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Gibernau leads Honda's 2005 revival at Sepang

Gibernau leads Honda's 2005 revival at Sepang

Gibernau leads Honda's 2005 revival at Sepang

Gibernau leads Honda's 2005 revival at Sepang Honda wheeled out their 2005 version RC211V machines for the first time at Sepang on Friday and enjoyed instant success, with Sete Gibernau setting the quickest time of a packed MotoGP session ahead of factory colleagues Alex Barros and Makoto Tamada.

Whilst Loris Capirossi and Ducati had set the pace here over a three-day session just a couple of weeks ago, the Italian tandem was brushed to one side today by HRC's powerful response to the feedback given to them by a fleet of seven riders at the first shakedown of the preseason in January.

"I am satisfied with today's result," commented Gibernau, who completed 64 laps. "We worked on the chassis, forks, front and rear suspension and we also did some tyre tests at the request of Michelin because of the high temperatures here in Malaysia.

"We have tested a lot of things and the most encouraging aspect for me is that the team, Honda and Michelin are all working in the same direction. We know where we have to improve: today we focussed on specific aspects of the chassis and tyres and I think that tomorrow we'll work on the electronics."

Capirossi was still on the pace with the fourth fastest time on an intensely hot day, with ambient temperatures of 38ºC and slippery track conditions making life difficult for the tyre technicians and riders. The Italian later reported feeling slightly ill, whilst compatriot Valentino Rossi ended the test early after complaining of a fever, having himself set the fifth fastest time.

Rossi's fellow Yamaha rider Ruben Xaus also ended the test earlier than scheduled after suffering severe discomfort with the burns and blisters he sustained from the M1 in the last Sepang session. The Spaniard is hopeful of returning to action on Saturday, whilst Yamaha's engineers are working on a new seat unit to accommodate his tall frame.

Elsewhere, Honda's joy at the early progress of the 2005 version RC211V was tempered slightly by an unfortunate incident in pit-lane, where Nicky Hayden and Max Biaggi both ended up on the floor after crashing into each other! Both riders escaped unhurt although minor repairs were needed to their bikes.

For Kawasaki only Shinya Nakano and a Japanese test rider were at the track today, completing a handful of laps with the factory's 2005 machine, which features a revised firing order.

Unofficial lap times

1. Sete Gibernau – Telefonica Movistar Honda : 2'01.76 (64 laps)
2. Alex Barros – Camel Honda : 2'02.08 (68)
3. Makoto Tamada – Konica Minolta Honda : 2'02.41
4. Loris Capirossi – Ducati Marlboro : 2'02.47 (54)
5. Valentino Rossi – Gauloises Yamaha : 2'02.53 (58)
6. Carlos Checa – Ducati Marlboro : 2'02.56 (58)
7. Max Biaggi – Repsol Honda : 2'02.60 (41)
8. Nicky Hayden – Repsol Honda : 2'02.67 (87)
9. Marco Melandri – Telefonica Movistar Honda : 2'02.69 (75)
10. Colin Edwards – Gauloises Yamaha : 2'02.98 (63)
11. Toni Elias – Fortuna Yamaha : 2'03.90 (60)
12. Rubén Xaus - Fortuna Yamaha : 2'04.08
13. Shinichi Itoh – Ducati-Bridgestone TTT : 2'04.30 (58)
14. Troy Bayliss – Camel Honda : 2'04.45 (59)

MotoGP, 2005

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