Injured reigning MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi held third position during day two of the Sepang MotoGP test, when the Fiat Yamaha rider lowered his best lap time by a substantial 0.696sec to sit a fraction behind Suzuki's Loris Capirossi and just 0.143sec from fastest man Casey Stoner (Ducati).
“Today was another positive day for us because we had a good rhythm and now the lap time is starting to get interesting; a 2min 2.01sec is fast,” said Valentino, who claimed the quickest race lap in last October's Malaysian Grand Prix with a time of 2min 2.249sec.
“I am happy because we worked well on the bike and we improved especially in acceleration, mainly through work on some new electronics. It was a first step and it was not so bad. We have to do more to do to fix the system but the performance is quite good.”
Rossi, who needed six stitches in his left hand and the same number in his left foot after falling through a glass table less than a week ago in Italy, will attempt a long run during the third and final day of testing - then hopes to be back to full fitness for the second test of 2009, at Qatar in early March.
“In the afternoon I was quite tired and I had some pain so I went a little slower, but we already had enough information by then. Tomorrow I need to make a long run. I don't know if it's possible to do a full race distance with the stitches, so maybe we will do two half-distances. We will see.
“I will have the stitches out next Tuesday and then I have to be careful for another ten days, but I think it is possible to be 100 per cent by Qatar,” Rossi confirmed.
“If Valentino's physical condition allows him to make a long run, we will have a clearer idea of what our level is. Let's see how things are tomorrow,” stated team manager Davide Brivio.