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Torrential rain curtails action on opening day
Of Sepang MotoGP test
MotoGP winter testing resumed at the 5.548 km Sepang circuit in Malaysia today, the opening session of the scheduled three-day test.

Three Honda riders tested the RC212V 800cc V-four four-stroke over the three days under the guidance of the
RC212V project team.

Nicky Hayden, Hondas newly crowned 2006 MotoGP World Champion plus Toni Elias and Carlos Checa put the new generation Honda MotoGP machine through its paces round the Malaysian GP circuit.

However, only Hayden managed to complete a serious test session today as any meaningful testing was impossible after lunch due to a tropical downpour that flooded the track. The American rider put in 30-laps on his RCV and was relatively happy with the new machine recording a best lap time of 2m 04.60s.

Gresini Honda rider Toni Elias rode the RC212V for the first time and immediately felt at home on the new machine. The RC212V is a more compact package than its predecessor with a riding position closer to a 250cc machine than the 990cc V5 RC211V he raced in the 2006 MotoGP world championship.

Elias made two runs on the bike before the rain set in, a five-lap shake down stint to get a feel for the bike and make positional adjustments then a seven-lap outing with a best lap time at a respectable 2m 05.020s. In addition to unravelling the intricacies of the new machine the Spanish youngster has to evaluate the performance of the Bridgestone rubber Gresini Hondas new tyre supplier for 2007.

Spaniard Carlos Checa has signed for the LCR Honda Team and will race their RC212V in the 18-round championship in 2007.
Checa took the 800cc V-four four-stroke out on track for the first time today at Sepang today. The 34-year old made a late start to his first day with LCR and was almost immediately sidelined by the weather, completing just five laps before the heavens opened.

Honda rider lap times and quotes:

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 2m 04.60s - 30 dry laps.
"Today was not as productive as we hoped it would be. We started running but had a small problem with the electronics but once we changed the mapping it was OK and we were rollin again. But then the rain came and that was it for the day. I hung on hoping to get in some wet tyre testing but it didn't happen there was just too much water in turn three. Still we are set up for tomorrow ready to try out a few things based on what we did today. I just hope the next two days are dry."

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 2m 05.020s - 12 dry laps.
"It has not been a perfect day for us the weather didn't help at all we lost over three hours to the wet track. Everything is new for me I only got in 12-laps before the rain came so I need time before I can really say anything definite about the new generation MotoGP machine. But the first impression is that it feels good. The bike is slower than the 990cc RCV but it is more agile than the old bike - it changes direction very fast and I also like the riding position, its more like the riding position of a 250cc bike. We are also working with Bridgestone tyres for the first time so we start with a clear mind on machine and set up for this test. Both the team and I are very motivated this is a completely new start for us. All I can say is that I need to get as many laps practice on the bike as possible at this test to see the direction we need to take."

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 2m 10.88s - 5 dry laps.
"We started late because Tady (Tadayuki Okada - HRC test rider) had to take the bike out for a shake down test before I could ride it. When I got on the bike I only managed five full laps before the rain started and was in and out of the pits setting the machine to suit my riding style. Nothing is really clear, we didn't get any useful information because we did so few laps we also had a small problem with power delivery, something to do with the electronics but HRC fixed that."

Overall lap times:
Colin Edwards, Yamaha: 2m 03.50s.
Chris Vermeulen, Suzuki: 2m 04.03s.
John Hopkins, Suzuki: 2m 04.06s.
Olivier Jacque, 990cc Kawasaki: 2m 04.08s.
Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 2m 04.60s.
Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 2m 05.020s.
Makoto Tamada, 990cc Yamaha: 2m 05.110s.
Nobuatsu Aoki, Suzuki: 2m 06.60s.
Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 2m 10.88s.
Press Release Honda Motor Sports


     Colin Edwards' 800 debut interrupted by rain
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