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MotoGP Preseason Review

MotoGP Preseason Review

MotoGP Preseason Review

With the Official Tests of Catalunya and Jerez nearly upon us, MotoGP has already witnessed an exciting 2006 preseason. There are sure to be many surprises still to come, but to whet your appetite for next week's session in Montmeló, motogp.com provides you with a review of all the post-winter break action so far.

Sepang Test 1: February 23rd- 25th

The resumption of preseason after the winter break saw a number of teams heading to Malaysia for tests at the Sepang Circuit.

Day 1:

Rossi went fastest on the first session back, although with a chattering problem on the M1 that would persist throughout preseason. Melandri was just off him, with young rookie Dani Pedrosa starting well on the previous year's RC211V.

Day 2:

On the second day in Sepang, Ducati took the top two spots on the timesheets. Sete Gibernau knocked half a second off Rossi's time from the previous day, and went faster than teammate Loris Capirossi's 2005 pole. Pedrosa stayed on the track thirty minutes extra to ride on his own in the wet for the first time. Meanwhile Suzuki suffered a few setbacks with their new GSV-R, specifically with the power distribution and the electronics.

Day 3:

In the final session, Marco Melandri rode round in 2´01.09, very close to the Ducati riders' second day time after fine-tuning problems, but he still couldn't prevent a Ducati one-two. Sete Gibernau earned the fastest time of the test, a 2'01.03 lap highlighting his impressive adaptation to the Desmosedici GP06.

Phillip Island Test: January 31st – February 2nd

One week later, all teams who attended the Malaysia test -save Yamaha and Suzuki who opted to test in Qatar the same week- headed to Phillip Island to continue the preseason. The test also saw the Konica Minolta Team's return to the track.

Day 1:

Melandri, Hayden and hometown boy Casey Stoner showed impressive form on day one in Australia. A notable incident was D'Antin Ducati's Alex Hofmann crashing and postponing testing until the following day.

Day 2:

Day two was something of a washout. Some riders elected not to take to the track, whilst others undertook untimed laps to test out wet tyres.

Day 3:

Ducati and Marco Melandri continued their strong start on the third day down under. Another Ducati one-two, with Gibernau fastest at 1'30.06, underlined their preseason dominance. Nicky Hayden suffered a spectacular crash at the end of his 95 laps, although without serious repurcussions.

Qatar Test: February 5th – February 7th

A selection of teams opted to head to the Losail circuit for testing, although it was to be a somewhat staggered occasion. Valentino Rossi was the focus of much media attention the previous week whilst testing a Ferrari Formula 1 car in Valencia, and he and Colin Edwards would miss the first day in Qatar.

Day 1:

Only Suzuki, Yamaha Tech 3 and the Kawasaki and Ducati test riders took to the track on the first day, with returning rider Carlos Checa going fastest on his welcome comeback. Checa had been a doubt for the 2006 season as a result of Sito Pons' withdrawal from MotoGP, but a late deal struck with Yamaha Tech 3 means he will now race alongside James Ellison.

Day 2:

Checa suffered a crash on day two and was concussed, drawing his session to a close, whilst Suzuki seemed to have resolved the electronic problem. Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards joined the test for the second session, and headed the leaderboard with a one-two ahead of John Hopkins.

Day 3:

Rossi and Edwards were again fastest the following day, with times of 1.56.53 and 1.56.81 respectively. Checa returned from his head rattling crash to ride round in 1.56.9, a phenomenal result for the Spaniard. John Hopkins finished at midday due to engine problems, which he would see resolved by the end of the test.

Day 4:

Yamaha tested alone to round off their stay in Qatar. Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were quickly able to complete the remaining Michelin tyre work required, before concluding the test with long runs in the afternoon. Neither improved on their previous day's times, and there was still a niggling chattering problem with the M1.

Sepang Test 2: February 14th – February 16th

The majority of teams gathered in Sepang for the second time just one week ago, undertaking the most recent batch of tests.

Day 1:

Light afternoon rainfall affected the first day in Malaysia, with some riders deciding against taking to the track in the afternoon, preferring to wait for another opporunity to test in the dry.

A crash from Marco Melandri forced him onto his second bike, which he took round in 2´01.66, the fastest time of the day and indeed of the entire three days in Sepang.

Casey Stoner was still feeling the ill-effects of his shoulder injury (suffered whilst practising at Phillip Island) and only lapped during the morning. The rookie then went to hospital in order to undergo x-rays, revealing he needed surgery that will keep him out of the Official Tests in Catalunya and Jerez.

The big news from the test was Dani Pedrosa taking his first outing on the 2006 RC211V, decked in the Honda 2006 leathers for the first time

Day 2:

Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano was the surprise leader on day 2, lapping in 2'01.80 before a heavy downpour drew the test to a close. Sete Gibernau saw his test disrupted further by a stomach complaint, with Capirossi, Rossi, Hopkins and Pedrosa as a very tightly packed top 5.

Day 3:

On a damp final day, the riders stayed in boxes until midday, then after further inturruptions drew their day to a close at around 4.20pm. Loris Capirossi and Valentino Rossi continued their superb preseasons, although Sete Gibernau was again unable to carry out the planned Bridgestone Tyre tests.

So, all eyes will be on Catalunya next week, when the Official Test promises to bring much more excitement to the world of MotoGP from Tuesday.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006

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