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Next stop for MotoGP Winter Testing: Sepang

Next stop for MotoGP Winter Testing: Sepang

Next stop for MotoGP Winter Testing: Sepang

Although largely unseen by the general public, there is nearly as much activity in the MotoGP garages during the immediate post-season as during any race throughout the year. With a large number of teams taking to the track at the same time, the paddock almost resembles a scaled down Grand Prix model, and the data gathered during the winter is every bit as important.

The challenge of developing the new 800cc machines in earnest started last week, in the immediate aftermath of the final race of the season in Valencia. A number of riders were experiencing their first ride on the new generation of bikes, having opted to focus on the 990cc at Brno and Motegi. Amongst those riders was newly-crowned World Champion Nicky Hayden, who's team-mate Dani Pedrosa was already feeling at home on the smaller prototype. Rizla Suzuki's official riders, John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen , were also making their debut on the new GSV-R, and put in impressive times to boot.

November will be a busy month for the teams, with two additional tests to be carried out over the coming weeks. The next stop for the whirlwind testing tour will be Sepang in nine days time, where Camel Yamaha, Rizla Suzuki (accompanied by their World Superbike team), Repsol Honda, Gresini Honda (who will be debuting their 2007 machine after using the 990cc at Valencia) LCR Honda, Tech 3 Yamaha and Kawasaki will all take to the track from the 15th to the 17th. Alongside the new bikes, it will be the first time back out on the asphalt since the epic 2006 finale for Colin Edwards and Carlos Checa.

After their Malaysian sojourn, a different selection of teams will head to Spain for their final appearance of the year. Camel Yamaha, Repsol Honda, Ducati Marlboro, Gresini Honda, LCR Honda, Pramac d'Antin, Konica Minolta Honda and Ilmor head to Jerez from the 28th to the 30th to complete their year's work before the testing ban comes into force in December. There will also be an appearance from the Honda 250cc test team over the three days.

MotoGP, 2006

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