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Riders take to the track for 800cc testing

Riders take to the track for 800cc testing

Riders take to the track for 800cc testing

Yesterday marked the first post-season 800cc MotoGP test in preparation for 2007 and beyond. Continuing where 2006 left off, a number of riders either debuted or continued to put in laps with the new premier class machines at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.

Valentino Rossi was the fastest round the Spanish track yesterday, with a time of 133.10 on the Yamaha 800cc. The lap was some way off the 1.31.002 lap which put him on pole for last Sunday's race. Rossi is the only Camel Yamaha rider testing this week, with Colin Edwards heading back home to allow the Italian full use of the new machine, of which there is only a single prototype.

Another important moment from yesterday was the appearance of new champion Nicky Hayden at the scene of his title triumph, making his debut on the Honda RC212V which he had been unable to use at Motegi. Both Hayden and team-mate Dani Pedrosa shared a bike for the test, with the American utilizing his usual test-tactic of putting in the most laps of any rider. The Kentucky Kid's 87 laps gave him a crash course in 800cc riding, with Pedrosa adding a further 73 to the new Honda's clock.

After recieving special dispensation from Lucio Cecchinello to allow him to make an early switch. Casey Stoner made his debut in Ducati colours. Riding round in 1'33.41 as a fastest lap, his times were close to those of new team-mate Loris Capirossi on the Desmosedici GP07, with the Italian already having used the machine after races in Brno, Motegi and Estoril.

Rizla Suzuki riders John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen also got their first taste of 800cc action, riding their new bikes which had only previously been used by their official test riders. Alex Barros made his full return to the MotoGP scene with a respectable adaptation to the 800cc Pramac d'Antin bike with which he will make his comeback to the World Championship.

Fausto Gresini this week confirmed that his team was making the switch to Bridgestone tyres for next season after a seven year partnership with Michelin, but could only use the new rubber on the 990cc Honda RC211V, with their new bike unavailable until the Malaysian test later this month.

Using Garry McCoy for their 2 wildcard appearances in Estoril and Valencia, Ilmor changed their tactics on Wednesday by giving the Australian's former MotoGP team-mate Andrew Pitt and returning favourite Jeremy McWilliams a run-out on their 2007 prototype.

Unofficial Times (800cc bikes only)

1.Valentino Rossi Camel Yamaha 1.33.10 43 laps
2. Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro 1.33.11 53 laps
5. John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki 1.33.13 29 laps
6.Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki 1.33.17 40 laps
7. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 1.33.21 73 laps
8. Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro 1.33.43 77 laps
9.Alex Barros Ducati D'antín 1.33.60 61 laps
10. Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda 1.33.66 87 laps
11. Jeremy McWilliams Ilmor GP 1.36.30 60 laps
12. Andrew Pitt Ilmor GP 1.36.60 22 laps
13. Nobuatsu Aoki Rizla Suzuki 1.37.25 24 laps

MotoGP, 2006

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