All three Kawasaki riders were able to lower their best lap times during day two of the Phillip Island MotoGP test, despite rain interruptions and an accident for new signing Marco Melandri.

Thursday saw Melandri given the revised chassis used by test rider Olivier Jacque on day one. The 26-year-old completed 64 laps and reduced his best lap time by 0.7sec to 1min 31.8sec - putting the Italian under the best ZX-RR race lap in October's Australian Grand Prix, a 1min 31.915sec by Anthony West. Melandri was also 0.719sec under his best race lap on a Ducati.

However, Melandri also suffered an accident at turn four late on in the afternoon and his crew will need to rebuild his machine for Friday's third and final day of 2008 testing.

"Unfortunately the weather hasn't been ideal today and we had to stop the test twice due to rain," said Kawasaki competition manager Michael Bartholemy. "Marco tested the new chassis and he has continued to improve his lap time, despite crashing this afternoon. His crew will rebuild the bike overnight and hopefully, with some good weather, we can continue to gather more information from him tomorrow."

0.3sec slower than Melandri was former 250cc world champion Jacque, who lowered his best lap time by 0.3sec as he continued work on the new chassis.

"With the rain today we've not been able to complete as many laps as we'd hoped," admitted OJ. "We've also not really improved our lap time as much as we would have liked, but we have tried many different set-up changes, with a focus on the chassis geometry. The wind was also a big problem today as it was very strong and changed direction from morning to afternoon. I'm not sure how much this affects our bike in terms of set-up, but it was very noticeable out on track. We have some more ideas to try tomorrow, but we still have a lot of work to do if we want to achieve the lap times we are aiming for."

Melandri's team-mate John Hopkins continued to suffer from pain caused by the plate in his ankle, inserted after a fracture sustained during a high-speed accident at Assen in June.

Hopkins has worked through the pain to evaluate tyres for Bridgestone, using the same specification machine he signed off the 2008 season with at Valencia last month. Hopper posted a best time of 1min 32.5sec, 0.8sec faster than on Wednesday.

"I am suffering quite badly with the pain from my ankle, as I just can't put weight on the pegs when accelerating out of the turns," he said. "We've done a lot of icing and strapping, but it's still very painful to ride. This test is important for us, and today we've spent a lot of time testing tyres using the same set-up we had in Valencia, as this gives us a reference point.

"We're not chasing lap times at the minute, particularly with having an injury, but we've definitely found some interesting results and gathered the all-important data we need. Hopefully with a bit more rest we can get out on track tomorrow for the last time this year to conclude our test with plenty of laps under our belt," he declared.

"John is definitely struggling a little with his injury, but this test is very important for him and the team for our machine development," added Bartholemy. "Hopefully with some rest overnight he can continue tomorrow because we need as much information from him as possible.

"I think we are coming closer to where we need to be, and the rider comments are all very similar, which is positive in terms of development, as we know where we need to concentrate our efforts. We are aware we won't find a big solution in these three days, but from this test we have a better idea of strategy for our winter development programme ready for next season."

Only Kawasaki and Suzuki are present at Phillip Island this week - Yamaha, Ducati and Honda teams having chosen to test at Jerez instead.

Suzuki, which will only release official lap times after Friday's third and final day of testing, reported that Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi spent day two "testing all the new parts - that have been supplied for this final test of the year - for performance and durability, rather than trying for outright lap-times.

"Both riders were very impressed with the new components that Suzuki has brought to the three-day test and are hopeful the improvements will help with the performance of next year's machine.

"Despite interruptions during the day due to some inclement weather, Vermeulen completed over 80 laps at his home Australian track, whilst Italian Capirossi covered the 4,448m circuit more than 60 times."



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