Valentino Rossi continued his dominance at Sepang, picking up where he left three weeks ago and topping the timesheets at the end of the first day of testing at the Malaysian track. The Italian put in his fastest time early, and has spent much of the day working on the electronics, content with the work done on the engine and chassis at the previous Sepang test.
Casey Stoner was the second fastest man, and the only rider to get close to the Italian. Stoner has been testing a new carbon fiber swingarm on the Desmosedici GP10, as Ducati continues to work on incorporating the advantages the aluminium swingarm offers into the carbon fiber version.
Third and fourth fastest men were Andrea Dovizioso and Loris Capirossi, the two Italians throwing up a bit of a surprise. Dovizioso took half a second off his time from the previous test, the Repsol Honda team starting to integrate the data they collected three weeks' ago into finding a strong setup for the new Honda RC212V. Dovi's teammate Dani Pedrosa was less fortunate, suffering a slow speed fall that kept him off the track for a couple of hours, before returning and setting the 7th fastest time.
Capirossi's fourth place was a testament to the improvement the new Suzuki engine has provided. Though Capirex was quick at the last test, the Italian veteran was lapping consistently quicker than the last outing the GSV-R had, the new motor taking nearly four tenths off Capirossi's time. The real proof of the Suzuki's improvement is the position of Alvaro Bautista, though. The Spanish rookie had finished last of the MotoGP regulars three weeks' ago, but has taken 1.2 seconds off his time to end the day in 9th.
Ben Spies won the Tussle of the Texans, taking 5th place ahead of his Tech 3 teammate Colin Edwards. Spies also improved his times by some four tenths of a second, and looks to be confirming his status as the best of the strong crop of rookies and a potential podium candidate.
Spies and Edwards were the last of the riders to finish the day inside of the 2'02 bracket, with Pedrosa ending up just outside, and fractionally ahead of Mika Kallio, Bautista and Marco Melandri. Both Kallio and Melandri took a big chunk of time off their best laps here three weeks' ago.
Nicky Hayden continues to struggle with the Ducati, managing just the 11th fastest time on the first day of testing. Hayden is still recovering from surgery to correct arm pump, and this could be one of factors costing him a couple of tenths.
Reigning (and last ever) 250cc Hiroshi Aoyama is continuing his steady adaptation to the MotoGP bikes, and improved on his time at the last test. The Interwetten Honda rider had struggled last time out at Sepang, as the 2010 RC212V was so different to the 2009 version Aoyama had been riding in the previous two tests. But Aoyama's methodical approach is starting to pay off once again, and he is creeping back up the timesheets.
Biggest disappointment of the rookies so far has been Marco Simoncelli. Big things were expected of the Gresini Honda rider, but so far, Simoncelli has struggled to find his feet on the MotoGP bike. Given his blinding speed in the 250 class, it is surely only a matter of time before he is closer to the front.
Testing continues - and concludes - tomorrow.
Times from day 1, courtesy of GPOne.com:
|15||Randy De Puniet||Honda||2'02.535||1.467||0.050||76||76|