Sepang pre-season test: Final Day

The Red Machine and Loris Capirossi completed their domination of the pre-season test at Sepang. Capirossi not only lowered his lap time, but he shaved almost a second and a half off his day-two time. "These were three positive days, especially...

The Red Machine and Loris Capirossi completed their domination of the pre-season test at Sepang. Capirossi not only lowered his lap time, but he shaved almost a second and a half off his day-two time.

"These were three positive days, especially because we were able to get down to some real testing. We worked methodically on the suspension settings and tires and managed to find the right balance. With Bridgestone tire development continuing non-stop and in the next test session at Sepang we will be concentrating on the rear tire to further improve duration over a race distance, which is already quite good. In any case, irrespective of the times we set, we have to continue along this path without getting all carried away. But I have to admit that it's great to be competitive!" said number 65.

As impressive as Capirossi's time of 2:00.54 is, it was almost certainly done on qualifying tires. Livio Suppo, MotoGP project manager said: "This was a positive test. The GP5 seems to have started off well and the Bridgestone tires have already proved themselves to be at an excellent level both in race and qualifying set-up. It was a real pleasure to see a smile back on Loris's face again and watch him ride in the way only he knows how!"

Yesterday's third fastest rider was today's second fastest. Sete Gibernau cut almost a full second off his day-two lap time and bumped Valentino Rossi to third.

"We have done a good job evaluating the parts HRC brought here for us to test," explained Gibernau. "HRC needed to evaluate the parts before building the 2005 RC211V. I was able to do many laps at 2min 2secs and a few inside 2mins 1secs. This test also helped us understand why we had such a bad race at this track last year," concluded the Spaniard.

Rossi may have slipped to third, but was pleased with the overall results. "I am very happy with this test, especially today. It's been a very important test with the new bike, and we've done some good work. We did quite a few laps together today and the bike felt really good, as did the tires. We've improved from the race last year and from the last test in November, which is encouraging. We still have a lot of things to test with the new bike and a lot of work to do, but we are looking forward to another good test next month," said the six-time World Champion.

American Nicky Hayden led the Repsol-Honda attack by finishing the day fourth fastest. Hayden said: "The test has been pretty silky smooth really after having been off the bike for a while. Sure, we've still got a lot of work to do but it's great the team is working so well. The mechanics, HRC, the Michelin and the Showa boys; they sure ain't scared of doing some work, which is what we have to do as we know what we're up against. We put a lot of laps in - probably too many really but we had lots of things to look at - lots of new tires from Michelin and some real good ones as well. I'd say it's been a really valuable start to the year."

Max Biaggi, HRC's number one rider, shaved almost four tenths off his time. However, simply appearing at the test was a victory for the Roman. "The good thing about this test session is that I am here and I am among the fastest riders. Believe me, I was not sure to make it. I started trusting my ankle only after 25/30 laps. On the other hand, I understood that there's not too much time and there is a lot of job to do. Thank God, I don't lack the strength and the will to make it," explained the four-time World Champion.

Colin Edwards, Rossi's teammate, was sixth fastest. The Texan was followed by Alex Barros, who was a tenth of a second faster than Marco Melandri in eighth. Troy Bayliss and Shinya Nakano completed the top ten list.

<pre> MotoGP Sepang test: Final Day: 1. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro 2:0.54 2. Sete Gibernau SPA Telefonica Movistar Honda 2:1.21 3. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Gauloises 2:1.36 4. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda 2:1.68 5. Max Biaggi ITA Repsol Honda 2:1.91 6. Colin Edwards USA Yamaha Gauloises 2:1.93 7. Alex Barros BRA Camel Honda 2:1.95 8. Marco Melandri SPA Telefonica Movistar Honda 2:2.10 9. Troy Bayliss AUS Camel Honda 2:2.691 10. Shinya Nakano JPN Fuchs Kawasaki 2:2.70 11. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 2:2.80 12. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Yamaha Tech 3 2:2.80 13. Alex Hofmann GER Fuchs Kawasaki 2:3.70 14. Ruben Xaus SPA Fortuna Yamaha Tech 3 2:4.00

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Max Biaggi , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Troy Bayliss , Colin Edwards , Alex Barros , Sete Gibernau , Shinya Nakano , Ruben Xaus , Makoto Tamada , Marco Melandri , Toni Elias , Livio Suppo , Alex Hofmann