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Simoncelli hits the front at Sepang

Honda riders lead all three days of Sepang MotoGP test - 'satellite' rider Marco Simoncelli tops final day.
It's been a long time since a satellite rider led a dry MotoGP test, but that's exactly what Marco Simoncelli managed on the final day of the first 2011 test at Sepang on Thursday.

Admittedly, Simoncelli is now classed as an official HRC rider, although he is still housed within the satellite San Carlo Honda Gresini team.

Simoncelli's achievement was all the more impressive given that, one year ago, he was left in last place during both days of testing at the same Malaysian track, which included a trip to hospital for precautionary checks after a crash.

Now preparing to start his second season in MotoGP, the Italian had been fourth and fifth fastest on the first two days, but took control of day three due to a 2min 0.757sec flyer set on only his second lap.

That was enough to stay at the head of the 20-rider timesheet by 6pm, although new Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner got within 0.054sec late in the day. Yamaha's reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo was just 0.088sec from Simoncelli in third.

“At the last test in Valencia my feeling with the new bike was good. So I expected to be fast, but maybe not the fastest!” said Simoncelli, who took a best finish of fourth during his rookie premier-class season.

"If we consider that this is not my favourite track I have to be more than happy. I was very consistent yesterday and this morning I managed to make this extraordinary time.

"Then I did the race simulation, during which I have been constant and in the end I got exhausted, as in the race.

"Well, I'm glad to have gone 360 degrees. The team worked perfectly with the new team members. Everything has turned to perfection. We all improved, I, for one, and the guys working on the bike and I am convinced that this year we will be there.

"Of course, this is the first test and I don't want to get too hyped up, so we must continue to work with our feet firmly on the ground."

Team manager Fausto Gresini couldn't hide his delight at the result.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Simoncelli, Sepang MotoGP tests, 1-3 February 2011.
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February 03, 2011 3:51 PM

Well these last 3 days is looking really fantastic for MotoGP fans! It's got a great mix of talent right at the top with no one team or rider running away with it. 2011 races could be amazing to watch with this much talent and let's not forget the dark horse ... watch out for Rossi on the Ducati. The battles are going to be fantastic this year with all the top riders in top form. I actually don't know who to support ... just give us amazing races guys :)

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