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Final 2006 test gets underway at Jerez

Final 2006 test gets underway at Jerez

Final 2006 test gets underway at Jerez

The final test of the season, before the test ban is enforced on December 1st, began today at the Jerez circuit in Spain. Notable absentees from the Sepang test, such as Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Ducati's Loris Capirossi and Casey Stoner, resumed development duties on their new 800cc prototypes while the likes of Marco Melandri and Shinya Nakano enjoy their first proper pre-season test on 2007 machinery.

Early pre-season sensation Rizla Suzuki fields three riders for this three-day test, test-rider Nobu Aoki joining again the team's regulars, John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen, the surprise pacesetters of the previous tests.

While MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden is forced to sit out the test as he will undergo surgery later this week, Dani Pedrosa and Tady Okada continue the development of the new RC212V. Pedrosa is back on track for the first time since the test held at Valencia earlier this month, as he went under the knife to eliminate arm-pump issues.

Also in attendance at the Jerez test, the Ilmor Suter Racing Team with Jeremy McWilliams and Andrew Pitt. Team owner Mario Illien has yet to confirm his line-up for 2007, but said that an announcement could be made later this week. The Swiss team brought numerous new engine and chassis parts since their last outing in Valencia, right after the last GP of the season.

Various Honda 250cc teams are also testing at the Spanish track: 2006 runner-up Andrea Dovizioso is working with the Humangest Racing Team while Repsol Honda 250cc's Shuhei Aoyama is joined by 250cc rookie Julian Simon. Spanish outfit Wurth BQR also takes part in this test with reserve rider Rusell Gómez.

Low temperatures at Jerez meant that the riders only began working around 11.00am, Ducati test-rider Vittoriano Guareschi being the first on track, quickly followed by Ilmor riders McWilliams and Pitt. The latter saw his first run disrupted by a technical problem while Guareschi suffered a crash early on, both incidents interrupting briefly the session in its early stages.

After a late start, the test was hit by the rain around 1.00pm and halted the proceedings for a while.

Jerez Test - Day 1 - Times as of 2.30pm
1. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Team - 1'41.745
2. John Hopkins, Rizla Suzuki - 1'42.161
3. Colin Edwards, Yamaha Factory Team - 1'42.293
4. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda - 1'44.030
5. Loris Capirossi, Ducati Marlboro - 1'44.307
6. Chris Vermeulen, Rizla Suzuki - 1'44.394
7. Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda - 1'44.876
8. Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro - 1'45.574
9. Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda - 1'46.200
10. Jeremy McWilliams, Ilmor SRT - 1'47.216

MotoGP, 2006

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