Ducati in front as Sepang tests come to an end

With excellent weather conditions, Sete Gibernau and the Ducati Marlboro Team dominated the final test day of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), held on the Sepang circuit of Kuala Lumpur. Gibernau set the best time over...

With excellent weather conditions, Sete Gibernau and the Ducati Marlboro Team dominated the final test day of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), held on the Sepang circuit of Kuala Lumpur. Gibernau set the best time over the three test days at 2:01.03.

Despite this being just a test where every team tries different setups, there was a strong fight on the time sheets as the top nine riders ended up with only a one-second gap.

Gibernau continued his adaptation to the bike and the way of working with the factory Ducati squad, who took the opportunity to test some components of Bridgestone tyres.

The Spaniard pushed hard to reach a total feeling with the Desmosedici GP6. He also completed six laps with last season's bike --which took pole and victory in hands of teammate Loris Capirossi last year -- to confirm that the GP6 had reached the level of it predecessor.

"My settling-in period with the team, the bike and the tyres is continuing and I am increasingly satisfied with the choice that I have made. Today I felt pretty good on the GP6 and I also wanted to do a few laps on the GP5, which I have never tried, to make a back-to- back test", Gibernau mentioned as a balance of the day.

The two-time MotoGP sub-champion commented on the performance of the Bridgestone tyres, different from the Michelin he used in Honda: "For the first time I used Bridgestone's qualifying tyres and they gave me a good feeling. We've still got a lot of work to do to be at 100% but we are on the right path".

As it happened yesterday, Capirossi took second place with 2:01.08, right after Gibernau.

The Italian stayed focused on getting through an intense programme of tyre testing, accumulating information that will be useful for the next session scheduled for Sepang.

"Bridgestone are working well and we have gathered a lot of useful information for the next test session here at Sepang. I also tried the new qualifying tyres, which have a good potential", Loris said.

Capirossi looks hopeful with Ducati's new bike: "I like the GP6 more and more and I can't wait to test it in Australia, where last year I only did a few laps on the Friday morning before crashing, which forced me to miss the Australian and Turkish GPs".

Despite some set-up problems, Marco Melandri managed to put his Fortuna Honda in third spot as the fastest bike of the 'wing'.

"We worked with only one bike and we struggled quite a bit to find a reasonable set up. During lunch time my mechanics did an incredible job and in the afternoon my feeling with the bike improved. Unfortunately the research of a good setting took a lot of time and in the end I couldn't do a race simulation", commented Melandri.

However, the Italian looks forward to continue the development of the RC211V: "I'm happy that we have another test next week so that we can continue working on the bike. I'm confident and I look forward to test in Australia".

For the first time of Sepang session, Dani Pedrosa set a better time than teammate Nicky Hayden as the Spaniard ended on fourth place with the American in sixth.

A productive day for Pedrosa, who keeps in a hard physical work to improve his riding on a MotoGP bike, different from a 250cc.

Pedrosa worked on his pace during 13 laps consecutive laps that included nine laps riding in 2:02s. "Today we did many laps and I got more and more feeling for the bike. We tried some race starts for the first time, at the end we did some tyre testing for Michelin and I did one longer run during which I learned that the Michelins are quite consistent", he said.

The Spaniard could also work on qualifying performances: "I tried a qualifying tyre for the first time too. I was worried at the beginning about crashing so by the time I realized how much grip the tyre had I was more than halfway through the lap. So I am happy with my time", commented Dani, who will now try to relax before the activity continue in Australia.

His teammate Hayden had an intense test day focused on developing the RC211V, completing a grueling 95 laps while testing chassis parts and many variations of Michelin race tyres. In the afternoon he tried a race distance and later qualifying tyres.

"Three days in the books and it's over. We've definitely learned a lot in the test and we can look forward to taking it to Phillip Island. If what we like here works there then it's pretty good for our weapon. They're two very different tracks because Phillip Island has a lot more high-speed corners", stated Hayden on the next step of the team in Australia.

The Champion Valentino Rossi put his Yamaha in fifth place in the middle between both Repsol Honda riders. The Italian kept with the development of the new bike, setting with 2:01.60 his best of the three day test.

A remark job completed the Kawasaki riders with experienced Shinya Nakano and MotoGP rookie Randy de Puniet taking seventh and eighth positions. Kawasaki will be the only team that will stay working in Sepang one more day.

Next week, Honda, Kawasaki and Ducati will be testing in Phillip Island for three days, while Camel Yamaha Team and Suzuki MotoGP will move to Qatar in the beginning of February.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Sete Gibernau , Shinya Nakano , Randy de Puniet , Marco Melandri , Dani Pedrosa , Phillip Island