Looking back at the two days of MotoGP testing at Sepang throws up only a few surprises. The Aliens continue to dominate, as ever, and Colin Edwards is still firmly in place as #5. Behind, the top 5, the picture is a little more interesting. Loris Capirossi's strong outing on Thursday shows that the Suzuki can be fast, but the GSV-R has a long history of being outstanding in testing, yet falling short during the season. Whether it's business-as-usual for Suzuki or a breakthrough will have to wait until the first few rounds have been run.
Ben Spies continues his methodical improvement, but with the Texan complaining of jet lag and telling reporters that he is still very much just learning, he should soon be edging Colin Edwards out of 5th spot and closing on the top 4. Spies is holding station with Andrea Dovizioso, the Italian improving but still looking for more pace.
Key to Dovizioso's effort is the pace of the Honda. HRC have made some major changes to the bike, altering the chassis to improve mass centralization and allow the bike to turn in better, as well as changing the suspension linkage to suit the Ohlins better, and of course add durability to the engine to ensure they last for six whole races. The future of both Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso hinges on HRC getting more performance from this evolution of the RC212V, but there is no doubt that the Japanese giant is committed to achieving these goals.
Spies heads the rookies, but what is more interesting is the story of what is going on behind him. Aleix Espargaro - not really a rookie, having already ridden four races in 2009 - is not far off Spies as the 2nd quickest rookie, while Hector Barbera is the strongest of the genuine newcomers. Hiroshi Aoyama leads last year's 250 title candidates, but the gap between Aoyama, Marco Simoncelli and Alvaro Bautista is minimal.
The Yamaha remains the best bike on the grid, all 4 riders in the top 7. But Ducati has shown a marked improvement, with Nicky Hayden heading up four Ducatis from 9th to 13th place. The Hondas are at the bottom of the grid, the four satellite bikes stuck between 12th and 16th with only Marco Melandri ahead of the Ducati of Barbera, while Alvaro Bautista's 17th fastest time puts him at the bottom of the grid.
Overall times from the two day test:
|14||Randy de Puniet||Honda||2'03.043||2.118||0.011||Friday|
|18||Yamaha Test Rider||Yamaha||2'05.732||4.807||2.458||Thursday|
|19||Yamaha Test Rider||Yamaha||2'06.206||5.281||0.474||Thursday|