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Rossi opens Sepang test with storming lap

Rossi opens Sepang test with storming lap

Valentino Rossi returned to the top of the testing timesheets on the first day of 2008's second Sepang test, courtesy of some late laps on Bridgestone qualifying tyres.

Valentino Rossi returned to the top of the testing timesheets on the first day of 2008's second Sepang test, courtesy of some late laps on Bridgestone qualifying tyres. The Italian, who is preparing for his first season with the tyre manufacturer, recorded a fastest time of 2'00.300 at the Malaysian circuit onboard his Fiat Yamaha M1.

The five-time MotoGP World Champion was more than a second under his previous best time of the year in Sepang, also reducing the expeditious 2'00.326 clocked by Nicky Hayden on a Michelin-shod Honda RC212V at the same test.

Hayden was himself the second quickest of the five regular MotoGP riders on track, following on from a test at Phillip Island last week from which he left unsatisfied with the combination of bike, rider and tyres. Set for more work with Repsol Honda's conventional engine as he aims to get the package in shape for the 2008 season, ‘The Kentucky Kid' is expected back on track tomorrow despite a crash at the end of today's session. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who was injured last time out in Sepang, is still recovering from surgery, leaving Hayden on double duty with bike development this week. The American put in 80 laps today, in a typically operose showing.

Shinya Nakano headed up the Honda satellite brigade on day one, ahead of the morning's fastest man Jorge Lorenzo. The Fiat Yamaha rider was, like team-mate Rossi, making his return to testing after skipping last week's stint in Phillip Island, and put his 800cc machine through its paces in a series of seven-lap runs on the opening outing.

The only other full-time rider testing today, in a session extended until 6.25pm local time due to early moisture on the track, was Alex de Angelis. The San Carlo Honda Gresini rookie was the only participant to take the plunge with an early series of laps in Sepang –little surprise when one remembers his practice run against a backdrop of rain and lighting in preparation for the 2006 250cc race- although his willingness to ride was not repaid with good fortune. On a greasy surface, the San Marino rider crashed on lap ten, only returning to action at around 3.30pm.

Accompanying the members of the regular MotoGP grid, Kawasaki test riders Olivier Jacque and Tamaki Serizawa provide Kawasaki's representation in Malaysia, as do Wataru Yoshikawa and Yoshihiko Fujiwara for Yamaha.

Despite the early dampness, the changeable Sepang weather once again stayed dry for those testing today, with typical humidity helping to reduce the delay. Testing continues tomorrow and Thursday in Malaysia.

MotoGP February 2008 Sepang Test
Day One Times - Regular Riders Only (number of laps in brackets)

1. Rossi, FIAT YAMAHA - 02'00.300 (64)
2. Hayden, REPSOL HONDA- 02'01.949 (80)
3. Nakano, SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI - 02'02.317 (55)
4. Lorenzo, FIAT YAMAHA - 02'02.654 (57)
5. De Angelis, SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI - 02'03.231 (41)

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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