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MotoGP teams to return to testing this month at Sepang

MotoGP teams to return to testing this month at Sepang

MotoGP teams to return to testing this month at Sepang

After a month long testing ban over the holiday period a host of top MotoGP teams return to the track later this month at the first preseason tests of 2004. Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki have all scheduled tests at the Sepang International Circuit, with the main focus sure to be on Yamaha and the eagerly anticipated debut of Valentino Rossi on the YZR-M1.

In the light of huge media interest regarding the private test, which takes place alongside Suzuki on the 24, 25 and 26 January, Yamaha have decided to close the pit-lane and paddock area to the press, leaving only the outer track and grandstands available to photographers. However, the MotoGP World Champion will be addressing the media at the end of each day at a special press conference.

The full factory Yamaha team, which also includes Carlos Checa, Marco Melandri and Alex Barros, are scheduled to test alongside Suzuki riders John Hopkins and Kenny Roberts, who will continue to develop their relationship with Bridgestone tyres. Hopkins tested the tyres at the same circuit at the end of November, although it will be Roberts' first experience with the new rubber after spending last season with Michelin.

Although HRC have yet to confirm a direct replacement for Rossi in the Repsol Honda line-up, their full complement of official MotoGP riders will be at Sepang for three days starting on the 20th January. Nicky Hayden, Max Biaggi, Makoto Tamada, Sete Gibernau and Colin Edwards will all return to action for the first time since shakedown tests at Valencia last month and will all be keen to impress HRC officials as they stake their claim for priority treatment from the factory race department.

MotoGP, 2003

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