Capirossi makes the most of Rossi’s absence
Valentino Rossi’s no-show and dismal weather put a dampener on Honda's latest GP test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia on Monday.
While rivals like Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros were making their first appearances on the 2002 works NSR500, Rossi was waiting at home to resolve the contract dispute with Honda bosses that blew up last week.
He didn't miss much though as poor weather wrecked the opening day, with heavy rain at lunchtime preventing any meaningful action in the afternoon session.
Capirossi and Barros, both looked refreshed after a long winter break and completed 80 laps between them with the Italian coming out better on times with a best lap of 2.07.93.
Reigning world 250 champion Daijiro Katoh though was the quickest of the two-stroke riders lapping just 0.1s faster than Capirossi, even though it was his first time on a 500 at Sepang.
Tohru Ukawa logged the fastest time on the four-stroke RCV as he clocked a best of 2.06.60.
His time, almost on lap record pace, was 0.4s faster than his best ever lap time at the circuit while riding the NSR500 V4 two-stroke.
The test was primarily arranged for the works HRC riders to test new Michelin tyres, but Jurgen van den Goorbergh was present on his Bridgestone-shod NSR.
He might have wished he hadn't made the long trip as he suffered a massive crash and was lucky to escape injury.