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Rossi continues looking flash in Sepang

Rossi continues looking flash in Sepang

Back in the saddle at Sepang this week, Valentino Rossi completed his second day of testing in Malaysia at the top of the timesheets today under typically hot and humid conditions.

Back in the saddle at Sepang this week, Valentino Rossi completed his second day of testing in Malaysia at the top of the timesheets today under typically hot and humid conditions. The Italian may have been over a tenth of a second slower than his blistering time set on day one, but his 2'00.472 lap on was still more than adequate for the five-time MotoGP World Champion to claim the early advantage over the four premier class rivals also present in south east Asia.

Like yesterday, Rossi's time on day two was faster than that of his existing 2006 best, and was undertaken on the Bridgestone qualifiers with which he has been stepping up his development over the past fortnight. The 28 year-old dedicated only his final series of runs to qualifying work today –his fastest time coming on lap 69 of 70- and spent the larger part of the testing programme stopping the clock between high-2'01s and mid-2'02s.

Nicky Hayden was also on qualifiers for his best time, just over four tenths of a second slower than that of Rossi. The 2006 MotoGP World Champion's rubber was that of the Michelin variety, and his 2'00.900 marker was laid down considerably earlier than that of his Italian rival. ‘Trick Daddy' took a qualifying run-out on his 36th lap, undertaken at midday, before a two and a half hour break from work with the Repsol Honda RC212V. The American seemed entirely unaffected by yesterday's late crash, once again the rider with the most laps on the board.

Whilst Hayden has been alternating between the conventional and pneumatic valve engines provided by his Japanese employer in recent tests, this week only the former has been receiving ‘The Kentucky Kid's attention. An all-new motor is expected to arrive in time for the Official Test in Jerez, but until then the American continues to adapt new parts to what he admits is ‘not the future'.

With experience of the conventional engine only, Honda satellite rider Shinya Nakano was again working on some subtle adjustments to get the best out of his Bridgestone-shod machinery. The San Carlo Honda Gresini man elected against a qualifying run, and also opted out of a race simulation in a move mirroring that of all five regular riders on track today.

Although Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was one of the first riders on track, his early efforts consisted of just a single lap before he returned to the partitioned garage. After a long break, the reigning 250cc World Champion's matutinal efforts continued with the factory team's pneumatic valve motor.

Alex de Angelis, the only rider apart from Hayden to crash yesterday, was undertaking the work pencilled in for Tuesday. This was owing to a switch in programmes made due to both his tumbles and the condition of the track and, with the circuit cleaner and more consistent than yesterday, the San Marino rider was able to complete his schedule without a hitch.

Olivier Jacque and Tamaki Serizawa are not testing the Kawasaki screamer engine this week, although the Japanese test rider did perform a marathon 22 lap run with new parts in the absence of John Hopkins and Anthony West. Riding for Yamaha for the second day in succession were Yoshihiko Fujiwara and Wataru Yoshikawa.

Valentino Rossi: Fastest Rider (Day Two)

"Today was another very good day and I had a good pace and rhythm all day. We tested some different Bridgestone tyres before again trying the one I prefer, which confirmed that this is the best one for us and so we will use it for the long run tomorrow.

"We worked a little bit on the suspension and also on the electronic mapping and we also tried a lot of practice starts, maybe as many as ten, and we need to improve a bit in this area. I also tried a new cowling which is aimed at improving the cooling system and this had a good result. Finally I tried a qualifying tyre again and, although I made a small mistake on my lap because I was quite tired by then, it was again very positive."

The second Sepang test of 2008 concludes tomorrow.

MotoGP Sepang Test
Day Two Times Regular Riders (laps completed in brackets)

1. V. Rossi Fiat Yamaha 2'00.472 (70)
2. N. Hayden Repsol Honda 2'00.900 (90)
3. S. Nakano San Carlo Honda Gresini 2'02.049 (59)
4. J. Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha 2'02.396 (55)
5. A. De Angelis San Carlo Honda Gresini 2'02.646 (57)

MotoGP, 2008

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