Valentino fastest at sepang

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    Valentino Rossi has clocked the fastest time of the Sepang Test´s first day, a meeting which started today and marks the resumption of the 2006 preseason.

    The Italian rider, with an official time of 2’02.09, went round the track on the newest version of the M1 at a speed only four decimals off Loris Capirossi´s pole-earning time from last season.

    The Italian rider later expressed his opinions on the practice:

    “It’s always a little difficult to start again after the holidays, and I am never sure if I will be able to ride well straight away! Today however everything has felt good right from the start and I am already quite fast. The new M1 is a good bike, I like it and I can see that Yamaha has worked very hard over the winter. We had a few problems with it today; some chattering, but in reality it is good for this stage of the year. We still have a lot of work to do on it of course”

    On the evolution of the M1, Rossi explained his plans for the adjustment:

    “The new bike is not so different from the 2005 bike, but still we have to understand completely its character and I have to get more confidence in it, then we can begin to make the modifications needed in order to improve it. Today has just been about understanding the bike, tomorrow we will concentrate more on tyres with Michelin.”

    Behind the reigning World Champion´s Camel Yamaha, and not far behind at that, were a pack of Honda riders. Nicky Hayden, Marco Melandri and Dani Pedrosa all placed highly, with Pedrosa´s time the fourth fastest and one which made him the quickest Spaniard of the day.

    Sete Gibernau rounded off the group of six riders to go round within the same second as Rossi, in what was the first time the Italian and the Spaniard have faced each other since Gibernau joined Ducati Marlboro.

    The first day of testing also served as the debut on their new bikes for Kenny Roberts Jr, Alex Hofmann and José Luis Cardoso, the latter two D´Antin Ducati´s newest recruits.

    Test Sepang
    First Day
    Unofficial Times
    1. Valentino Rossi – Camel Yamaha 2’02.14
    2. Marco Melandri – Fortuna Honda 2’02.21
    3. Nicky Hayden – Repsol Honda 2’02.23
    4. Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda 2’02.46
    5. Loris Capirossi – Ducati Marlboro 2’02.54
    6. Colin Edwards – Camel Yamaha 2’02.60
    7. Sete Gibernau – Ducati Marlboro 2’02.86
    8. John Hopkins – Suzuki MotoGP 2’03.30
    9. Casey Stoner – LCR Honda 2’03.57
    10. Shinya Nakano – Kawasaki Racing 2’03.77
    11. Toni Elías – Fortuna Honda 2’03.80
    12. Kenny Roberts – KR Honda 2’03.80
    13. Randy de Puniet – Kawasaki Racing 2’03.90
    14. Alex Hofmann – D’Antin Ducati 2’04.63
    15. James Ellison – Yamaha 2’06.40
    16. Chris Vermeulen – Suzuki MotoGP 2’06.50
    17. Jose Luis Cardoso – D’Antin MotoGP 2’07.70
    Sepang Lap Record: Nicky Hayden (Honda) 2005 – 2’02.993
    Sepang Best Lap: Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2005 – 2’01.731

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