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Rossi takes control on final day ‘Down Under'

Rossi takes control on final day ‘Down Under'

Rossi takes control on final day ‘Down Under'

Valentino Rossi made the most of the absence of Sete Gibernau to post the fastest lap of all three days of MotoGP tests at Phillip Island on Saturday.

In slightly cooler conditions than the previous two days, including a brief rain shower around lunchtime, Rossi recorded a best time of 1'29.68, faster than his own circuit best time of 1'30.068 set on the Honda RC211V during the 2003 Grand Prix here.

"This morning we tried some different settings from yesterday and they worked better," said Rossi. "We found more agility in the bike. Then we continued testing tyres for Michelin, which were good. The test has been quite positive and we have collected some useful information which we'll continue to work with when we return here soon."

Nicky Hayden stepped up his pace to become the only other rider to crack the 1'30 mark, finishing the test second fastest overall, with Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi having dipped into the 1'29s yesterday and producing consistently quick times again today.

Makoto Tamada did not ride today and has returned to Japan for treatment on injuries to his left foot and hand, sustained in a crash on the first day of the test. However, the Japanese rider should be back in action for HRC's next test at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, starting on 1st March.

The Ducati Marlboro Team concluded its testing programme at Phillip Island with a whole session devoted to rear tyres on Saturday, with Carlos Checa and Loris Capirossi keeping virtually the same set-up for the whole day as they ran through a batch of new and used Bridgestone rubber.

Checa was in particularly good form, having found an ideal set-up for the circuit yesterday and finding an improved tyre today which allowed him to bring his time down to 1'29.86. Capirossi also found time for suspension set-up and engine mapping work as he looked to improve the driveability of his Desmosedici GP5, ending the session with a quickest time of 1'30.18 after 59 laps.

Team Suzuki also reported with Bridgestone tyres after themselves making positive progress throughout the three days of the test. John Hopkins ended the session with the eighth fastest time after clocking a best lap of 1'30.85, over a second quicker than his qualifying time from the Grand Prix here last October.

Camel Honda rider Alex Barros and his Chief Engineer Ramon Forcada admitted that tests on a new front fork specially designed for the fast corners at Phillip Island had not gone to plan, although there was better news on the opposite side of the garage where Troy Bayliss reported gradual progress with the base set-up of his RC211V after initially struggling to make the switch from the Ducati Desmosedici he has ridden for the past two seasons.

Marco Melandri was back to his best form on Saturday after consecutive crashes on the first two days of tests at Phillip Island had robbed him of valuable time as he continues to adapt to the Honda RC211V. The Italian today completed a marathon number of laps as he recovered his confidence with the bike, crossing the line no fewer than 122 times and ending the day with a 27-lap race simulation, setting his best time on the 20th lap.

Unofficial lap times:

1. Valentino Rossi – Gauloises Yamaha - 1' 29.68
2. Nicky Hayden – Repsol Honda - 1'29.69
3. Carlos Checa – Ducati Marlboro - 1'29.86
4. Max Biaggi – Repsol Honda -1'29.88
5. Loris Capirossi – Ducati Marlboro - 1' 30.18
6. Colin Edwards – Gauloises Yamaha - 1'30.23
7. Alex Barros – Camel Honda -1'30.55
8. John Hopkins – Team Suzuki - 1'30.85
9. Marco Melandri – Telefonica Movistar Honda - 1' 30.90
10. Troy Bayliss – Camel Honda - 1' 30.98
11. Kenny Roberts – Team Suzuki – 1'31.21
12. Ruben Xaus – Fortuna Yamaha - 1'31.98
13. Toni Elias – Fortuna Yamaha - 1'32. 96

MotoGP, 2005

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