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Melandri and Bayliss take Honda bow at Jerez test

Melandri and Bayliss take Honda bow at Jerez test

Melandri and Bayliss take Honda bow at Jerez test

Marco Melandri and Troy Bayliss completed their first laps aboard the Honda RC211V machines they will ride in the 2005 MotoGP World Championship at a busy MotoGP test at the Jerez circuit in Spain on Wednesday.

Melandri has signed a deal to ride for the Telefonica Movistar Honda team alongside Sete Gibernau, whilst an announcement was made on Monday that Bayliss will partner Alex Barros at Camel Honda.

Whilst Barros did not ride today as he continues to recover from a shoulder problem and Max Biaggi is recovering from an operation on his broken ankle, Melandri and Bayliss were joined on track by Gibernau and the remainder of the HRC squad - including Makoto Tamada, making his first test on Michelin tyres with the Konica Minolta Honda Team, Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden and Japanese factory test pair Tohru Ukawa and Shinichi Itoh.

"I am really excited, this is an important day for me," said Melandri, who set a best lap of 1'42.468. "After just a few kilometres with the Honda I could tell that it is a great bike but, obviously, it doesn't ride itself.

"The engine is very powerful and I was impressed. It's a different bike to the Yamaha and I think that it suits my riding style more, although I know that I will have to make some changes myself to adapt properly to the bike.

"I also need a lot more laps before I really get to know the bike because I have hardly worked with it and right now the most important thing is to develop it and learn as much as possible so that we are on top form at the first Grand Prix.

"To be in an Italian team with so much potential is also very important. I know that they are behind me and they want to help me whenever they can. That has given me a lot of my confidence back and I am really enthusiastic about this new project.

"The fact that I will have Sete as a team-mate is also excellent because right now he is the benchmark for the Honda riders and I like him both as a rider and as a person."

Ducati riders Loris Capirossi and Carlos Checa continued tyre tests with Bridgestone today, as did Kawasaki men Alex Hofmann and Shinya Nakano. Capirossi was again the fastest man on the circuit with a lap of 1'41.150, well inside Valentino Rossi's 2003 lap record of 1'42.788 and just two tenths of a second quicker than his Spanish team-mate.

Meanwhile, Régis Laconi continued in his test role for Ducati Marlboro whilst Jeremy McWilliams returned to testing duties for Aprilia after riding the Proton KR – KTM machine yesterday and this morning.

Unofficial lap times:

Loris Capirossi (Ducati): 1'41'150
Carlos Checa (Ducati): 1'41'314
Nicky Hayden (Honda): 1'41'377
Sete Gibernau (Honda): 1'41'654
Makoto Tamada (Honda): 1'41'935
Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki): 1'41'945
Marco Melandri (Honda): 1'42'468
Alex Hofmann (Kawasaki): 1'42'472
Troy Bayliss (Honda): 1'42'806
Shinichi Itoh (Honda): 1'42'822
Tohru Ukawa (Honda): 1'43'015
Jeremy McWilliams (Aprilia): 1'43'084
Régis Laconi (Ducati) : 1'43'312
Marcellino Lucchi (Aprilia) : 1'43'775
Shane Byrne (Aprilia): 1'43.957

MotoGP, 2004, Marco Melandri

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