Rossi storms ahead on second day at Sepang

2007-02-06 10:19
The second Malaysian test of 2007 continued today at the Sepang Circuit, with seven riders upping the tempo on their adaptation to the new 800cc machines. They were greeted by the customary humidity present on MotoGP visits to southern Asia which, coupled with the absence of rain for the second consecutive session, allowed the teams to test out their newest prototypes under very specific conditions.

Five-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi topped the timesheets on the Yamaha M1 800cc, a bike on which the charismatic Italian seems ever more comfortable. Working predominantly on development of the team's Michelin tyres, Rossi clocked a time of 2'02.099 from 53 laps to put himself ahead of his team-mate and fastest rider from day one, Colin Edwards, by less than one hundredth of a second. Scarily for the rest of the competitors, Rossi yesterday proclaimed that the bike still lacks the horsepower he desires, and that further improvements are on the cards when they receive new parts from Japan.

Despite suffering a light crash, Randy de Puniet managed to go round third fastest at Sepang, undertaking the most laps of any rider with 67 as he performed a race simulation on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR800.

Makoto Tamada continued to work with the Yamaha Tech 3 version of the M1, and was the quickest rider from the Dunlop-shod satellite team. The Japanese star was still under a second slower than Rossi's official bike, which is an encouraging sign for Team Manager Herve Poncharal.

Olivier Jacque joined team-mate De Puniet in putting in a large number of laps, essential for the veteran after a season away from premier class racing. Trailing him was the second Tech 3 bike of Sylvain Guintoli, the only rookie in MotoGP this season.

It was another day of establishing a foundation for the Ilmor GP team. The newcomers to the premier class grid only have one rider, Andrew Pitt, testing for them this week, but are facing the challenge of developing the first 800cc bike to earn World Championship points with relish as they await the return to action of second rider Jeremy McWilliams who is recovering from a broken leg at home in Northern Ireland.

All four teams will undertake a final day of testing at Sepang tomorrow, ahead of next week's regrouping of the MotoGP grid for the Official Test in Qatar.

Sepang Test: Day 2
Unofficial Times

1. Valentino Rossi- Yamaha Racing 2'02.099 - 53 laps
2. Colin Edwards- Yamaha Racing 2'02.118 - 44
3. Randy de Puniet - Kawasaki Racing 2'02.554 - 67
4. Makoto Tamada - Yamaha Tech 3 2'02.745 - 46
5. Olivier Jacque - Kawasaki Racing 2'03.761 - 60
6. Sylvain Guintoli - Yamaha Tech 3 2'05.002 - 50
7. Andrew Pitt - Ilmor GP 2'07.923 - 47

Source: Dorna Communications

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