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MotoGP teams descend on Sepang for key preseason test

MotoGP teams descend on Sepang for key preseason test

MotoGP teams descend on Sepang for key preseason test

The most revealing test session of the preseason so far begins on Wednesday in Malaysia, with no fewer than eleven top teams descending on the Sepang International Circuit for three days of intense development work.

MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi will come face to face with his former Honda colleagues for the first time since his controversial switch to Yamaha, whilst the likes of Ducati, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Aprilia are all sure be comparing their latest bike and rider combinations with the two giant Japanese factories.

Alex Barros will ride the Honda RC211V for the first time since guiding it to victory in the final round of the 2002 season at Valencia, in his first test for the Repsol Honda team under the guidance of chief mechanic Ramon Forcada. Barros and his factory team-mate Nicky Hayden could get the chance to ride the 2004 version of the Honda RC211V, which Ducati will be keen to compare to their latest offering - the Desmosedici GP4.

Suzuki and Kawasaki will continue development of their radically new looking GSV-R and Ninja ZX-RR machines with Bridgestone tyres, with Gregorio Lavilla stepping in for the injured John Hopkins at Suzuki, whilst British Superbike Champion Shane Byrne gets his first chance to measure himself against the cream of world motorcycle racing in his third test with Aprilia.

It will also be World Superbike Champion Neil Hodgson and D'Antin Ducati team-mate Ruben Xaus' first major test alongside their new MotoGP rivals, riding the 2003 version of the Desmosedici.

In fact, with Moriwaki also scheduled to test at the Malaysian circuit with Andrew Pitt, the only teams who will be lining up on the MotoGP grid in 2004 that are not at the intense Sepang session are Proton and WCM. Of course, are there and we will be bringing you in-depth reports, interviews and features on all three days.

MotoGP, 2003

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