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Alonso Finishes Monza Test on Top

Renault driver Fernando Alonso finished on top of the timesheets on the final day of this week's testing at the Monza circuit, which will host the Italian Grand Prix next week.

Renault driver Fernando Alonso finished on top of the timesheets on the final day of this week's testing at the Monza circuit, which will host the Italian Grand Prix next week.

Alonso posted a fastest lap of 1:20.612 as he and Italian teammate Jarno Trulli completed the French squad's preparations for the Monza race. The Spaniard was less than a tenth of a second faster than Briton Jenson Button, who finished second with the Honda-powered car.

"Our final day of testing at Monza was relatively trouble-free, with both drivers concentrating on set-up work ahead of next weekend's race," explained Renault's Chief Test Engineer Christian Silk. "They have achieved a balance they are reasonably happy with, and this will provide a good starting point for them next Friday in free practice for the race.

"Overall, we have had a successful week, making our tyre choice for the Grand Prix and without experiencing any mechanical problems with the engines at all, which is an extremely encouraging sign."

Williams driver Antonio Pizzonia, fastest on Thursday after breaking the unofficial track record, managed the third quickest time today, ahead of his Colombian teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.

"We've had a productive test at Monza with Juan Pablo and Antonio," said Williams' technical director Sam Michael. "We worked on ensuring that we have a solid brake and engine cooling package for next weekend's Grand Prix, while we also evaluated different mechanical and aerodynamic set-ups."

Italian Luca Badoer moved from Fiorano to Monza today to wrap up Ferrari's preparations for the week. The test driver concentrated mainly on tyre development and car set-up and posted the seventh quickest time of the day in the F2004.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen tested a new front wing in the team's MP4-19B, the Finn finishing the day as eighth quickest, in front of Austrian teammate Alexander Wurz, who was back in action today replacing Scottish teammate David Coulthard.

Christian Klien and Mark Webber completed Jaguar's programme, with the Austrian outpacing the Australian by over half a second. Sauber again had only one car on track, this time driven by Felipe Massa, the Brazilian taking over from Giancarlo Fisichella.

"We used our final test day to undertake a data verification with Felipe which also included further long-runs in conjunction with our Bridgestone tyre work," said Sauber's race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara. "We were able to make our decisions concerning brakes and tyres for our two drivers for Monza and also finalised the assessment of our low downforce package.

"We could complete our planned programme without major technical problems and made some good progress in race preparation during those three days."

Toyota driver Olivier Panis continued at the wheel of the TF104B, but the Frenchman's day was hampered by an accident late in the session. Panis went off the track at the second chicane after suffering a problem with one of his tyres.

"Our plan for the week was to carry out an important tyre test and to tune the car with some new parts in preparation for next week's Italian Grand Prix here at Monza," explained Panis. "We've managed to finish most of the plan. We had a few interruptions on Thursday, but it's better to have those at the test than next week at the grand prix.

"The tyres we have been testing for the race here look quite good, so overall it's not been a bad week. Unfortunately late on Friday I was approaching the second chicane when I went off after suffering a depressurization of my left rear tyre, probably caused by a problem with the valve. It was an abrupt end to the test but thankfully I am completely okay."

Jordan's Nick Heidfeld replaced compatriot Timo Glock at the wheel of the only EJ14 on track, finishing at the bottom of the times.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Alonso Renault (M) 1:20.612 100 2. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:20.690 93 3. Pizzonia Williams-BMW (M) 1:20.770 92 4. Montoya Williams-BMW (M) 1:20.814 24 5. Trulli Renault (M) 1:21.034 59 6. Davidson BAR-Honda (M) 1:21.129 63 7. Badoer Ferrari (B) 1:21.131 99 8. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:21.138 82 9. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:21.230 82 10. Klien Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:21.556 122 11. Massa Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:21.630 95 12. Panis Toyota (M) 1:22.005 73 13. Webber Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:22.112 94 14. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:22.281 86 15. Heidfeld Jordan-Ford (B) 1:23.491 74 All Timing Unofficial

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