Malaysian track hosts opening 800cc test of 2009 from February 5th
Over two months since their last runout on track, the MotoGP premier class riders return to action from February 5th. The Malaysian circuit of Sepang will host three days of 2009 season-opening testing, featuring new bikes, new paintwork and all the star riders set to thrill over the coming months.
Fastest at the final test of 2008 and winner of last year´s race at Sepang, reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi returns from an off-season of training, relaxation and rallying appearances to resume his work with the Yamaha M1. Rossi is joined for a second year in the Fiat Yamaha team by Jorge Lorenzo and, whilst the Italian has declined the opportunity to change his racing number, his Spanish counterpart will be switching his from 48 to 99 as of this test.
Tech 3 Yamaha will also be running the 2009 M1, doing so for the first time after tests with the 2008 version at Jerez.
Present at Jerez in November only to give advice to new colleague Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro´s Casey Stoner will have his first taste of 800cc action since undergoing wrist surgery. The Australian is uncertain as to whether he will be at 100% fitness for the visit to Malaysia, but appears confident in the direction taken with the Ducati Desmosedici GP9.
Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will be running the latest prototype of the RC212V at the test for Repsol Honda, whilst the factory-spec version of the bike will be used for the first time by San Carlo Honda Gresini´s Toni Elias. The remaining factory participation comes from Suzuki´s Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen, who this week have both praised the work undertaken on the 2009 GSV-R over the winter break.
Satellite riders from Honda and Ducati, as well as possible appearances by test riders, completes the lineup for the February 5th-7th test.
Footage and interviews from the Sepang test, as well as regular reports from the track, will be available on motogp.com.