Camel Honda team riders Alex Barros and Troy Bayliss were the busiest men on track in the stifling heat of Sepang today; Brazilian Barros putting in 84 laps with Bayliss not far behind with 77.

Barros ended the second day of testing in by far the best position of the two men. He finished the day just 0.2secs behind fastest man Max Biaggi, has almost completed his test schedule and will dedicate the final day to minor changes in preparation for the next test, at Phillip Island, Australia, next week.

"I'm completely happy with the work we are doing," smiled Alex. "Today we focused on tyres and I certainly think we've made steps forward. I didn't stop for lunch until we did everything we had to on both the fronts and the rears because we were finishing off the work we started three weeks ago in these first two days: we've basically achieved the objectives we set ourselves in the first session here in Sepang.

"Perhaps there's a few little things that could improve the front tyre, but I don't think that will be possible for Australia, it's too close; probably in the Qatar tests," he added. "In the afternoon we tried to change a few things in the bike settings but we haven't really seen any particular changes we can make at the moment with the bike already going so well."

"I'm happy with how things are going. We are exploring every possibility that this new bike offers and the times are improving every day. Alex looks confident, motivated and in perfect harmony with the engineers. He is constantly running at a fast pace and that's important," declared team principal Sito Pons.

But by contrast, Bayliss has yet to find the optimal base settings for his RC211V and until he does he cannot make progress on tyre testing.

The Australian will sit down with his team technicians and the HRC race engineers to study all data gathered over the opening two days of the test in the hope that between them they will find the way forward.

"These tests are proving challenging because we still haven't got the results we wanted," confirmed the Australian, who was 0.7secs quicker today but almost 2secs behind Barros. "We're exploring all possible solutions and we hardly took a break today.

"We're working hard on the clutch, but I still don't feel comfortable. We tried several different tyres, but until we get the set-up better the tyres won't change the situation too much," he added. "We are analysing the telemetry with the team and the Honda technicians, and we hope to make a good step forward tomorrow."

"Troy is working his socks off and bit by bit he is getting used to this new bike, which is so different to the one he rode last year, especially as regards the engine-braking and the clutch," said Pons. "There are a few weeks left before the beginning of the season, and lots of test days left, at several tracks, and he will gradually get into a groove with his RC211V."

Testing concludes tomorrow.

Sepang II test times - Saturday:

1. Max Biaggi ITA Repsol Honda 2min 1.501secs
2. Sete Gibernau SPA Telefonica Movistar Honda 2min 1.686secs
3. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda 2min 1.717secs
4. Alex Barros BRA Camel Honda 2min 1.786secs
5. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 2min 1.83secs
6. Carlos Checa SPA Ducati Marlboro 2min 1.891secs
7. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro 2min 2.291secs
8. Marco Melandri ITA Telefonica Movistar Honda 2min 2.429secs
9. Colin Edwards USA Yamaha Gauloises 2min 2.378secs
10. Shinichi Itoh JPN Ducati Bridgestone TTT 2min 2.551secs
11. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Yamaha Tech 3 2min 3.60secs
12. Troy Bayliss AUS Camel Honda 2min 3.75secsOther riders also present, but no times released

Comparative lap times:
Malaysian Grand Prix - 10/10/2004:

Pole position: Valentino Rossi ITA Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha 2min 1.833secs

Fastest laps: Yamaha: Valentino Rossi ITA Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha 2min 3.253secs Honda: Max Biaggi ITA Camel Honda 2min 3.281secsDucati: Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro 2min 4.048secsKawasaki: Shinya Nakano JPN Fuchs Kawasaki 2mins 4.264secsSuzuki: John Hopkins USA Team Suzuki 2min 4.879secs

Previous pre-season testing:

(25/01/2005) Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro 2min 0.54secs

 

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