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Max Biaggi lowered the unofficial lap record at Phillip Island as his Sterilgarda Ducati team returned to the track for two extra days of pre-season testing.


The 36-year-old Italian and his Spanish team-mate Ruben Xaus both remained at the circuit while most of the rest of the field headed back to Europe, in a bid to get some extra development work done on their new 1098 bikes.
The result was stunning. Over the two days, Biaggi found 1.8 seconds on-track to lap in 1:31.700 - a tenth of a second quicker than the official lap record that Troy Corser set on his Yamaha during race one at the track last year.
"We did really useful work," said Biaggi, who finished third in the championship last year. "I had the opportunity to get some feeling with the twin-cylinder engine, and everything worked fine.

"I got a good time and I was fast during the race simulations. I focused my work on finding the best set-up. I'm really satisfied about the front of the motorbike while we must work on some rear vibration still. We can work on it during the test in Qatar."

Xaus was two tenths of a second slower on the second day of running, and declared himself extremely happy with the mid-corner feel of his bike, which he said gave him exit speeds significantly higher than those he experienced on his 999 last year.

Alstare Suzuki, for whom Biaggi won three times in his rookie WBK campaign last year, were also at Phillip Island with their 2008 trio of Yukio Kagayama, Max Neukirchner and Fonsi Nieto.

Although no times were released by the team, Japanese rider Kagayama - who missed six races in 2007 while recovering from a punctured lung sustained in a crash at the same track - is understood to have been the quickest of them, on an even footing with Xaus.

He said: "Although this year's bike is not a big change, the small differences have made this a better bike, I feel. We worked in all areas, including engine, chassis and electronics and my personal feeling is that the electronics are working very well.

"Concerning the chassis, we tried many different things, but for me the standard setting is pretty good. This means we have a good base and that's important."

Neukirchner, after missing over half of last week's official test through illness, was happy to complete 269 laps over the two days - more than any other rider at the circuit.
"I've improved each day and got quicker," said the German. "I've spent most of the time trying to find a good base set-up and getting comfortable on the bike.

"The bike is new to me and so are the mechanics, so we are learning together and it is going very well. We've done a lot of work on the chassis and I feel we've improved it quite a bit.
"For me, I need to do more work on the rear end feeling. At the moment, I'm not sure if the problem is the set-up or the tyre itself, but we're not far off and I think the bike will be ready for the first race."

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I have no one to root for on the Alstare Corona team. I used to like Troy Corser, hted the Emperor, and now I dont care about the rest. I am not even a real fan of the MotoGP riders that Rizla has either. Sux to root for people you dont care about.
 
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