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Early bird Hayden top of the timesheets in Sepang

Early bird Hayden top of the timesheets in Sepang

Three days of testing at the Malaysian circuit of Sepang concluded today with Nicky Hayden experiencing a positive finish to his riding return.

Three days of testing at the Malaysian circuit of Sepang concluded today with Nicky Hayden experiencing a positive finish to his riding return. The 2006 MotoGP World Champion clocked the fastest time of the week, a 2'00.326 lap over three tenths of a second quicker than any other rider, to lower his previous best by nearly two seconds. As is customary for the final day of testing, the American undertook both a race simulation and small run-outs on Michelin qualifiers, putting a fearsome 77 laps on the board.

Hayden's successor as MotoGP World Champion, Casey Stoner also showed some speedy form onboard the Desmosedici GP8. The Australian was already packed and ready to leave as the riders took a break for lunch, having established a matutinal working schedule that included just 27 laps (the fewest of any rider). Stoner's comparative lack of track time on day three means that he is still to perform a race simulation in 2008, owing to a combination of minor technical issues with his new bike and his not being at peak fitness after a winter break spent recovering from a shoulder injury.

Jorge Lorenzo was once again impressive in Malaysia, a track at which he won his second 250cc World Championship last season. The 20 year-old yesterday had the opportunity to try the Fiat Yamaha team's new pneumatic valve engine, and today had both his longest run at Sepang in addition to breaching the 2'01 barrier for the first time. He also had the honour of being the highest placing rider for the Japanese factory, with Tech 3 satellite team member Colin Edwards fourth fastest. Lorenzo suffered a crash during his race simulation, to put a dampener on an otherwise perfect day for the Spaniard.

Kawasaki's John Hopkins cut nearly a second off his previous best with the ZX-RR, at what has been a progressive test for ‘Team Green'. The Anglo-American and team-mate Anthony West, who suffered a minor crash early on in the day, have been joined by test riders Olivier Jacque and Tamaki Serizawa in south east Asia as Kawasaki look to develop a series of upgrades to what will not be a completely new 2008 bike.

Serizawa played the principal role in the biggest swerve of the year so far, with a high-pitched engine noise on his opening laps revealing that Kawasaki have been secretly developing a ‘screamer' motor with an even firing order. There are no immediate plans to pass said engine on to the full-time riders.

Valentino Rossi was sixth fastest behind Hopkins, undertaking more work with Bridgestone following his switch to the tyre manufacturer at the end of last season, whilst MotoGP rookies Andrea Dovizioso and James Toseland both showed steady progression in their adaptations to 800cc riding.

Suzuki lined up both Nobuatsu Aoki and Kousuke Akiyoshi in their first testing appearance of 2008, working at times with the GSV-R machines of regular riders Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi. The fastest rider of the opening two days, Randy de Puniet, finished just outside the top ten on the timesheets and experienced another small crash before the final day in Sepang drew to a close.

MotoGP Sepang Test

Times Day Three

1. HAYDEN, REPSOL HRC - 02'00.326 / 77 laps
2. STONER, DUCATI MARLBORO - 02'00.660 / 27
3. LORENZO, FIAT YAMAHA - 02'00.766 / 63
4. EDWARDS, YAMAHA TECH3 - 02'01.179 / 34
5. HOPKINS, KAWASAKI RACING - 02'01.198 / 42
6. ROSSI, FIAT YAMAHA - 02'01.425 / 48
7. DOVIZIOSO, JiR TEAM SCOT - 02'01.447 / 51
8. TOSELAND, YAMAHA TECH3 - 02'01.745 / 45
9. VERMEULEN, RIZLA SUZUKI* - 02'01.748 / 70
10. CAPIROSSI, RIZLA SUZUKI* - 02'01.778 / 62
11. DE PUNIET, LCR HONDA - 02'01.873 / 56
12. NAKANO, HONDA GRESINI - 02'02.032 / 38
13. DE ANGELIS, HONDA GRESINI - 02'02.198 / 37
14. MELANDRI, DUCATI MARLBORO - 02'02.725 / 58
15. WEST, KAWASAKI RACING - 02'02.978 / 39
16. ELIAS, ALICE TEAM - 02'02.995 / 67
17. JACQUE, KAWASAKI RACING - 02'03.030 / 40
18. GUINTOLI, ALICE TEAM - 02'03.628 / 39
19. CANEPA, DUCATI TEST - 02'03.703 / 49
20. SERIZAWA, KAWASAKI RACING - 02'04.354 / 27
21. AOKI, RIZLA SUZUKI*
22. AKIYOSHI, RIZLA SUZUKI*

*Aoki and Akiyoshi times recorded using bikes pertaining to Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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