MotoGP Sepang test – Day 1
A selection of riders took to the track today under the heat of the Sepang sky for the second post season test, which is taking place over the next few days.
The intense humidity was broken up by a storm at lunchtime, although temperatures
stayed uncomfortable for the riders as they looked to continue their 800cc development.
Work is focused mostly on tyre development and fine tuning, although a number of riders are doing so on last year's 990cc bikes.
First out on track were the Rizla Suzuki team, led by test rider Nobuatsu Aoki swiftly followed by official riders John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen. Suzuki were putting miles on the clock of the new GSV-R, the team with the most amount of laps under their belt thus far in the test.
Another rider hard at work is Colin Edwards, who is penciled in to test only today and tomorrow. With Valentino Rossi on his way to New Zealand to compete in the World Rally Championship, Edwards was accompanied by test riders Wataru Yoshikawa and Norohiko Fujiwara as he took his turn to adapt to the official Yamaha 800cc bike.
Speaking after the first day's work, Edwards explained that “the first impressions of the 800cc are positive, and I'm comfortable on the bike. Valentino being the one responsible for the direction we go with the development in Japan is nothing new, so I'm just going to work on adapting to that and helping in any way I can.”
Honda representatives were World Champion Nicky Hayden, HRC test rider Tadayuki Okada and Spanish riders Toni Elias and Carlos Checa. The latter two were making their 800cc debuts, alhough put in few laps of the Sepang Circuit.
Marco Melandri and Dani Pedrosa both miss the test due to their respective recent arm operations, although their absence didn't affect the testing plans for the riders present in Malaysia.
Analysing the day's events, Checa rued the fact that a small problem with the Honda RC212V had used up valuable test time, in addition to the rain. Remaining positive, he explained that “starting a new project is always a good thing, and to be with Honda and the team that I have behind me is reassuring and stimulating at the same time. We definitely have everything we needed to aim big next season.”
An eager Elias had been waiting for the test, and although he was only able to complete 12 laps he provided a brief assessment of the 800cc Honda.
“It really is a huge change from last year's bike. I have a good feeling about the combination of machine and tyres, so hopefully this continues”, commented the Gresini rider.
DORNA / CAPSIS International