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De Puniet quickest on day one of Sepang testing

De Puniet quickest on day one of Sepang testing

The opening day of the three-day winter testing visit to Sepang saw new Honda LCR rider Randy de Puniet topping a timesheet consisting of ten MotoGP riders putting in the hard graft at the Malaysian circuit, in hot and humid conditions and with rain falling in the afternoon.

The opening day of the three-day winter testing visit to Sepang saw new Honda LCR rider Randy de Puniet topping a timesheet consisting of ten MotoGP riders putting in the hard graft at the Malaysian circuit, in hot and humid conditions and with rain falling in the afternoon.

With the temperature at around 32ºC and with 70% humidity levels, the riders got the challenging work-out they were looking for and despite still adapting to Honda and Michelin, De Puniet showed the way with a lap of 2'03.033, to keep him 0.324s ahead of second fastest participant Chris Vermeulen.

The Frenchman was trying new configurations with the 2007 RC212V and suffered a slight crash at midday – although he was not injured. He is likely to have to wait until next year to test the prototype he will use in the 2008 campaign.

Rizla Suzuki's Vermeulen and his new team-mate Loris Capirossi had their new 2008 GSV-R800 machines on standby today, but the afternoon rain saw them stick to this year's model as they lapped second and fifth respectively.

Colin Edwards was third fastest as he settled into his new role with Yamaha Tech3, where he is reunited with James Toseland after ten years following their partnership in WSB a decade ago. Englishman Toseland was tenth on the timesheet as he got his first contact with his new MotoGP plaything.

Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot) is mixing it with the big boys and in fourth spot he was considerably faster today than fellow 250cc graduate Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) in ninth. Lorenzo continues his adaptation to the 2007 Yamaha, with this exercise still very much a learning process for the 250cc World Champion and his rival Dovizioso.

Kawasaki riders Anthony West and John Hopkins, sixth and eighth respectively, have a few new parts to test in Malaysia but will only get their hands on the new Ninja ZX-RR in January.

Although 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden already has his new bike ready he kept it under wraps today and lapped seventh quickest on his 2007 model, having suffered a slight crash early in the morning.

Also on track were Yamaha test riders Wataru Yoshikawa and Norihiko Fujiwara, using hybrid bikes to test the company's 2008 chassis.

In addition to the Ducati and Team Roberts absentees, the injured Valentino Rossi is also not testing this week in Sepang. Meanwhile new Honda Gresini pairing Shinya Nakano and Alex de Angelis and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa were all absent too, with updates on their testing schedules to be confirmed.

Sepang November 2007 winter test – day one – lap times (number of laps in brackets):
1. Randy de Puniet Honda LCR 2'03.033 (31)
2. Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki 2'03.357 (42)
3. Colin Edwards Yamaha Tech3 2'03.406 (29)
4. Andrea Dovizioso JiR Team Scot 2'03.607 (21)
5. Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki 2'03.748 (29)
6. Anthony West Kawasaki 2'04.068 (35)
7. Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda 2'04.164 (36)
8. John Hopkins Kawasaki 2'04.316 (18)
9. Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha 2'04.433 (33)
10. James Toseland Yamaha Tech3 2'05.438 (29)

Lap times for Fujiwara and Yoshikawa are not provided due to changes in machinery throughout the day.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007

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