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Final preparations set for MotoGP Official Test at Jerez

Final preparations set for MotoGP Official Test at Jerez

BMW M Award headlines last preseason test of 2009 for 800cc competitors.

The MotoGP riders will undertake their final preseason test of 2009 next week, and the stakes are high as they head to the Spanish circuit of Jerez. Dubbed ‘GP Zero’ within the World Championship paddock, the MotoGP Official Test gives competitors from all three classes the chance to finetune their machines ahead of a grueling eight months of racing.

Taking place from March 25th-March 29th, the Jerez visit unites the paddock in one location for the first time since 2008’s season-closing race at Valencia. Split into two parts, the MotoGP Official Test will open with three days of 125cc/250cc action, before the MotoGP premier class have the track to themselves on the Saturday and Sunday.

With some notable exceptions, the famous names and expected title contenders will be in attendance to put the finishing touches to their 2009 bikes, and top of the bill is MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi. The Fiat Yamaha rider has been one of the fastest riders over the course of preseason, and is in peak condition whilst some of his rivals are battling for fitness.

Former titlist Casey Stoner is one such rider, expressing concern over the condition of his wrist following an operation at the end of 2008. Stoner has put in fast individual laps on his return to testing, but has been struggling with endurance onboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP9.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will miss the Official Test through his own injury woes, currently recuperating from injuries picked to his left hand arm and knee at the recent Qatar test. The Spaniard’s recuperation schedule does not allow for any riding between now until the opening race of the season at the earliest, leaving development of the factory Honda RC212V to new teammate Andrea Dovizioso and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Toni Elias.

Riders in ruder health on factory machinery are Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi & Chris Vermeulen, all having featured at the sharp end of the timesheets since the turn of the year. The extent of progression made with the latter pair’s GSV-R engine will become apparent on one of the longer straights of the preseason circuits.

New liveries are likely to be presented by Suzuki (who renewed their title sponsorship deal with Rizla this week) and Monster Yamaha Tech3, and MotoGP teams will be making the most of the high attendance to officially unveil their 2009 projects.

The focal point of the MotoGP Official Test will be a 45-minute ‘qualifying’ shootout, the annual BMW M Award. Taking place from 2.05pm on Sunday, the riders will have a chance to take home a brand new BMW sports car in return for clocking the fastest time of the session. Previous winners of the prize include Rossi, Stoner and Sete Gibernau.

The MotoGP Official Test begins with the 125cc and 250cc classes in action from Wednesday March 25th-Friday March 27th, with MotoGP taking centre stage for the following two days.

MotoGP, 2009

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