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Melandri continues top form at Jerez on penultimate day of preseason testing

Melandri continues top form at Jerez on penultimate day of preseason testing

Having experienced some of the most changeable conditions of any preseason test, the MotoGP premier class was once again hit by unpredictable weather at their penultimate opportunity to test the new 800cc prototypes before the season curtain-raiser on March 10th.

Having experienced some of the most changeable conditions of any preseason test, the MotoGP premier class was once again hit by unpredictable weather at their penultimate opportunity to test the new 800cc prototypes before the season curtain-raiser on March 10th.

Riders arriving at the Jerez Circuit for their second day of Official Test action were greeted by thick fog, which didn't shift until midday and meant that none of the MotoGP field were on track until around 12.15pm.

The 23 participants began their work in earnest at 1pm, and as the skies cleared they put in marathon sessions on their 800cc bikes. Carrying on from yesterday, Marco Melandri clocked the fastest time of the day, with a storming lap of 1'40.383 in the dying moments, reaffirming his excellent recent form on a Honda RC212V that he still maintains has the potential for more horsepower.

The Honda satellite rider just edged out five time World Champion Valentino Rossi to top the timesheets, his fellow Italian having laid down the gauntlet for the rest of the field during the session. He was less than a tenth of a second slower than Melandri, improving significantly on his time and placing from yesterday.

Dani Pedrosa was third quickest, and was consistently fast at the circuit where he led the way at the final test of 2006. Alex Hofmann also had one of his best ever testing performances, taking his satellite Desmosedici GP07 to fourth place. The German's superb run means that all four of the regular Ducati riders have been the fastest of their ilk in preseason.

Echoing team-mate Melandri, Gresini Honda's Toni Elias also made a late charge, just behind Hofmann's time on the last of 84 laps. The top six was completed by Casey Stoner, one of the emerging favourites for tomorrow's 40 minute ‘qualifying session'.

A top ten all within a second of the day's fastest lap also included Carlos Checa, Randy de Puniet, Colin Edwards and Makoto Tamada. The latter suffered a crash just after 3pm, but was unhurt and continued to ride until the end of the session. World Champion Nicky Hayden was again outside the top ten, but will not be worried at a test where he is avoiding unnecessary risks. Still rehabilitating a shoulder injury, ‘The Kentucky Kid' is expecting to be on top form when he arrives at Qatar for the rapidly-approaching season opener.

The final opportunity to prepare for the Qatar date comes tomorrow, as the 2007 preseason undertakes its final day. Aside from continuing their 800cc fine-tuning, the riders will also put their names into the hat for a brand new BMW as they compete against each other in a 40 minute shootout from 2.05pm local time.

MotoGP Official Test Jerez
Day 2 Official Times

1. Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini) - 1'40.383
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing) - 1'40.408
3. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) - 1'40.581
4. Alex Hofmann (Pramac d'Antin) - 1'40.748
5. Toni Elias (Honda Gresini) - 1'40.952
6. Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 1'41.071
7. Carlos Checa (Honda LCR) - 1'41.096
8. Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 1'41.151
9. Colin Edwards (Yamaha Factory Racing) - 1'41.204
10. Makoto Tamada (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3) - 1'41.234
11. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) - 1'41.259
12. Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda) - 1'41.269
13. Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'41.363
14. Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 1'41.590
15. Olivier Jacque (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 1'41.777
16. Kenny Roberts Jr. (Team Roberts) - 1'41.783
17. Alex Barros (Pramac d'Antin) - 1'41.845
18. Sylvain Guintoli (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3) - 1'42.364
19. S. Ito (Ducati Marlboro) - 1'43.209
20. Akiyoshi (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'43.610
21. Vittoriano Guareschi (Ducati Marlboro) - 1'44.143
22. Jeremy McWilliams (Ilmor GP) - 1'44.458
23. Andrew Pitt (Ilmor GP) - 1'44.589

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, Marco Melandri

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