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Biaggi leads Honda charge on first day of MotoGP Official Test

Biaggi leads Honda charge on first day of MotoGP Official Test

Biaggi leads Honda charge on first day of MotoGP Official Test

Max Biaggi ended his first formal appearance as part of HRC's 2005 factory squad with the fastest time on the opening day of the MotoGP Official Test at Catalunya on Friday. Biaggi led a Honda charge at the top of the time sheets, with the fastest four riders all on board the Japanese factory's 2005 version RC211V machine. Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, the reigning World Champion, was fifth fastest after complaining of set-up problems with his new YZR-M1 machine.

"We've been working the whole day to find the right set-up for this track," said Biaggi, who dislodged Sete Gibernau from top spot with his very last lap as the chequered flag was waved. "We tried some new front tyres but basically the bike is still the same. Tomorrow we'll test some new parts, mainly suspension, to make the bike easier to ride through the corners."

Gibernau was the second fastest rider at his home circuit after dominating proceedings for the majority of the day. Gibernau's team-mate Marco Melandri, preparing for his first season in the premier-class with Honda, continued his good form after the factory's most recent test in Qatar last week and ended fourth fastest despite heading the standings in the closing stages of the test.

Rossi's official defence of his title began in relatively discreet fashion but with two full days of tests to go his rivals will know better than to feel too complacent. His Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards is also lurking closing in ominously on the top riders after switching from Honda this winter, the American setting the sixth fastest time today.

With Alex Barros seventh fastest, Loris Capirossi was the first rider not on a Honda or a Yamaha in eighth place. The Ducati rider was less than a second adrift of Biaggi at the top of the standings, however, and after an encouraging opening day with the Deesmosedici GP5 he will hold hopes of repeating his feat from two years ago, when he became the first winner of the BMW Award.

The latest edition of the BMW Award, which is offering a BMW Series 1 car to the fastest rider in a televised 40-minute session, takes place on the final day of the test on Sunday, starting at 14.00h. In the meantime, the test continues with a further eight-hour session from 10.00h to 18.00h on Saturday.

MotoGP, 2005, Max Biaggi

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