“I’m really happy to have beaten my pole record, it’s a good feeling to be this fast in testing. I did this with an old tire but we also got the chance to try a very good new tire from Bridgestone today, which I hope we will use from the first race,” said Rossi.
Joining Rossi at the top of the timesheet was the Ducati Marlboro duo of Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden. Stoner continues to shadow The Doctor on the timesheets and posted the second-fastest time of the day at 2’00.512, but was still 0.241 seconds off of Rossi’s pace. Hayden demonstrated a huge improvement over yesterday, besting his lap times from yesterday by a second and a half. The American rider appears to be healing quickly from his recent arm surgery.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad of Colin Edwards and Ben Spies looked strong again, finishing the day in fourth and fifth-fastest respectively. The electronics gremlins that plagued Edwards yesterday were gone today as the American rider was very pleased with the performance of the YZR-M1.
Loris Capirossi ended his day on the Rizla Suzuki sixth-fastest. Capirossi ran almost a full simulated race at the tail end of the session, giving his Rizla Suzuki team valuable information as the opening race of the season draws near.
Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso again was the fastest Honda rider and finished with the seventh-fastest lap on the timesheets. His teammate, Dani Pedrosa was right behind Dovi in eighth and liked the progress the team is making with the engine but is still dissatisfied with the chassis setup.
Interwetten Honda pilot Hiroshi Aoyama showed excellent progress on the RC212V today, shaving off eight-tenths of a second of his previous best lap time at Sepang while posting the ninth-fastest time.
Capirossi’s rookie Rizla Suzuki teammate, Alvaro Bautista, filled the last slot in the top ten. Bautista also significantly bettered his times from the first Sepang winter test, but he did suffer two spills yesterday which hampered his performance today.
San Carlo Gresini Honda’s Marco Simoncelli suffered a big crash after completing only two laps and was taken to the hospital. Simoncelli reported that he was OK but it cut his testing time drastically short.
The MotoGP paddock will head to Qatar on March 18-19 for the final pre-season test. Qatar is the site of the opening race of the season, which will once again be run under the lights.
MotoGP Sepange Test Two Day 2
1. Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha 2’00.271
2. Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro 2’00.512
3. Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro 2’00.703
4. Colin Edwards, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2’00.988
5. Ben Spies, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2’01.014
6. Loris Capirossi, Rizla Suzuki 2’01.320
7. Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda 2’01.439
8. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda 2’01.478
9. Hiroshi Aoyama, Interwetten-Honda 2’01.692
10. Alvaro Bautista, Rizla Suzuki 2’01.732
11. Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda 2’01.980
12. Marco Melandri, San Carlo Honda Gresini 2’02.078
13. Hector Barbera, Aspar Team 2’02.080
14. Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing 2’02.082
15. Yamaha 2’02.287
16. Aleix Espargaro, Pramac Racing 2’02.367
17. Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini 2’04.500
Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha – 1st:
“Our bike is in great shape; we need to do a bit more work on the electronics but in general everything is better, especially the rear grip and the engine. Yamaha have been very clever to develop this new bike whilst keeping the best parts of the old one, I’m very happy about it. It was good to get the chance to try the Japanese test bike, hopefully the feedback I gave them will help us in the future. Now we go to Qatar and then we will see our level because it is not one of mine or Yamaha’s best tracks! But we’re in great shape and this is very important at this stage of the season. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team – 2nd:
“When we first went out this morning the track conditions were a huge improvement on yesterday thanks to the slightly cooler temperatures, which meant the track was less slippery. That allowed us to get the best out of the bike and we were able to set some fast times. We started out with the same setting we finished with yesterday, which I already liked, and we changed just a couple of things and were able to immediately set a strong pace. It is just a shame that the red flag came out right after we put the new medium tire on. I missed out on a few laps because of that but it wasn’t a big deal. We are really satisfied with the package we have now and the progress we have made so far. If you ask me I’d say we are starting off from a stronger base than last year so now we’ll just have to wait and see if we can get straight on the pace in Qatar.”
Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team – 3rd:
“I am obviously really happy because the changes we made yesterday afternoon that enabled me to go a couple of tenths faster despite the heat have proved to work even better today with the track in improved condition. After making small steps for the last few test sessions today we have finally taken a big leap forward and I was able to ride fast. The arm wasn’t too bad but it still isn’t as strong as before, which I can feel more than anything in the hard braking, and it was hard work today. Anyway, I am recovering well and now we move on from Sepang feeling really happy.”
Colin Edwards, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 4th:
“It felt really hot out there today and I don’t think anybody was going to do a lot of laps in those conditions. I did 35 laps and all of them were productive and I’m leaving this test really happy. I worked on the electronics and a bit of suspension work today and I was happy with the new Bridgestone rear tire. We did full race distance on it in the middle of the day when it was really hot and I was still doing 2.02s on the last lap. So it really keeps a good level of grip for a long time. I feel ready to race right now. We’ve got the bike sorted out and the last test in Qatar should be another positive test to set us up nicely for the first race. We’re ready to go because Yamaha has done a fantastic job. Everything they have done has improved the bike and that’s a great achievement. I want to thank my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 again for all their hard work and congratulate Ben too. This is a tough track to learn but he’s doing a great job and he is impressing a lot of people. We’re working really closely together and that is going to be great to help the team have another great year.”
Ben Spies, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 5th:
“It has been a positive test for me again because I have been able to improve my lap time by quite a bit. I’m 0.8s quicker than yesterday so that is a good step in the right direction. I did a race simulation and all my laps were in the 2.01s. I’ve always felt good at the end of races and I think that is what my strong point has been in the past. In Valencia when I raced the Yamaha for the first time I came on strong at the end. When the tires go off I feel a little bit better. I didn’t quite get to improve on my overall position but I’m convinced I had the speed to get into the high 2s, but I was only able to use one of the softer Bridgestone tires. But all in all it has been a positive day and the gap to the front has become smaller again.”