News 5 Feb 2010

MotoGP: Rossi remains the benchmark at Sepang test

Rossi is the man to beat once again in 2010.

Rossi is the man to beat once again in 2010.

The first official MotoGP test of 2010 concluded in Malaysia on Friday, with Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi the fastest of the premier class riders across both days.

Wednesday was a day for test riders only, with the official MotoGP team riders having Thursday and Friday to work on their 2010 bikes. The weather played a part throughout Friday with conditions wet at the scheduled start of 9am local time, and for a period between 11am and 12pm there was little activity on track. Afternoon sunshine improved the situation after 1pm, when both Rossi and Ducati Marlboro rider Casey Stoner appeared.

Shaving 0.486s off his Thursday best time, world champion Rossi’s 2:00.925 on the 20th of 32 laps on his factory YZR-M1 prototype was the only sub-2:01 time, as he left a gap of 0.395s to Stoner. The Australian was also second fastest to Rossi on Thursday, and Stoner’s 2:01.320 on Friday was over half a second quicker than his previous day’s time as he continued to feel the benefit of the Ducati Desmosedici GP10, which he says is very well balanced.

Rossi’s team-mate and rival and the third quickest rider on Friday, Jorge Lorenzo, was 0.755s behind the Italian’s pace with a best of 2:01.680. The Spaniard was pleased with the general direction of the developments on his bike, and his fastest time was a marked improvement as he produced 60 laps, the most of any of the 17 riders on Friday.

Dani Pedrosa knocked over a full second off his time as he made real progress on the RC212V. The Repsol Honda rider carried on working on Öhlins suspension, and was happy with the weight distribution as he recorded the fourth fastest lap of the day at 2’01.822.

Appearing to have recovered from the jetlag that made day one tough, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Ben Spies was fifth on the sheet as he clocked in at 2:02.266 on Friday. The American achieved well over the half-second improvement he targeted following his first day, taking 0.876s off his time as he continued his acclimatisation to the M1.

Pedrosa’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso’s work on his RC212V produced the sixth fastest time, as the Italian’s adaptation to new electronics allowed a lap of 2:02.272, whilst Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was 0.207s further down the timesheet after his positive reaction to the throttle on the new M1.

On their respective GP10 bikes Ducati Marlboro rider Nicky Hayden (2’02.493) and Pramac Racing’s Aleix Espargaró (2’02.647) both displayed progress, whilst Loris Capirossi of the Rizla Suzuki team was pleased with the three different types of chassis he tried out, registering at 2’02.763 after 48 laps.

Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) completed 55 laps and was 11th fastest, with Héctor Barberá (Team Aspar), Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) following.

Marco Simoncelli experienced a highside on his RC212V around midday, but re-emerged by 3pm to continue uninjured. The San Carlo Honda Gresini man was 15th on the timesheet, with fellow rookie Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) next.

During the test, MSMA representatives met at the Sepang International Circuit to discuss the future engine rules for the MotoGP class.

Back in December, following talks between MotoGP’s governing body the FIM, series rights holder Dorna Sports and the MSMA, the Grand Prix Commission agreed to change the maximum engine capacity of the MotoGP class to 1000cc for the 2012 season.

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta indicated the projected changes were received favourably, and that a further meeting to be held later this month in Barcelona should allow the opportunity for further definition of the new technical rules for the premier class.

1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2:00.925 0
2. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 2:01.320
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:01.680
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:01.822
5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 2:02.266
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 2:02.272
7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 2:02.479
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2:02.493
9. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 2:02.647
10. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 2:02.763
11. Marco Melandri (Honda) 2:02.810
12. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2:03.032
13. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 2:03.043
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 2:03.195
15. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 2:03.245
16. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 2:03.274
17. Mika Kallio (Ducati) 2:03.359