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Friday February 8, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 1:50:08 AM
SEPANG: Seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi ended the three-day pre-season test at the Sepang International Circuit feeling like a new man.
The Italian came in third fastest in 2:00.542 astride the new Yamaha YZR M1 yesterday.
Dani Pedrosa of Repsol Honda led the timesheet in 2:00.100 while Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was second quickest in 2:00.429.
“After three days of testing, I’m very happy with the bike ... although I don’t expect it to be perfect at the start of the season.
“Hypothetically, with my result today, I can start the race – if there’s one tomorrow – on the front row. That’s a good thing for me because the last two seasons we were fighting for third and fourth row,” said Rossi in jest.
But he admitted that there was still a lot to improve on before the season starts in Qatar on April 7.
“Now is not the time to say that I want something better from the bike because it’s still early. We need to put in more miles and improve so that we can be better than Pedrosa,” said Rossi, who was fourth fastest on the first two days.
Even Lorenzo, who did not get along well with Rossi when they were together in 2010, praised the Italian for being the most improved rider on the track.
“We were on the new bike ... it’s much quicker in the corners. We tested many new parts in the last two days and today we just made some adjustments with the set-up,” said the reigning world champion Lorenzo.
Meanwhile, Pedrosa is hoping that the good times will continue this season .
“We were fastest on all three days and I hope to continue in the same vein. There will be another test later in the month and hopefully we can leave the place with a good feeling again,” said the Spaniard.
MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez proved that he could be a force to be reckoned with this season after posting the fourth fastest time of 2:00.636.
He crashed in yesterday’s morning session but was unhurt.
The MotoGP riders will return to Sepang on Feb 26 for another round of three-day tests.
Leading test times
1. Dani Pedrosa (Ita) Repsol Honda 2:00.100,
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha Factory 2:00.429,
3. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha Factory 2:00.542,
4. Marc Marquez (Spa) 2:00.636, 5. Cal Cruthlow
(Bri) Monster Yamaha Tech 32:00.734, 6. Stefan
Bradl (Ger) LCR Honda 2:01.003, 7. Alvaro Bautista
(Spa) Go & Fun Honda Gresini 2:01.502, 8. Bradley
Smith (Bri) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:02.093, 9.
Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati 2:02.184, 10. Andrea
Dovizioso (Ita) Ducati 2:02.277.
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