Max Biaggi set the fastest time on the first day (January 20) of the first big MotoGP test of the year at Sepang in Malaysia. And he beat World Champion Valentino Rossi’s lap record in the process.
Rossi debuts on his new Yamaha this weekend at the same test venue – so is bound to be taking a keen interest in Biaggi & Co’s times until then.
Biaggi clocked his 2:03.47 best on one of 47 laps. Rossi holds the lap record, set at last year’s race on a Honda RCV, at 2:03.822. Sete Gibernau was faster than Rossi’s record, too, with a 2:03.51.
Biaggi, Gibernau and fellow Honda riders Nicky Hayden, Makoto Tamada and Colin Edwards are at the track until Thursday but only test rider Tohru Ukawa has been out on a 2004-spec machine so far.
Shinya Nakano made his test debut on the Kawasaki, alongside Alex Hofmann, while ex-Kawasaki rider Andrew Pitt was there on the Honda-based Moriwaki MDF211V.
The Suzuki team fielded Kenny Roberts, John Hopkins, and test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi. No times have yet been available from the Suzuki team.
Sepang: Total laps completed and best time:
1) Max Biaggi. 47 laps. 2:03.47. 2) Sete Gibernau. 58 laps. 2:03.51. 3) Makoto Tamada 41 laps. 2:04.00. 4) Colin Edwards. 51 laps. 2:04.26. 5) Nicky Hayden 57 laps. 2:04.72. 6) Shinichi Itoh. 55 laps. 2:05.07. 7) Tohru Ukawa. 62 laps. 2:05.66. 8) Alex Hofmann. 41 laps. 2:06.26. 9) Shinya Nakano 2:06.50. 10) Andrew Pitt 58 laps. 2:07.70.
Keep checking back for more updates from the test throughout the week.
Alex Barros was not at the test, despite being confirmed to partner Nicky Hayden in the official HRC Repsol Honda team in 2004.
The 33-year-old Brazilian is currently recovering from surgery on a past shoulder injury, and will ride the 2004-spec machine at Sepang, Malaysia, on February 11, 12 and 13. He’ll then take part in the official HRC Winter Testing at Phillip Island, Australia on February 17,18 and 19.
Barros took two wins and two podiums when he rode the 4-stroke RC211V for the last four rounds of the 2002 season, but finished ninth in the 2003 championship riding the Yamaha M1 machine.
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