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GP Week : Issue 39
> MOTOINSIGHT > MOTOTEST >> Who wants a BMW, anyway? That was the question Valentino Rossi, left, was asking after being second-fastest – claiming a win would have compromised his commercial arrangement with FIAT! James Toseland unveiled Tech 3’s new livery, above, and then went and crashed the bike, while the Suzukis were the dark horses with a surprising turn of speed, right. lack some strength, but I’m sure it’ll be fine by the first race in two weeks.” Rossi was next, and quipped: “I was aiming for second – I don’t think my sponsors Fiat would be happy if I drove away in a BMW!” Joking apart, the defending champion continued: “I’m happy with the test. We did a good job with the setting, and tested everything we need. The bike is competitive. Casey was very fast … for one lap. It can be different over a race. “I was a little bit unlucky. I was slowed behind Toni Elias on my first fast lap, and on the second the red flag came out. Our potential was for another three or four tenths … still not as fast as Stoner. “But tests mean nothing more than to work on the bike and get a good feeling.” Rizla Suzuki continued with its surprising 2009 form, with Loris Capirossi third fastest, less than four-tenths down: “The bike is 100 percent better than last year,”he said, backed up by team-mate Chris Vermeulen, who was fifth fastest. In between came the first day’s leader Jorge Lorenzo, who had done more laps than anybody on Saturday – no less than 99 – as he gets used to Bridgestone tyres. The morning was damp, and “I wanted to get used to the wet tyres,”he explained. At first he had struggled to get used to the tyres, “but in Qatar I got a good feeling. The front tyre is so much better than Michelin, and you have to learn how much later and harder you can brake,”he said. Ex 125 and 250 rider Mika Kallio was another big surprise, placing sixth, 1.5 seconds down on Stoner, on the Pramac Ducati. The rookie was achieving impressive angles of lean and showing an aggressive style, and ended up a couple of hundredths faster than new Repsol Honda factory rider Andrea Dovizioso. Sete Gibernau (Gruppo Francisco Hernando Ducati) moved up to a close eighth after languishing in 16th on Saturday. Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda) was next, with Colin Edwards (Tech 3 Yamaha) concluding the top ten. Nicky Hayden was a disappointed tenth in among a batch of close times, still coming to terms with his new Ducati and the new tyres.: “I’d expected to be a bit better,” he said glumly, “but at least it wasn’t a disaster.” Marco Melandri showed that improvements to the Team Hayate Kawasaki were more than notional by placing 12th – he had been eighth in the morning session, and praised the 2009 machine’s stronger engine. Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) was 13th, then new Scot Honda class rookie Yuki Takahashi, Saturday crasher Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda). Toseland was 15th after missing out on the second half of the session, then Ducati tester Vito Guareschi, Pramac Ducati rookie Niccolò Canepa, and finally ex- Suzuki rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, taking Pedrosa’s place on the Repsol Honda. It was Toseland’s second big crash of the year, at the same corner that ended Mick Doohan’s career, and he was unconscious for a few seconds. Although otherwise not badly hurt, the double Superbike champion was taken to hospital in Cadiz for a check-up, and given a clean bill of health. Earlier in the week, the smaller classes had tested for three days, with the 250 class ending in an exciting shootout between defending champion Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) and arch-rival Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aprilia). Both fitted new tyres, and Simoncelli emerged the victor by two tenths, with an amazing time of 1:42.477, a new record for the track. In the 125 class, Spanish Bancaja Aprilia rider Julian Simone again dominated the time sheets in spite of two crashes, finishing a tenth clear of new team-mate Bradley Smith. 41