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Xaus already proving he's got what it takes

Xaus already proving he's got what it takes

Xaus already proving he's got what it takes

If there could ever be any doubt about the talent of last year's World Superbike runner-up, recent tests at both Catalunya and Jerez would have silenced any critics, as Ruben Xaus proved that he is rapidly adapting to the rough and tough of MotoGP. With the seventh fastest time in the 40-minute ‘Official Test', and finishing the day in eighth and within a half-second of Valentino Rossi's lap time, it is easily forgotten that the Spaniard had missed out on the last day and a half of his previous test in Phillip Island, after having a massive high-speed crash and being airlifted to hospital.

Xaus lamented the time lost especially with rain affecting both Catalunya and Jerez tests, "It's a shame because the bad weather has dictated proceedings to us both here and in Barcelona. We need the weather on our side because there's still quite a bit more work to be done. For sure the weather will be completely different when we come for the Grands Prix, although at least all of us are having to put up with the same bad conditions".

Nevertheless, Xaus went on to prove on day two in Jerez that even in wet conditions his aggressive style will pay dividends in the premier class, setting the second fastest time of the day in 1'54.907. "I decided to ride, to get some feeling for the bike in the wet. I felt comfortable riding and tested both 16.5" and 17" tyres, though after that it began raining even stronger."

Without a doubt his style and the manner in which he pushes the front-end to the limit will undoubtedly mean the odd crash throughout the year, but it also means that he can offer good information for the tyre manufacturers Michelin – especially if they continue to push through their 16.5-inch front rubber. After having set the best time in the morning session in the wet, Xaus admits that it may be the French company's time to ‘owe' him one. "I went back out on track because Michelin were interested that I should test some new tyres, and though conditions were worse I tried to get them some information. At the fourth bend the bike aquaplaned though, and I crashed out. It's worthwhile testing in these conditions, but the pre-season is over now and in ten days we have to go to South Africa".

After a pre-season of ups and downs, Xaus is sure to be one to watch out for when the season finally gets underway.

MotoGP, 2004

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