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Day of novelties begins in Valencia post-race testing

Day of novelties begins in Valencia post-race testing

Hayden, Melandri, Dovizioso and Gibernau stoke up interest with new rides on Monday morning in Valencia.

The morning after the race before, Monday saw some of the most eagerly-awaited sights of 2008 in the first postseason test day at Valencia. Against a backdrop of a clear sky, the majority of the MotoGP World Championship grid for 2009 were on track with bikes both new and old.

New Ducati rider Nicky Hayden ensured that the majority of the attention was directed his way, taking the Desmosedici GP9 for an early spin in his first non-Honda ride after nine years on Japanese machinery. The special livery theme of the weekend was carried over to the first day of what a sticker referred to as `Chapter 2´ for the 2006 World Champion, with his bike adorned with a bold `Stars & Stripes´ design. The American was taking things easy as he got to grips with his new machine in the morning.

Kawasaki had also employed the painters to welcome Marco Melandri to the fold, with his side of the `Team Green´ garage ready and waiting for the Italian´s arrival. Whilst it was a case of `back in black´ for the Ninja ZX-RR, the ex-Ducati rider was almost immediately lowering his times from the weekend; Melandri had already beaten his effort from Saturday qualifying before lunch.

Repsol Honda gave Andrea Dovizioso his long-awaited first encounter with the factory RC212V, with MotoGP newcomers Mika Kallio, Yuki Takahashi and Niccolo Canepa also making appearances on the first day of preparations for their rookie seasons in the premier class.

Whilst there was much change in the MotoGP paddock in Valencia on Monday morning with new riders, returning competitors and a scaled-down paddock, one thing from Sunday remained the same as of 2pm: Casey Stoner headed the standings in dominant fashion, this time courtesy of a 1´32.464 lap of the Spanish track.

The Australian is using the first postseason test to undertake his final two days of riding in 2008, with the focus of his two day workload being getting as much information as possible for the development of the Ducati Desmosedici GP9. Stoner also has the GP8 machine used to take victory in Sunday´s race at his disposal, and it was with this that he performed some early warmup laps.

Dani Pedrosa was closest to Stoner, as on raceday. He was two-tenths of a second down on his rival´s time.

Returning to the fray after over two years away from fellow MotoGP competitors, Sete Gibernau put his first miles on the clock of the Onde 2000 Ducati. He will have to wait to be reunited with old adversary Valentino Rossi, however; the 2008 MotoGP World Champion had a lie-in and opted out of a morning ride on the latest Yamaha M1 prototype.

MotoGP Test: Valencia
Times as of 2pm Monday

1. Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team - 1´32.464
2. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda - 1´32.672
3. Loris Capirossi, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP - 1´33.325
4. Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini - 1´33.375
5. Chris Vermeulen, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP - 1´33.565
6. Jorge Lorenzo, Fiat Yamaha Team - 1´33.722
7. John Hopkins, Kawasaki Racing Team - 1´33.760
8. Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda MotoGP - 1´33.832
9. Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team - 1´34.128
10. Marco Melandri, Kawasaki Racing Team - 1´34.152
11. Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda - 1´34.340
12. Sete Gibernau, Onde 2000 Ducati - 1´34.451
13. Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini - 1´34.628
14. Olivier Jaque, Kawasaki Racing Team - 1´35.013
15. Niccolo Canepa, Alice Team - 1´35.459
16. Mika Kallio, Alice Team - 1´35.727
17. Yuki Takahashi, JiR Team Scot Honda - 1´36.895

MotoGP, 2008

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