The Ducatis are still the strength of the field, but 2004 SBK champion, James Toseland is swiftly coming to grips with the Ten Kate Honda CBR 1000RR, setting a fast time in the final qualifying hitout before the start of the Superbike season proper. At Spain's Valencia circuit, Troy Bayliss ended the two day session at the top of the time sheets with a best lap of 1'34.45 (on qualifying tyres) on the factory Ducati 999F06.
"The first time I tested here in November I did a 36 and now today on the race tyre I did a 34.4 which is quite an improvement," Bayliss commented following the conclusion of the Valencia test.
"I'm feeling confident and I'm sure I'm going to be a contender for the championship and especially for the race wins."
Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Xerox 999F06) recorded the second fastest time of 1'35.6 on race tyres ahead of Toseland (Ten Kate Honda CBR 1000RR) 1'35.8 and Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR 1000RR) 1'35.9. Troy Corser and the Alstare Corona Suzuki team were not present at the Valencia test.
Josh Brookes (SC Caracchi Ducati 749RS) recorded a best time of 1'35.9 in what is only his second real test on the new machine, Brookes acknowledging the room for improvement and surprised at his easy adaption from an inline 4 to a V-twin.
"We are now working closely with Ohlins to create a suspension set up that will suit my style perfectly, so I reckon when we get that nailed, the times will drop much further."
Things are also looking up for Yamaha in World Supersport competition, too following a test session at Phillip Island in late January that saw the Aussie duo of Kevin Curtain and Broc Parkes go under the current Supersport lap record for the Island with 1'35.6 and 1'36.4 best laps respectively.