Nakano fastest at penultimate MotoGP preseason practice in Jerez

2006-03-12 01:51
With a large amount of spectators in both grandstand and paddock, the penultimate testing opportunity for MotoGP teams and riders took place in Jerez today.

After a strong performance in yesterday's first session at the Andalusian track, Shinya Nakano put in the fastest lap of the day. Going round in 1'40.047, the Japanese rider was over half a second faster than the Jerez circuit record. With talk of Kawasaki being adversely affected by the crashing of one of their trucks en route to the Test, both Nakano and fourth placed Randy de Puniet put in impressive showings.

With Ducati dominating proceedings yesterday, and again at midday, Loris Capirossi continued the team's positive preseason with the second fastest time of the day. Team-mate Sete Gibernau, who headed the timesheets as of 1pm local time, finished the day in eighth.

Capirossi was particularly pleased with the session, and expressed his happiness ahead of the 2006 season:

"I am really very happy. This morning we fine-tuned our settings even more and I managed to lap really, really fast, to the point that I broke the lap record! My bike and tyres were good, the weather conditions were also perfect and we succeeded in completing a race simulation. I am satisfied because I practically always lapped within the 41's at a consistent pace throughout today's simulation. Tomorrow, we'll try and improve some more but I can say we're in a good position for the first race."

John Hopkins, one of the standout riders from the first MotoGP Official Test in Catalunya last weekend, once again showed that he has adapted well to the all-new GSR-V. After third place today he will be hoping that his current good form continues into the first race and beyond, as he looks to earn his first victories for the Suzuki factory team.

Honda riders were slightly off the lead pace for the second day running in Jerez. Dani Pedrosa was the only rider to place in the top ten for the Japanese factory, with the dry weather conditions helping him to put in a large number of laps on the RC211V.

After a largely inconspicuous ride yesterday, charismatic World Champion Valentino Rossi was the fastest Yamaha of the day, finishing in sixth only a few milliseconds ahead of Carlos Checa.

Rossi's team-mate Colin Edwards was over a second off Nakano's hot lap in ninth, whilst the other Suzuki representative Chris Vermeulen rode times close to the Texan BMW M Award winner to round off the top ten.

With the sun shining and temperatures at around 20 degrees, the weather was nearly identical to yesterday's fine conditions. It was only an occasional fresh wind that stopped the day being ideal for testing.

Tomorrow sees the final day of both the Jerez MotoGP Official Test and the entire preseason, and both teams and riders will be looking for optimal results in order to head to March 26th's curtain-raising Grand Prix at the Jerez circuit with morale at a peak.

Source: Dorna Communications
Photo: KTR Media

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