The final day of testing at Sepang saw an already depleted field thin out even more, with Nicky Hayden electing to head for home yesterday. That left only the Fiat Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo and the Gresini Hondas of Shinya Nakano and Alex de Angelis running laps, with the Kawasaki and Yamaha test teams making up the numbers.
Rossi spent much of the day concentrating on long runs on race tires, which produced evidence of significant progress in the Yamaha garage. The Italian site GPOne.com has an interesting comparison of the times set by Rossi and Casey Stoner at this test and the previous test at Sepang. For the sake of readability, I have reproduced them here:
Rossi's fastest lap of 2'01.190 led the timesheets for much of the day, until Jorge Lorenzo started to test qualifying tires, the Spanish rookie quickly getting up to speed on soft rubber and coming within a tenth of a second of the existing pole record. On race tires, however, the 250 world champion was doing less well, only occasionally dipping into the 2'02 bracket.
The Gresini Honda men finished the test behind Rossi, still some way off the pace, with Shinya Nakano once again beating his rookie team mate Alex de Angelis.
Of the test teams, it was Kawasaki's Olivier Jacque who managed the most impressive times, taking half a second off his fastest time on Thursday, and getting within spitting distance of genuine race pace. The remaining riders were at least 2 seconds off the pace, with Yamaha's test riders significantly slower than the Kawasakis.
Testing resumes in just over a week's time, with the official IRTA test at Jerez. All of the teams will be present at that test, which will include the official qualifying session, where the fastest rider will win a BMW sports car. That qualifying session will be broadcast live on TV channels in some parts of the world, especially in Europe. Check your local listings for more details.
|Pos.||Rider||Bike||Time||Fast Lap||Total Laps|
|4.||Alex de Angelis||Honda||2'02.193||12||20|
|7.||Yamaha Test Team P||Yamaha||2'06.000||26||27|
|8.||Yamaha Test Team T||Yamaha||2'06.040||28||44|