In the second of the separate rookie testing sessions, Hector Barbera and the Aspar team wrapped up a rain-hit program of testing yesterday at Jerez. The test was run in conjunction with Ducati's test team, consisting of Vito Guareschi and newcomer Franco Battaini, contracted to take some of the strain from Guareschi as he takes on his new role as Marlboro Ducati team manager.
After being rained off on day one, the second day of testing took place under sunny skies and mild temperatures, and Barbera spent the day running back-to-back tests between the Ducati Desmosedici GP9 and GP10, putting in stints of ten laps to adapt to the bike and test some engine and traction control settings. The team emphasized that the purpose of the test was not to chase lap times, but to learn more about the Ducati and make the switch from a 250 to a MotoGP bike.
"At the end of the day, I put in twenty really good laps, and I'm happy," Barbera said in a press release afterwards. "The times were not outstanding, but I can feel that we are definitely on the right road." Barbera ended the test with a fastest time of 1'41.7, some 1.9 seconds off Valentino Rossi's lap record set during the race in May this year. That time would have put him near the bottom of the fastest race laps, but the conditions at the race were considerably more favorable.
The last of the extra rookie tests are due to take place in four weeks' time. Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama are scheduled to have two days of testing at Sepang in Malaysia just before Christmas. Once the two Honda riders are done, the rookie tests will be concluded, and the normal order will be resumed once the entire MotoGP field gathers at Sepang in February.