Hayden finishes final pre-season test on a high

After three days of testing at Jerez, the opening venue of the 2005 season, the MotoGP boys are ready to take on each other April 10. With all pre-season testing in the books, the opening round will be a screamer. Three of the sport's youngest...

After three days of testing at Jerez, the opening venue of the 2005 season, the MotoGP boys are ready to take on each other April 10.

With all pre-season testing in the books, the opening round will be a screamer. Three of the sport's youngest and most promising riders left Jerez filling the top three spots.

Nicky Hayden ended up the test fastest with a time of 1:39.983. Hayden's time apparently came after his father, who celebrated his birthday on the final day of the test, asked Hayden to give him a '39 as his present.

"This has been a great test for us. The team has worked really hard and I've tried my best to do everything they've asked of me. I got my best lap today on a qualifier but it's important to do that at this stage, in less than two weeks I'll have to do that for real!" said Hayden.

Another young-gun, Marco Melandri, finished the day second fastest, just three tenths of a second behind the Repsol-rider.

"This test has been very positive for us we did a lot of good work over the three-days. I ran a race simulation and was able to run in 1m 41s consistently. Maybe I could have been faster if I had used a set of tires with a softer compound. Michelin gave me some qualifying tires to test and they were impressive. We have a break before the GP but I can't wait for the race," stated the former 250cc World Champion.

Suzuki-factory rider, John Hopkins completed the test well within the top three. He even finished ahead of the reigning World Champion. "This test has been really good for me and the team. I proved that I can go as fast as anybody on race tires and we have also showed that we were able to step it up in the rain and run in the top places. The biggest achievement for me this weekend was showing that I could ride as fast as any other rider in the wet. I am now looking forward to racing, I can't wait!" said Hopkins.

Valentino Rossi, along with his teammate Colin Edwards, were the only riders not to use a qualifying tire to set their fastest time. Instead, the two focused on race pace. "We went quite well until lunchtime. However, during the afternoon we tried some new things and they didn't go quite as well as we had hoped. We had some troubles in the braking sections because the bike was quite nervous when the tire was coming to an end. We know we can do better and what we have to improve, so we are not too worried, it's just that there is not quite enough rear grip after I've done a lot of laps. The front is okay because we already fixed this in Barcelona. Anyway, I'm now really happy to finish the testing and I am feeling okay about the first race, the bike has good potential and I am looking forward to a good battle this year!" said Rossi.

Ducati came back to finish the test fifth fastest after the Italian marquee made an impressive debut of their GP5 earlier this year. Capirossi said, "I am very satisfied with the qualifying tires: the ones I tested were really excellent. Even the front tires go well here at Jerez and the rear race tires are already pretty good. We felt the absence of Carlos over the last three days, and with him for sure we could have got through a lot more work. However I gave everything I could, now all we have to do is wait for April 10."

Unless you have grave commitments, be sure to set April 10 aside for the opening round of the most exciting motor sport in the world, MotoGP.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , John Hopkins , Marco Melandri