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sepang_circuitNext week, the MotoGP riders will gather at Sepang for the second of three testing sessions before the start of the 2011 MotoGP season. The first, which was also held at Sepang, gave a glimpse at what we can expect this season. A whole lot of action, and numerous riders stepping onto the podium.

The Honda RC212V was the star of the first Sepang session. The Repsol Honda team of Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, and Casey Stoner all showed that the RC212V will be a force around the MotoGP track this season. Pedrosa also was able to show that his injured collar bone shouldn’t be a factor this season, and Stoner proved that his adaptation to his new team and new bike was going smoothly.

But the Honda team of all-stars was overshadowed by the smaller San Carlo Gresini team. Marco Simoncelli, who probably wasn’t looked at as a major threat before the first Sepang test, climbed to the top of the time sheets, narrowly missing Valentino Rossi’s track record. Simoncelli led a group of five Honda machines to finish inside the top 7.

The Honda group was the most impressive at Sepang, but Jorge Lorenzo was also in the mix. Lorenzo, the defending 2010 Champion, came within .088 seconds of Simoncelli’s time. Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies also ranked among the top riders. Spies had a fantastic rookie season, and now with a little experience under his belt, should be a consistent contender in the 2011 MotoGP season.

Valentino Rossi couldn’t manage to find a top 10 spot, but the “Doctor” is still nursing a shoulder injury. Rossi said that he was pleased with the Sepang test, and was surprised by the strength of his shoulder. A few weeks have passed sinced the last time he was at Sepang, and we could see Rossi push himself and his speed a little this weekend.

The second MotoGP testing session will start on Tuesday, the 22nd, and will go for three days at Sepang.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

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