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Capirossi quickest on first day at Sepang

Capirossi quickest on first day at Sepang

Capirossi quickest on first day at Sepang

Loris Capirossi set the quickest time on the first day of MotoGP tests in perfect weather conditions at Sepang on Sunday.

Unveiled just three days ago at the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort in Italy, the Desmosedici GP5 adapted swiftly to the demands of the Malaysian circuit and Capirossi and his new team-mate Carlos Checa completed 46 and 39 laps respectively, with the Italian setting an extraordinary time of 2'02.18.

"It felt great to get back on the bike again after more than a month's inactivity" declared Capirossi. "At the end of this first day of testing I'm really satisfied and convinced that we are going in the right direction with the GP5.

"In addition I have to admit that the Bridgestone tyres have also given me positive indications here at Sepang, especially the front tyre. At the end of the day I even set a great time, but we have to keep our feet firmly on the ground and continue to work with passion and enthusiasm."

World Champion Valentino Rossi was second fastest on the 2005 version Yamaha YZR-M1, with his team-mate Colin Edwards also impressive in his first official appearance with the Japanese factory.

Ruben Xaus also took his bow with Yamaha, riding the M1 for the first time as part of the Fortuna Yamaha Tech3 satellite squad run by Hervé Poncharal. Xaus' Spanish team-mate Toni Elias endured a tough first day, dislocating the little finger on his right hand after a low-speed crash.

Alex Barros was the fastest Honda rider on his return to the satellite Camel Honda team run by Sito Pons, the Brazilian setting the third fastest time of the day overall. Barros quickly found a base set-up for the RC211V, something that could unfortunately not be said for his new team-mate Troy Bayliss.

In vastly different conditions to his previous two outings on the Honda at Valencia and Jerez, Bayliss lapped relentlessly until the track closed at 6pm and is confident of making a breakthrough in tomorrow's second day.

Max Biaggi made his first appearance in Repsol Honda colours, backed by Chief Technician Erv Kanemoto. The Italian was wearing a special Dainese boot designed to protect the healing astralagus bone that he broke in a supermoto accident last November and gave it a positive evaluation, reporting discomfort only when changing gear.

Kawasaki riders Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann both opted to start the test aboard their 2004 version Ninja ZX-RR machines as they aimed to get back up to speed after such a long layoff, but Nakano took the opportunity to put the 2005 version through its paces in the afternoon with favourable results.

Finally, Suzuki pair Kenny Roberts and John Hopkins continued their testing programme, having started two days earlier than the other teams. Roberts set the fourth fastest time on Sunday, with both riders set to continue for one final session on Monday.

Unofficial lap times provided by the teams:

Loris Capirossi (Ducati): 2'02.18
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha): 2'02.30
Alex Barros (Honda): 2'02.71
Kenny Roberts (Suzuki): 2'03.00
Colin Edwards (Yamaha): 2'03.08
Nicky Hayden (Honda): 2'03.17
Max Biaggi (Honda): 2'03.35
Sete Gibernau (Honda): 2'03.40
Marco Melandri (Honda): 2'03.50
Carlos Checa (Ducati): 2'03.57
Makoto Tamada (Honda): 2'03.63
Troy Bayliss (Honda): 2'04.8
Ruben Xaus (Yamaha): 2'04.9
Toni Elías (Yamaha): 2'05.2

MotoGP, 2005, Loris Capirossi

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