Rossi fastest in first shoot-out
Valentino Rossi showed the rest have still got it all to do when he set the fastest time at the MotoGP test at Catalunya at the weekend.
Rivals had hoped his switch from the all-conquering Honda to Yamaha would prove a handicap too far.
But he set a fastest of 1’44.571 during the 40-minute timed and televised ‘Official Practice’ despite cool track temperatures. Not only did he strike fear into the heart of his major rivals, he also bagged himself a BMW Z4 car as a prize.
Rossi said: " I need to say a big, big thank you to Yamaha who have made a big effort. In two months they have done incredible work and the bike is not so bad, so I am happy. The conditions were quite strange and nothing is won yet, but we are competitive. "
Loris Capirossi clocked the highest speed in the history of the sport with a 40km/h tailwind to clock 347.4kmh (215.9mph) on the Ducati Desmosedici GP4. But minutes later he was in a five-rider pileup caused by an oil spill. He was joined in the gravel trap by his team-mate Troy Bayliss, Aprilia rider Jeremy McWilliams, Honda’s Alex Barros and Yamaha’s Carlos Checa.
Neil Hodgson was 13th fastest – just behind Max Biaggi with Shakey Byrne 16th and Jeremy McWilliams 23rd.
Times: 1. Rossi 1.44.571; 2. Alex Barros 1.44.63; 3. Hayden 1.44.634; 4.Edwards 1.44.653; 5. Gibernau 1.44.669; 6. Capirossi 1.44.871; 7. Kenny Roberts 1.45.046; 8.Xaus 1.45.073; 9. Checa 1.45.171; 10. Melandri 1.45.196; 11. Tamada 1.45.226; 12. Biaggi 1.45.519; 13. Hodgson 1.45.520; 14. Nakano 1.45.654; 15. Hofmann 1.46.007; 16. Byrne 1.46.170; 17. Bayliss 1.46.182; 18 Itoh 1.46.212; 19. Lavilla 1.46.227; 20. Hopkins 1.46.227; 21 Aoki 1.46.620; 22 Abe 1.47.429; 23 McWilliams 1.48.391; 24 Lucchi 1.49.489; 25 Fabrizio 1.50.114; 26 Guareschi 1.50.635.
The 125 teams tested at Jerez. Former World Champion Roberto Locatelli was the fastest rider on a wet track.