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MotoGP tests hit by rain on second day at Jerez

MotoGP tests hit by rain on second day at Jerez

MotoGP tests hit by rain on second day at Jerez

The MotoGP riders woke up to slashing rain at the Jerez circuit this morning as they prepared for the second of three days' testing at the southern Spanish track. With most of the teams having spent their pre-season testing programme working in the sunshine of Malaysia and Australia, it was a first opportunity for many riders to try out their 2005 machines in wet conditions; a valuable exercise considering the fact that last year's Grand Prix here was ridden entirely in the wet.

The very real possibility of there being a wet race somewhere along the seventeen races this year forced teams to try out their settings for the conditions, with reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi explaining the choice: "It was really important for us that it rained today, because we had never ridden this 2005 machine in the wet. Of course, it is also good preparation in case of a wet race too, which is always possible.

"We got some good feelings out of the new bike in those conditions this morning, and of course, there are a few little problems that need ironing out, but I was quick straight away. We might not be at 100% in the wet, but were not too bad at all."

The heavy rain came to a head around lunchtime, and with watery sunshine poking through the clouds, the riders decided to wait until the track was fully dry before embarking on further tests. Suzuki's Kenny Roberts was fastest in the wet conditions with a lap of 1'53.218, but once the action got going once more it was Kawasaki rider Shinya Nakano who surprisingly set the pace in the dry.

Nakano and his team-mate Alex Hofmann had both shown encouraging signs on the first day of the test and, although the lap times were not as fast today due to the inferior grip levels caused by the weather, the Japanese rider confirmed the progress being made with the Ninja ZX-RR machine. Nakano's best time of 1'42.112 was over a second slower than John Hopkins' effort yesterday but it was enough to secure top spot on the time sheets overnight as the riders cross their fingers for better conditions tomorrow.

"It's a good feeling to be fastest but the track conditions weren't so good today and there were a lot of wet patches," explained Nakano. "The new Bridgestone tyres are very compatible with this circuit in the dry and, together with the new ‘big bang' engine, there is a big improvement with the overall package. The tyre offers better side grip and the engine gives better throttle control in slippery conditions."

Nicky Hayden was again second fastest on the Honda, just 0.027 seconds behind Nakano and less than a tenth ahead of factory colleague Sete Gibernau. Hopkins was fourth fastest today on the Suzuki whilst Gibernau's team-mate Marco Melandri completed the top five. With Hofmann sixth fastest, Rossi made it four different manufacturers in the top seven riding the Yamaha.

MotoGP, 2005

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