Moto GP

Marco Simoncelli hard at work at Sepang

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Whilst the rest of the MotoGP paddock began winding down for the Christmas holiday, 2010 rookie Marco Simoncelli was hard at work at a three day test in Malaysia. A month after making his debut on the Honda RC212V at Valencia, Simoncelli was back in the saddle for the first day of a session that got underway at lunch time due to heavy morning rain. With the drying track registering 45C and ambient temperatures rising to 32.5C the Italian was able to put 44 laps (around 250km) together with a best time of 2.04.43. However, track conditions were not ideal because of the earlier rainfall and also due to a car race having taken place the day before. "It is always a pleasure for me to throw my leg over a motorcycle and at the moment it is crucial for me to understand more about this bike so this test is a godsend," Simoncelli said. "It is a shame the track isn't in the best possible shape because of the heavy rain over the last couple of days and because of the car race here yesterday. Anyway, the laps I did today were enough to improve my confidence with the RC212V, find a better riding position and learn a bit more about the power delivery. It wasn't a bad day, I'm pretty happy. I feel better every time I ride the bike and the learning process is moving slowly but surely. Tomorrow we'll work on the chassis and the set-up to try and work through our programme, weather permitting." On Tuesday 22 December 2009 Simoncelli took to the Sepang circuit in determined and enthusiastic mood at around 10 o'clock in the morning, racking up 56 laps despite the interruption of a tropical downpour in the afternoon. Following the cloudy conditions in the morning and the afternoon shower, bright sunshine allowed Marco to complete his programme for the day and, with the track in better shape than on Monday. He was consistently inside his fastest lap from the opening day. The team made some final set-up changes for Wednesday's running in search for more front and rear grip before completing a race simulation ahead of their trip home for the Christmas holidays. "Lap after lap I feel better on the bike and the fact I was consistently inside my best time from yesterday is evidence of that. This morning we started early and worked at an intense pace, allowing us to get through the entire programme we had planned," Simoncelli said. "Despite the changeable weather we were able to make some improvements to the balance of the chassis and took some more steps forward during the heavy afternoon downpour, which you always get here in Malaysia. The lap time of 2'03.70 is encouraging but I must insist once again that this is not my objective at the moment. "The most positive thing is that I have lapped at a consistently fast pace for all 56 laps and I started to enjoy it. Tomorrow we'll make a couple of changes aimed at improving the traction on the front and rear and then try a race simulation. Not a bad second day all round, everything is going to plan." On Wednesday the 23rd of December The Italian youngster completed an exhausting 160 laps (around 900km) of the Sepang circuit during the test and every single one of them had provided crucial data ahead of his debut in the MotoGP World Championship in 2010 with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini. Despite inclement weather on the opening two days, Simoncelli grabbed every opportunity to build his confidence with his new bike and to learn about the setting changes that can be made to it, as well as learning how to manage the power delivery when out on the track. He made positive steps forward ahead of the main test, which will take place here at Sepang at the start of February 2010 when Simoncelli will line up alongside the rest of the MotoGP grid. Having completed an intense work programme on the final morning he then completed a race simulation over 21 laps in the afternoon, clocking a consistent pace time of 2'04 seconds. Simoncelli deserved a hard earned Christmas holiday before preparations for what promises to be an exciting 2010 season continue at Sepang, Malaysia, on the 4th and 5th February. "I have finished and I am finished! I've ridden around 900 kilometres over the past three days, which was a nice early Christmas present! I'm happy. I had hoped to go a little faster but the lap times were not our principal target here and I am extremely satisfied with what we have achieved," the Italian said. "We worked hard from this morning on gathering data that is going to be very useful to us when the 'serious' testing begins back here at Sepang at the start of February. Fortunately today the rain held off and we were able to do a race simulation. I did 21 laps at a consistent pace in the 2'04s, even over the last few laps when the tyres were almost completely spent. Before the race simulation I did a 2'03.20 but I felt like I could have gone a good bit faster if the track was in better shape. Now we head home for a well deserved Christmas holiday to gather our thoughts after this latest outing on the Honda RC212V. See you in 2010 at Sepang!," he concluded.

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