The Ducati Xerox Team moves on to Assen for Round 4 of the World Superbike championship this weekend. Having extended his championship lead on board the Ducati 1098 F08 with two second place finishes in front of a record number of spectators at the latest round in Valencia, Troy Bayliss is eager to see his success continue in The Netherlands. Team-mate Michel Fabrizio has also visited the podium at the Dutch TT Circuit more than once in the past and is therefore equally as enthusiastic to return there again this season.
Since leaving Valencia the Ducati Xerox Team also completed a two-day test session in very wet conditions at Monza, a useful exercise in view of the likelihood of rain here in Holland this weekend.
Troy took wins here in both 2007 and 2006 but has very mixed emotions regarding the historic Dutch TT Circuit.
"Assen - it’s a track where I’ve had my moments, and I like, love or hate it depending on the season! I’ve won and lost championships as a result of how I’ve gone here in the past. I hope, with it being my last year riding in World Superbikes, that this is one of those times that I come away loving it! During the race you can generally afford to sit back and wait a bit at this track but, having said that, it depends on the day, how everyone is riding, and on the unpredictable weather conditions. It’s also a track where tyre issues come into play. I would like the overall F08 package to work a bit better than it did in Valencia, as although that weekend we were able to get stronger each day, I was never totally comfortable.”
Michel has been on the Superbike podium in Assen before, two years ago, and is thus keen to ride the F08 to top of the timesheets here this year too. From this weekend onwards, Fabrizio changes his nickname from “The Wizard” back to “Uragano”, or “the Hurricane”, the name that adorned his bike up until 2003, the year in which he took the riders title in the Superstock 1000 championship.
"I like the Assen track a lot and have had some good results here in the past. I was on the podium here, in third place, in Superbikes in 2006 and also riding in 2005 in the Supersport class so I’m very much looking forward to racing this weekend, this time on the Ducati F08.”
“I have decided to go back to using my former nickname, only for superstitious motives really, as the last time I rode with it I won titles including the Superstock 1000 title. So I’m hopeful that it will be bring me luck this season too.”