As MotoGP testing resumes at Phillip Island
After last week's opening MotoGP activity of the year in Malaysia the majority of the confirmed 2008 grid have moved onto the Australian circuit of Phillip Island where testing resumed today and will continue on Thursday and Friday.
The first day ‘Down Under' saw Yamaha Tech3's Colin Edwards top the timesheet with a qualifying tyre lap of 1'29.566s, maintaining his notable pre-season pace thus far after a good test in Sepang for the experienced Texan.
Just behind Edwards on the timesheet was Ducati Marlboro's reigning MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner, who produced a time of 1'30.178 on race tyres on the last of 73 laps undertaken.
The three 2008 MotoGP rookies present, Alex de Angelis (Honda Gresini), Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot) and James Toseland (Yamaha Tech3), all impressed with top five lap times – this being one of the few MotoGP venues already familiar to Toseland.
Meanwhile there are a trio of absentees from the timesheet, namely the injured Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), who is recovering from breaking his hand at Sepang, and Fiat Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, whose team have elected against testing in Australia this week.
Of those who are present it was the Kawasaki Racing pairing of John Hopkins and Anthony West, alongside Rizla Suzuki duo Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen and Ducati Marlboro's Marco Melandri who were the first out on track as the day commenced.
They were soon joined by Stoner who dedicated his first day at his home track to a thorough session of tyre testing, whilst Melandri focused on the set-up of the Desmosedici GP8 and improving his feeling with his new machinery – with some obvious success as he finished the day six fastest, to improve confidence following a tough time in Malaysia.
The day was free of any major incident, although the red flag was shown for an unusual reason at one stage as a large bird on track forced marshals to holt the session briefly. The riders have enjoyed good conditions, with little wind, blue skies, an ambient temperature of 27°C and a maximum track temperature of 48°C. They will return to the circuit for more work as of 9am local time on Thursday.
Phillip Island MotoGP 2008 winter test – day one lap times
1. Edwards Yamaha Tech3 1'29.566 (77)
2. Stoner Ducati Marlboro 1'30.178 (73)
3. De Angelis Honda Gresini 1'30.688 (70)
4. Dovizioso JiR Team Scot 1'30.701 (79)
5. Toseland Yamaha Tech3 1'30.864 (81)
Melandri Ducati Marlboro 1'30.869 (99)
7. Nakano Honda Gresini 1'31.111 (91)
8. Hayden Repsol Honda 1'31.226 (107)
9. Capirossi Rizla Suzuki 1'31.274 (82)
10. Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki 1'31.317 (99)
11. De Puniet Honda LCR 1'31.436 (103)
12. Hopkins Kawasaki Racing 1'31.623 (88)
13. West Kawasaki Racing 1'31.786 (72)
14. Guintoli Alice Team 1'32.484 (68)
15. Elias Alice Team 1'32.573 (90)
DORNA / CAPSIS International