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Change of scenery for MotoGP teams down under

Change of scenery for MotoGP teams down under

Change of scenery for MotoGP teams down under

After two sets of preseason tests at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, a host of MotoGP teams headed south for a change of scenery this week as they prepared for three more days of development work at Phillip Island, Australia.

The full factory Honda contingent will once again join forces as they continue early evolution of the 2005 version RC211V. So far the signs have been good, with Makoto Tamada, Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau dominating the time sheets over the three days at Sepang and leaving Yamaha's reining World Champion Valentino Rossi trailing in their wake.

However, the time sheets don't always reveal the full story and, after missing the entire second day through illness, Rossi showed that Yamaha are making improvements of their own as he completed a full race simulation some 35 seconds quicker than at the Grand Prix last October.

Suzuki began and finished their testing programme before the other teams in Sepang and have had an extra couple of days' rest and reflection before the action gets underway again on Thursday. Kenny Roberts hailed the progress made by the Japanese factory's engineers as he lapped over a second inside Rossi's official record on race tyres whilst his team-mate John Hopkins smashed his own personal best by two and a half seconds.

Ducati also continue their hectic programme with a completely new machine, having also recorded positive results at Sepang. Whilst Capirossi had topped the time sheets in the first session at the end of January he was hit by illness last week and was unable to match his pace, but will be looking to make up for lost time in Australia.

Of the teams present at Sepang, only Kawasaki and D'Antin Ducati have not carried their journey on to Phillip Island, with Kawasaki returning to Europe in readiness for further tests on their new engine at Jerez later this month and D'Antin Ducati due to link up with several other factories for their next test in Qatar in March.

MotoGP, 2005

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