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Honda dominate on final day of key Phillip Island test

Honda dominate on final day of key Phillip Island test

Honda dominate on final day of key Phillip Island test

The final day of marathon MotoGP testing in Malaysia and Australia ended in Phillip Island today with Honda once again stamping their authority over their rivals with a crushing display of dominance. Just as at Sepang last weekend, the Japanese factory riders were in comfortable and confident mood as they eased to the top of the time sheets, Max Biaggi clocking the best time on the final day with a lap of 1'30.21. Behind Biaggi four out of the following five quickest times were set by Honda riders, the exception being the current World Champion Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha.

"I am really happy with my time today and happy with the work we have done overall," commented Biaggi. "I was comfortable on one bike but we had a chatter problem and on the second bike it was the other way around - there was no chatter but I was uncomfortable! Anyway, we basically mixed the two bikes up to find a decent compromise and I was able to ride comfortably for a 25 lap race simulation. We have found a structural fault to be the problem in one of the bikes so hopefully this will be resolved for the next test."

Team-mates Colin Edwards and Sete Gibernau, second and third fastest respectively today, also carried out a race simulation in the morning and were so happy with the results that they packed up at 12pm.

Back out on the track their Yamaha rivals lapped until the end of the afternoon, in conditions which were more cloudy and slightly cooler than the first two days, with Valentino Rossi finally choosing his favoured engine from a choice of four brought to the test by the factory. The Italian was unable to make any progress on his lap times but later revealed that he was satisfied with the M1's capacity for future improvement. "Myself and Jeremy (Burgess) have chosen the engine which we think has the most potential," said Rossi. "It still needs a lot more power but we think we can get that from this engine."

Aprilia rider Jeremy McWilliams and Ducati's Ruben Xaus were both absent from the circuit today due to injury. McWilliams flew home early after suffering chronic pain due to the broken rib he sustained in a crash at Sepang, whilst Xaus was observed overnight at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne after suffering bad bruising to his neck and back in a spectacular crash yesterday. Makoto Tamada was at the circuit but did not ride, commenting that his team had completed all the work they had planned for this test.

Unofficial lap times

Max Biaggi (Honda): 1'30.21 (62 laps)
Colin Edwards (Honda): 1'30.45 (31 laps)
Sete Gibernau (Honda) : 1'30.60 (41 laps)
Nicky Hayden (Honda): 1'30.68 (83 laps)
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha): 1'30.80 (78 laps)
Alex Barros (Honda): 1'30.88 (74 laps)
Loris Capirossi (Ducati): 1'30.97 (56 laps)
Troy Bayliss (Ducati): 1'31.64 (68 laps)
Carlos Checa (Yamaha): 1'31.96 (92 laps)
Marco Melandri (Yamaha): 1'32.00 (80 laps)
Shane Byrne (Aprilia): 1'32.28 (67 laps)
Neil Hodgson (Ducati): 1'32.44 (64 laps)
Norick Abe (Yamaha): 1'33.76 (80 laps)

MotoGP, 2003

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