The rain that threatened to ruin the first day of testing for 2010 luckily decided to stay away, but the session was still disrupted by the weather. Instead of water, it was the oppressive 40°C tropical heat that sapped the strength of the riders, limiting the amount of testing the riders could do. The rain finally came just before 5pm to cool the track from the scorching 50° Centigrade it was at most of the day, though only adding to the humidity.
Valentino Rossi ended the day with the fastest time, a comfortable half a second ahead of Casey Stoner on the Ducati. Stoner had suffered chatter for part of the day, and the hot asphalt made it difficult to judge the difference adjustments to the bike were making. The riders in 3rd and 4th place were a big surprise, Colin Edwards' 3rd spot slightly less so than Loris Capirossi's 4th fastest time. It's clear the Yamaha is good, but even the satellite bikes are so good that on their day, they can match the speed of the factory bikes, Edwards finishing ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and nearly a quarter of a second faster.
Loris Capirossi also edged ahead of Lorenzo, but only by a few hundredths of a second. The Italian veteran was testing a new chassis on the Suzuki GSV-R, which has more flexibility built in offering more edge grip. The chassis had proved successful in the cooler climes of the Estoril test in November, and seems to be working in the tropical Malaysian heat.
Andrea Dovizioso was the fastest of the Hondas 6th spot, a couple of tenths ahead of his team mate Dani Pedrosa. Nicky Hayden was sandwiched between the two Repsol bikes, continuing his slow improvement on the Marlboro Ducati.
The fastest of the rookies was Hector Barbera, continuing his impressive form on the Aspar Ducati. The Spanish rookie's day got off to a rocky start, as the Aspar team arrived at the track to find that thieves had ransacked their garage, taking all of the computers from the pit box, including the server containing all of the data the team has from previous tests. By the end of the day, Barbera was over his difficult start and in 10th position, ahead of Aleix Espargaro and the Texan Ben Spies. Spies had tried to temper expectations of the tests before they started, telling the official MotoGP.com website that he was in no rush to set fast times. Given Spies methodical way of working at Valencia, the improvements are likely to be slow and subtle.
Honda once again brings up the tail of the timesheet, with only Suzuki rookie Alvaro Bautista separating the four satellite RC212Vs of Randy de Puniet, Marcos Simoncelli and Melandri, and Hiroshi Aoyama. The gap between the bottom five is negligible, less than two tenths of a second.
Testing continues tomorrow.
Times, courtesy of GPOne.com:
|13||Randy De Puniet||Honda||2'03.456||2.045||0.314||52||62|
|18||Yamaha Test Rider||Yamaha||2'05.732||4.321||2.081||16||40|
|19||Yamaha Test Rider||Yamaha||2'06.206||4.795||0.474||25||36|