Philip Island tyre test day two – We speak with Vale, Jorge, Cal, Dani & Dovi – Day Two
By Mark Bracks – Click Here for Bracksy’s Day One Report

Cloudless skies and a light northerly breeze caressed Phillip Island for day two of the combined Bridgestone and Dunlop tyre test for a few MotoGP and Moto2 teams.  However, by the afternoon temperatures had increased to heatwave conditions and with little wind was too much for many riders who sat in their cabins until 1500.

Track temperatures quickly rose into the 40’s and exceeded 52-degrees by lunchtime. Again it depended on whose thermometer you looked at as the readouts varied within the space of a few metres.

As was the case yesterday and typical of a pure tyre test, lap records were not important. For all riders it is a mater of narrowing down the rear tyre options with the rubber compounds and the carcass construction selections brought for the test so that Bridgestone can now spend the next few months preparing the options that will, hopefully, be acceptable and consistent for 27 laps come the race in October.

The riders that tested the rubber compounds on day one, (Lorenzo and Dovizioso and Pedrosa) swapped objectives to test the carcass construction with the choice narrowed down to two after one was disregarded early in yesterday’s test. For Crutchlow and Rossi it was a case of vice-versa.

Those testing the construction today could argue they got the wrong end of the deal but none of them were pleased with the day’s proceedings on a couple of tyres with none enamoured with the construction.

They all expressed the same concerns (either from today or yesterday) that from about the second lap the rear has absolutely no grip providing vicious slides around the track. The look on their faces and body language after dismounting said it all.

The objective for all riders was to do around 14 lap runs on each tyre they were assigned.

Rossi and Crutchlow drew the right straw as after being disappointed with the construction of the tyres yesterday, virtually throwing one on the scrap heap, they had the chance to test the popular rubber options from yesterday and managed to get  somewhere near a half or ¾ race distance simulation in. Rossi managed to get 14 laps on a tyre while Crutchlow did two runs of four laps plus 16, while Pedrosa did a full 20 lap run late in the day.

After the long lunch, Dani Pedrosa was the first one back out on track to continue his schedule for the day, but such was the heat he did a short run before again retiring to his cabin. Then with an hour to go went out and did a race simulation of 20 laps, the majority in the 1:29.5 to 1:29.9 with his times only dropping into the low 1:30s with five laps of the run to go. Dani also had an altercation with a Phillip Island bird .

One positive for Bridgestone and Dunlop is that even with the conditions of the past two days, tyre temperatures are nowhere near as severe as what was recorded in October.

Yesterday Lorenzo was quickest though all the splits while today Rossi, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Dovizioso all managed to claim one sector as their own but this could be put down to the testing schedule..

Dovizioso still claimed to be the fastest through the speed trap and assisted by a tail wind down Gardner Straight in the morning clocked 343kmh, just 1.8kmh off the record speed of 344.8 achieved by Alvaro Bautista during FP3 at last year’s GP.

Besides all the testing there were two interesting sidelights for the day as Lorenzo tested a new fairing with a larger and redesigned air intake as well as being narrower and flatter across the front. Both Lorenzo and Wilco Zeelenberg claimed it was to assist with battling the wind (of which there was virtually nothing) but to the cynical eye it may be a redesign for airflow due to the new rules and the importance of fuel consumption.

The other interesting sidelight that you had to be super quick to notice was on Crutchlow’s bike in the morning. Under the ducktail on either side was a cylinder about 100m height and around the same dimension in diameter. On first look it appeared to be connected to the exhaust pipes, a Termigoni sticker disguising it. Crutchlow and Ducati personnel were very tight lipped as to what it was. All were surprised that someone even spotted the addition as they were only on the bike for two laps then quickly removed in the pit box with the shutter down. It may be a mass damping unit to assist with rear end chatter and the frequency resonance of the bike but they were not attached to the suspension or shock.  It has been used in F1 (and banned) and at times in the premier classes of bike racing without much success. It will be interesting to see when it will appear again. A mission for the day is to find out a bit more!

The final day will see all riders will hope to put in full race simulations on the most popular mix of rubber and construction but showers and rain have been forecast so it might be an early pack up. Although at time of writing this morning (Wednesday) it looked like the forecast rain might not appear at all.

As for the Moto2 Class, ‘Tito’ Rabat was again quickest putting in another 100 lap day. On day one he was under the lap record and pole record by half-a-second. Today he increased that by another two-tenths to be the fastest ever 600cc machine around the 4.45km layout. In his full race run in the morning and for most of his afternoon run every flying lap was under the present lap record. After completing 201 laps in two days, so far, he has travelled over 800kms around the circuit.

Mapfre Aspar rider, Nico Terol crashed near MG Corner (T10) early in the afternoon with no damage to him although while the bike looked relatively unscathed the tyre had been ripped off the rim.

Interestingly the only two crashes have been on Dunlop tyres but in defence that could be more to do with how hard the lads are pushing their machines to any fault of the tyre.

Day three is the last day of winter testing before everyone heads to Qatar for the opening round in a couple of weeks time so there is a lot of work to be done, not with just tyres but narrowing down the set-ups that some are struggling with.

Who will end up with bragging rights? Lorenzo appears to be in the box seat after two days but I wouldn’t be surprised if a red rocket claims the top spot. It is only early days but it appears the addition of Gigi Dall’lgna and Davide Tardozzi is already paying dividends.

Jorge Lorenzo 1st 1:29.133 42 laps 335.4kmh
So how was the day?

As more or less yesterday. Similar fast lap only one tenth faster but the pace has been improved. The track seems a little bit better. I made my fast lap in the morning but then I keep more or less my pace maybe two tenths slower, not so much. The other thing is that we try a different tyre from the standard; the bigger one the one that Valentino was not so bad yesterday. Was probably the best that he try but for me in the fourth lap it was already dropping so much, I decided to stop and not finish the 14 laps that we had to make. I wasn’t happy. 

“Yesterday, I tried three and they were all better than the one I try today. Tomorrow I hope to have the opportunity to try these three tyres I try yesterday. It would be better to test today’s tyres yesterday. 

“We concentrate not only on the tyre but also on the setting to improve a little bit on the bike and finally on the new tyre but today has been on more setting and adjustments of the bike not just the tyre

“The new fairing we still don’t know if it is better or worse.In some places better in some places worse. We have to investigate a little bit more to understand  as there was not enough wind. In the straight a little worse, on some corners was better. 

“We hope that the rest of the riders make good comments so we can choose the right tyre and compound for the race and hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow and we have the chance to try a race simulation.”

Dani Pedrosa 2nd 1:29.381 58 laps 332.3kmh

On the two tyres I try the construction was different. Yesterday was compounds and today was construction and it wasn’t successful today so I choose the best of all the tyres from yesterday and today and did a longer run I think Valentino did a long run of 14 or 15 laps . I did 20. It was quite constant the lap time but they have to check the tyre and collect some more information and get some feedback from them.

“It was constant the tyre, I did plenty of laps in the high 29 and 30s. The tyres was feeling good but they have to check the others and check the tyre on the inside and tell us what is going to be used tomorrow. From today we test all the tyres they have.

“I am happy with everything if there is rain tomorrow. I have tested the tyres and I know which tyre I feel is better for me for the track. It’s pretty much matching the other riders except something else but we don’t have any test items for the bike. If it is raining in the morning maybe we have a go. We see.”

Andrea Dovizioso 3rd 1:29.387 53 laps 342.9kmh

I’m happy about the lap today. The track was fast compared to the race weekend. We don’t have to compare that point but we have to compare to the other riders. I’m happy to be in the middle of Yamaha and Honda. This is really important for us and if we check the pace today it is the same as the other riders except for Lorenzo, he was faster than everybody. Normally in this track he is really fast. About when the tyre drop we are able to do 30.0, 29.9 and this is really good and is the lap time the other riders. The feeling on the track is good. The only negative point is that we are not able to make the track test for Bridgestone because it was too hot. Over 50 deg is impossible to find this condition we will race, so I don’t know for Bridgestone if it was the best

“I didn’t make the long run as we stay more than three hours in the box because over 50 deg it is no reason to test to make comparison on the bike but especially for the tyre so I didn’t have time to make a really long run but Cal make 20 laps in two runs with tyre I think is the best and he was really consistent. He had the same feeling I have yesterday with that tyre and I think it is the best tyre until now.

“I start the day with the last tyre from last year. Normally we use always the 51 the tyre from the race and we compare

“I am ok today with my fever and was able to push and make a good lap time

“If it rains tomorrow I think we have enough data not how they want and they want always more. They are really precise and they want a long run but I think sure 70% they can be happy. I don’t know with this temperature for them how much is real. They know that, I don’t know

“The good point about the tyre is that the grip is very very similar to the 51 and the consistency is really really good but the question mark is if we are able to make 27 laps and to make 27 laps together is different to make in three runs so that’s why bridge mask to make the long run so I don’t know if that will be ok tomorrow to do that.

Valentino Rossi 4th 1:29.516 75 laps 340.7

I did a half race distance on two tyres today so it was a lot of work! The first tyre I don’t like too much. It is a tyre that most riders prefer but I don’t like very much I prefer the second tyre and with second tyre  the half simulation was not so bad about performance about lap time but especially about the feeling with the tyre because the tyre resist and after 14 lap the tyre was ok. For sure, we a bit on the limit but already maybe that tyre can make the race. For tomorrow if we will have good weather we will have something different also to try.

“This test is very important for Bridgestone for collecting the data from everybody and to make the right tyre for October because I don’t think it is ready now.

“I am quite confident they will have a good tyre for October and I sure that Bridgestone undertand more of the situation. For sure we all know with the layout it is very stressful for the tyre and with the new surface and the extra grip carries a lot of problem but for me I think Bridgestone can fix the problem. Maybe we lose a bit of performance but it can make the race distance. About October ha, Bridgestone say our temperature is not a big issue it is more the stress of the tyre and I trust in them. I hope it will be a good weekend  in October. Last year it was very cold it is scary so I prefer with more temperature like now.

“It has been a tight schedule with testing and it is our last effort tomorrow and after start the championship so we have to fic everything so is try to have enough power also for tomorrow.

Yesterday you say with your team you were running wide at certain corners and you run off the track at T12. Tyres or the bike?

No it has not been fixed. For me it is more the setting. The tyre doesn’t help but it not the big issue with the tyre, it is the setting. We work on some setting today. We are more precise but tomorrow we have to make another step. The rubber is just ahh, the bike is the same just more grip or less, with the casing you have to ride in a different way. Anyway the important thing is to find a good tyre for the race. 

“Good weather is important for tomorrow but not crucial.”

Cal Crutchlow 5th 1:29-660 59 laps 337.5kmh

“I am happy enough. I think we can always go faster and there is always room to improve. We worked hard in the moring to find a setting we were happy with and try to do a longer run but I don’t think Bridgestone were too happy with anyone doing a simulation because the heat they were maybe a little concerned for the tyre but it seemed we had no problem with the tyre. Dani make 20 laps I made 20 but six and then 14 and Vale did the same six and 14 and at the end it was the same lap time as at the start so the feeling was not too bad. I’m not pleased with the overall lap time, we should’ve gone quicker but there was no time in the day where I could put a new tyre in and have a go. Vale did at the end but he only went one tenth quicker. I think it was possible for us to make a big gain if we did that.”

Turn 12 was giving you some problems yesterday. Did you cure that and get in and out of there a bit better?

Yeah. We have to ride the Ducati in a completely different way. The only time I have ever been around there is on a Yamaha even when I was on a Supersport bike so we have to stop the bike a little bit more; a little bit earlier and get out of it because the straight line speed counts for a lot with the Ducati and if you miss the exit a little bit you are five kays down but if you get the exit perfect you’re five kays up. With the Yamaha it seemed you could carry the same speed it didn’t matter, it was the same down the straight. Still, its learning to ride the bike. The Ducati guys are doing a good job, they are helping me to learn to ride every time I go out. Its not an easy transition especially when you’re coming to the circuits. The reference you have in your head, you may as well scrap it but yeah Turn 12 is a lot better now.”

Tito Rabat 1st Moto2 1:32.168 101 laps 282.0 kmh

It was a very busy day because the weather conditions for tomorrow say it is bad. We need to test a lot of tyres and we make a long run with one tyre Dunlop say so a very busy day but this is the principal for the tyre testing

“I am very happy because all my times on the run were well below the lap record so tomorrow we will see if we can test in rain conditions. I hope it is raining for the test.

  1. Jorge Lorenzo / 1m29.133 / 42 laps
  2. Dani Pedrosa / 1m29.381 / 58 laps
  3. Andrea Dovizioso / 1m29.387 / 53 laps
  4. Valentino Rossi / 1m29.516 / 75 laps
  5. Cal Crutchlow / 1m29.660 / 59 laps
  6. Tito Rabat / 1m32.168 / 101 laps
  7. Mika Kallio / 1m32.698 / 79 laps
  8. Nico Terol / 1m33.014 / 62 laps
  9. Jordi Torres / 1m33.160 / 65 laps

 

Phillip Island Times put in context
(From our research undertaken through our own archives today – please email corrections if you think there are any errors in the data)

  • 1m27.899 – MotoGP Qualifying Record – Jorge Lorenzo’s pole position time from 2013
  • 1m28.108 – MotoGP Race Lap Record – Marc Marquez (Honda) at Phillip Island last year
  • 1m30.038 – World Superbike Superpole – Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) in 2014
  • 1m30.949 – World Superbike race lap record – Chaz Davies on the Ducati Panigale this year
  • 1m32.075 – 250cc Grand Prix Qualifying record – Marco Simoncelli on a Gilera in 2008
  • 1m32.274 – Australian Production Superbike pole position – Wayne Maxwell (Suzuki) at 2013 MotoGP
  • 1m32.316 – Australian Production Superbike race lap record – Wayne Maxwell (Honda) at 2009 MotoGP
  • 1m32.530 – Moto2 Qualifying record – Pol Espargaro on a Kalex in 2013
  • 1m32.545 – World Supersport pole position record – Sam Lowes (Yam) in 2013
  • 1m32.710 – 250cc Grand Prix race lap record – Alvaro Bautista on an Aprilia RSV250 in 2008
  • 1m32.743 – 500cc Grand Prix lap record Kenny Roberts Jr. (Suz) in 1999 (Roberts led the race early on before a chunking rear tyre caused him to lose pace)
  • 1m32.814 – Moto2 Race Lap Record set by Alex De Angelis (Speed Up) in 2013
  • 1m36.625 – 125cc Grand Prix Qualifying record set by Mika Kallio on a KTM in 2006
  • 1m36.650 – Moto3 Qualifying record set by Maverick Vinales on a KTM in 2013
  • 1m36.915 – Time set on a 1982 Suzuki Katana by Shawn Giles at the 2013 Island Classic
  • 1m36.927 – 125cc Grand Prix lap record set by Alvaro Bautista on a Honda RS125S in 2006
  • 1m37.073 – Moto 3 Race Lap Record set by Alex Marquez (KTM) in 2013
  • 1m38.726 – Sidecar lap record set by Steve Webster and David James in 1999

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