Sepang GP test: Day one

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Valentino Rossi has gone fastest on the unofficial timesheets for day one of a three-day test at Sepang in Malaysia.

Rossi was testing the 2006-spec Yamaha YZR-M1 in the new Camel Yamaha colours alongside team-mate Colin Edwards, who fell in the afternoon session at turn nine, but escaped unhurt.

“It’s always a little difficult to start again after the holidays,” said Rossi. “Today everything felt good from the start and I can see that Yamaha has worked very hard over the winter. We had a few problems with the bike today; some chattering, but in reality it is good for this stage of the year. The new bike is not so different from the 2005 bike, but still we have to understand completely its character and I have to get more confidence in it, then we can begin to make the modifications needed in order to improve it. Today has just been about understanding the bike, tomorrow we will concentrate more on tyres with Michelin.”

Riders making impressive debuts on new bikes included Dani Pedrosa for Honda, who was just 0.32 seconds slower than Rossi, Sete Gibernau on the Ducati, and Casey Stoner on the Honda.

Kawasaki riders Shinya Nakano and Randy de Puniet concentrated on shakedown tests followed by testing set-up and new suspension components. Although Nakano and de Puniet were ninth and eleventh quickest, the rookie Frenchman was under 0.2 seconds behing his more experienced team-mate.

Britain’s James Ellison was also on track on the Yamaha, and finished the first day with a time of 2:06.40.

Sepang day one unofficial times:

1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2:02.14.

2. Marco Melandri (Honda) 2:02.21.

3. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 2:02.23.

4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:02.46.

5. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2:02.55.

6. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 2:02.61.

7. Sete Gibernau (Ducati) 2:02.61.

8. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 2:03.30

9. Casey Stoner (Honda) 2:03.57.

10. Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) 2:03.77.

11. Toni Elias (Honda) 2:03.80.

12. Kenny Roberts (KR Honda) 2:03.80.

13. Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) 2:03.90.

14. Alex Hoffman (Ducati) 2:04.63.

15. James Ellison (Yamaha) 2:06.40.

16. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 2:06.50.

17. Jose Luis Cardoso (Ducati) 2:07.70.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff