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Sepang opens 2011 Testing schedule

Sepang opens 2011 Testing schedule

The first official MotoGP Test of the year got underway in Malaysia on Tuesday, and by 2pm local time all 17 premier class riders had been out on track at the World Championship circuit.

After more than two months of no on-track action the MotoGP riders were back doing what they do best on Tuesday as the first official Test of 2011 began at the Sepang International Circuit. Not wasting any time in getting their pre-season Testing workload underway, all 17 MotoGP riders as well as three factory Test riders (two from Yamaha, one from HRC) were on track shortly after 10am local time.

Leading the early pace at the top of the timesheet after the opening half of day one was Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, who despite still tentatively nursing his recovering collarbone was fastest with a best lap of 2'02.306. That placed the Spaniard just over a tenth of a second ahead of compatriot and sole Suzuki rider Álvaro Bautista, who has a range of new parts to test on the GSV-R, with San Carlo Honda Gresini pair Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama close behind.

Ben Spies was the second highest factory team rider in fifth position as the American survived an early fall on his Yamaha inside the opening hour of the day. He escaped unharmed and led Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso (both Repsol Honda), Jorge Lorenzo and Colin Edwards on their respective factory and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha machines.

Valentino Rossi was the quickest Ducati rider in the first half of the day as the Italian took advantage of an adapted fuel tank shape, installed to allow him to change his riding position as he set out with the main aim of gaining a good level of comfort on the Desmosedici. Rossi led a group of GP11 bikes, with team-mate Nicky Hayden, Aspar rider Héctor Barberá and Pramac pair Loris Capirossi and Randy de Puniet following suit.

Rookie Cal Crutchlow, also riding with a shoulder still recovering from surgery, rounded out the early run 14th fastest on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

Join for a full report of the day's Testing upon its conclusion, and keep up to date with the latest times by clicking here.

MotoGP, 2011

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