MotoGP Sepang test: Randy de Puniet crashes but sets fastest time at rain-hit Sepang

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Frenchman Randy de Puniet posted the fast time on a rain-hit opening day of testing in Malaysia. 

  • Click here to see James Toseland's first MotoGP crash

The LCR Honda rider clocked a best time of 2.03.033 on only his second ride on Honda’s RC212V and second appearance on Michelin rubber.

He finished 0.324s clear of Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen in the 31 dry laps he completed. He also completed 15-laps in the rain later in the day as the afternoon was badly disrupted by heavy showers.

His best time was only 0.5sec slower than his best Sepang race time last month when he finished fourth on the Bridgestone-shod factory Kawasaki.

He was one of four crashers today, though unlike James Toseland, Nicky Hayden and John Hopkins, he didn’t tumble out at the first corner.

He crashed at the second right-hander after the tight left hairpin, losing the front end of the RC212V that Carlos Checa struggled so severely on in 2007.

“I released the front brake too early, about 15 metres early and had too much speed in the corner. I was off throttle and off brake and I lost the front,” he told MCN.

Tomorrow (Friday) Randy de Puniet will switch to Ohlins suspension on his Honda. Team boss Lucio Cecchinello has been given permission to switch from Showa, and a final decision will be taken at the end of this month after the final winter test in Jerez.

Lucio Cecchinello though said it was ’99.9’ per cent certain de Puniet would run Ohlins suspension in 2008 on his Honda.


 

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt