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Rain spoils last day of testing at Jerez

Rain spoils last day of testing at Jerez

Rain spoils last day of testing at Jerez

The final day of official tests for the teams in the MotoGP World Championship proved to be a complete washout today, with heavy rain falling throughout the day at the Jerez circuit in the south of Spain. Having lost most of yesterday due to a damp track, the riders were hoping that the weather forecasts would prove to be wrong so they could take advantage of the final hours of vital test-time. Nevertheless the storm-clouds gathered, and any practice laps which took place were amidst lashing rain and on a puddle-strewn track.

With the season in earnest beginning in two and a half weeks, and the cargo for the first round of the season in South Africa being sent from Spain within the next few days, today was the last chance for the teams to fulfil any late testing concerns they may have. Most riders took to the track to get some laps in under full wet conditions, but many chose to spend the day safely tucked inside their motorhomes or hospitality units.

Ruben Xaus was the fastest rider out on track in the morning, with his best lap of 1'54.907 set during a break in the downpours, when the Spaniard put in a solid number of laps to get accustomed to the feel of his Ducati Desmosedici in the wet. Later on in the afternoon however, Max Biaggi moved ahead of Xaus with a succession of quick laps as the rain once again let up briefly and the Italian was able to take advantage.

"I went out really today to improve my feeling on board the new chassis," remarked a sodden former 250cc World Champion. Having set a final best time of 1'53.834 the Honda rider continued, "Obviously you don't go as quick in these conditions and it's hard to find too much out, but we could reduce some of the problems we have been finding with the new bike, and it was beneficial – we did some good work today. I'm looking forward to the season starting now in South Africa, lots of riders are competitive and it will be a great race".

Biaggi and his Honda colleague Nicky Hayden got through the most amount of laps, the Italian completing 39, whilst the Kentucky-born American did 43, including a light crash. There were also crashes for Norick Abe, Ruben Xaus, and an off-track excursion for MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi. As is Rossi's habit though, the Italian didn't go to ground and went on to set a best lap of 2'00.997, the tenth fastest rider out, but the fastest of the test as a whole with his time from yesterday afternoon.

The MotoGP official tests have now come to a close, and the next action with all the teams together will be at the Welkom circuit in South Africa, for round one of the MotoGP World Championship, the betanwin.com Africa's Grand Prix.

Lap times supplied by the Circuito de Jerez:

1. M. Biaggi (Honda); 1'53.834 - 39 laps
2. R. Xaus (Ducati); 1'54.907 – 29 laps
3. T. Bayliss (Ducati); 1'55.017 - 30 laps
4. A. Barros (Honda); 1'55.544 – 13 laps
5. N. Hayden (Honda); 1'58.695 - 43 laps
6. K. Roberts (Suzuki); 1'58.751 – 7 laps
7. M. Melandri (Yamaha); 1'59.117 - 36 laps
8. V. Guareschi (Ducati); 1'59.783 – 24 laps
9. C. Checa (Yamaha); 2'00.147 - 17 laps
10. V. Rossi (Yamaha); 2'00.997 - 19 laps
11. L. Capirossi (Ducati); 2'01.138 – 13 laps
12. M. Tamada (Honda); 2'02.138 – 20 laps
13. N. Abe (Yamaha); 2'02.240 – 13 laps
14. G. Lavilla (Suzuki); 2'03.219 – 9 laps
15. J. Hopkins (Suzuki); 2'08.494 – 13 laps

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004

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