The first test session of the year ended positively at Sepang, Malaysia today (Tuesday) after three hard but productive days where Nicky Hayden and Max Biaggi blew away some winter cobwebs in preparation for the up-coming 17-race 2005 championship that starts in Jerez, Spain on April 10th.
Both riders rode a 2004-spec Repsol Honda RC211V and used it as a base to test various upgraded items that could find their way onto the 2005-spec machine that will debut back at the 5.54km circuit in just over two weeks time (Feb 11,12,13)
Hayden, 23, completed an incredible 270 laps and gathered a huge amount of vital data that HRC engineers can analyse back at base when preparing the '05 spec RCV. The talented American completed a race simulation today in the stifling heat that saw temperatures again hit the mid thirties.
Biaggi has impressed many with the speed of his recovery after breaking his ankle at the beginning of November in a supermoto accident. The 33-year-old Italian completed 171 laps over the three-day test and established a good working relationship with his new team.
- Sunday, 24th 90 laps. Fastest lap; 2m 03.17s
- Monday, 25th 81 laps. Fastest lap; 2m 02.49s
- Tuesday 26th 99 laps. Fastest lap; 2m 01.68s
"The test has been pretty silky smooth really after having been off the bike for a while. Sure, we've still got a lot of work to do but it's great the team is working so well. The mechanics, HRC, the Michelin and the Showa boys; they sure ain't scared of doing some work which is what we have to do as we know what we're up against. We put a lot of laps in - probably too many really but we had lots of things to look at - lots of new tyres from Michelin and some real good ones as well. I'd say its been a really valuable start to the year."
- Sunday 24th 45 laps. Fastest lap; 2m 03.35s
- Monday 25th 43 laps. Fastest lap; 2m 02.29s
- Tuesday 26th 83 laps. Fastest lap; 2m 01.91s
"The good thing about this test session is that I am here and I am among the fastest riders. Believe me, I was not sure to make it. I started trusting my ankle only after 25/30 laps. On the other hand, I understood that there's not too much time and there is a lot of job to do. Thanks God, I don't miss the strength and the will to make it. During all the test days I've never left the circuit before 10 p.m. Would you believe me if I tell you that I was the one who closed the track gate? Of course, HRC team led by Erv Kanemoto spent all these evenings with me because we all have a common goal: building The Winning Machine."
Erv Kanemoto, Repsol Honda Team Technical Director
"Overall a very positive test for the whole team. We came here as really a new team. In a very short time we have found a good working method and there is a good spirit in the team. We have used the three days to look at some of the new parts we have developed for the RCV but more we have used the test to learn about the machine and how the riders can extract the best from it. I think we have made a good base and we can build on this solid platform at the next test."