Wednesday, January 31, 2007

MotoGP: Phillip Island Test Day One

There was a surprise leader on day 1 of the Phillip Island MotoGP test. Alex Barros put the d'Antin Ducati on top of the timesheets.
Barros has been looking quick in testing so far, regularly lapping faster than the factory Ducati riders. The d'Antin machines were thought to be very similar to the factory Ducatis, but probably with less advanced electronics. In the hands of the veteran Brazilian, the customer machinery is every bit as good, if not better.
Italians will be delighted to hear that one of the equal second fastest riders was a rejuvenated Marco Melandri. Phillip Island is a great track for Marco, with his win last year. He was still behind a Ducati, though!
Capirossi posted an identical time to Melandri, showing that the factory Ducati team are making excellent progress.
The Hondas of Hayden and Pedrosa were 4th and 5th respectively, more than half a second slower than Barros. Time is ticking, and HRC still need to improve their new bike if their tiny hero Dani Pedrosa is going to win the title according to plan.
It was a disappointing day for Suzuki, who discovered that they are still slow around The Island. Hopkins was 8th and Vermeulen 11th. To be very fast at Sepang and Valencia, but slow at Phillip Island, suggests that the Suzuki boys will have a patchy season this year.
Yamaha and Valentino Rossi are absent from the Australian test. Presumably they are not too worried about their pace on this track, as Valentino Rossi is always extremely quick there, and in fact could probably qualify on the front row riding a donkey.

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