Hodgson crash at first major test

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D’Antin Ducati rider Neil Hodgson had a bad start to the opening day of GP testing in Sepang after crashing his Ducati Desmosedici only a few hours into the test.

The 2003 World Superbike Champion was using an older tyre compound and was continually dogged by problems with front end vagueness that culminated in a low speed crash when he lost the front wheel. The Brit added that he was finding it difficult to learn the long 5.548km circuit.

In contrast, former WSB champion Colin Edwards put himself among the front-runners after finishing the first day as the second fastest rider.

With track temperatures of 54 degrees centigrade and humidity of 70 per cent Edwards was one of the only riders to log a faster time than at the last test session at the track three weeks ago.

The Telefonica Movistar Honda rider finished the first day’s testing with a best lap of 2:02.93, 0.37 seconds up on his previous best time.

Camel Pramac Honda rider Max Biaggi crashed his RC211V in the morning but recovered to set the fastest time of the day at 2:02.69.

Valentino Rossi continued to get more out of the Yamaha YZF-M1 than any other rider, finishing the day as the third fastest rider, just ahead of Sete Gibernau on a Honda and Loris Capirossi on a brand new 2004 Ducati Desmosedici GP4.

Repsol Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Alex Barros were both out on 2004 spec RCVs with a revised rear swing arm and suspension unit. The new design is meant to improve stability and edge-of-tyre grip to cope with the extra power of the ’04 engine.

Hayden finished the day happy with the sixth fastest time, saying: ” We’re sort of starting from zero. We need to find some base settings and work out which way to go. It took a little time to get sorted but we’ve definitely made some progress in the right direction.”

The session was Barros’ first time on a GP bike since having surgery on his shoulder over the winter. It was also his first ride on a Honda in two years after competing last season on a Yamaha.

Kenny Roberts looks unlikely to be riding again at the test. The Suzuki rider had a high speed crash at the end of the back straight. It is thought the accident may have been caused by a tyre malfunction. Roberts was badly shaken and may have aggravated a chest injury from last year.

Proton Team KR and the Harris WCM squad are the only teams not present at the test.


Max Biaggi 2:02.69; Colin Edwards 2:02.93; Valentino Rossi 2:03.09;

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff