MotoGP test session underway

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The final MotoGP test session of 2006 got underway at the Jerez Circuit in Spain on Tuesday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Several teams are looking to make the most of a three-day testing session at the Jerez Circuit, which began on Tuesday. The ban on MotoGP testing for the rest of the year coming into effect from December 1. The meeting offers teams an opportunity to put their prototype motorbikes for the forthcoming season through a series of rigorous tests. MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden is a noticeable absentee from the gathering - the American is set to undergo surgery on his injured right shoulder. With his successor out of action, deposed MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will look to take an early advantage as the teams gear up for 2007. Promised comeback Rossi's five-year winning streak in the premier class finally came to an end at the hands of Hayden in 2006. But the Italian is confident that he can bounce back and reclaim the top honours in the forthcoming season if his new Yamaha lives up to its early promise. Rossi set the fastest lap time on Tuesday with a mark of one minute, 41.745 seconds. "The new M1 is already good and the engine is quite fast and ... especially, this test is very important because when we came here for the (Spanish) Grand Prix we had a lot of vibration, a lot of chattering, and now no, so I'm able to go a lot faster and, so the first impression is good," Rossi said. A former 125cc and 250cc champion, Dani Pedrosa made an impressive start to his MotoGP career with the Repsol Honda team in 2006, finishing fifth overall and scooping the rookie of the year award. The Spaniard almost cost his team-mate Hayden the chance of a title as the two riders collided at the Portuguese Grand Prix, but Pedrosa will learn from his mistakes and could be the American's closest challenger in 2007. Loris Capirossi, third overall behind Hayden and Rossi in 2006, finished the day with the fifth-fastest time. The Italian trailed John Hopkins in second place, Colin Edwards in third and Pedrosa in fourth. Tuesday's session was interrupted by rain and low temperatures, so those in attendance will be hoping for kinder conditions on Wednesday as they continue their early preparations for 2007.(AP)

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