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From a press release issued by Camel Yamaha:

Valentino Rossi (46) in action at Sepang.

Photo courtesy of Camel Yamaha.

Kenny Lee Roberts (10) on the Honda-powered KR211V at Sepang.

Photo courtesy of Honda Pro Images

Sepang, Malaysia

January 23rd 2006

Ambient temperature: 30 degrees C

Track temperature: 49 degrees C

Humidity: 49%


The Camel Yamaha Team launched its 2006 campaign today, with the first of three-days of testing in Sepang, Malaysia. After a six-week holiday the team is back at its favourite testing venue alongside other MotoGP Teams from Yamaha, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki. A cloudy morning with a few spots of rain at one stage gave way to a sunny afternoon and Yamaha’s Factory Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were able to complete a full day of testing on their new 2006-spec YZR-M1s.

Both riders concentrated on getting a feel for the new version of the M1, which they first tested in November last year. According to the unofficial lap times, Rossi was fastest with a time of 2’02.14, after 74 laps. Edwards meanwhile had a fall in the afternoon at turn nine, but was unhurt and able to continue for the rest of the afternoon on his second bike, setting a best lap of 2’02.61 after 69 laps.

VALENTINO ROSSI (2’02.14, 74 Laps)

“It’s always a little difficult to start again after the holidays, and I am never sure if I will be able to ride well straight away! Today however everything has felt good right from the start and I am already quite fast. The new M1 is a good bike, I like it and I can see that Yamaha has worked very hard over the winter. We had a few problems with it today; some chattering, but in reality it is good for this stage of the year. We still have a lot of work to do on it of course. The new bike is not so different from the 2005 bike, but still we have to understand completely its character and I have to get more confidence in it, then we can begin to make the modifications needed in order to improve it. Today has just been about understanding the bike, tomorrow we will concentrate more on tyres with Michelin.”

COLIN EDWARDS (2’02.61, 69 Laps)

“I came out this morning and felt good immediately. Straight away I felt happy on the bike and could notice all the improvements that Yamaha has made. I’m so accustomed to the 2005 bike at this track, but it was clear today that the new one is better in many ways. I am a bit out of practice after the holiday but once I got going I felt very comfortable to be back on the bike. After a few laps we began to play around with some fork settings and spring rates and in doing so we lost a little bit of feel. Then after lunch I had the crash…it was at turn nine and I just lost the front on the brakes. It all happened pretty slowly and I was fine, luckily. After that we didn’t have time to go back to our good fork setting but anyway the times were still okay. Despite the mishap today I feel like I want to go faster and faster, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”


“We begin this test with many new things, but the most important is that the new bike is at a good starting point and the riders have been able to do good work straight away. Of course we have many jobs ahead of us to work on the set-up and to test tyres for Michelin, but it has been a good start. Colin’s crash was unfortunate and also something new, since he doesn’t do it very often! Despite this we have had a more than satisfactory day and we hope to get some more important work done over the next two days.”

Unofficial Lap Times:

1. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) Yamaha 2’02.14
2. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda 2’02.21
3. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 2’02.23
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 2’02.46
5. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati 2’02.55
6. COLIN EDWARDS (USA) Yamaha 2’02.61
7. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Ducati 2’02.77
8. Casey Stoner (AUS) Honda 2’03’57
9. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki 2’03.77
10. Toni Elias (SPA) Honda 2’03.80
11. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Kawasaki 2’03.90
12. Alex Hoffman (GER) Ducati 2’04.63
13. James Ellison (GBR) Yamaha 2’06.40
14. Jose Luis Cardosa (SPA) Ducati 2’07.70

Sepang Lap Record: Nicky Hayden (Honda) 2005 – 2’02.993

Sepang Best Lap: Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2005 – 2’01.731

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki Racing Team:


The Kawasaki Racing Team got the 2006 MotoGP season off to a flying start during the opening day of a planned four-day test at Malaysia's Sepang circuit.

Shinya Nakano and Randy de Puniet started the day with shakedown tests aboard the latest version of Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP machine, which features a completely redesigned inline, four-cylinder engine and chassis.

With the shakedown tests completed successfully in the morning, Nakano and his crew switched their attention to set-up and refinement of the all-new bike, as well as testing new suspension components from Öhlins. The Japanese rider quickly identified a number of areas where improvements could be made, and these changes will be made by his crew overnight.

A newcomer to the MotoGP class, Randy de Puniet impressed with his consistency and speed aboard his Ninja ZX-RR, during a 15-lap race simulation late in the afternoon test session.

The 24-year-old Frenchman may still be adapting his riding style to the additional power and weight of a MotoGP bike, but his fastest lap today was just 0.2s behind his more experienced teammate, Nakano.

Both riders will continue the set-up and development of the new Ninja ZX-RR during tomorrow's test, when they will also complete a scheduled tyre test with Bridgestone.

Shinya Nakano: #56 - 2'03.7 (43 Laps)
"I was in and out of the pit box a lot this morning, but this is normal when you bring a brand new bike to the racetrack for the first time, as there are always a lot of small things that need adjusting or changing. This afternoon I was able to put in more laps on the bike and, overall, my first impression is very good. The handling is a big improvement, and I can feel that the new engine has more power then the old. I need to spend more time on the bike to get a better understanding of the engine characteristics, but already I think this new bike has a lot of potential. There is still some work for us to do in terms of set-up, both the chassis and the engine, but we will continue with this process tomorrow, when we will also be running some important tyre tests with Bridgestone."

Randy de Puniet: #17 - 2'03.9 (58 Laps)
"Today was a good day for both myself and the team. I managed to put in a lot of laps aboard the new bike and my feeling was very good. At the end of the afternoon session I completed a 15-lap race simulation, with my fastest time of the day coming on the 11th lap. I had a good rhythm on the bike, the tyres and the bike were working well, and my lap times were consistent throughout. We will not make any major changes to the bike overnight ahead of the planned Bridgestone tyre test tomorrow. Overall, I'm pleased with today's test and I'm looking forward to getting back out on track tomorrow."

Naoya Kaneko: Technical Manager
"Today was really a first shakedown test for the new bike, as this is the first time we've run the new engine on the track. For a first outing the results have been very positive. Shinya and Randy were able to gain a better understanding of the characteristics of the new engine, and both riders have already started suggesting changes that will lead to further improvements tomorrow. We also tested new front and rear suspension from Öhlins and, again, the results have been mainly positive."

Harald Eckl: Team Manager
"Overall, today has been a good start to the new season for the Kawasaki Racing Team. I was surprised at just how quickly Randy has adapted to the Ninja ZX-RR in such a short space of time. During his race simulation today he was posting consistent lap times that were very close to Shinya's fastest lap. This is good for the team, to have two riders that are close enough on track to push each other, and also to develop the bike together. Over the next three days the riders and mechanics will concentrate on providing Kawasaki engineers with the data they need to continue the development process, as well as completing an important tyre testing schedule for Bridgestone."

More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing Information:

MotoGP test Sepang, Malaysia. Day one of three-day test, January 23, 2006.

Positive day for HRC riders on opening day of 2006 MotoGP testing

The 2006 MotoGP season got under way at the 5.542 km Sepang circuit in Malaysia today. Teams and riders from the leading MotoGP squads are in attendance, testing winter developments to their 990cc grand prix machines.

HRC go into the season with a good blend of youth and experience all riding for battle hardened grand prix teams. No fewer than five of the seven riders entered on RC211V machines are under 24-years of age, two of them just 20!

The experience lies in the hands of Kenny Roberts Junior, now 32, and 28-years old Makoto Tamada. Of the seven RCV equipped riders only Tamada is not present at Sepang.

The Repsol Honda factory team of Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa spent day one running what were effectively shakedown tests. Hayden comparing the performance of his five-cylinder RC211V machine in its final 2005 specification and the initial version of the RCV he will campaign in the 17-round World Championship series.

Reigning double 250cc World Champion Pedrosa spent his first active day of the 2006 season completing as many kilometres as possible as he continues to adjust to the larger capacity GP machine.

Fortuna Honda will field world number two Marco Melandri and Toni Elias aboard their red and yellow liveried RC211Vs. The team have much to test and both men spent their day running through a programme designed to evaluate each part of the new machine.

Italian Melandri was quickly up to pace and initially began working on the chassis settings. He quickly found a reasonable set up eventually being able to test new race tyres for tyre supplier Michelin.

For Elias it was a case of starting afresh. The young Spaniard enters his first season equipped with an RCV and his winter testing will concentrate on evaluating every area of machine performance in a bid to understand exactly what he has to do to get the best out of the five-cylinder 990cc Honda before the season begins in earnest at Jeez, Spain on March 26. On the opening day of the three-day test Elias spent his time working on suspension and chassis settings.

Casey Stoner had been expected to line up for Team Pons in 2006 but will now contest the 2006 MotoGP Championship for Lucio Cecchinello Racing (LCR). The young Australian, runner-up to Pedrosa in the 250cc series of 2005, was happy with the progress the RCV has made over the winter break and spent the first day of the test working on the chassis set up before trying to post fast times.

HRC has formed an association with British-based Team Roberts, owned by former three-times 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts, for the 2006 series. The experienced race chassis builders will compete using the RC211V engine in their newly launched KR211V. The latest addition to the MotoGP entry list will be raced by Kenny Roberts Junior, like his father a former 500cc World Champ.

The opening day of testing for Roberts was a preliminary shake down test and the team was delighted with the results. Kenny Junior immediately felt comfortable on the new machine exceeding all expectations for the machines debut.

Honda riders lap times and quotes.

Nicky Hayden, USA, Repsol Honda: 2m 02.23s - 85 laps. "Today was pretty solid. We found some good points, but we have some work to do. It's hard work out there. We tested some new parts and gathered some good data. The track seems like normal, it's always faster at this time of year, although they've put a new patch of tarmac in turn three and the bike didn't like it too much, it was dirty and bumpy, but it's all good. Before we get to the first race at Jerez we're just trying to chip away at development. I did some longer runs of 10-12 laps and some shorter stuff. At first I rode the bike from last season to get back into it, and then rode the new one. I'm
looking forward. It's great to get back here with the boys and getting hooked in and we're doing to start digging - we've got a shovel and we're going to do some work!"

Dani Pedrosa, E, Repsol Honda: 2m 02.46s - 65 laps. "I'm happy with my times today because I didn't expect to go this fast. The track helped a little bit compared to November and there was a little more grip on the rear. My first priority is to get used to the machine and find the best riding position at the moment. But I am tired for sure and I have to improve my physical condition. It's hard work for the muscles riding a MotoGP bike, which makes me breathe harder than normal. The problem is to
get consistency. I can do a few good laps and get a good rhythm, but I must try to make b***** runs."

Marco Melandri, I, Fortuna Honda: 2m 02.20s - 74 laps. "I'm happy to be back on my bike again. I have been in training since December 27 getting in shape for the season but nothing beats working with the bike. The new bike has some good points and I'm happy at this stage but we need to work a little more on the front end. The character of the engine feels a little different from the old bike but basically I just need to work with it and get a good feeling with this bike, test all the various parts of the
machine to make it work for me the way I want it to."

Toni Elias, E, Fortuna Honda: 2m 03.80s - 60 laps. "I'm a little bit tired because I did many laps. My muscles are sore, as I didn't ride a motorcycle since the test in November. I also had an operation on my wrist recently but I only experienced a little pain. My general feeling with the new bike is positive. My objective at this test is not to set an incredible lap time I followed the team plan for this test, with suspension testing the first area we worked on. I want to try everything we have to test on the bike here at Sepang. I have to work out what's good for me, what I need to go fast. Then I will go for a fast lap time."

Casey Stoner, AUS, LCR Honda: 2m 03.57s - 63 laps. "The bike is definitely better than the '05 bike I tried here at Sepang in November. I have a much better feeling with the chassis but we have some work to do on that. The engine could be a little smoother but the team will have no problem fixing that, it's only the first day of 2006 testing."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, USA, Team Roberts: 2m 03.75s - 55 laps. "The Honda engine is incredible! You hear a lot said about the power and response of the Honda engine but you have to experience it to believe it. It's a really user-friendly engine, very smooth it has exceeded all my expectations. The chassis can improve and we have identified the areas that we need to work on, it's only the first day we have tested the bike."

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:


From the snows of Madonna di Campiglio to the oppressive heat of Malaysia: the Ducati Desmosedici GP6 takes to the track for the first time in 2006.

Sepang (Malaysia), Monday 23 January 2006: After a week of relaxation, skiing and training on the snows of Madonna di Campiglio during the Wroom 2006 - MotoGP press Ski Meeting, Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau are now in Sepang, Malaysia for their first 2006 test session today with the Desmosedici GP6.
The Malaysian circuit, where Loris set pole and won in 2005 and Checa finished third, is well-suited for the Ducati/Bridgestone pairing, and as a result is an important starting-point for the new season.

Despite a harmless fall for Loris half-an-hour into today's first session, the Italian rider worked according to schedule, concentrating mainly on the search for the best set-up for the new Desmosedici GP6 which proved to be quick straight out of the box.

Sete Gibernau continues to get to know his new team and his new bike and is gradually finding the right feeling with the Desmosedici GP6.

Loris Capirossi (38 laps - 2m02.54s)
"Things are still not 100% right but I'm pretty pleased with the first day of testing after the winter break. Today we worked a lot on the bike set-up and on the new GP6 engine and I'm happy with the progress we made. We still have to improve the bike's stability in the quick sections and we are working mainly to get that right, but for a first time out things are going well".

Sete Gibernau (56 laps - 2m02.86s)
"I thought there would be a lot of work to do and that proved to be the case, and that's a big motivation for me. Today for the first time we searched for adjustments that allowed me to get a better feeling with my Ducati and the team is working well to understand exactly what I need to make me have the best possible feeling with the new bike. We'll need a bit more time but things have got off to a good start and I'm feeling really confident".

Temperature: air 31°/track 53.8° C

Unofficial times: 1. Valentino Rossi, 2m02.09s; 2. Nicky Hayden, 2m02.19s; 3. Marco Melandri, 2m02.28s; 4. Loris Capirossi, 2m02.54s; 5. Colin Edwards, 2m02.60s; 6. Daniel Pedrosa, 2m02.74s; 7. Sete Gibernau, 2m02.86s; etc.
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