Sepang test: Loris Capirossi quickest on opening day

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Loris Capirossi caused the first big surprise of 2009 when he topped the timesheets for Suzuki on the opening day of testing at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

The veteran Italian clocked a best time of 2.01.869 on his final lap of the day to end the dominance of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi at the top of the leaderboard.

Suzuki was also boosted by the performance of Aussie Chris Vermeulen as he posted the fourth quickest time with a 2.02.803 just 0.479s adrift of third placed Fiat Yamaha rider Rossi.

Capirossi’s best time was an impressive 1.1s faster than he managed in last year’s Malaysian GP as he edged out former factory Ducati team-mate Casey Stoner by just 0.169s.

Stoner made an impressive return despite having not been on track since the end of October. The 2007 world champion clocked a best time of 2.02.038 in his short stint of 34 laps as he adopted a cautious strategy on his return from the bone graft surgery he underwent on his left wrist in November.

British rider James Toseland was left languishing down in 14th place, though he took only completed 34 laps. Toseland missed most of the opening day after a massive 125mph high-side at turn five just after midday.

He ended up with a best time of 2.04.502, which was 0.009s slower than rookie Mika Kallio.
It was also a tough day for American Nicky Hayden. He ended up 11th fastest with a time of 2.04.002 close to two seconds slower than new factory Ducati team-mate Stoner.

1 Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 2.01.869
2 Casey Stoner (Ducati) 2.02.038
3 Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2.02.324
4 Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 2.02.803
5 Toni Elias (Honda) 2.02.886
6 Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 2.03.088
7 Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 2.03.254
8 Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2.03.312
9 Sete Gibernau (Ducati) 2.03.750
10 Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2.03.894
11 Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2.04.002
12 Alex De Angelis (Honda) 2.04.396
13 Mika Kallio (Ducati) 2.04.405
14 James Toseland (Yamaha) 2.04.502
15 Randy de Puniet (Honda) 2.04.882
16 Yuki Takahashi (Honda) 2.05.098
17 Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 2.05.270

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt