Sepang 2 Test Day 1 Times - Rossi And Stoner Lead Dovizioso And Capirossi

Valentino Rossi continued his dominance at Sepang, picking up where he left three weeks ago and topping the timesheets at the end of the first day of testing at the Malaysian track. The Italian put in his fastest time early, and has spent much of the day working on the electronics, content with the work done on the engine and chassis at the previous Sepang test.

Casey Stoner was the second fastest man, and the only rider to get close to the Italian. Stoner has been testing a new carbon fiber swingarm on the Desmosedici GP10, as Ducati continues to work on incorporating the advantages the aluminium swingarm offers into the carbon fiber version.

Third and fourth fastest men were Andrea Dovizioso and Loris Capirossi, the two Italians throwing up a bit of a surprise. Dovizioso took half a second off his time from the previous test, the Repsol Honda team starting to integrate the data they collected three weeks' ago into finding a strong setup for the new Honda RC212V. Dovi's teammate Dani Pedrosa was less fortunate, suffering a slow speed fall that kept him off the track for a couple of hours, before returning and setting the 7th fastest time.

Capirossi's fourth place was a testament to the improvement the new Suzuki engine has provided. Though Capirex was quick at the last test, the Italian veteran was lapping consistently quicker than the last outing the GSV-R had, the new motor taking nearly four tenths off Capirossi's time. The real proof of the Suzuki's improvement is the position of Alvaro Bautista, though. The Spanish rookie had finished last of the MotoGP regulars three weeks' ago, but has taken 1.2 seconds off his time to end the day in 9th.

Ben Spies won the Tussle of the Texans, taking 5th place ahead of his Tech 3 teammate Colin Edwards. Spies also improved his times by some four tenths of a second, and looks to be confirming his status as the best of the strong crop of rookies and a potential podium candidate.

Spies and Edwards were the last of the riders to finish the day inside of the 2'02 bracket, with Pedrosa ending up just outside, and fractionally ahead of Mika Kallio, Bautista and Marco Melandri. Both Kallio and Melandri took a big chunk of time off their best laps here three weeks' ago.

Nicky Hayden continues to struggle with the Ducati, managing just the 11th fastest time on the first day of testing. Hayden is still recovering from surgery to correct arm pump, and this could be one of factors costing him a couple of tenths. 

Reigning (and last ever) 250cc Hiroshi Aoyama is continuing his steady adaptation to the MotoGP bikes, and improved on his time at the last test. The Interwetten Honda rider had struggled last time out at Sepang, as the 2010 RC212V was so different to the 2009 version Aoyama had been riding in the previous two tests. But Aoyama's methodical approach is starting to pay off once again, and he is creeping back up the timesheets.

Biggest disappointment of the rookies so far has been Marco Simoncelli. Big things were expected of the Gresini Honda rider, but so far, Simoncelli has struggled to find his feet on the MotoGP bike. Given his blinding speed in the 250 class, it is surely only a matter of time before he is closer to the front.

Testing continues - and concludes - tomorrow.

Times from day 1, courtesy of

Pos. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff previous Fastest Total
1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2'01.068 0.000   11 47
2 Casey Stoner Ducati 2'01.219 0.151 0.151 29 33
3 Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2'01.631 0.563 0.412 36 52
4 Loris Capirossi Suzuki 2'01.687 0.619 0.056 44 52
5 Ben Spies Yamaha 2'01.843 0.775 0.156 41 42
6 Colin Edwards Yamaha 2'01.897 0.829 0.054 14 35
7 Dani Pedrosa Honda 2'02.036 0.968 0.139 41 47
8 Mika Kallio Ducati 2'02.038 0.970 0.002 76 76
9 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 2'02.078 1.010 0.040 33 34
10 Marco Melandri Honda 2'02.086 1.018 0.008 28 52
11 Nicky Hayden Ducati 2'02.221 1.153 0.135 60 61
12 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 2'02.419 1.351 0.198 19 57
13 Aleix Espargarò Ducati 2'02.447 1.379 0.028 34 35
14 Hector Barbera Ducati 2'02.485 1.417 0.038 28 62
15 Randy De Puniet Honda 2'02.535 1.467 0.050 76 76
16 Marco Simoncelli Honda 2'03.254 2.186 0.719 41 53
17 Yamaha O Yamaha 2'04.681 3.613 1.427 27 51
18 Yamaha T Yamaha 2'04.967 3.899 0.286 42 43

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Laptimes look interesting so far with a few surprises thrown in here and there. I hope Suzuki can actually take their testing results into the season this year, it would be good to have them back in the fight.

The rookies seem to improve well with the exception of Simoncelli. I suspect his main issues might be lying in the field of setting up the bike right (and as far as I know in his statements so far he's been mostly talking about that). He seems to be able to work with the material he has as it is, but the other rookies always struck me as a bit more apt in setting the bike up to make it the best it can get, especially Bautista and Aoyama who mostly take a slower and very detailed approach to the setup. I think this is a bigger issue in MotoGP than it was in 250cc in terms of laptimes and might be what's hampering him.
But of course I could be completely wrong. cover the top 16 (including Lorenzo, if he were there), certainly has to be noteworthy for this early on the calendar, and with the restrictive testing schedule.

....imagine how hard it will be to gain 0.1 seconds!!!

That´s what I was writing about the hard job Spies is going to get to get to the top 4.

Imagine you are 6th / 7th after 20 laps. You´ve found a great setup, you get fresh tires. You get "psiched up " and you go for it!
Imagine youself going on the track as hard as you can, after 2 milles & 16 corners always on your bike limit, sweting, shaking, just did a great lap but you only got 0.075sec out of your previus time! so you´re still 5th !!!! and you have the first guy going 0.5 sec faster.

You start to think, if i´m already on the

These guys fight for tenths as normal people fight for 15 seconds, its crazy!!!

I'll bet many, many riders have felt that... and it's probably soul crushing to wonder if, perhaps, you're not good enough to compete at the motogp level. But theres always plenty of reasons guys come up with to justify it. Inferior machinery, electronics, crew, team support, etc, etc, etc...

Tweet from Spies:

BenSpies11 "Not a bad day.....made more progress and still feel there is more to come. baby steps"....

Can't wait to see how he goes at Qatar on the M1 where he won't have to try and learn the track before starting work on set-up...

Nicky's times worry me. I know he's just had surgery, and I'm sure he was having problems at the last Sepang test as well, but he has yet to capture the form he displayed at Valencia.

I hope the Valencia test wasn't a one-off performance. This sport needs as many bikes near the front as possible.

Yamaha's surplus of riding talent is a problem, but it's a good problem to have. I can't see a way for them to keep Rossi, Lorenzo, and Spies. Silly season 2011 is going to be very interesting if Spies keeps this up.