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Honda's young guns set early pace in OZ test

Honda's young guns set early pace in OZ test

Honda's young guns set early pace in OZ test

Honda riders Marco Melandri, Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner formed the top 3 of the first day of testing at the Phillip Island circuit. The riders enjoyed a sunny day after early fog and wind, to resume their preparation for the upcoming season.

Fortuna Honda rider Marco Melandri topped the time sheet with a best time clocked in 1'30.72. The young Italian, a two-time GP winner last season, was only four tenths off the best time he had posted in last year's Australian Grand Prix. Nicky Hayden, who had clinched pole in the previous GP held at the Australian track, was second fastest ahead of Casey Stoner. The LCR Honda man was riding the RC211V for the first time on his 'home track' and finished the day ahead of Spaniards Sete Gibernau and Dani Pedrosa.

Kenny Roberts Jr confirmed the promising debuts of the Honda-powered KR prototype to be no fluke by posting the seventh fastest time. The former World Champion continues to work on the same chassis used last week in Malaysia, but revealed that he would get an upgraded machine for the following test, when the team goes back to Sepang in a fortnight.

This test marks the beginning of the Konica Minolta Honda team´s pre-season, as Makoto Tamada joined his colleagues for his first test session of the year. The Kawasaki Racing team is also present at the Australian circuit and unveiled today the 2006 livery of the Ninja ZX-RR. D'Antin Pramac rider Alex Hofmann suffered a crash in the morning and was out of action for the rest of the day as he injured his elbow. Hopefully he should be able to resume testing tomorrow.

Day 1/3 - Unofficial lap times
1. Marco Melandri - (Fortuna Honda) 1.30.72
2. Nicky Hayden - (Repsol Honda) 1.30.94
3. Casey Stoner - (LCR Honda) 1.31.00
4. Sete Gibernau - (Ducati Marlboro) 1.31.25
5. Dani Pedrosa - (Repsol Honda) 1.31.49
6. Loris Capirossi - (Ducati Marlboro) 1.31.61
7. Kenny Roberts - (KR Honda) 1.31.65
8. Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda) 1.31.88
9. Shinya Nakano - (Kawasaki Racing) 1.32.04
10. Toni Elías - (Fortuna Honda) 1.32.34
11. Randy de Puniet - (Kawasaki Racing) 1.32.58
12. Jose Luis Cardoso- (D´Antín Ducati) 1.32.78
13. Alex Hofmann - (D'Antin Ducati) 1.32.97

MotoGP, 2006

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