Fresh from his first podium for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in yesterday's Grand Prix of Catalunya, Andrea Dovizioso topped the timesheets at the end of a productive test session at the Montmelo circuit today.

The Italian rider, who was third in yesterday's Grand Prix, set a best time of 1:41.997 in the 42 laps he completed to finish ahead of factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies by .146 of a second.

Warm but overcast conditions enabled Dovizioso to work on a range of set-up options with his M1, including a new electronics package that produced positive results in prolonging tire life and managing grip on worn tires. He was also able to evaluate an upgraded engine spec and gave Yamaha technical staff vital feedback to aid future development, according to Yamaha.

"Today was very positive and despite missing a bit of time while the track dried this morning, we were able to work through our schedule," Dovi said in a Yamaha release. "Finishing fastest means we have shown once again our potential and I am now starting to feel really confident and comfortable with the YZR-M1. Yamaha gave us a new engine to try and I was able to give my impressions of it and help with some comments for future development. The most positive point of the day was the electronics package. It doesn't help for a single lap, but it makes the life of the tire significantly better and that is really important for us. We made another step forward with the set-up of the bike compared to the race and now I am looking forward to the Aragon test. This track has not been the best for me so I am curious to check my level on the Yamaha there. I am looking forward to confirming the results of the race and the test here in Catalunya."

Today's test ended in positive fashion for British rider Cal Crutchlow after a difficult start this morning. Heavy overnight rain meant the track surface was still littered with damp patches and it wasn't until after 11 a.m. that the two Monster Tech 3 men were able to commence their work.

But Crutchlow crashed on only his second flying lap, the 26-year-old losing the front on a wet patch in the braking zone. Fortunately Crutchlow escaped injury and he was able to return to the track after midday, setting a best pace of 1:42.378 to finish seventh quickest.

The Marlboro Ducati team was also busy today with Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi completing 78 and 56 laps, respectively.

Hayden ended up 10th fastest with his 1:42.94.

"It was definitely nice to get in a good day of testing, even if it was mainly just confirming things like fork settings, geometry and a couple of electronic settings," Hayden said. "It's a shame we got a red flag at the end of the day because we had one new tire ready so that we could go out one last time and check to see if we had made any real progress, but that's how it goes. Nonetheless, it was definitely a useful day. Now we'll move on to Aragon and give it a go there."

Rossi was one spot behind him in 11th.

"We didn't have much new stuff, so we concentrated on testing settings, trying many different configurations," Rossi said. "In the end we understood that the setup we settled on for yesterday's race was really the best one for this track. We tried the aluminium swingarm, which could help us in terms of grip on acceleration, but it triggers too much chatter, as opposed to during the Mugello test where it proved to be advantageous. It will be interesting to try it again at Aragon on Wednesday."

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By Cycle News Staff

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