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Pre-season 2011 starts at Sepang

Pre-season 2011 starts at Sepang

The Malaysian circuit will host the MotoGP class for the first official three-day Test of the year, which starts on Tuesday.

The sound of 800cc MotoGP engines will roar into action again on Tuesday after the winter period, but whilst there may have been a lack of the type of on-track action which satisfies the hunger of enthusiastic fans plenty of unseen hard work has been going on in the factory workshops of the premier class manufacturers.

Last spotted on their MotoGP bikes at the post-season Test at Valencia in November the 17 riders who will line up on the grid this season will also be eager to see just what has been modified and improved on their machines, having undertaken their own individual training programmes in a bid to be as best prepared as possible for the Sepang outing.

World Champion Jorge Lorenzo will arrive in Malaysia in full fitness as he continues his preparations for the defence of his title on the M1, but for two of the Yamaha Factory Racing man’s prospective rivals in 2011 the Sepang Test could prove anything but comfortable.

Ducati rider Valentino Rossi is still nursing his shoulder which he described as “painful” and “not very strong” following a private ride on a 1198 machine at Misano on Wednesday, and the Italian will focus on his riding position as he attempts to make the best out of the days. Dani Pedrosa is another rider still recovering from injury, but the Repsol Honda rider’s collarbone appears to be at a more advanced stage of healing and he will hope to be more able when pushing himself in this Test.

Team-mate to the Spanish rider Casey Stoner has no such concerns and the Australian was extremely satisfied with his first taste of the RC212V last November in Valencia. Stoner will aim to continue the immediate affinity he showed with the Honda then, as he assesses electronics changes which were amongst some of the aspects underlined for work throughout the winter. The third man in the Repsol Honda garage, Andrea Dovizioso, will likewise be intent on getting a good first run of 2011 under his belt.

Ben Spies continues his integration into the factory Yamaha set-up alongside Lorenzo, whilst fellow Americans Nicky Hayden will be eager to see what the Desmosedici GP11 brings and Colin Edwards the M1 of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team. HRC supported Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) gets set for a second season in the premier class having impressed last year.

Other riders entering their sophomore year in MotoGP are Héctor Barberá (Aspar Team) and sole Suzuki rider in 2011 Álvaro Bautista, whilst Hiroshi Aoyama does so with his new team San Carlo Honda Gresini. More experienced but with continued adaptations to make to the Desmosedici nevertheless, Pramac pair Loris Capirossi and Randy de Puniet will also approach the Test in a determined manner.

Moto2 World Champion Toni Elías continues his reintegration into the elite category as he and the LCR Honda team work further on the RC212V, whilst two rookies in Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) and Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will use the valuable time as diligently as possible. The Brit will be riding for the first time since shoulder surgery in December.

You can follow’s coverage of the Test, which takes place from February 1st-3rd, through video highlights, interviews and reaction with a VideoPass.

MotoGP, 2011

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