MOTOGP: Rain Interrupts MotoGP Testing at Sepang II

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A heavy rain storm at 2pm may have brought an end to fast lap times during the first day of the second official MotoGP test session of the year, at Sepang in Malaysia.

The track opened under blue skies at 10am this morning, but the Kuala Lumpur weather has been particularly volatile of late and dark clouds began circling at midday.

Rain, accompanied by thunder, then began falling at 2pm, almost instantly drenching the circuit and silencing the 15 MotoGP machines that had recorded a lap time.

Although the storm is expected to pass within the hour, the amount of surface water means that a return to optimum dry conditions is unlikely before the scheduled 6pm closing time.

Reigning MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner, the only rider to set a sub-2m lap time in the first test earlier this month, thus looks set to finish day one (of three) back on top of the timesheets courtesy of a 2m 1.761s time (on lap 8 of 16).

Team-mate Pedrosa is second, +0.244sec, followed by the top Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo (+0.675sec). Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies is fourth (+1.058sec), with new Gresini Honda rider Alvaro Bautista fifth (+1.198sec) and the top Ducati of Nicky Hayden sixth (+1.371sec).

UPDATE: The rain had stopped by 3pm, at which point Ducati's Valentino Rossi returned to the track, thus becoming the first race rider to sample a 1000cc manufacturer bike in the wet.

Team-mate Nicky Hayden's bike (ridden by test rider Franco Battaini), Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa later joined Rossi in completing some wet laps.

The track is continuing to dry, and further slick laps look possible before the end of the day, although the surface is likely to retain some wet patches.

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