Rossi wins BMW M Award shootout to conclude 2007 preseason

2007-02-25 03:13
Valentino Rossi will leave Jerez tonight with a brand new BMW M car and, more importantly, a crucial psychological advantage over his title rivals after winning the 40 minute 'qualifying session' at Jerez this afternoon. The five time MotoGP World Champion took the 2007 BMW M Award at the MotoGP Official Test with scorching 1'38.394 lap, clocked with just five minutes to go in the session. It is the second time that Rossi has won the award, and an excellent end to a preseason where the 800cc Yamaha M1 has shone brightly.

The Italian had to work for it though, and a vintage display was required to edge out early pacesetter Dani Pedrosa. Repsol Honda's Spanish star had laid down the gauntlet early on by breaking first the 1'40 then the 1'39 barrier as he pushed for the top spot. After seeing Rossi clock his eventual winning time Pedrosa completed a perfect lap at the death, beating his best times at all four timed sections of the circuit. His final fastest lap was 1'38.527, under two tenths of a second slower than his World Championship rival.

Last year's BMW M Award winner, Colin Edwards was unable to repeat his 2006 triumph but continued to show the potential of the factory Yamaha as he joined team-mate Rossi in the top three. The Texan Tornado continued his testing almost immediately after the presentation of the award, as always fully dedicated to the improvement of his bike.

World Champion Nicky Hayden was unable to push enough for the car, but did put in a series of fast laps whilst avoiding unnecessary risks. Retaining his hard-fought crown this year is the Kentucky Kid's number one priority, and he has been taking things steady this week at Jerez. Hayden rounded off an all-Michelin top four, encouraging news for the tyre manufacturer after Bridgestone's strong performances recently.

Randy de Puniet, Casey Stoner, Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen made up a quartet of Bridgestone riders in the top ten, and further showing the even nature of the 800cc bikes as they added to the list of different manufacturers in the leading group.

The BMW Z4 M Coupé was presented to Rossi by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and Axel Zimmermann, Sponsoring General Manager of BMW.

Later on, most riders returned to the track to conclude their 2007 preseason. With most undertaking race simulations and final fine tuning, the Kawasaki duo of Randy de Puniet topped the timesheets to finish testing on a high note. They were closely followed by Toni Elias, Alex Hofmann, Pedrosa and Rossi.

MotoGP Official Test Jerez
Day 3 Overall Official Times

1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing) - 1'38.394
2. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) - 1'38.527
3. Colin Edwards (Yamaha Factory Racing) - 1'39.300
4. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) - 1'39.55
5. Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 1'39.832
6. Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 1'39.873
7. Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 1'39.887
8. Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'40.043
9. Kenny Roberts Jr. (Team Roberts) - 1'40.083
10. Carlos Checa (Honda LCR) - 1'40.100
11. Toni Elias (Honda Gresini) - 1'40.202
12. Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda) - 1'40.242
13. Makoto Tamada (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3) - 1'40.307
14. Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini) - 1'40.396
15. Olivier Jacque (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 1'40.551
16. Alex Hofmann (Pramac d'Antin) - 1'40.681
17. Alex Barros (Pramac d'Antin) - 1'41.038
18. Kousuke Akiyoshi (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'41.805
19. Sylvain Guintoli (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3) - 1'42.215
20. Vittoriano Guareschi (Ducati Marlboro Team - Test) - 1'43.008
21. Andrew Pitt (Ilmor GP) - 1'43.026
22. Shinichi Ito (Ducati Bridgestone Team - Test) - 1'43.073
23. Jeremy McWilliams (Ilmor GP) - 1'43.202

Source: Dorna Communications

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