Rossi Happy With Progress at Sepang

Rossi_at_Sepang_TestValentino Rossi wasn’t setting lap records at the MotoGP Sepang test today, but the Ducati rider was happy with the progress that he has made. Rossi finished ninth for the day, more than a second behind the pace setter, Casey Stoner.

Rossi rode 53 laps around the Sepang track today, and was able to find some good base settings on his GP11. Rossi says that his shoulder is still costing him about 3 tenths of a second, but he is confident that he’ll be ready for the start of the 2011 MotoGP season.

“We can be satisfied with today as a first day, because we’re a second from the top, like we were at the end of the first Test but without trying a late ‘time attack’ with the soft tyre like the others did,” Rossi said. “For the most part today, I was between fifth and sixth place, which is the goal we had set. I’m still losing about three-tenths due to the shoulder, because I’m still stronger in the left turns, whereas I’m normally the opposite; the rest we’ll have to find by working on the bike. I’m also happy because we spent all our time on the hard tyres, which we struggled with before today. In the end, we chose one of the two set-ups that we had settled upon at the last Test, and that will now be our base to work from, and the one on which we’ll concentrate our efforts in the next couple of days.”

Rossi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden, also had a positive day at Sepang. Hayden finished in 12th place, a half second behind his teammate.

“It’s good to be back at Sepang, working on and developing the GP11,” Hayden said. “We spent the morning checking a few things and confirming what we had learned the last time we were here. Everything pretty much went according to schedule, except I had a little crash in Turn 1 toward the end of the morning session. It was really hot, and I lost the front and tipped over, but I was going slow and didn’t do any damage to myself or the bike. Today we experienced less chatter than we had last time, so that’s quite good. We need to keep reducing that over the next two days and also find some more traction, so we’ve got plenty to keep us busy.”

Rossi and Hayden will continue their work in Malaysia tomorrow, in preparation for the start of the season next month in Qatar.

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