MotoGP returns to Sepang

Lorenzo Less

Three weeks after the first official test of the year at the Sepang International Circuit the MotoGP riders will return to the Malaysian track this week to carry on with the developments of their respective prototypes, ahead of the start of the World Championship season in Qatar on April 11.

Scheduled for three days from February 24-26 the opening day on Wednesday will be for test riders only, with Thursday and Friday offering valuable time for the team riders to further the customisation of their 2010 machines.                                                                 

Valentino Rossi set the standard at the first test with the only sub-2’01" lap of the test on his M1, and the Fiat Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion will again be working on new aspects of the setting on his bike. His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo will not be testing however as he continues his recovery from a hand injury sustained in a training accident.

Casey Stoner was pleased with the reaction of the new engine in the Desmosedici GP10 of the Ducati Marlboro team, as was team-mate Nicky Hayden, and the duo will again focus on finding their comfort zones. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was happy with his RC212V after the first test and both he and team-mate Andrea Dovizioso will maintain their acclimatisation to the bike.

Rizla Suzuki will have their new GSV-R engine for Loris Capirossi and Álvaro Bautista to test, and Monster Yamaha Tech3 pairing Ben Spies and Colin Edwards will look to build on what was a pleasing opening test on their M1 machines. Pramac Racing’s Aleix Espargaró and Mika Kallio will have their second rides on the GP10, and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) will both persist with the RC212V.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP), Héctor Barberá (Paginas Amarillas Ducati) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) will all gain more important experience ahead of their debut seasons in the premier class.