Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi signed off the second pre-season test of the year on top once again in Malaysia today, meaning he has been fastest at all four days of testing so far this year. The Italian smashed his own pole record by almost three tenths of a second, proving that he and the new YZR-M1 are on track for the season's start in a month's time.
Rossi spent the final day of the test trying electronic packages, a new tyre for Bridgestone and just double-checking all the work done so far. He also had time to do a few laps on the Japanese test team's bike, providing them with important feedback for the future development of the M1. The 31-year-old set his best lap of 2'00.271 on his 12th of 39 laps, with Casey Stoner second once again in a time of 2'00.512. It was a good day for Yamaha, with Tech 3 riders Colin Edwards and Ben Spies fourth and fifth respectively.
The next and final pre-season test comes at Qatar on 18th and 19th March, by which time Rossi's injured team-mate Jorge Lorenzo hopes to have made a full recovery and to be back in action.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 1st Time: 2'00.271 Laps: 39
"I'm really happy to have beaten my pole record, it's a good feeling to be this fast in testing. I did this with an old tyre but we also got the chance to try a very good new tyre from Bridgestone today, which I hope we will use from the first race. Our bike is in great shape; we need to do a bit more work on the electronics but in general everything is better, especially the rear grip and the engine. Yamaha have been very clever to develop this new bike whilst keeping the best parts of the old one, I'm very happy about it. It was good to get the chance to try the Japanese test bike, hopefully the feedback I gave them will help us in the future. Now we go to Qatar and then we will see our level because it is not one of mine or Yamaha's best tracks! But we're in great shape and this is very important at this stage of the season. I'm really looking forward to it."
Edwards and Spies shine in Sepang sauna
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team concluded the second of three 2010 pre-season tests in Sepang today in confident mood after Colin Edwards and Ben Spies both finished in the top five on the timesheets.
In searing hot temperatures that peaked at an exhausting 37 degrees, Edwards rode his 2010 YZR-M1 machine to the fourth fastest time, the experienced American finishing with a best lap of 2.00.988. After completing 35-laps, Edwards declared himself delighted with his performance after he made significant progress in improving electronics and handling with his YZR-M1 machine. He was also happy with the performance of a new Bridgestone rear tyre he evaluated this afternoon to finish just under 0.3s away from a top three finish.
Spies once again proved what a phenomenally fast learner he is after posting a series of consistently competitive lap times on only his second visit to the long and technical Sepang circuit. A best lap of 2.01.014 was just 0.026s slower than Edwards and the reigning World Superbike champion was able to significantly reduce the gap between himself and the best time clocked by Valentino Rossi to just over 0.7s. Spies was also able to showcase his prowess on worn race tyres when he completed a long distance run today, the 25-year-old reeling off consistent and fast laps in the 2.01 bracket.