The close of the second pre-season test at Sepang on Friday saw Valentino Rossi at the head of the timesheet once again, and this time the Italian was faster than his own pole position record set at the circuit for the 2009 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
A fastest lap of 2’00.271 was almost three-tenths of a second quicker, as Rossi spent the final day of the test trying electronic packages, a new tyre for Bridgestone, and evaluating the overall work done so far on the M1.
“I'm really happy to have beaten my pole record, it's a good feeling to be this fast in testing,” said Rossi. “I did this with an old tyre but we also got the chance to try a very good new tyre from Bridgestone today, which I hope we will use from the first race. Our bike is in great shape; we need to do a bit more work on the electronics but in general everything is better, especially the rear grip and the engine. Yamaha have been very clever in developing this new bike whilst keeping the best parts of the old one.”
Rossi also did a few laps on the Yamaha test team’s bike, providing important feedback for future developments of the M1, and he is now looking forward to the final pre-season test in Qatar from March 18-19.
“It was good to get the chance to try the Japanese test bike, hopefully the feedback I gave them will help us in the future,” added Rossi. “Now we go to Qatar and then we will see our level because it is not one of mine or Yamaha's best tracks! But we're in great shape and this is very important at this stage of the season. I'm really looking forward to it.”