MotoGP: Rossi tests 2009 M1 prototype

2008 World Champ gets to grips with his new MotoGP bike

Rossi...third quickest in Valencia tests

NEWLY CROWNED MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi began working towards the defence of his title with his first day's testing aboard the 2009 prototype M1.

The Italian was third fastest in a time of 1'32.921, quicker than his best lap in yesterday's race. Rossi made two runs of six laps each with his 2008 M1 in order to check some settings and also get a feel for the new tyres, as today was the first day of the new mono-brand tyre rule with Bridgestone now the official supplier for all riders. He then made five runs and a total of 28 laps on the new prototype, setting his best time on the second run.

Valentino Rossi - Position: 3rd Time: 1'32.921 Laps: 40

"Today we began work on 2009 and I was able to try the new bike for the first time. It is only the first prototype but my impression of it is very good and it seems they have done a good job. We are working on the engine in order to have more acceleration on the exit from the corner and there is a small change, not enough yet but in the right direction so this is important.

"We worked on the setting and the weight distribution and I was faster with the new bike so this is good!

"We need more time to understand the bike and more laps but this is only the first day and it is very positive. The other 'big' thing today of course is the new tyres and I am really happily surprised. This is not the best track to try them at as we don't have so much data for here but anyway they feel very good. I was expecting less grip but we had a lot and everyone was fast today. The track conditions are a lot better today than they have been during the weekend so this makes a difference, but anyway we can already see that they are quite good.

"I think Bridgestone have done a good job but of course it will be hard to know for sure until we have been to some different tracks. We have to wait and see. For me they feel good even in comparison with my Bridgestone tyres from all of the season so I am happy so far. I have a special 'world champion' helmet now which I like a lot and which I will use throughout the winter testing.

"As for the number one...I will keep my 46 of course but I will put the number one on my back as I did in the past."