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Suzuki and Yamaha begin Sepang test

Suzuki and Yamaha begin Sepang test

Suzuki and Yamaha begin Sepang test

After having had a brief first shakedown test with the 2005 Yamaha M1 prototype in Valencia three weeks ago, MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi today began the first full test session with his new machine alongside team-mate Colin Edwards and Suzuki test pair Kousuke Akiyoshi and Nobuatsu Aoki at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

Rossi also showed off a new helmet design, which he plans to use throughout the pre-season test programme, and which continues the theme of himself as a cleaner, which he first showed off on a t-shirt after his title was sealed at the Australian GP earlier this year. With a washing powder-style ‘Rossi' logo on either side, the helmet boasts how he cleansed the rather ‘dirty' worlds of 125, 250, 500 and MotoGP.

Rossi, who took the seventh of his nine wins of 2004 at this track in October, completed 55 laps and recorded a best time of 2'02.50. Edwards completed 75 laps with a best time of 2'03.10. With the press kept at a distance from the pit lane action, and a high amount of secrecy surrounding the new bike, Gauloises Yamaha Team Manager, Davide Brivio, explained the situation the team find themselves in.

"The 2005 M1 is virtually a completely new machine, and so it is like starting over from scratch all over again. The engineers are working closely with Valentino to decide which way to go on this new project, because it was felt that the 2004 machine had practically reached as far as it could go.

"We still have the championship-winning bike here with us, but we are now especially working on getting more engine power, something which Valentino has asked for all year. After this session, he will take a well-earned holiday, whilst unfortunately for the technicians it will be a winter full of hard work, with under six months before the new season begins."

After several seasons with Proton Team KR, Aoki returned to the factory where he made his name in the 500cc class to work on development of the GSV-R prototype with Bridgestone tyres.

Suzuki's lead duo of John Hopkins and Kenny Roberts Jr. are both currently nursing their respective wounds – Hopkins after his recent operation, and Roberts still struggling with the elbow injury which saw him miss the final four races of the season.

The test continues for the next two days at the Sepang circuit.

MotoGP, 2004

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