Valentino Rossi not surprised by record lap times

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Reigning MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi says he isn’t shocked by the record-breaking lap times currently being produced in winter testing.

There were fears that the controversial introduction of a single tyre rule would see lap times drop by as much two to three seconds with the lack of competition meaning Bridgestone no longer has to constantly develop new tyres.

Under new rules for testing, only two front and two rear tyres are allocated per rider on each day. Yet the drastic reduction has had no impact on slowing lap times.

In fact the opposite has happened, with times in pre-Christmas tests in Valencia and Jerez and in Sepang last week quicker than the lap record pace.

Aussie Casey Stoner was 1.1s faster than his own 2007 lap record in Sepang last week while nine riders managed to lap inside of Rossi’s best lap set in last year’s Malaysian GP.

The fast lap times certainly haven’t surprised Fiat Yamaha rider Rossi, who won nine races on Bridgestone tyres during a stunning return to form last season.

The Italian told MCN: “It is not a big surprise to me because Bridgestone is impressive.

“The tyres are fantastic and I know with the three or four types of tyres that it is possible to cover every race track, so I didn’t expect a lot less performance.”

Rossi though has been surprised that the single tyre rule has not closed up the level of competition ahead of the 2009 season.

With the field on identical tyres, Rossi anticipated the field to be closer.
But in Sepang last week, only four riders lapped inside 0.5s of Stoner’s best pace, and Rossi added:

“I expected there to be more riders being able to fight for the podium and for victory at every race. But we will have to wait and see.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt