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Ruben Xaus reflects on his first test as part of the MotoGP world
Ruben Xaus' spectacular riding style has resulted in as many crashes as trophies in recent years as part of the World Superbike Championship but in 2003 the 25 year old confirmed himself as the fastest Spaniard outside of the MotoGP series with a number two plate to team-mate Neil Hodgson with whom he has now linked up with again as part of the D'Antin Ducati squad. The former works Ducati Superbike rider gained his first taste of the challenge he faces on the Desmosedici for 2004 last week at Valencia."I have always been involved with Ducati and testing with the other guys but now to be alongside them is very nice," the Catalan commented. "I got passed by Biaggi today and it was like a little reality check because I have always seen him on TV and to be sharing the track with him was a special moment!" "I am really happy with the bike and the team. But the difficulty has been learning the track with the new machine and I think this circuit is maybe a little difficult for a first test, but still, it is on the GP calendar so another step we have to overcome." Naturally the main question surrounding both of the newcomers (one that will probably chase them right up until the first GP in Africa in April) and Superbike experts is how the different Ducati machines compare. Xaus seemed to have his answer prepared but the enthusiasm at this stage appeared difficult to contain. "Many things are different but at the end of the day it has two wheels and the goal is to go as fast as possible! This bike was born from Ducati's Superbike racing over the years and all the positions and the characteristics are similar; the bike is pretty heavy up front and wants to go wide every time but it does have a lot of engine power so you can do whatever you want." "It is slightly harder to stop because you have to learn the feeling with the carbon brakes. At Valencia it has been hard for me to ride because I have done so much testing with the 999 that I have all the references for the track in my head, like a habit, and now with the braking I keep missing my points! Riding the bike is more or less the same, it just has a different noise and different engine delivery but in the end a Ducati is a Ducati and a fun bike to ride!" Xaus's honesty extended to the evaluation of the career step he has been lucky enough to make. "I know I have been given a great chance. The team is not the biggest in the paddock but has good machinery and good people with big hearts and the right expertise. I am really motivated and pleased in a way that we are all starting from the same level and equal, nobody is playing catch-up in terms of what they know."
14 years ago