Hopkins leads final pre-season test

The MotoGP boys may still have two more days in which to topple Suzuki rider, John Hopkins from the top of the timing sheets, but with rain forecasted for tomorrow and likely for Sunday, Hopkins may leave the final pre-season test at the ...

The MotoGP boys may still have two more days in which to topple Suzuki rider, John Hopkins from the top of the timing sheets, but with rain forecasted for tomorrow and likely for Sunday, Hopkins may leave the final pre-season test at the top.

Hopkins was very exited "after today's test. We have learned a huge amount for the race here in two weeks time. The target now is to set-up the GSV-R to run consistently fast for the 27 laps of the race. To top the time-sheets today is a reflection of my confidence in the bike and all the hard work Suzuki has done over the winter. I'm having a great time!"

If Hopkins leading the way was not enough, second fastest went to fellow American Nicky Hayden, two tenths of a second behind Hopkins. "I'm pretty happy with the way the whole day has gone. I was disappointed last week in Barcelona, it seemed to take me too long to get up to speed so that was the priority here at Jerez today and I'm happy that we achieved it. Today I went about half a second faster than I've ever gone around here so we're definitely improving. I concentrated on trying to do a race distance on a couple of tires today rather than trying lots of different things. I'm still looking to improve on getting into corners faster and getting a bit more stability under braking. I'll be working harder tomorrow but overall, after day one, I'm happy. We've got a plan in mind for the weekend and I'd like to think we'll keep improving the way we have today," said Hayden.

Third fastest went to World Champion, Valentino Rossi, who seems to have shaken off the front-end issues he and his team encountered at Catalunya last week. Rossi said, "I am happy with today because the bike worked well. It was the first time for us with the new bike at this circuit and I had a good feeling from the start. We continued working on settings; we found a good base setting in Barcelona, which we've continued with here. We've tested some good tires from Michelin today, with improved traction. I think it will be possible to try to fix some other small problems tomorrow and make more progress, but we're already in a good situation. It might rain tomorrow but this wouldn't be a bad thing anyway, it's important to try the bike in the rain at some point!"

Gibernau finished the day fourth-fastest, while his teammate, Marco Melandri completed the top-five.

Testing will continue through Sunday as the teams prepare for the opening round of the 2005 season set to take place at the same track on April 10.

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