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MotoGP rookies impress at the Island

MotoGP rookies impress at the Island

Although the 250cc World Champion Jorge Lorenzo is not present this week at Phillip Island his fellow 2008 MotoGP debutants Alex de Angelis, Andrea Dovizioso and James Toseland all made excellent starts to the second 800cc category test of the year, as the rookie trio all ended the first day in the top five on the timesheet.

Although the 250cc World Champion Jorge Lorenzo is not present this week at Phillip Island his fellow 2008 MotoGP debutants Alex de Angelis, Andrea Dovizioso and James Toseland all made excellent starts to the second 800cc category test of the year, as the rookie trio all ended the first day in the top five on the timesheet.

Of course there are no World Championship points scored in testing, but at this critical stage of pre-season the three newcomers to the premier class will all have had their confidence levels boosted by lapping faster than some of the more established MotoGP names present, such as Nicky Hayden, Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri and John Hopkins.

Quickest of the three rookies was Honda Gresinis De Angelis who produced a time of 130.688s on race tyres on the 68th of 70 laps on what was a highly positive day for the 23 year old from San Marino.

Indeed, De Angelis best time was just over a second slower than Colin Edwards timesheet topping qualifying tyre lap and around a half a second off Casey Stoners best effort on race tyres, at the World Champions home track where the Ducati rider took victory towards the end of last season.

Like De Angelis, fellow 250cc graduate Dovizioso is also showing great signs of progress with his new team JiR Team Scot, despite the fact that both riders are still waiting to receive the new 2008 Honda RC212V with which they will participate in their debut 800c seasons. The updated bike should be made available to the Honda satellite teams as of the MotoGP Official Test in Jerez in mid-February.

Not previously a fan of Phillip Island on smaller cylinder machinery, Dovi exceeded his own personal expectations and those of his team as he found the circuit much easier to deal with on a larger prototype. His day ended an hour early after he completed his to-do list of tasks ahead of schedule, with a fastest time just 0.013s behind De Angelis best.

Meanwhile in Toselands fourth test with the Yamaha Tech3 team the Englishman is again taking all the right steps as his MotoGP adventure commences. As with De Angelis and Dovizioso this is Toselands first time at the Australian circuit on 800cc machinery, though the Yamaha recruit is familiar with Phillip Island from his previous visits to the Victorian venue where he was a Superbikes race winner last year.

In setting the fifth quickest time Toselands best lap of 130.864s came on race tyres midway through a day in which he completed 81 laps. He achieved a highly consistent series of 131 laps - in comparison to some more fluctuating efforts from De Angelis and Dovizioso - and finished just 0.03s slower than team-mate Edwards on race rubber as his overall pace gradually improved throughout the day.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Alex de Angelis

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