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Edwards tops first day at Phillip Island

Published: 11 February 2004

Colin Edwards immediately stamped his mark at the top of the time sheets as the MotoGP circus moved on to Phillip Island, Australia, after its week-long session in Malaysia.

The Honda rider clocked a best lap of 1:31.06 to finish the day as the fastest rider, 1 second down on the circuits best lap set by Valentino Rossi in qualifying last year. Edwards claimed that the Honda is far easier to ride than the Aprilia he competed on last year.

Edwards: "The Aprilia was a bit of a handful here but with the Honda we’ve been able to get an instant set-up thanks to [chief mechanic] Fabrizio Cecchini, who used the data gathered here in the past by Sete Gibernau and Valentino Rossi. I was riding well within my limits and I think there is a lot more time to come off this. "

Edward's Honda team-mate Sete Gibernau finished the day just 0.31 seconds down followed by rivals Valentino Rossi on a Yamaha and Max Biaggi on a Honda who both clocked an identical time of 1:31.40.

Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden finished the day as the fifth fastest rider. His time was a little disappointing after finishing as the fastest rider at the previous week's test in Sepang.

"We seemed to go in one direction then tried another – not the greatest of days," said Hayden. "But it's all part of the testing process. Tomorrow we really want to work on the bike's set-up. I’m not that happy with the way we have it now."

Aprilia rider Jeremy McWilliams was forced to take it easy on the first day of the test after X-rays taken at the weekend showed up a broken rib caused by a crash in Sepang.

McWilliams team-mate Shane Byrne put in a fastest lap of 1:33.22 to finished just 0.04 seconds behind fellow Brit Neil Hodgson on the D'Antin Ducati.

All times for the session are unofficial as timing was conducted by the individual teams and not the circuit timekeeper.

The MotoGP season gets underway in earnest on April 18 with the Africa Grand Prix at the Phakisa Freeway in South Africa.

Times: Colin Edwards 1:31.06, Sete Gibernau 1:31.37, Valentino Rossi 1:31.40, Max Biaggi 1:31.40, Nicky Hayden 1:31.67, Alex Barros 1:31.75, Makoto Tamada 1:31.84, Ruben Xaus 1:32.11, Loris Capirossi 1:32.16, Carlos Checa 1:32.32, Troy Bayliss 1:32.45, Marco Melandri 1:32.58, Neil Hodgson 1:33.18, Shane Byrne 1:33.22, Jeremy McWilliams 1:33.66, Norick Abe 1:34.40.

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