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Xaus optimistic over fitness for Australia

Xaus optimistic over fitness for Australia

Xaus optimistic over fitness for Australia

Rubén Xaus headed to Australia this week in hopeful mood after missing the majority of last week's Sepang test through injury. Xaus completed a handful of laps on the first day of the test but quickly realised that severe blistering on his backside, sustained in the first session of the year in Malaysia just over a fortnight previously, would be restricting his track time.

Having switched from D'Antin Ducati to Fortuna Yamaha in the winter, it was a setback the amiable Spanish rider could have done without and he admitted the upcoming tests at Phillip Island will be crucial to make up for lost time.

"In January I tested for the first time at Sepang and realised that I was going to be riding a very different bike to what I am used to," commented Xaus. "My style of riding means I support myself a lot on the rear part of the seat and basically the seat unit of the Yamaha is very different to the Ducati and it rubbed me quite badly.

"The wounds got infected and the infection then gave me a fever. My flesh is basically exposed - right on my buttocks!

"I was really looking forward to the second test but after just a few laps on the first day things weren't looking good. I couldn't ride on Saturday so I really wanted to go out on the last day. "But I spoke to Hervè (Poncharal, Fortuna Yamaha Team Manager) and we decided that it was better not to rush anything and just wait until Phillip Island. Really, with the way it is now, any movement on the bike is just going to delay the healing process.

"Anyway, it was quite interesting to watch the other guys ride from the side of the track. I stood on the wall and I found it really surprising – the sensation of speed really hits you when you're stood just three metres away.

"You can see the acceleration, braking and sliding of the bike – not just the really fast guys but also the ones who are a second off the pace – and you think: "do I really come through here that fast?" It's also a good chance to have a look at the other riders and work out their strengths... it all counts.

"The Yamaha engineers have made two new seats for me which should help me adapt to the bike a lot better so I should be able to get back on at Phillip Island. Apart from using antibiotics and creams, I'm trying to let the wounds breath for a few hours a day but it's a sensitive area and it will take a while to fully heal.

"I'm really looking forward to getting out there and continuing with my adaptation to the bike. I'm trying to working out where I'm going wrong and get out of my old habits from the Ducati.

"My bike last year had incredible power which you had to try and convert into traction. This bike probably doesn't have that level of power but it's more manageable, so what I have to do is work out the gearing to get the most out of it and get out of my bad habits.

"The important thing is to get to know the bike before the end of preseason. The atmosphere within the team is really good, they're helping me with everything and I'm confident I'll adapt well."

MotoGP, 2005

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