Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi completed a clean sweep of both MotoGP pre-season tests at Sepang in Malaysia, courtesy of a record-breaking Friday lap time.
Undefeated at the first test of the year on February 4-5, the Italian picked up where he left off during this week's return visit. The Fiat Yamaha rider was fastest on both Thursday and Friday, clocking a flying 2min 0.271sec on lap 12 of the last day.
That was 0.654sec under his fastest lap from the first test and beat the official lap record for a MotoGP bike at Sepang, which Rossi himself recorded during qualifying for last October's grand prix, by 0.247sec.
"I'm really happy to have beaten my pole record, it's a good feeling to be this fast in testing,” said Rossi. “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.”
Rossi also found time to do a few laps on the Yamaha test team bike: “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.”
After a perfect start to the new year, The Doctor is now expecting a more challenging time during the final pre-season outing, at Qatar on March 18-19.
“We have been on top for all four days here, but now we are looking for the next test in Qatar because usually that track is more difficult for us. For the bike and also for me. I don't like the track as much as Sepang,” he said.
“The Qatar test will be very interesting to understand the level between me and Casey," Rossi added. "I think me and Casey are faster than the others now and unfortunately Jorge [Lorenzo] was not here.”