The Yamaha Factory Racing Team rounded off their first test of 2007 in fine style today, with Valentino Rossi topping the unofficial time sheets after three days of testing. Both Rossi and his team-mate Colin Edwards made more positive progress with Yamaha's new prototype 800cc machine and the team closed the test feeling confident about their level of performance at this stage of the season. Although they finished the day a little earlier than usual, both riders completed their full agenda of work, once again trying several new tyres for Michelin, with Rossi also concentrating on improving the balance of the bike when braking.
Rossi's best time of 2'00.936 was set on a qualifying tyre and is close to his pole position time from last year's Grand Prix, when he was riding the old 990cc machine. Close behind him was Suzuki's John Hopkins with a time of 2'01.026, whilst Edwards, who did not use a qualifying tyre today, was eighth fastest with a lap of 2'02.266. Whilst most teams will now head directly to Phillip Island for another test, Yamaha Factory Racing have instead elected to return to Sepang in ten days time, with another three-day test on 5th, 6th and 7th February.
Valentino Rossi (Position: 1st) Time: 2'00.936, Laps: 30
"Today was another good day for us. We concentrated a lot on braking and definitely made some improvements, although I think we can still make it even better and this is something we will work on when we come back here. We had an important technical meeting today and came to some interesting conclusions, which will help Yamaha's engineers to continue to improve our new bike. We've got through our entire programme for this test, including testing many new tyres for Michelin. Today I also had the chance to try a qualifying tyre and I was able to go below 2.01; I think that Michelin have done a very good job over the winter. We tried the 16" tyre again and I am still sure that it's good for us, although we still need more time to work on it with Michelin. Overall it's been a very positive test for us. Most of the other teams will go to Phillip Island now, but we will return here in ten days with more new things to test. We still need to work on the engine, although for this early stage it's very good. So far we have concentrated on power delivery, rather than on the power itself, but this only the first test of the year so there is plenty more time!"
Colin Edwards (Position: 8th) Time: 2'02.266, Laps: 22
"I'm heading home feeling really happy after three excellent day's work. We didn't do so much today, 22 laps, but it was enough to back up what we've learnt this week and finish feeling sure about everything. We changed direction with tyres a bit today and went towards the package Valentino's been using and that definitely improved things even more; my fastest lap was on a race tyre similar to the one he's been using quite a bit. We didn't try a qualifier, but I really felt that I got into the 'zone' on the race tyre and that was when my best time came. We tried a new front and a new rear as well and they were both great, the tyre situation in general is really good. We played around a bit with the setting too and tested a few things Valentino's been using, but actually I preferred my setting so we came back to that. So that's it for the first test and it's been really encouraging. A quick rest now and then we'll be back for more!"
Davide Brivio - Team Director;
"We've finished this first test of 2007 with both riders and the team feeling good. Valentino and Colin shared a lot of information between one another and this is very important in this development period. The times are already very satisfying and this means that we're working in the right direction, even if there's still a lot of work to do! The final conclusion of this test is very positive but we need to keep working hard; we have clear ideas about what we need to do. We're coming back here again soon and we will have new items to test, especially tyres, and we will be able to continue to fine-tune the set-up of the new 800. 10th March is getting closer and closer so we have to just keep on working!"
Nicky Hayden Best laptime: 2m 01.884s - 64 laps;
"We definitely learnt a lot about the bike at this test and got some valuable information for my crew chief Pete Benson and the boys to work with. And myself, I felt like I rode the 800 better than I did here in November. It would have been nice to have been closer to the front and I know we didn't set the world on fire, but we've definitely got some positive stuff to take away. We found some Showa forks I liked and some good settings, plus we tried the new 16 inch Michelin front which felt good. On the straight I feel like I'm a little bit out in the wind and that's where I'm losing time - towards the end of the straight. I don't know if it's partly engine performance and partly aerodynamics. It's definitely good that we're going to Phillip Island because we can check the things we tested here at a completely different track next week. I would have liked to have done a long run here but I didn't really have the strength in my shoulder. The most I did was ten laps in a row because the doc didn't want me getting carried away here because shoulders sometimes take a while to heal. I'm looking forward to Phillip Island where there's not so much hard braking."
Dani Pedrosa Best laptime: 2m 01.884 - 75 laps;
"Today we were able to take some steps with the bike and the feeling is a little better - so that's positive. We also confirmed some of the areas where we have to improve which is also good to know. We've also tested some tyres for Michelin including the new 16-inch tyres - yesterday the front tyre and today the rear. It's still early and difficult to have a definite answer about these tyres, but the feeling was good so maybe it's the future. I was fastest at the last test in Jerez but this is a different track, the temperature is higher and there are many differences riding here so we will analyse the data and work how to improve further at Phillip Island. This is normal for testing."
Marco Melandri (69 laps, 2.02.489):
"I'm satisfied, we worked with method following an intense programme and I can say that we have met our target. Today I tested different kind of tyres and I'm satisfied. In particular I like a lot the front tyre but also the rear tyre is working quite well. It was important to work along side the Bridgestone technicians to understand the line to follow so that we can go on improving. I wanted to do a race simulation but unfortunately I had to stop after 12 laps because I was suffering too much on my right foot because of the heat. Now I need to work on the boot in order to solve this problem. I go to Phillip Island very confident. There is a lot of work to do but I'm happy for the situation at this stage of development".
Toni Elias (65 laps, 2.02. 927):
"I leave Sepang very confident. This morning we worked a lot on chassis and suspensions and studied the geometry of the bike. In the afternoon we could continue some tyre testing. It was important to understand the line of work also with Bridgestone technicians and I think these first three days of testing have been very helpful. I'm not happy with my lap time but I'm not worried, at this moment it's more important to work for the race pace".
Shinya Nakano - Rider, Konica Minolta Honda;
"We are still struggling a little bit with chatter from the front-end of the bike, which makes it difficult to keep up good corner speed. This morning it wasn't so bad, but for some reason in the afternoon we seem to encounter more chatter. We're not 100% sure why, it could be a change in temperature, but because of this I couldn't improve my lap time. I'm a little bit disappointed with my final time, but overall I think we all made this a very successful test as I've learned much more about the new 800cc bike and the team. Besides, many of those who have gone faster have been here before with the new bikes. For us at this early stage learning how we work together as a team is more important than a quick lap, as is trying to get a base-setting for the new Honda RC212V and getting used to working with everyone at Honda. Next week's test at Phillip Island should be good for us, we have a base setting that we can take there now so there is a lot we can do over the three days and I'm getting to know the bike better every time I ride it. The track itself is good for learning about a new bike and the weather should be perfect for us at this time of year. For us it's important to arrive at the first race with a competitive bike, as this year I want to score podiums and then get my first win in MotoGP!"
Alex Barros (2'02.630 - 58 laps):
"Today has well gone, we have used only the Bridgestone race tires . We have worked on the rear and improve the set-up, we are in a good situation to go on. I'm very satisfied after this third day and I felt very comfortable with the bike. I'm confident that in the next test we will improve even further"& nbsp;
Alex Hofmann (2'02.908 - 58 laps ):
"Today was better than yesterday, I didn't feel at 100%, but we have done good work and a lot of runs made, retrieving the time lost yesterday. The most important thing was to work on the general set up. We have find a good direction, but we have much to do. The step with race tire is considerably improved while I'm unable to utilize at the maximum qualification tires in consequence to physical problem suffered yesterday. In conclusion I can say to be very satisfied after this Malaysian test. We have found a good base to start the next test in Phillip Island, when I will feel much better and I can push harder".
Randy de Puniet: 46 Laps - Best Lap 2'01.87;
"This has been a good first test for us in many ways. I am impressed with the bike, especially with just how much Kawasaki's engineers have managed to improve it in just six weeks. We've been able to do a lot of laps here without any problems at all. This has allowed us to work our way through an intensive test programme, which is important at this point in the season. Overall I am pleased with the amount of progress we've made. I managed to set my fastest lap ever here at Sepang this morning, and then the first part of the race simulation this afternoon went well. At the end my lap times started to drop off slightly, but this is an area we will look at more closely during our next test. We have nine more days of testing before the first race, during which we must continue to work hard, but the potential is definitely there and I think we've proved that over the past three days."
Olivier Jacque: 41 Laps - Best Lap 2'03.57;
"The test started with a nice surprise, in the fact that Kawasaki have worked wonders in six short weeks with the bike. It's much better than it was during our first, short test in November. We've enjoyed three full days of testing in good conditions and with no problems here in Sepang, and that has allowed us to make some good progress with the bike. We've found a fairly good base set-up, but we've also identified some small changes that will improve things further for the next test. Randy showed that the bike is fast today, and I hope that the work I've completed over the three days with my new crew will allow us both to go even faster next time out. Of course, we need to keep working and to keep our motivation, because if we do this I think we might surprise a few people come the first race of the season."
Carlos Checa: "Today was much better! I feel very satisfied about the set up work we developed over the last three
days. I spent most of the day riding on race tyres and my best lap time was the 5th fastest overall. Then, in the
last part of the session, I came out on qualifying tyres but I need more time to adapt. I also swapped my bike
with Kenny Roberts Jr to gather data and to share our opinions on the engine. This bike has a strong potential
but we must continue our development during the next test sessions. As the RC212V is the smallest bike of this
class I have to adapt also my body to improve the aerodynamics. Thus last winter I had a steady training
loosing 3 kilogramme and I will probably receive a new seat and a new faring much higher for next Australian
Unofficial Lap Times:
- 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha, 2'00.936
- 2. John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki, 2'01.026
- 3. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati, 2'01.274
- 4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda, 2'01.664
- 5. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Suzuki, 2'01.691
- 6. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Kawasaki, 2'01.878
- 7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda, 2'01.884
- 8. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha, 2'02.266
- 9. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati, 2'02.407
- 10. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda, 2'02.489
- 11. Carlos Checa (SPA) Honda, 2'02.583
- 12. Alex Barros (BRA) Ducati, 2'02.630
- 13. Toni Elias (SPA) Honda, 2'02.927
- 14. Alex Hoffman (GER) Ducati, 2'03.040
- 15. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Honda, 2'03.077
- 16. Makoto Tamada (JPN) Yamaha, 2'03.308
- 17. Kenny Roberts (USA) Team KR, 2'03.330
- 18. Olivier Jacque (FRA) Kawasaki, 2'03.592
- 19. Shinichi Ito (JPN) Bridgestone Test, 2'03.97
- 3 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Yamaha, Did not ride
Sepang Lap Record (990cc):
- Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2006 - 2'02.127
Sepang Best Lap (990cc):
- Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2006 - 2'00.605