Australia a happy man after coming within 0.3secs of team-mate Troy Corser's best, after three days running at the former world champion's home circuit of Phillip Island.

While testing a variety of new tyres provided by Pirelli, Walker trimmed a further 0.2secs from his best today, leaving him just three-tenths away from Corser's best of 1min 35.4secs (set yesterday).

"I went quicker today on a tyre which wasn't quite as good as the one we found yesterday," explained Chris. "And I am also pleased that I was doing the same lap times as Troy when we were on the same tyre and the same rim. That is really encouraging, particularly at Phillip Island.

"The team has worked to get the bike a bit more Chris Walker-like - a bit softer and looser - so that I can back it into corners and slide it out of them," he smiled. "I have altered my ride height to make the bike more stable on the brakes and that has helped. I jumped on the bike on Tuesday and it felt alien - nothing like the motocross bike I have been on all winter! - but it was good to quickly get it working how I like it and it gives us a clear direction for the next test."

Although also feeling positive about the work completed, Corser had a few issues with the tyres that he wants to resolve.

"We have been trying to do a few more laps today on the tyres we have found to work best for us, but I still think there is room for improvement," he said. "We need a bit more stability as I am still experiencing a small chatter, although I think we are going in the right direction. At this stage in the tyre development I don't think the lap times have been too bad."

"Although we still have a lot of work to do with Pirelli in making sure we maintain our corner speed advantage, we now have a clearer idea of the type of tyre that will best suit our bike," commented chief engineer Steve Thompson. "Hopefully we will be able to put what we have learnt here into practice at next month's pre-season final test.

"Chris has worked very hard on the set-up of the bike with the tyres available and his attitude has been excellent. We have also had the opportunity to test a new cooling package from MB Motorsport, which has produced significant improvements," concluded Thompson.

The fastest race lap by an FP1 during the 2003 Phillip Island WSBK round was a 1min 34.396secs, set by Corser on Michelin tyres.

Phillip Island test - overall times after three days:

1. Regis Laconi FRA Ducati Fila 1min 33.55secs
2. James Toseland GBR Ducati Fila 1min 34.50secs
3. Troy Corser AUS Foggy Petronas 1min 35.4secs
4. Chris Walker GBR Foggy Petronas 1mim 35.7secs

Comparative lap times - 2003 WSBK round:Fastest lap: Ruben Xaus SPA Ducati Fila 1min 33.813secs



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