Max Biaggi and Nicky Hayden ended the three-day test at Sepang in Malaysia today (Sunday) having gone quicker still. The factory riders tested the 2005-spec for the first time this week that sees changes in chassis design and subtle improvements in the engine and electronics of the five-cylinder machine.
In the energy-sapping Malaysian heat Biaggi again set a blistering pace and finished the session with a lap time well inside that pole time set in the GP back in October last year (pole time 2m 01.83s)
Hayden also improved his time although couldn't get quite the feeling he had yesterday as the track remained pretty slick following overnight rain
The team continue their winter testing programme next week (February 17,18,19) in Phillip Island, Australia in preparation for the 17-round 2005 championship that starts in Jerez, Spain on April 10th.
- Friday - 41 laps. Best lap: 2m 02.60s
- Saturday - 62 laps. Best lap: 2m 01.50s
- Sunday - 78 laps. Best lap: 2m 01.01s
"It's been a great three days, hard work at times, but overall the balance is extremely positive. We collected a lot of really important data working from several areas of the new Honda; chassis, suspension and tyres. We are going to the Philip Island test with a much more clear idea about the work we have to do. The data we now have will give the base to develop new parts that will be available after the Australia test. Fast laps were not our priority but they came anyway. Yesterday I was the fastest rider on the track, today I went even faster. We definitely destroyed last year's pole position time. I repeat once again that laps are not important at this particular moment in time but it felt wonderful to come back in the garage and see the satisfaction in my team's faces. The good, solid feeling with my new team grows day by day. We all share the same desire to do a great job."
- Friday - 87 laps. Best lap: 2m 02.67s
- Saturday - 69 laps. Best lap: 2m 01.71s
- Sunday - 85 laps. Best lap: 2m 01.38s
"After a really good day yesterday I was hoping for better things today but the overnight rain left the track a little bit slick and that didn't help things. It led to me trying too hard and I just couldn't get the right feeling to get into the rhythm I needed. We've had three good days here and it's taught me that I need to find a little bit more speed from myself then get the consistency to put in regular laps at a good pace. Overall we've had a good test, Michelin brought some good new tyres to test and HRC have worked really hard. It's OK saying a rider has to work hard in 100-degree heat but so do the team. After six days at Sepang I'm really ready now to move on to Phillip Island."
Makoto Tanaka - Repsol Honda Team Manager
"Overall we've had a very good test and we are all surprised by Tamada achieving the fastest lap. Max has had a good three days and today's tyre testing proved he can produce a very fast pace and consistently. Nicky also had a really good run on potential race tyres so the new team has been successful. Now we move to Phillip Island, for Nicky and Max, all at HRC and the satellite teams it's a really good opportunity to try the 2005 machine after two three-day tests at Sepang."