Spies shows pace after first day of testing

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Ben Spies proved he will be a WSB contender in 2009 by matching the lap time of Noriyuki Haga first time out on the Yamaha Italia R1 at Parkalgar. The American posted a 1m 44.0s lap onboard the bike Haga rode on Sunday in just 61 laps.

During the day Spies also tried the 2009 big bang R1, but as expected was faster on the fully developed 2008 bike.

Team-mate Tom Sykes took longer to get dialled into the track on his first day and missed his opportunity to set a fast lap due to changing track conditions and a late afternoon shower.

The British rider posted a 1m 46.3 second best during his 63 lap stint, but remains confident he can reduce his time significantly during the second day of the test tomorrow.

Ducati rider, Shane Byrne gave his new Sterilgarda Ducati team something to smile about by ending the day second fastest with a 1m45.0s best. Byrne lapped within  3/10ths off Biaggi’s best lap time from the race and was clearly thrilled at his pace around the all new track.

He said:

“It’s gone really well today. I did an 18 lap run with two 1m45 flat laps thrown in. I then came in made a change to the bike and did another seven laps on the same tyre and matched my time. We had a new tyre ready to put in, but it rained so I missed my chance to go faster. At the moment there are two places on the track where I feel that I’m struggling so there should be plenty of room for improvement.”

Italian Max Biaggi got his second test onboard the Aprilia RSV4 and set more than respectable times, finishing third fastest with a 1m 45.4s best. The former Ducati rider confirmed the handlebar and foot rest positions from his first test at Valencia last month before moving onto electronics including traction control and engine braking.

Biaggi left the track confident that he now has a solid base to work with and will be working to improve both the set-up and times during day two.

Leon Haslam got just five laps on track and will return to action on Wednesday. His best lap was a 1m47.2s.

In Supersport Cal Crutchlow made a flying start to his new career. Onboard the factory Yamaha R6 the young Brit immediately gelled with the bike and track to post lap times good enough to have fought for the race win last Sunday. Crutchlow’s best was an impressive 1m46.1 and was able to post consistent mid 1m46s.

Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider