The official test was held in scorching temperatures and attended by almost the entire 2007 line-up, eager to prepare for the September 30 event at the same circuit, and it was another Ducati rider who was fastest on day one, in the form of reigning double world champion Troy Bayliss.

The Australian edged out current world championship leader James Toseland by 0.136secs, with Xaus in seventh, but Ruben found almost 1.5secs with a qualifying tyre early on day two - when track conditions were at their best - to hold off the best soft-rubber effort of Bayliss by 0.174secs.

"We did a great job during the two days, on a track really suited to my riding style. I've been consistently fast, with a pace around 1min 37.5secs using a race tyre. I think I can fight for the podium with this kind of pace. Then, when I knew I had an excellent set-up, I 'stepped on the accelerator' with a soft tyre. My best time came from that. It is very satisfying for me and the team. This result excites us for the next round at Brno, where I'm confident of a good result."

Bayliss set one of the highest lap counts over the two days, at 146, while namesake and countryman Troy Corser claimed the third fastest overall lap, by steering his Yamaha to within 0.349secs of Xaus - again during the 'magic' early session on day two.

The only top rider to set his best test time during Sunday's final session, held in boiling hot temperatures, was Toseland. The Hannspree Ten Kate Honda star was also the only other rider to break the 1min 37secs barrier as he closed to within 0.401secs of Xaus during 140 laps.

Local hero Max Biaggi suffered the indignity of being outpaced by Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra team-mate Yukio Kagayama on day one, but reasserted himself as the top GSX-R1000 rider by advancing from sixth to fifth on Sunday, while Kagayama slipped from fourth, to an overall ninth on the final day.

A cosmopolitan spread of machines filled the top six places as a semi-factory Ducati, a full-factory Ducati, a factory Yamaha, factory Honda and factory Suzuki were followed by a factory Kawasaki - the PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse machine of serial SBK race winner, Regis Laconi.

Behind Biaggi, Regis Laconi completed the spread of runners and riders in the top six, the PSG-1 Kawasaki rider lapping a fraction slower than Biaggi and just over one second from Xaus.

After an impressive opening day, in which he was third fastest, Noriyuki Haga marginally improved his time, but not his overall ranking, on day two scoring a 1min 37.506secs to go seventh fastest. Toseland's team-mate Roby Rolfo was eighth fastest on lap times but left with the highest number of laps over the four available sessions, a stunning 168. Kagayama, in ninth, missed out on eighth place by only 0.008 seconds.

One week before a MotoGP ride in Germany, Michel Fabrizio left his home track tenth in Superbike - like Toseland, setting his best lap in the last session - while Bayliss' Ducati Xerox team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi opted to miss the final session, his right ankle still swollen from the effects of a trial-bike accident earlier in the week coupled with a small off on day one at Vallelunga.

Shinichi Nakatomi was 12th for Team Yamaha YZF, one place up on Laconi's team-mate Fonsi Nieto. The last of the privateers proved to be Alessandro Polita (Celani Suzuki Team Italia) as Vittorio Iannuzzo (Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse), Luca Morelli (DFX Corse Honda) and Dean Ellison (Team Pedercini) completed the timesheets.

The next round of the 207 Corona Extra Superbike World Championship will take place at Brno on July 22.