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Melandri tops timesheets on wet MotoGP Official Test opener at Jerez

Melandri tops timesheets on wet MotoGP Official Test opener at Jerez

With MotoGP's two-stroke classes concluding their designated testing days at Jerez yesterday, the premier class today took to the track for the first of three Official Test sessions.

With MotoGP's two-stroke classes concluding their designated testing days at Jerez yesterday, the premier class today took to the track for the first of three Official Test sessions.

As has been the case throughout the week, meteorological conditions at the Spanish circuit hampered any early outings for the teams. With the track still wet from yesterday, and skies overcast, turns on track were taken at a leisurely pace due to the inability to test either wet or dry settings. A downpour at around 12pm local time finally provided the grid with fully wet conditions, and this prompted a buzz of activity in the garages. First out were the test riders for Ducati and Suzuki, joined shortly after by Kawasaki Racing regular Olivier Jacque. From then the pace picked up, as the skies cleared slightly and the track slowly dried.

Marco Melandri was the fastest rider of the day, heading the field for the first time this preseason. He clocked a time of 1'42.563 on his Honda RC212V, which was presented this morning as one of a series of team photos.

Also on the pace was Ducati's Casey Stoner, who was less than a tenth of a second off the former 250cc World Champion's hot lap. Both riders were using Bridgestone tyres, having made the switch from Michelins at the end of last season.

Home rider Dani Pedrosa was the only other MotoGP star to break the 1'43 barrier, continuing his recent run of good form. The Spaniard rounded off the previous visit to Jerez, at the final test of 2006, as the quickest rider at the Spanish circuit, and seems to be well adapted to the new 800cc Honda.

Another local favourite, Carlos Checa also had an excellent day of testing on the RC212V. The veteran managed 48 laps on day one, one of the most active of the regular MotoGP riders.

Alex Barros and Randy de Puniet completed a top six comprising of as many different teams, within a second of Melandri's fastest time, illustrating the competitive environment provided by the 800cc machines. On a good day for Bridgestone, Loris Capirossi, Alex Hofmann and Toni Elias all added to the Japanese tyre manufacturer's presence in the top ten, which was rounded off by Shinya Nakano.

Both World Champion Nicky Hayden and last year's runner up Valentino Rossi were outside the fastest ten, with the former 19th quickest and the latter 13th.

MotoGP action continues tomorrow and Sunday, as the riders prepare for the season-opening race on March 10th in Qatar. The final day of practice in Jerez plays host to the 40 minute "qualifying session" where one member of the premier class grid will drive away with a brand new BMW.

MotoGP Official Test Jerez
Day One Official Times

1. Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini) - 1'42.563
2. Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 1'42.634
3. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) - 1'42.796
4. Carlos Checa (Honda LCR) - 1'43.206
5. Alex Barros (Pramac d'Antin) - 1'43.214
6. Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 1'43.315
7. Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 1'43.475
8. Alex Hofmann (Pramac d'Antin) - 1'43.673
9. Toni Elias (Honda Gresini) - 1'43.687
10. Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda) - 1'43.817
11. Colin Edwards (Yamaha Factory Racing) - 1'43.845
12. Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'44.052
13. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing Team) - 1'44.494
14. Olivier Jacque (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 1'44.659
15. Makoto Tamada (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3) - 1'45.081
16. Sylvain Guintoli (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3) - 1'45.208
17. Vittoriano Guareschi (Ducati Marlboro) - 1'45.603
18. Shinichi Ito (Ducati Marlboro) - 1'45.826
19. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) - 1'45.901
20. Kousuke Akiyoshi (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'47.191
21. Kenny Roberts Jr. (Team Roberts) - 1'45.937
22. Jeremy McWilliams (Ilmor GP) - 1'47.191
23. Andrew Pitt (Ilmor GP) - 1'49.365

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, Marco Melandri

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