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The young riders' set for MotoGP ‘rebellion'

The young riders' set for MotoGP ‘rebellion'

The young riders' set for MotoGP ‘rebellion'

The MotoGP favourites focussed last week in attempting the best set-up for their bikes rather than achieve good time laps in their tests. Meanwhile, the young guns in the class took advantage from the ‘timing void' to firmly show their skills. Does this indicate a changing of the guard? With no doubt, some of the youthful protagonists seized the opportunity to make there voices heard just one week from the season opener.

Nicky Hayden, Marco Melandri and John Hopkins became the main stars of the final pre-season practice session, take the three top places in the time sheets, outshining the usual leaders Rossi, Gibernau and Biaggi.

The American Repsol Honda rider needs to raise his game this season within the factory Honda set-up. Since he arrived in 2003 after clinching the AMA Superbikes title, Hayden has posted varying results in his two MotoGP campaigns. Hayden surprised in his first term with two podiums and the fifth final place overall in standings. Last year things changed. Hayden returned to podium twice but his inconsistency made him fall three positions overall. The 23 year old is now looking to vindicate himself.

Marco Melandri arrived to first class with a great track record after his 250cc exhibition in 2002. The Italian has been gaining experience in last two seasons. Melandri surprised everybody with an outstanding start last year, two podium places produced at Catalunya and Assen but couldn't maintain this level. Melandri still managed to improve three places in relation with his previous classification in 2003. His change to Honda as the new teammate of Gibernau could at last see him take the platform and fight regularly to reach leading positions.

John Hopkins could also be one of the big surprises in 2005. His career has some parallels with Nicky Hayden's. After shining in American championships, Yamaha duly snapped him up to ride in the 2002 Red Bull 500cc team. Hopkins then began to achieve some impressive results with Suzuki although an ankle injury afflicted his 2004 shout. Now back to fitness and stronger than ever, Hopkins will hope to take the more competitive Suzuki to a whole new level.

MotoGP, 2005

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