–  Crutchlow tops pre-season MotoGP Testing

1 Cal Crutchlow 1’39.511 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
2 Valentino Rossi 1’39.735 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Stefan Bradl 1’39.975 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
4 Jorge Lorenzo 1’40.105 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Marc Marquez 1’40.130 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
6 Andrea Iannone 1’40.331 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
7 Nicky Hayden 1’40.370 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
8 Andrea Dovizioso 1’40.516 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Michele Pirro 1’40.881 ITA DUCATI Ducati Test Team
10 Randy De Puniet 1’40.971 FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
11 Bradley Smith 1’41.134 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
12 Aleix Espargaro 1’41.218 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
13 Claudio Corti 1’41.443 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
14 Hiroshi Aoyama 1’41.772 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
15 Lukas Pesek 1’41.791 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
16 Karel Abraham 1’41.864 CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
17 Yonny Hernandez 1’42.363 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
18 Danilo Petrucci 1’42.428 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
19 Michael Laverty 1’42.470 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
20 Bryan Staring 1’43.525 AUS HONDA & FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
21 Colin Edwards 1’56.281 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
22 Hector Barbera 1’56.897 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow moved atop the timesheets as MotoGP™ pre-season testing drew to a close in Jerez on Monday. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider led the way from Yamaha Factory Racing duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

The third and final day brought yet more rain, although a dryer period in the second half allowed for some much desired laps on Slicks. Crutchlow was quickest before being demoted, but returned to the top in the closing stages; his best effort of 1’39.511 was the fastest of the three days in Spain, with Rossi just 14 thousandths of a second slower. In fact, no more than 29 thousandths covered the top three runners.

“We did some decent lap times and in the end we ran quite consistently, I was pleased,” Crutchlow commented. “I feel good. It’s disappointing to manage no more than 70 dry laps over three days, but to be at this pace is good and I think everybody is in a similar boat.

“I think it is very difficult to beat the Hondas of Dani (Pedrosa) and Marc (Márquez) at the moment. I think their package is stronger. We know Dani is obviously very confident because he went home today – so he is happy with the bike! We are still working very hard with the Yamaha, but it’s going to be a big battle in Qatar.”

At Factory Yamaha Racing, the pair of MotoGP World Champions worked with an updated chassis – in contrast with Crutchlow who has had few new components to test over the pre-season period. Breaking into the top three on the final day was LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who finishes fifth overall, although the German was one of several riders to hit trouble over the course of the test with a crash on Sunday afternoon. Álvaro Bautista was another and on Monday the GO&FUN Honda Gresini man was unable to ride at all, following a crash and consequent hand and knee injuries the previous evening.

Fourth overall was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa, who – happy with his bike and witnessing more rain on Monday morning – soon decided to end his test early. The two Repsol bikes sandwiched Bradl who was striving to fine-tune an optimum dry weather setup, with 2013 newcomer Marc Márquez sixth from Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team’s Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and aforementioned Bautista completed the top ten from Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, assessing an assortment of new parts.

Randy de Puniet had ended Sunday somewhat annoyed, having already encountered numerous problems before crashing and suffering burns. On a more positive note, the French Power Electronics Aspar rider does finish the test as the leading CRT runner and two places ahead of teammate and reigning class champion Aleix Espargaró. Between the pair of ARTs is the second Tech 3 bike of English rookie Bradley Smith, who aims to dial out riding errors during his maiden MotoGP campaign.

Héctor Barberá led the Avintia Blusens charge from 15th spot, but it was a rather frustrating test as new FTR parts arrived at the circuit late due to the ongoing snow-caused travel chaos in the United Kingdom. 16th was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti from Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, evaluating his 2013 chassis for the first time. Out of position on the final timesheet is Ben Spies, who – still recovering from his crash in last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix – finishes in 18th position for Ignite Pramac Racing Team and did not run at all on the final day.

Avintia’s Hiroshi Aoyama racked up plenty of wet weather running (his first on the FTR) en route to 19th position, ahead of Czech rookie Lukáš Pešek’s Ioda and Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, who has converted from a prototype to a CRT chassis for the 2013 season. This week’s 25-bike field is completed by PBM’s Yonny Hernández, Gresini’s Bryan Staring, Forward’s Colin Edwards – who today focused on electronics work – and Michael Laverty. The former British Superbike rider continued to dial in the own-built PBM bike, but on Monday saw his agenda briefly interrupted by having to pull over with a locked up rear brake.

At the end of this year’s pre-season period the pack is separated by 2.9 seconds, which compared to last year’s margin brings the pack over a second closer together. The top ten is also more bunched up, with the 2012 gap of 1.3 seconds having now been reduced to 1.1.

The 2013 MotoGP™ season will begin under lights, with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar. The first track action starts on Thursday 4th April.

– Bridgestone Report
– Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear: (CRT) Extra-soft, Soft. (Non-CRT): Soft, Medium
– Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Hard
– Weather: Sat: Wet/Dry. Sun: Wet/Dry Mon: Wet/Dry. Ambient 14-22°C; Track 13-32°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow capped off an impressive pre-season by topping the timesheet at Jerez during a late flurry of activity on the final day of testing.

On a damp but rapidly drying track, Crutchlow posted a time of 1’39.511 on the combination of the medium front and soft rear slicks to edge out Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi into second overall by just fourteenth-thousandths of a second. On the other Yamaha Factory Racing M1, Jorge Lorenzo’s best lap of 1’39.540 secured Yamaha the top three fastest times at the test. The highest placed CRT rider at Jerez was Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet whose time of 1’40.971 was 1.460 seconds off the pace and twelfth quickest overall.

A total of twenty-five riders took part in the Jerez test, with a wide range of weather conditions allowing teams to work on bike settings for wet and dry conditions. Rain fell on each day of the test and track temperatures varied from a low of 13°C at the start of testing on Saturday to a peak of 32°C at 1400 on the second day of the test.

Sunday and Monday afternoon presented a track that was mainly dry but with damp patches with riders opting for the softer slick compounds during these periods for maximum grip and warm-up performance in the challenging conditions. For the Jerez test, Bridgestone supplied the hard compound wet tyre, but long runs in wet conditions revealed that the abrasive surface of the Jerez circuit caused excessive wear for some riders. In response, Bridgestone has changed its production schedule to ensure each rider will have two extra-hard compound rear wet tyres delivered for the Jerez race weekend that commences on May 3rd.

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The weather conditions at Jerez were quite variable with lots of rain, but from our perspective this test gave us a lot of valuable data. The long periods of wet weather allowed us to gather a lot of data on wet tyre performance at this circuit, and our analysis and rider feedback indicated that at this track with the 1000cc bikes, a wet tyre with more durability is required. Consequently, we will provide each rider with two extra-hard rear wet tyres in their allocation for the Jerez race. Although the rain did stop on the last two days of the test, the state of track surface wasn’t ideal, so it was positive to see that riders were able to lap within the circuit record in the cool and damp conditions.

“Overall, I am pleased with what we achieved during our pre-season test programme and I’d like to thank all the riders and teams for their cooperation over the past couple of months. I am looking forward to the first race at Qatar and to what promises to be an exciting season.”

–  Yamaha Report

A final day of complicated weather conditions restricting track action has signaled the end of pre-season testing for the MotoGP Championship at the Jerez de la Frontera Circuit in Spain.

Despite reduced track time because of the conditions, both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo leave Jerez satisfied with the YZR-M1 package and feeling competitive as the first race of the 2013 season approaches.

Having climbed dramatically to the top of the timesheets yesterday for the first time in two years and sent a clear message that a new chapter had begun for him, Rossi put in another impressive ride this afternoon to leave the test second fastest in the combined times.

Reigning World Champion Lorenzo had kicked off the Jerez test as the fastest man before spending the next two days working on honing his skill at delivering unbeatable pace over distance. He leaves as the third fastest rider, less than two tenths of a second from his teammate in second and making it a Yamaha one, two, three in the combined times.

Valentino Rossi – 2nd / 1.39.735 / 30 laps
“I’m so happy because at the end of today’s session we had some quite good conditions to make some laps in the dry and especially because for us it was very important to try the new chassis.

“The feeling is generally ok; I was able to be competitive in difficult conditions and I also made good lap times with the used tyre. The new chassis has some good and bad points but I think I will start the season with the one I used yesterday and test this one again during the season.

“I am happy about the test; I was competitive all three days so I am looking forward to going to Qatar.”

Jorge Lorenzo – 4th / 1.40.105 / 42 laps
“We didn’t think we would practice so much today because the weather was so bad but finally we had two hours to practice and improve some things on the bike.

“I made a long run that I think was positive to understand the behaviour of the bike with old tyres. We are not the fastest but I think we are very consistent.

“It’s been a positive test for us to gain some motivation after Austin; that was a difficult three days. It shows that every track is a different world so let’s see what happens in Qatar. There can be a lot of sand on the track there so we’ll see how it is.

“Like every year you feel a little nervous at the beginning, it’s so important to start in a good way and get some points!”

Yamaha Factory Racing Wilco Zeelenberg
“It’s the last day of testing, finally in the last two hours we were able to go out and do what we came for and test the bike and new material we had available.

“The situation wasn’t perfect, there were still some damp patches but I think we have the information we need to be able to start in Qatar with the right stuff. We didn’t complete so many laps over the last three days but we are quite satisfied with the results.

“One of Jorge’s strong points is consistency, yesterday he struggled to be able to find a constant pace but today he had that back and was good. We didn’t pay too much attention to one hot lap, but looking at him I think he’s ready for Qatar.”

Yamaha Factory Racing Massimo Meregalli
“Today we could ride for one and a half hours, in the afternoon. We couldn’t get all the information we were looking for, but the results we got are enough to decide which path we will take to start the season in Qatar in ten days time.

“The winter tests are now done, we have done a good job and we can start the season in the best way. We achieved most of our targets and we finished Jerez Test with Yamaha in the top three which means the package is really good. We are looking forward to Qatar and we are ready to fight.”

Crutchlow ends pre-season campaign in style at Jerez

The 2013 MotoGP World Championship pre-season ended in stunning style for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow, who topped the timesheets on a weather-hit final day at the Jerez track in Spain. The 27-year-old surged to the top of the timesheets on a greasy but dry track in the closing stages of a day that saw less than two hours of track time available following early morning rain. Crutchlow powered his YZR-M1 machine to a brilliant time of 1.39.511 in the final hour to better Valentino Rossi’s best lap that the Italian set on the second day by just 0.014s. Crutchlow’s impressive performance today provided him with the perfect confidence boost ahead of the first race in Qatar on April 7, where he will be looking for a strong start to his third season in the MotoGP World Championship.

This morning’s rain and the short window to test on a dry track this afternoon gave Bradley Smith another opportunity to build up his experience on Bridgestone’s wet and slick tyres. Smith completed 25 laps in the wet and then spent a large part of the day waiting for the surface to dry to further work on his riding style and YZR-M1 settings on a dry track. He completed an additional 31-laps on slick rubber and after setting a best time of 1.41.398 in the dry yesterday, he was able to improve his pace to a 1.41.134. That encouraging pace moved him one place up the rankings from 12th to 11th and on the combined leaderboard h e finished 13th. After a positive pre-season Smith is confident that he can be fighting for a top 10 finish on his much anticipated MotoGP debut at the Losail International Circuit in Doha.

Cal Crutchlow, 1st, 30 laps, Time – 1’39.511
“It is obviously very satisfying to finish the test with the fastest time because it shows what a really good job I did and what a great job my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did too. It is a shame we didn’t get the chance to get in a lot more dry laps but I have been very fast and consistent and that gives me a lot of confidence for when we return to Jerez for the third race. This morning’s rain meant the track wasn’t in a great condition in the last two hours and I felt I could have definitely gone faster if there was more grip available. But it is the same for everybody and we came out on top, so that’s positive. Each time I tried to improve my pace at the end I came across some traffic, so I’ve no doubt I could have gone faster. It has been a positive pre-season and I think I have shown I have made another big improvement for this year. This result gives me a lot of confidence going to Qatar but my goal will be to finish in the top six and get some early momentum like I did last season. It is going to be a very exciting season and now I can’t wait to get to Qatar.”

Bradley Smith, 11th, 56 laps, Time – 1’41.134
“The really important aspect of today was that I did eventually get some dry time on track. I was reasonably happy with my performance in the wet because it is all about building my experience of the bike and tyres in those conditions. But I was really happy the track dried because I badly need seat time and the weather has definitely not helped my preparations. I’m still searching for a base setting but we have it clear the direction we need to move in with the bike and that’s to move away from what Andrea Dovizioso used and make the bike more like how Cal has his. I’m gradually getting more comfortable and at this test I’ve followed Cal, Jorge and Valentino to get a really understanding of how the Yamaha needs to be ridden. Now I’m really looking forward to going to Qatar. I’d have preferred to have done a few more dry laps in testing but I am confident and optimistic that I can start the season with a strong result.”

–  HRC Report

The MotoGP teams and riders completed their winter testing at Jerez today and return to base to await the opening grand prix of the 2013 season, Qatar on April 7. The three day rain ravaged Jerez test left many riders unable to finalize the test programme they had set for the three days and will have to play catch-up in race practice at Qatar.

Fortunately for the majority of the Honda riders at Jerez they had enough dry track time to confirm or update the advances made in development at previous winter test sessions. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, did not take part in todays test the Spaniard was satisfied with the performance of his RC213V and had little to gain from testing on a wet day in Spain.

Stefan Bradl was the fastest Honda RC213V rider on the final day of the test breaking the 1m 40s barrier his LCR Honda posting a 1m 39.975s lap time on lap 20 of the 26 he completed. His time was just 0.464s behind fastest of the day Cal Crutchlow Tech3 Yamaha. Bradl spent the limited dry track time confirming machine set up decided upon yesterday before testing new tyres.

Marc Marquez spent his day trying to improve his riding lines at Jerez aboard a 1000cc machine and testing when the track was dry and was rewarded with fifth place on the final time sheet of the day. He felt it was a productive if short session as he was more consistent than he had been yesterday while trying to improve his line around the circuit.

GO&Fun Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista was another to sit out the final day of testing and will have much work to do in free practice at Lodsail. Bautista also suffered a twisted knee in his crash of
yesterday that fractured two fingers of his left hand.

Bryan Staring was not too pleased to see more rain at Jerez today and found it difficult to motivate himself to test but he put in 41 laps while testing the general set up of the track on his Go&Fun Honda Gresini CRT machine. He set his fastest lap of the day at 1m 43.525s on lap 31. But Staring was not chasing a fast lap time his primary aim is to establish the best possible base line settings for his machine that will allow the team to build on and improve overall performance in every department.

Honda rider quotes.
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda: 3rd. 1m 39.975s.
“Today we just had 1 and half hour of acceptable track conditions after this morning rain showers. We confirmed our bike set-up from yesterday, which made me more confident with the front tyre and we made a further step forward. Then for the remaining laps, we tested a new set of tyres to improve our lap time and we had a good result despite some traffic in the last part of the session. Although we had here tricky conditions in the last 3 days, I think we are ready for the first race in Qatar which is a race track that I like”.

Marc Marquerz, Repsol Honda: 5th. 1m 40.130s
“It was dry and sunny this morning then at around 10.30 it began to rain quite heavily. We put in a some laps to understand a few things in these conditions as we had some problems in the wet on the first day, so this was helpful as we found some answers. Everybody was waiting for the track to dry out and although it was a little cold, the last hour was good. It was useful to test some things and I feel much better than yesterday, we made some improvements, especially in our consistency and with electronics. Now I will try to relax and prepare myself for Qatar, this has been a positive winter testing – much better than I expected!”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: Did not test.
“This morning was sunny but by the time we got to the track the clouds had started to arrive. I was discussing the programme for the day with my team and it started to rain. We decided that we had nothing new to test in these conditions – even if it started to dry up this afternoon, and we are happy with the machine. On top of that, I felt the pain in my neck again yesterday and would prefer to rest it in time for Qatar. We’ve done a lot of testing this winter and now we are ready to go racing, I can’t wait to start the season!”

Bryan Staring, Go&Fun Honda Gresini: 20th. 1m 43.525s.
” I am not particularly happy today. In the morning the rain affected our work and after remaining idle for several hours at the box I got off the track for the race simulation particularly unmotivated. Also there were parts of the track with patches of moisture that I conveyed tranquility and thinking of little more than a week will begin my adventure in MotoGP World Championship did not want to make mistakes. So now my thoughts turned to Qatar for a “first” world for me particularly stimulating. ”

Alvaro Bautista, Go&Fun Honda Gresini: Did not test.

–  Ducati Report

With the 2013 MotoGP championship fast approaching, the Ducati Team completed its final day of pre-season testing today at the IRTA-organized test held at Southern Spain’s Circuito de Jerez.

As had been the case yesterday and on Saturday, the planned work programme for Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden had to be altered due to uncooperative weather conditions, as morning rainfall left the track damp until after lunch. Even in the afternoon, conditions were less favourable than they had been for yesterday’s dry portion, but Dovizioso and Hayden made the best of the situation. During the last hour and a half before the track closed, both riders tried a number of setup options on their Desmosedici GP13 machines, with the Italian again using the fairing that he had tried for the first time yesterday. Andrea rode 30 laps today and was eighth on the day but seventh in the combined times, 0.811 seconds off the pace of leader Cal Crutchlow. Nicky turned 42 laps today and ended ninth fastest on combined times.

The Ducati Team now heads home to prepare for the opening MotoGP round, which will take place on 7 April in Doha, Qatar.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) 7th, 1:40.322 (Day 2)
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time today, so it wasn’t possible to learn anything regarding the race pace. Still, I didn’t expect to leave Jerez just eight tenths from the leader. I’m surprised and pleased at the same time, as this helps us to realize that we’re not so far from the others when we have a fresh tyre. The weather didn’t allow us to do a race simulation, so we’re not sure what to expect when the tyres are worn. These three days were important for me and for the development, even if we weren’t able to do a great lap time. We should be able to fight for a decent grid position in Qatar, and that’s important, but we’re not sure about the race.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th, 1:40.370 (Day 3)
“We started winter testing in Malaysia with a bigger gap than we had hoped, but since then I feel like we’ve worked well and recovered some of the gap, although part of that is down to this track being shorter. The test team is doing a good job with us, and I achieved my goal for this test, which was to be inside a second from the leader. Yesterday I didn’t feel like I was riding so well, but I went better this afternoon when it finally dried out. There wasn’t much time, but the team did a good job. My suspension guy had a few ideas, and they seemed promising; it’s a good sign that I was a second faster than yesterday on a patchy track. There’s still a lot of work to do, but everyone’s really motivated for Qatar.”

Paolo Ciabatti (Ducati MotoGP Project Leader)
“Unfortunately, the bad weather affected every test that we took part in this year, and once again here at Jerez we weren’t able to complete all the work we had planned. Still, we go home somewhat satisfied because we were able to significantly reduce the gap to the top, although we’re aware that we have more hard work to do in order to make further improvements to our performance.”

Ducati Corse development rider Michele Pirro turned 44 laps on the day, his best time of 1:40.881 putting him ninth on the day’s timesheets, 11th in the combined times.