Following Wednesday’s relatively quiet day for test riders only at Sepang, the official MotoGP riders were on track on Thursday as the second test of 2010 got underway in Malaysia. As was the case three weeks ago at the first test Valentino Rossi topped the timesheet on his factory YZR-M1, as he set a best lap time of 2’01.068.
Rossi was continuing work on the set-up of his 2010 prototype and also with new Brembo brake callipers, and the reigning World Champion was followed in the lap times by Casey Stoner, with the Ducati Marlboro team testing new swingarms on the Desmosedici GP10. The main focus remains finding the right feeling with the new engine for the Australian rider, and Stoner was 0.151s off Rossi’s pace.
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso took well over half a second off his time from the previous test to post a 2’01.631 as the third fastest rider, whilst the new GSV-R engine in the Rizla Suzuki bike enable Loris Capirossi to make a significant improvement as well. The veteran completed 52 laps – as did Dovizioso – and was fourth quickest at a further 0.056s behind his fellow Italian’s time, as he continues work on the new cowling, Akrapovic exhaust, chassis, suspension and Marchesini wheels from the last test.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo Ben Spies and Colin Edwards were fifth and sixth respectively on the timesheet, the former working on riding position and posting a best lap of 2’01.843 on day one. Edwards, at 0.054s slower, had problems with electronics which meant a slow morning, but he returned to the track later in the day and worked on different chassis settings as he took in 35 laps.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) fell at around 1.35pm local time at turn nine having completed 26 laps, but returned two hours later and made a total of 47 for the day on board his factory RC212V with a best time of 2’02.036, whilst the rider to record the joint-highest number of turns on Thursday was Mika Kallio of Pramac Racing. The Finn’s 76 laps produced a time just 0.002s slower than Pedrosa, as he came in eighth fastest whilst trying out different front forks on the GP10.
Álvaro Bautista suffered the first fall of the day just after midday on his Suzuki. He returned to action shortly after on the GSV-R and knocked over a full second off his previous test time, with a 2’02.078 from 34 laps his best effort as he rode the new engine that team-mate Capirossi is also testing.
Rounding out the top 10 times was San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri, whose time of 2’02.086 on his RC212V was a vast step up from his last time out. Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) is still feeling the slight effects of surgery on his right arm from two weeks ago, although he completed 61 laps with a best time just over a second off Rossi’s.
Rookies Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP), Aleix Espargaró (Pramac Racing) – who crashed at turn four late in the day – and Héctor Barberá (Paginas Amarillas Ducati) followed, with LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet putting in a solid 76 laps whilst testing chassis geometry in search of the right direction to take on the RC212V, and all made better times than their last test at Sepang. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) worked on electronic mapping for traction control on his machine.
Tyre supplier Bridgestone has made available to all riders two new tyre specifications for this test: the medium rear compound for 2010, which is a softer option qualifying tyre, and a new front tyre compound to be used for 2011.
Also on track were Yamaha test riders Norihiko Fujiwara and Wataru Yoshikawa, with a notable absence from this second test being Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo who is still recovering from a hand injury sustained in a training accident two weeks ago.
The riders are due to return to the track for the second and final day of this test on Friday morning at 10am local time.