New to here

Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

Tamada finishes Sepang test on top

Tamada finishes Sepang test on top

Tamada finishes Sepang test on top

Makoto Tamada ended a positive first test for Honda with their 2005 version RC211V machines with the quickest lap time on the third and final day at Sepang on Sunday.

Tamada, still in the early stages of transition from Bridgestone to Michelin tyres, proved his status as a serious rival to Valentino Rossi in the MotoGP World Championship this season with a stunning lap time of 2'00.955, the only rider to dip under the 2'01 mark.

"Today we have obtained great results and this makes me feel really satisfied with the work done in this first test with the new Honda RC211V," said Tamada, who ended the session with a full race simulation.

"My physical condition has got better and this allowed me to be more aggressive on the racetrack, making me the fastest rider at the end of the day. This test only confirms that in the season that is about to begin, we'll be protagonists, because this is our objective.

"The team is fully dedicated to me, therefore I'm sure that we'll be able to find a good setting to be able to compete at every circuit on the 2005 calendar as soon as possible. Now we will go on the difficult circuit of Philip Island in Australia for three more days of tests, which should be a great exam for the season."

The Japanese star wasn't the only rider to complete a race simulation today, as the majority of his MotoGP rivals also put in a 21-lap stint. Max Biaggi was second fastest overall, continuing his recovery from a broken ankle in impressive fashion and providing valuable data to the HRC engineers as they look to build a challenge to Valentino Rossi and Yamaha in 2005.

Rossi returned to the track today after missing yesterday through illness and was the fastest non-Honda rider, clocking the fourth fastest time overall behind Alex Barros and Sete Gibernau.

Gibernau returned to his pit after a race simulation to make some quick set-up changes and went back out for a further eight laps, immediately improving his lap times and consistency to end the test on a high note. The Spaniard's team-mate Marco Melandri also leaves Malaysia in optimistic mood, having brought his time to within two-tenths of a second of last year's runner-up.

Loris Capirossi again ended his test early due to illness but was able to run up 42 laps in the morning with a decent best time of 2'01.452. Capirossi's Ducati team-mate Carlos Checa continued his adaptation to the Desmosedici with a 22-lap run on Bridgestone's new rear race tyre and maintained a solid pace in the 2'02s, with a best lap of 2'01.844.

Meanwhile, former World Superbike Champions Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss both continued to struggle having also switched machinery in the winter. Whilst Edwards took Checa's ride at Yamaha, Bayliss vacated the Ducati for the Spaniard and switched to Honda, where has yet to find a good base set-up for the RC211V and was the slowest rider on track today.

Their former WSBK rival Ruben Xaus is also having problems, missing the last two days of the test due to severe blistering on his backside caused by rubbing from the seat if the YZR-M1. Xaus' team-mate Toni Elías, however, was able to complete a race simulation and clocked the 13th best time.

Elsewhere, Kawasaki confirmed that the new specification Ninja ZX-RR machine they used for the first time in Sepang is indeed a ‘big bang' version of their inline four cylinder. Shinya Nakano led an intensive evaluation programme over the course of the two-day test, as Kawasaki engineers collected and collated the on track data necessary for the next stage in the engine development programme.

That development will now continue in Japan, with Nakano and his Kawasaki team-mate, Alex Hofmann, scheduled to test a revised version of the new engine at Jerez at the end of February.

The majority of Kawasaki's MotoGP rivals, meanwhile, now head to the Phillip Island circuit in Australia for further tests on the 17th, 18th and 18th February.

Unofficial lap times:

1. Makoto Tamada – Konica Minolta Honda : 2'00.955 (64)
2. Max Biaggi – Repsol Honda : 2'01.015 (78)
3. Alex Barros – Camel Honda : 2'01.159 (61)
4. Valentino Rossi – Gauloises Yamaha : 2'01.275
5. Sete Gibernau – Telefonica Movistar Honda : 2'01.373
6. Nicky Hayden – Repsol Honda : 2'01.385 (85)
7. Loris Capirossi – Ducati Marlboro : 2'01.452 (42)
8. Marco Melandri – Telefonica Movistar Honda : 2'01.506
9. Colin Edwards – Gauloises Yamaha : 2'01.641 (38)
10. Carlos Checa – Ducati Marlboro : 2'01.844 (77)
11. Shinichi Itoh – Ducati-Bridgestone TTT : 2'02.907 (43)
12. Shinya Nakano – Kawasaki : 2'03.571 (53)
13. Toni Elias – Fortuna Yamaha : 2'03.600
Troy Bayliss - Camel Honda : 2'03.729 (62)

MotoGP, 2005

Other updates you may be interested in ›