Sepang 2 Test Day 2 Times - Rossi Leads An Australian And Three Americans

Valentino Rossi finished the second day of testing at Sepang in the same style he finished the first day: On top of the timesheets, with a comfortable lead over his closest rival Casey Stoner. The Italian smashed his existing pole record on a used tire early on the session, before going on to work on the electronics of his Fiat Yamaha M1. At the end of the day, Rossi pronounced himself very happy with the progress of the Yamaha, and even took time to try the Yamaha Test Team's bike, setting the 15th fastest time in the process on a bike not set up for him.

Rossi finished nearly a quarter of a second faster than Casey Stoner, the Australian having also lapped under Rossi's previous pole record. There was also good news for Stoner's teammate, 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden. After struggling yesterday, Hayden improved his time by over 1.5 seconds, setting his best ever testing result on the Ducati. The Kentucky Kid had complained of a lack of strength from the arm pump surgery he had just a couple of weeks ago, but a day back on the bike was sufficient to sort those problems out too. Hayden took it a little easier than his usual marathon testing sessions, with 10 other riders doing more laps than the American.

The Texans of Tech 3 made it places 3 through 5 an all-American affair, or, as Ben Spies put it on his Twitter page, "3 boys from the ol' CMRA in the top 5 - nice!" Colin Edwards managed to hold off his rookie teammate on Friday, after having been beaten by him on Thursday, but again, the difference was minimal. Both men dropped some nine tenths of a second off their best times from yesterday, Edwards even cracking into the 2'00 bracket in the process. Spies progress continues to be impressive, and for the first time after the session, Spies stopped referring to taking "baby steps." The young Texan is getting comfortable, and that looks worrying for the competition.

The Suzukis continued their strong outing at Sepang, Loris Capirossi dropping to 6th after having been further up the timesheets earlier in the day. Meanwhile his teammate Alvaro Bautista got into the top 10 again, taking another three tenths off his time from yesterday. The new engine for the GSV-R is clearly big improvement, and the bike is making good progress, but the worry for Suzuki must be that they have a history of performing extremely well in tests at Sepang, only to slide down the order once the season starts. Another strong showing at the final test at Qatar would underline Suzuki's improvement.

The Hondas are having much less luck. Dani Pedrosa, in particular, is having to put in a lot of work to get the new RC212V set up with the Ohlins suspension. After the test, Pedrosa complained of a lack of stability, which the team hadn't been able to fix despite a trying a number of solutions. Pedrosa ended the day in 8th, over a second behind Valentino Rossi and a few hundredths behind his teammate Andrea Dovizioso.

The best of the other rookies was Hiroshi Aoyama, the Interwetten-Honda rider working methodically on the new bike and finding an extra eight tenths of a second. Aoyama could throw up a few surprises this season, as he continues his MotoGP education.

The contrast with Marco Simoncelli could not be greater. Ill fortune has dogged Simoncelli since he made the step up to MotoGP, and today was no exception. The Italian prodigy suffered a huge highside early on in the session, landing on his head hard enough to crack his helmet. Simoncelli was dazed and confused shortly after the crash, and was taken from the track for a CAT scan at a local hospital. Nothing serious was found there, and as Simoncelli's memory of the events had returned, he was pronounced relatively healthy, though he did not return to racing.

The teams and riders now pack up and head to Qatar, where the next test is due to take place from March 17-19, four weeks before the season opener at the Losail circuit.

Times from Day 2 at the Sepang MotoGP Test, from

Pos. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff previous Fast lap Total 
1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2'00.271 0.000   12 39
2 Casey Stoner Ducati 2'00.512 0.241 0.241 13 33
3 Nicky Hayden Ducati 2'00.703 0.432 0.191 20 42
4 Colin Edwards Yamaha 2'00.988 0.717 0.285 18 35
5 Ben Spies Yamaha 2'01.014 0.743 0.026 11 44
6 Loris Capirossi Suzuki 2'01.320 1.049 0.306 6 50
7 Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2'01.439 1.168 0.119 13 46
8 Dani Pedrosa Honda 2'01.478 1.207 0.039 56 57
9 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 2'01.692 1.421 0.214 47 50
10 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 2'01.732 1.461 0.040 17 25
11 Randy De Puniet Honda 2'01.980 1.709 0.248 4 58
12 Marco Melandri Honda 2'02.078 1.807 0.098 3 60
13 Hector Barbera Ducati 2'02.080 1.809 0.002 45 52
14 Mika Kallio Ducati 2'02.082 1.811 0.002 65 66
15 Yamaha Test T Yamaha 2'02.287 2.016 0.205 17 18
16 Aleix Espargaro Ducati 2'02.367 2.096 0.080 49 49
17 Marco Simoncelli Honda 2'03.689 3.418 1.322 2 2
18 Yamaha Test O Yamaha 2'04.500 4.229 0.811 11 43

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My day was made with the news that Nicky is finding his speed again, he can make this season very fun to watch. GO Nick!!!!!

And if you ever want to go Mountain Biking in California let me know, those rode bikes just don't compare.

If Capirossi, Hayden and Spies only join the battle for 5th with Dovisioso and Edwards, it will be a nice improvement. It will give something to watch if someone runs away with it at the front.

Alright, the Valencia test was not a fluke. I hope Nicky rides within himself this season and he stays glued to the front.

Sad to see Honda in such bad condition. I'm not a fan of HRC, but their inability to create a competitive bike is certainly part of the reason 800cc racing has been so boring.

...of Hayden's laps were in that area?

Again I hasten to point out:  the lap times don't seem to have suffered with the change to "less powerful" engines that run fewer R's.