Rossi back on top for final day at Sepang2007-01-24 10:10
Valentino Rossi concluded the first test of 2007 by clocking the fastest lap of the three-day visit to Sepang in Malaysia. The five-time MotoGP World Champion clocked a blistering 2'00.936 lap on the 800cc Yamaha M1, in an ominous sign for the rest of the grid.
The Doctor was closely followed by Suzuki's Anglo-American rider John Hopkins, quickest over the first two days and who this morning put in a race simulation on the GSV-R800 to conclude his scheduled program. Most riders opted to test the durability of their bikes and tyres over the kind of distance they will face over the coming season, with the added benefit of gaining yet more experience on their new 800cc prototypes.
Loris Capirossi, the Ducati rider involved in an epic battle with Rossi in the Malaysian race last year, improved on his times from yesterday by over 1.5 seconds. The Desmosedici GP7 is being put through its paces not only at Sepang (courtesy of the factory team and the d'Antin satellite outfit) but also at Jerez in Spain by official test rider Vittoriano Guareschi.
Honda were out of the top six yesterday, but their riders picked up speed today as RC212V development continues. Dani Pedrosa was the fastest rider for the Japanese factory, putting four different factories in the top four spots on the timesheets.
Australian star Chris Vermeulen, like team-mate Hopkins, has taken advantage of Suzuki's breakthroughs with their new machine, and was fifth quickest ahead of Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet, another rider impressing in Malaysia.
2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, along with Colin Edwards, Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri rounded off the top ten, ahead of Carlos Checa. The 34 year old Spaniard had taken part in an unusual bike exchange with Kenny Roberts Jr. today to gather data from and share opinions on the Honda engine used by both riders.
Weather at the Asian circuit was typically hot, with temperatures hitting well over 30 degrees celsius and humidity at 50%. If nothing else, such conditions will help those riders dropping weight for the smaller 800cc bikes to shed a few extra pounds before January 30th, when several MotoGP teams head to Australia for the Phillip Island Test.
Sepang Test MotoGP: Day Three
1. Valentino Rossi - Yamaha Racing 2'00.936
2. John Hopkins - Rizla Suzuki 2'01.026
3. Loris Capirossi - Ducati MotoGP 2'01.274
4. Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda 2'01.664
5. Chris Vermeulen - Rizla Suzuki 2'01.691
6. Randy De Puniet - Kawasaki Racing 2'01.878
7. Nicky Hayden - Repsol Honda 2'01.884
8. Colin Edwards - Yamaha Racing 2'02.266
9. Casey Stoner - Ducati MotoGP 2'02.407
10. Marco Melandri - Honda Gresini 2'02.489
11. Carlos Checa - Honda LCR 2'02.583
12. Alex Barros - Pramac d'Antin 2'02.630
13. Toni Elias - Honda Gresini 2'02.927
14. Alex Hofmann - Pramac d'Antin 2'03.040
15. Shinya Nakano - Konica Minolta Honda 2'03.077
16. Makoto Tamada - Yamaha Tech 3 2'03.308
17. Kenny Roberts JR - Team Roberts 2'03.330
18. Olivier Jacque - Kawasaki Racing 2'03.592
19. Shinichi Ito - Bridgestone MotoGP 2'03.973
Source: Dorna Communications
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