Thursday, February 15, 2007

MotoGP: Qatar Test Day 2 - Edwards Again

Colin Edwards underlined yesterday's performance by topping the time sheets yet again, posting an incredible 1:56.296 lap that simply blows away the old 990cc times from last year. The Texan Tornado has always struggled to set up MotoGP bikes to his liking, especially the chattering M1 of 2006, but he has really clicked with the 800cc machine and its new Michelin front tyre.
Valentino Rossi was a quarter of a second behind, close enough considering the way The Doctor tends to pull a few tenths out of nowhere when he needs to. It will be interesting to see if he puts on a qualifying tyre on the final day of the test and really nails a lap.
Yamaha have made an incredibly quick bike this year. Matthew Birt, ever the goldmine of inside information, reveals in his latest blog entry that the Yamaha riders are able to get on the power before anybody else. This gives them a big advantage over the other bikes, whose abrupt power delivery forces the riders to wait longer before twisting the throttle.
Dani Pedrosa had a great day in 3rd place, blowing away his team mate Nicky Hayden, who ended up in 11th after two crashes and, incredibly for a Honda rider, a trashed engine. The miniature Spaniard seems to be hitting form at the right time. His Kentuckian colleague will be praying that this 11th place was just a glitch.
Carlos Checa put his Honda in an impressive 4th place.
Crash-happy Australian Casey Stoner finished 5th fastest, but gave everybody something to chuckle at when he crashed his Ducati for the first time. Amazingly, he lost the rear end and spun to the infield, showing that the Bridgestones might be his saviour from the numerous front-end crashes of 2006. Stoner's Ducati team mate Loris Capirossi had a shocker of a day in 12th. Matthew Birt reports that there are rumours of Capirex complaining that the Ducati is simply unrideable on race tyres, which is worrying when you consider that the Ducati MotoGP machines were never known for rideability in the first place!
John Hopkins continued Suzuki's decent form in 6th place, not as dominant as his Sepang showing, but still a massive improvement on last year's pace. With Suzuki being good on the brakes, if Hopper can stay close to the other riders in a race he may well be able to overtake into a slowish corner.

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