Melandri tops Sepang tests, Ducati at Jerez

Just three weeks after the 2005 season closed in Valencia, the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) has returned to action at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia for three days of testing. Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki are at ...

Just three weeks after the 2005 season closed in Valencia, the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) has returned to action at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia for three days of testing. Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki are at Sepang, while Ducati has chosen to test during the same time in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

The first day of testing in Sepang was very hot and humid with 30C for the air temperature and over 70% of humidity. Because of the overnight rain, the track was wet in the morning which made the teams wait until around noon to take to the track.

Marco Melandri put the Fortuna Honda of Gresini Racing in first place for the unofficial times. The Italian set on his best shot at 2m02.95 for the testing journey which saw him complete 61 laps which the team used mainly to work on setup and tyre testing.

"The track today was not in very good condition but I could find a decent rhythm. We spent the day working on the general bike settings for the bike before we started testing tyres for Michelin. Unfortunately I had to stop my test one hour early. I'm not 100% well, I was quite sick while I was in Japan last week so I didn't want to get too tired because we have two more days testing," commented Melandri, the 2005 sub-champion.

Melandri's new teammate, Toni Elias, tested the Honda RC211V for the second time after the one done in Valencia when the season finished. The Spaniard completed 49 laps and marked 2m04.059 to take seventh fastest time today.

"I like the bike and I'm very happy of today's test session. I made a lot of kilometers today and found a good riding position. I didn't get crazy with the set up by trying to many things, just little adjustments", Elias explained.

Nicky Hayden put the Repsol Honda second quickest for Monday's time table in a day where he tested the last evolution of the chassis of HRC and some new tyres.

"There`re some things that the bike done that I liked it. We tests some chassis new staff which made the Honda to improve getting in the turns, an important issue to gain confidence. Also we tried some Michelin new advances on tires", stated Hayden who clocked 2m03.20 after 52 laps.

Dani Pedrosa took the second Repsol Honda out with the target of adding experience on his 900cc bike. The Spaniard continued showing his talent setting a 2m03.75 for his best lap time to end up fourth, right after his countrymen Carlos Checa.

The Gauloises Yamaha champion team was also present in Sepang with it's star Valentino Rossi and his teammante Colin Edwards.

Rossi concentrated mainly on Michelin tyre testing, before getting on to the prototype version of the new 2006-spec YZR-M1 towards the end of the session. He completed a short run of the 5.548km circuit on the new bike and will begin more in-depth work on it tomorrow.

"My first impressions of the new bike are very positive. The engine seems a little bit faster and it feels more stable. However I only did a short run; just a few laps, so it's really too early to make any detailed observations about it at this stage. Tomorrow the real work will start and we will take some time to try to understand the new bike and begin to work on the set-up", mentioned the MotoGP champion.

Edwards spent the day focusing on the new riding style he has been adapting to over the last part of the this past season, working with settings and electronics on his M1 as well as testing some new tyres for Michelin.

At the end of the day, both Yamaha riders completed over 60 laps each and Edwards finished fifth fastest with 2m03.78 followed by Rossi with 2m03.80.

In Jerez and with low temperatures and damp patches around the Spanish track, conditions were not ideal, but Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau were able to put in their first serious laps with the Italian manufacturer's new bike in the afternoon.

It also meant the first contact for Gibernau with the Ducati who spent the day getting use to his new team and bike. The Spaniard completed 52 laps with 1m42.606 on it best shot faster than Capirossi, who set 1m42.644s after 35 laps.

The tests wil continue in Sepang and Jerez tomorrow; these tests are the last chance for the teams until the winter break from December 1st to January 20th is over.

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Drivers Nicky Hayden , Carlos Checa , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Marco Melandri , Toni Elias , Dani Pedrosa

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