Fiat Yamaha Team gets 2009 underway with first test

The two-month winter testing ban came to an end yesterday with the first pre-season test of the 2009 MotoGP season, and Fiat Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were itching to get back to business with their latest-evolution YZR-M1s. At the traditional winter testing venue of Sepang in Malaysia, alongside the rest of the teams, the pair made a gentle start to their campaign with Rossi finishing the day third fastest and Lorenzo tenth. Both riders concentrated on developing the new chassis and also adapting to a new way of working with the single-tyre rule, which sees all riders now on Bridgestone tyres.

Having received stitches to his left hand and left foot on Saturday after an accident at home, Rossi was unsure how comfortable he would be on the bike. He was pleased to find he was able to ride as he wanted however. He had a small slip-off this morning but was unhurt and completed 31 laps, stopping just before 4pm after posting a best time of 2'02.324. Lorenzo had his first chance to try the new specification engine and was happy to find he had improved acceleration on the exit of the corners. The 21-year-old completed 61 laps with a best time of 2'03.894.

Valentino Rossi - Position: 3rd Time: 2'02.324 Laps: 31
"I am very happy because I was able to ride the bike today, despite the stitches in my hand and foot, and I was fast. I am not 100% because of the pain, but I have no problem to ride. I am also pleased because the engine is better and I feel very comfortable with the new chassis. We are adapting our way of testing to the new tyre rule and it is not so bad so far, even though we have more work to do. The bike needs to be gentler with the tyres now; normally I prefer harder tyres but from now on we're going to need to be 'sweeter' with them. For sure it will be good for the show, because everyone will be starting from the same level with tyres. This morning I had a small fall, when I was riding very slowly. It was not so wet, but some patches of the track are lacking grip and that one especially seemed to have none at all! I stopped quite early this afternoon because I wanted to keep myself in good shape for tomorrow and the day after. After some laps my finger was hurting and it was also beginning to swell up. Tomorrow we will try something new with the electronics and we will also have to change the engine, because the one I used today was the same one that we used at the Jerez test and its mileage is now over."

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 10th Time: 2'03.894 Laps: 61
"Today has been a difficult first day back at work! My body is a little rusty after so much time off. In this condition it's quite difficult to be fast, but I am happy because the bike seems to be better, especially the engine. In Japan they have been able to improve the acceleration and with the new chassis as well the bike isn't moving so much on the exit of the corners. Unfortunately the circuit is not ok, because there are two corners with some problems and when you ride through them the bike is sliding too much, which is dangerous. This is why a couple of riders have had some crashes I think. I stopped quite early because I had already done a lot of laps and was very tired. Tonight I'm going to have a massage and try and get as much sleep as possible, and hopefully I will feel stronger tomorrow!"

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"We made a good start today because although Valentino's physical condition isn't perfect, we've been able to do a good job. The new bike seems to have been 'born' in a good way. We are pretty competitive already although we still need to work on the set-up. With the new tyre rule it has become very important that we find a good starting point to work from and I think we are going in the right direction so far."

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"We started with the set-up we used in Jerez and it was a promising first day, although we still have some difficulties entering corners with the front and some other issues in acceleration. Jorge used the day just to find confidence with the bike again after the winter break and we did not concentrate too hard on set-up. That will be the priority of tomorrow."

Test Times

1. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2'01.869
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 2'02.038
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 2'02.324
4. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2'02.803
5. Toni Elias (SPA) Team San Carlo 2'02.886
6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda 2'03.088
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Tech 3 Yamaha 2'03.254
8. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 2'03.312
9. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Grupo Francisco Hernando 2'03.750
10. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 2'03.894
11. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 2'04.002
12. Alex De Angelis (RSM) Team San Carlo 2'04.396
13. Mika Kallio (FIN) Alice Team 2'04.405
14. James Toseland (GBR) Tech 3 Yamaha 2'04.502
15. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 2'04.882
16. Yamaha Test Rider 1 (JPN) Yamaha Factory Racing 2'05.024
17. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team 2'05.098
18. Yamaha Test Rider 2 (JPN) Yamaha Factory Racing 2'05.140
19. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Alice Team 2'05.270

Sepang: Record Lap
Casey Stoner (Ducati) 2007, 2'02.108

Sepang: Best Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2006, 2'00.605