The 800s - The First Day Of Testing

Well, official times are coming from Valencia, and times have dropped since the reports I heard in the afternoon. Fastest time of the day was set by Valentino Rossi, who put in a 1:33.1 on one of the 43 laps he rode. Surprisingly, Rossi also put in 27 laps on the 990, clocking a fastest time of 1:32.7. The second fastest on the track was Loris Capirossi on the Ducati, and the two Suzukis of John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen, who put in a 1:33.14 and 1:33.17 respectively. Dani Pedrosa on the new RC212V was next fastest, followed by Casey Stoner and freshly-crowned world champion Nicky Hayden, on his first outing on the 800. The times are pretty phenomenal, all very close to the lap times set in the race, with Rossi coming within a whisker of breaking the previous lap record set by Marco Melandri in 2005.

It has to be said that the highly twisty nature of the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, Valencia suits the 800, which have a higher corner speed than the 990s, as a result of the lower gyroscopic effect of the mass of internal moving parts. At faster tracks, the time differential will be bigger. But so far, MotoGP watchers are agog at just how fast they were.

Valentino Rossi wasn't the only person out on the 990. The Gresini team, with Marco Melandri and Toni Elias were out trying out the new Bridgestone tires, as was MotoGP returnee Alex Barros. Barros, on his first outing on the d'Antin Ducati, put in a time of 1:33.6, 1.5 seconds faster than either of the d'Antin riders put in on Sunday on the same bikes, but with Dunlop rubber.

The season has started, and it's already shaping up to be outstanding. See for more details.

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