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Rossi points to race pace

Rossi points to race pace

Rossi points to race pace

Valentino Rossi cited his race pace as the major plus point as he left Sepang with the third fastest time after three days of tests on Tuesday. Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau were the only men to lap quicker than the reigning MotoGP World Champion but Rossi wasn't overtly concerned by their superior speed at the Malaysian circuit.

"Capirossi was really quick today and Ducati have taken some important steps forward," said Rossi, who clocked a best time of 2'01.36 after 45 laps. "I'm sure he did his 2'00.8 on qualifying tyres but even so, it's a great lap.

"I am very happy with this test, especially today. It's been a very important test with the new bike, and we've done some good work. We did quite a few laps together today and the bike felt really good, as did the tyres.

"We've improved from the race last year and from the last test in November, which is encouraging. We still have a lot of things to test with the new bike and a lot of work to do, but we are looking forward to another good test next month."

Rossi and Yamaha's new-recruit Colin Edwards both completed long runs on their 2005-specification YZR-M1s on Tuesaday afternoon and also spent time testing different tyres for Michelin, with Edwards recording a best time of 2'01'93 after 43 laps.

"Today was good," said the former World Superbike Champion. "I did a long run of laps in the hottest part of the day, and the wind had changed so all the brake markers were different!

"It took me a couple of laps to readjust and I made a few mistakes, but once I got settled I kept a good pace and it all felt okay. I'm leaving here on a positive note and I'm pleased with what we've achieved. I can't wait to come back and hopefully carry on the good work!"

Rossi's Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess endorsed his rider's optimism and says the team's preparations for the new season are already taking shape.

"The test has been a success and we're on schedule," said Burgess. "The lap times have been better and we've improved the new bike; we're not unhappy in any regard. This is only the first test of the year, but Yamaha has done an excellent job and given us a good bike, so now it's up to us to get it ready for the start of the season."

Daniele Romagnoli, Colin Edwards' Crew Chief, echoed the enthusiasm from the other side of the garage: "This has been a positive test all round," he said. "We've found a good feeling with the bike and the set-up is okay. The bike is turning well and we've improved stability over the course of the test.

"Colin did a long run this afternoon and his pace was fast, better than in the race last year. Of course we need to come back here for the next test and continue with everything we've been doing; we need to work on the settings for the chassis and suspension and continue making small improvements, but we've got a good base to start from."

MotoGP, 2005, Valentino Rossi

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