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Capirossi starts year on front foot at Sepang test

Capirossi starts year on front foot at Sepang test

Preparing for his twentieth season of Grand Prix competition Loris Capirossi was fastest on the first test day of 2009, onboard a significantly updated GSV-R800.

In sunny conditions and without any of the tropical rain which occasionally hits Sepang at this time of year, the MotoGP grid was out in full force on day one of this week’s three day test visit to South East Asia, with Italian veteran Loris Capirossi topping the timesheet with a 2’01.869 effort on the last of his 37 laps.

As the premier class riders returned to action following the winter break Capirossi demonstrated the potential of the new Rizla Suzuki GSV-R800, putting in a lap 0.38s quicker than Valentino Rossi’s race lap record set last October. The 2009 Suzuki features a new engine, a new chassis and new carbon fibre fairing and judging by the early evidence Capirossi already appears to be highly satisfied with the progression the factory have made over the winter months.

He commented, “The first impression is not too bad after two months of no riding. We have started tested several new things because Suzuki have been working very hard over the winter. We had a good test in the wind tunnel in Japan last November, I asked for a lot of things and they have come back with everything. The whole base of the bike is different, new seat, new fuel tank, new fairing, new engine and we have a couple of chassis to test. We have a lot of work to do!”

Capirossi’s hot lap time was 0.169s quicker than that of the day’s second fastest rider Casey Stoner, the Australian former World Champion demonstrating that his wrist injury – the scaphoid problem which required surgery in November at the end of the 2008 season – appears not to be affecting him adversely.

Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi was third fastest, lapping within half a second of his compatriot and friend Capirossi. The Italian is riding with stitches in his left hand and foot after falling on a glass table at his home in Italy this week. But, despite those distractions and a light crash at the Malaysian circuit on Thursday morning, the king of the premier class still looked comfortable on his evolving 800cc Yamaha prototype.

Behind the leading trio on the timing screens was Capirossi’s Rizla Suzuki colleague Chris Vermeulen, who went round within a second of his team-mate.

The day’s top five was completed by Toni Elias (on his factory spec San Carlo Honda Gresini machine), whilst Repsol Honda newcomer Andrea Dovizioso and experienced American Colin Edwards, running the updated 2009 Tech 3 Yamaha M1 for the first time, were just behind the Spaniard.

The additional Spanish trio of Dani Pedrosa, Sete Gibernau and Jorge Lorenzo - on the fully updated 2009 M1 for the first time - completed the top ten.

Meanwhile, the likes of Marlboro Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, who was eleventh fastest and Tech 3 Yamaha’s James Toseland, who crashed without serious consequence on turn five and finished the day fourteenth, will both be looking for improvements on day two.

Click here for a full list of the results from day one of the Sepang test.

MotoGP, 2009

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