A busy first day of testing for the official MotoGP team riders concluded at the Sepang International Circuit on Thursday, as work on the 2010 prototypes that will compete in this year’s World Championship continued.
Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi set the fastest time of the field of 17 participants, and the Italian’s time of 2’01.411 on the new M1 was just under a second off the pace (2’00.518) which secured him pole position in the 2009 race at the track, as he continued with the development of the chassis and engine first tested at Valencia last November.
Casey Stoner’s Ducati Desmosedici GP10 was separated by a gap of 0.491s, as the Australian put in 42 laps. The Ducati Marlboro team are trying out new forks and two fairings – used in the final four races of 2009 – on the machine, which also has a redesigned engine.
Settling straight back in, Colin Edwards enjoyed his session on the M1 of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team. The American, who took fifth place in last year’s Championship, was the third and final rider to make it under the 2’02 mark, with a best lap of 2’01.932.
The first rider out on track for the day was Loris Capirossi, who emerged at 9.07am local time. The Italian clocked the fourth quickest lap of day one, as his 58 laps turned in a time of 2’02.102. The official Suzuki team has three chassis to test for the veteran rider (one from 2009, two new), whilst the new engine will be available at the next Sepang test at the end of February.
Jorge Lorenzo waited until the penultimate lap of his 57 turns to set his time of 2’02.165 as he also rode the new M1. The 2009 World Championship runner-up finished the day with a 0.754s gap to rival and team-mate Rossi.
Repsol Honda are testing their new bike with slight modifications to the chassis which was used at the Valencia test. Their engine, modified for better endurance, and some new electronics are being given a run through by Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa, who were sixth and eighth respectively on the timesheet. The Italian was 0.465s behind Lorenzo, with Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden in seventh (2’02.792).
Of the rookies, Héctor Barberá topped the times on his Ducati of Team Aspar with a best lap of 2’03.030, set on the 57th of his 59 laps. Following the Spaniard, the remaining seven riders all recorded times within 0.7s.
Aleix Espargaró (Pramac Racing) was 11th, with Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) preceding Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP). For the Gresini team, Simoncelli has at his disposal a factory spec RC212V.
Rain at 4.30pm local time forced the riders off track, half an hour before the scheduled finish of the day’s activities, and action is scheduled to resume on Friday morning at 9am local time.
Fastest laptimes, Day 1
Pos Rider Team Fastest lap Lead. Gap
1 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 2:01.411 –
2 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 2:01.902 +0.491
3 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.932 +0.521
4 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2:02.102 +0.691
5 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 2:02.165 +0.754
6 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 2:02.630 +1.219
7 Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 2:02.792 +1.381
8 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 2:02.866 +1.455
9 Mika Kallio Pramac Racing Team 2:02.987 +1.576
10 Hector Barbera Aspar Team 2:03.030 +1.619
11 Aleix Espargaro Pramac Racing Team 2:03.133 +1.722
12 Ben Spies Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:03.142 +1.731
13 Randy De Puniet Lcr Honda MotoGP 2:03.456 +2.045
14 Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2:03.558 +2.147
15 Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 2:03.563 +2.152
16 Marco Melandri San Carlo Honda Gresini 2:03.609 +2.198
17 Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 2:03.651 +2.240
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