Rossi closes the gap on Biaggi

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Valentino Rossi has knocked 0.63 seconds off his best time in his second day of testing at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

Rossi had his first ride on the Yamaha YZF-M1 on Saturday after winning the world championship three times in a row on a Honda. He finished Saturday’s session a second and a half down on his Honda riding rival Max Biaggi but he was back out on the track on Sunday for another 66-lap session. The Italian managed to knock over half a second off his time to finish the day with a best lap of 2:03.17.

Rossi’s new time brings him to within just 0.6 seconds of the best time that Biaggi set when Honda were testing at the track earlier this week. Rossi had been playing down his hopes of defending his title this year but he already appears to be closing the Honda Yamaha gap on a machine that last year only scored one podium place all season.

Rossi briefly experimented with a new engine for the Yamaha and although he was positive about it, the engine still needs more development time.

Rossi’s team-mate Carlos Checa put in 58 laps to test the new Michelin 16.5 inch front tyres and ended the day lapping in the 2:03s.

Fortuna Yamaha rider Norick Abe put in 61 laps to knock over a second of his best time from Saturday while his team-mate Marco Melandri completed just 36 laps after crashing in the morning.

Melandri was uninjured in the crash but he is still recovering from a shoulder injury from last year and couldn’t ride more than 5 laps at a time. He said it felt like someone was adding 10kg to his bike on each lap.

Times: Valentino Rossi 2:03.17, Carlos Checa 2:03.57, Norick Abe 2:04.90, Marco Melandri 2:04.90

Check back tomorrow for the latest news on the last day of Yamaha tests at Sepang.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff