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Feb 14, 2006

Melandri Fastest As MotoGP Team Testing Resumes At Sepang


A full house of MotoGP riders present in the final winter testing session at the Sepang circuit. Positive day for Loris Capirossi, who continues development work on the Desmosedici GP6, while a minor mechanical problem slows down the work of Sete Gibernau.

Sepang (Malaysia), Tuesday 14 February 2006 - The Ducati Marlboro Team returned to Sepang today for a second three-day test session for all the MotoGP teams at the Malaysian circuit before the start of the World Championship.

The day was characterized by suffocating heat in the morning (track temperatures above 50°C) and then disturbed by the rain, which shortly after 4 pm in the afternoon forced everyone back to the pit garages. The light showers were enough to keep the track damp but made any more dry testing time impossible before the closure of the track at 6 pm.

Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau took advantage of the dry weather to continue the development of the new Desmosedici GP6. Both riders have an intense testing programme ahead of them, which also includes the new tyres that Bridgestone have developed with the data accumulated at this circuit at the end of January.

Loris CAPIROSSI (44 laps - 2m02.64s)

"I am pretty satisfied with the way things went today" declared Loris. "We continued development work on the bike, concentrating mainly on the set-up to try and obtain the best compromise between agility and stability. We managed to find something good and tomorrow we'll focus on the tyres. The team is working well, and the bike seems to be much improved over last year's machine".

Sete GIBERNAU (38 laps - 2m03.51s)

"Today we had a mechanical problem which ruined almost all the time available" said Sete, whose bike suffered a gearbox glitch. "Just before it began to rain I went out on the second bike which was much better, but then the rain brought the test to a halt. We are here to test, and it's better that the problems emerge here rather than in the race!"

Tomorrow and Thursday, weather permitting, testing for Capirossi and Gibernau will revolve around the chassis, the electronics and the tyres.

Temperature: air 33° / track 55°

More, from a press release issued by Camel Yamaha:

Ambient temperature: 37 degrees

Track temperature: 54 degrees

Humidity: 79%


Camel Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards began their last three-day test in Sepang today, where they rejoined the rest of the MotoGP grid at the popular Malaysian venue. Fresh from their test in Qatar last week, Rossi and Edwards completed more valuable development work with the 2006-spec YZR-M1, both finishing the day in the top five on the unofficial time sheets.

Focusing almost entirely on ironing out the small vibration problems they have been suffering from lately, fast lap times were not the aim of the day for the Yamaha pair. Despite this however, Rossi and Edwards were on the pace and well inside lap record time. Edwards was third behind Marco Melandri (Honda, 2'01.66) and Dani Pedrosa (Honda, 2'01.89) with a best lap of 2'02.00 from 54 laps whilst Rossi, who also completed 54 laps, was fifth with a time of 2'02.20.

COLIN EDWARDS (2'02.00, 54 Laps)

"It was seriously hot out there today and pretty exhausting! Today we concentrated on fixing the little bit of chatter we've had and played around with some front fork settings, just trying to dial it in. We made some good progress and we have a new front-end setting to try in the morning; we hope that this will be the final key. Honestly we didn't really concentrate much on lap times but it seems that they came anyway, so I'm pretty happy! The bike already feels even better than it did here in January, the new stuff we have from both Yamaha and Michelin is great and after Qatar I am feeling really confident, especially with the front-end. It's all going well so hopefully we can make the final steps we need over the next two days."

VALENTINO ROSSI (2'02.20, 54 Laps)

"Today we worked almost entirely on trying to solve the vibration problems that we have had. We changed many things, tried various different settings and collected a lot of important information throughout the day. Now we are looking forward to using all this information over the next two days and we are confident that we are close to fixing the problem. Once we've been able to fix it, we will be able to use this bike to its full potential. Yamaha has done a great job and the potential of this bike is very high, it's a big improvement to last year's M1 and I am sure that once we've solved this one remaining issue, things will be very good."


"Of course fixing this vibration is now our main focus and today we worked a lot with the entire team to try to find the right way forward. We had great cooperation between the two riders and both crews, exchanging information and experience and this is very important for the team's progress. We've been working on data collection today and we will continue tomorrow, trying some new things and gathering more information to help us. We've already done many days testing with this new bike and mostly it's going very well, now we have two more days here to continue with our improvement. "

Unofficial Lap Times:

1. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda 2'01.66
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 2'01.89
3. COLIN EDWARDS (USA) Yamaha 2'02.00
4. John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki 2'02.15
5. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) Yamaha 2'02.20
6. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati 2'02.64
7. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Kawasaki 2'02.75
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 2'02.86
9. Carlos Checa (SPA) Yamaha 2'03.40
10. Casey Stoner (AUS) Honda 2'03'40
11. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Ducati 2'03.51
12. Toni Elias (SPA) Honda 2'03.52
13. Kenny Roberts (USA) KR Honda 2'03.58
14. Makoto Tamada (JPN) Honda 2'03.66
15. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki 2'04.02
16. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Suzuki 1'04.10
17. Alex Hoffman (GER) Ducati 2'05.40
18. Jose Luis Cardosa (SPA) Ducati 2'05.81
19. James Ellison (GBR) Yamaha 2'05.90

More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing Information:

Day one of three-day MotoGP test. February 14, 2006.

Melandri the Honda hot shot on day one of Sepang test.

The gruelling pre-season MotoGP test schedule resumed at Sepang, Malaysia today where the grand prix teams began their final three-day winter test in the Southern Hemisphere. All MotoGP teams tested at the 5.542 km Sepang circuit in mid-January and were surprised to find a huge difference in track conditions.

Ambient temperatures were close to 30' today with high humidity left the track slick and a rain shower late in the day did little to improve grip. Surface grip was hard to find on the opening day and consequently lap times were often slower than those set on the first day of the test a month ago.

Fastest an of the seven RCV riders present today was again Marco Melandri, runner-up in the 2005 MotoGP World Championship.

Fortuna Honda rider Melandri did not have the day he expected at Sepang. The young Italian was surprised by the lack of grip from the track and struggled to get his RCV off the corners due to excessive rear wheel spin. The most positive aspect on the opening day was the improved feel from the front end of the machine, something Melandri had been chasing at the first Sepang test, held in January.

Melandri's teammate, Spaniard Toni Elias, was not happy with his days work and admits he has a lot to learn about the RCV and needs more time on the machine to give his best.

The Repsol Honda factory team riders, Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa were both faster than on the opening day of the last test here. Pedrosa was the faster of the two men. Starting off the day conservatively the young Spaniard slowly upped the pace while testing tyres for Michelin and set a fastest lap at 2m 01.89s.

Hayden has rear wheel grip problems and admitted the feed-back he gave the team was not up to his usual standard. His best lap time reflected his day as he was almost one second off Pedrosa's fastest lap.

HRC RC211V test rider, former 500cc grand prix winner Tady Okada, is at Sepang with the Repsol Honda factory team. Okada, who has taken over RCV testing from compatriot Tohru Ukawa was pleased with the progress of the latest version of the RCV he tested today. Okada feels there is a definite improvement over the machine 2005 tested at Sepang last month.

Kenny Roberts Jnr continued the steady progress his team has made with the Honda powered KR211V, a Team Roberts rolling chassis equipped with the five-cylinder RCV 990cc engine. On the opening day of the test Roberts, on a difficult track surface set a lap time of 2m 03.48s using the latest version of the newly developed Team Roberts chassis. In the prevailing conditions it was an impressive upbeat performance for the new design in the conditions.

Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda) is playing catch up with his fellow RCV riders. Japanese star Tamada missed the last two MotoGP tests at Sepang and it shows in his lap times but the popular rider remains unfazed and is steadily working up to speed. He concentrated on suspension and chassis settings on the opening day and was quite happy with the progress made today.

LCR Honda rider Casey Stoner put in a brief 13-lap appearance before ending his day early suffering from a shoulder strain he picked up during his physical training programme last week. Stoner attended the track medical centre for treatment and will return for more treatment in the morning before deciding if he will test the LCR Honda tomorrow.

Honda rider lap times and quotes.

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 2m 02.92s - 90 laps. "I'm not completely satisfied with the day to be honest with you. At the start I just didn't have a good feeling with the traction. As the day went on we kept working hard and chipped away and found some stuff and I was able to get into the 2s [2m 02s laps] when it was still really hot, so that was positive, but we weren't where we needed to be today. I'm not pointing the finger. We're all in it together and to be honest the rider wasn't getting around as good as he should have, and my information wasn't that great. Still, we definitely
got some stuff we can build on - we changed some offset settings which helped me with front feeling in the slow corners."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2m 01.89s - 87 laps. "Today was not too bad. At the beginning the track was a little bit slippery but it got better. We were working on chassis and suspension settings in the morning and then after lunch we tested some tyres for Michelin until the rain stopped us. At the beginning my times weren't so good, but we improved little by little. We have tested here three times and I'm gaining good experience. I still have to work on my strength and fitness, but I think with the time we have we can achieve it. And I've now got a riding position I'm happy with."

Makoto Tanaka - Repsol Honda Team Manager "This test is very important for Honda and today the track was very hot which didn't help the lap times. Again, Nicky had many things to test. His time wasn't the fastest, but I'm not worried about this, it's a three day test and we have more new things to try tomorrow. Dani was working on bike settings and he made good progress."

Tadayuki Okada, HRC test rider: 2m 05.89s - 72 laps. "Basically I am here to help the team with the transition from the 2005 RC211V to the eventual 2006 machine the team will race. We are working hard, not just on the settings but also on machine balance and I have to say that so far the machine I tested today is much better than the '05 bike I tried. Usually when you find several positive points with a newly developed bike you also find negative points but today everything has been positive. Nicky (Hayden) will test the bike tomorrow then we will sit down and discuss which is the best direction to take with in future testing."

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda: 2m 01 "Today was very strange for us. We lack traction off the corners and the bike is sliding. The feeling I had with the bike is totally different from the last test here at Sepang. Part of the reason is that track conditions are lot different but not entirely. At the moment I don't really understand this. We tried new tyres from Michelin but they did not work here as well as the tyres we used last time we were here. The positive point about today was the front end, it's better than before in the fast corners and my lap time was also fast for the track
conditions. We have two more days here and we have some work to do."

Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda: "I'm not so happy today. I don't really have problems to speak of it's just that I need more time on the bike, run a lot more kilometres. Here at Sepang I have to put in as many laps as I can, I have to feel more comfortable on the bike than I am at the moment before I can be fast."

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda: "Today I tried various suspension and chassis settings and gained some precise data. Phillip Island is a fast track while Sepang has many tight corners. So today I could see what I couldn't at Phillip Island. All the other teams testing here have had two more than me to test here since the end of last season so I knew they would go quick from the start of the session and I focussed on my own job today, not thinking about other peoples lap times."

Casey Stoner, LCR Honda: 2m03.41s - 13 laps. Stoner unavailable for comment.

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: "Things are starting to go good, we are making inroads and we ended the day well running in the mid 2m 03s bracket. We had a small issue with the rear shock towards the end and that gave me a chance to a new shock and swinging arm. The bike now turns into the corners better with this frame than the original one we tested here so we can see the progress we're making. The lap times are good and I set my best times towards the end of the day. Which is pretty interesting because most of the other guys were faster earlier in the day."

More, from a press release issued by Fortuna Honda:


Sepang (Malaysia), Tuesday 14th of February 2006 - The Fortuna Honda riders are back at work for the third round of test in preparation on the 2006 season. There is no doubt that this three-day test session will be very important to confirm the work done so far. The teams have in fact all the reference data on this track as they tested here with the new bike at the end of January.

The first day of testing was characterized by hot temperatures in the morning and a light rain in the afternoon that forced the riders to stop in the garage. They could go back on track for only a short time before 06.00 p.m..

A crash without consequences in the morning didn't stop Fortuna Honda rider Marco Melandri to continue working in the afternoon, signing today's fastest time (2'01"65). In total, the Italian rider completed 74 laps.

His team mate Toni Elias continued to do experience with the RC211V. The young Spanish rider still needs to do as many kilometres as possible in order to feel more comfortable on the bike.

MARCO MELANDRI (74 laps , 2'01"65): "We still have a lot of work to do on the new bike. The positive point is that I'm quite fast on the single lap whereas we don't have enough traction to have the rhythm I'd like to have for the race."

TONI ELIAS (65 laps, 2'03"51): "I'm not happy. At the moment the feeling with the bike is not the one I'd like to have. I need more time on the bike, I need to run a lot of kilometres and to feel more comfortable. Tomorrow I will start working with Michelin technicians for some tyre testing. I'm confident that this will help me a lot to find a better feeling and to improve my rhythm."

Temperature: 29°-34° the air temperature, 33°-45° the asphalt temperature

1.M.Melandri (Honda) 2 01 65
2. D.Pedrosa (Honda) 2 01 89
3. C. Edwards (Yamaha) 2 02 00
4. J. Hopkins (Suzuki) 2 02 15
5. V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2 02 20
6. L. Capirossi (Ducati) 2 02 64
7. R.De Puniet (Kawasaki) 2 02 75
8. N. Hayden (Honda) 2 02 86
9. C. Checa (Yamaha) 2 03 40
10. C. Stoner (Honda) 2 03 40
11. T. Elias (Honda) 2.03.51
12. S. Gibernau (Ducati) 2 03 51
13. K. Roberts (KR Honda) 2 03 58
14. M.Tamada (Honda) 2 03 66
15. S. Nakano (Kawasaki) 2 04 02
16. C. Vermeulen (Suzuki) 2 04 10
17. Hofmann Ducati 2 05 40