Valentino Rossi continued his domination of preseason MotoGP testing by setting the fastest time in today's Sepang session.
The reigning champion has now been quickest on all three full-field test days held this winter. He topped the times with a 2m01.068sec today, a tenth of a second shy of his best at the previous test three weeks ago.
However, the competition was closer than it had been earlier in the month, with Ducati's Casey Stoner within 0.151sec of Rossi in second place today. Andrea Dovizisio was half a second off the pace in third, but was four places and 0.4sec ahead of his Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, who lost two hours of running after a fall at Turn 9.
Suzuki showed improved form with Loris Capirossi taking fourth and his rookie teammate Alvaro Bautista ninth despite a crash early in the afternoon. The 250cc graduate was second best among the newcomers, with Tech 3 Yamaha's Ben Spies a strong fifth, just ahead of his teammate Colin Edwards.
Mika Kallio was eighth for Pramac Ducati, completing a session-high 76 laps, a tally equaled by LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet. Marco Melandri filled the final top-10 spot for Gresini Honda, ahead of Ducati's Nicky Hayden, who is not yet back to full fitness after recent arm surgery.
The only other rider to fall during the day was Pramac's Aleix Espargaro, who ended up 13th after a tumble at Turn 4.
With Jorge Lorenzo forced to sit out this test while he recovers from a hand injury sustained in a motocross crash, Yamaha gave factory test riders Norihiko Fujiwara and Wataru Yoshikawa another day of running to assist with development.
Although Ducati opted not to run in yesterday's test rider session, it has continued work in Europe as well, with Supersport rider and long-time 250cc man Franco Battaini testing for the Italian squad at Jerez this week.
Pos Rider Team Time Gap Laps
1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2m01.068s 47
2. Casey Stoner Ducati 2m01.219s + 0.151s 33
3. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2m01.631s + 0.563s 52
4. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 2m01.687s + 0.619s 52
5. Ben Spies Tech 3 Yamaha 2m01.843s + 0.775s 42
6. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 2m01.897s + 0.829s 35
7. Dani Pedrosa Honda 2m02.036s + 0.968s 47
8. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 2m02.038s + 0.970s 76
9. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 2m02.078s + 1.010s 34
10. Marco Melandri Gresini Honda 2m02.086s + 1.018s 52
11. Nicky Hayden Ducati 2m02.221s + 1.153s 61
12. Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda 2m02.419s + 1.351s 57
13. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 2m02.447s + 1.379s 35
14. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 2m02.485s + 1.417s 62
15. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 2m02.535s + 1.467s 76
16. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 2m03.254s + 2.186s 53
17. Norihiko Fujiwara Yamaha 2m04.681s + 3.613s 51
18. Wataru Yoshikawa Yamaha 2m04.967s + 3.899s 43