On his penultimate lap of the Phillip Island tyre safety test, Jorge Lorenzo set the best time of the three-day visit with a late 1’29.068 best effort.

In the absence of injured World Champion Marc Marquez, recovering from a broken leg in Spain, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo dominated the Australian test by posting the top time on all three days.

Wednesday’s final day saw a very brief shower and two stoppages due to crashes for Moto2™ rider Tito Rabat, but was an otherwise highly productive day for Bridgestone and Dunlop.

Although this test was about narrowing down tyre options for the Grand Prix here in October and less significant than other tests for lap times or bike development, Lorenzo will nonetheless be pleased to have gone consistently faster than his rivals – especially after some tyre frustrations at last week’s Sepang workout.

Lorenzo also carried out a strong race simulation on the final day, posting a succession of laps in the low to mid 1’30 range. Meanwhile, his fastest time of the test came on last year’s race tyre.

Second on the timesheet overall and on the final day, Dani Pedrosa’s best time of the week was a 1’29.381 whilst his best Wednesday time came in at 1’29.458s. Like his fellow riders at this track, he now heads home to recover before Round 1 in Qatar, having tested for six of the last eight days in total.

Third fastest this week was Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso courtesy of his Tuesday best time – 1’29.387. He wrapped up early on Wednesday due to ongoing sickness, lapping just 23 times and finishing fifth on the day.

Fourth best overall and third quickest today was Valentino Rossi, ending the test half a second down on his Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo, but feeling more competitive than he was at this stage last year. Rossi tested a new fairing like Lorenzo had yesterday and the Italian stopped short of a full race simulation but was quick on a 13-lap run.

Also curtailing a race simulation was Cal Crutchlow who had a front-end issue after 18 laps. The Englishman was fifth best this week but fourth on Wednesday and will be pleased to now be posting similar lap times on the ‘Open’ Ducati to his colleague Dovizioso.

The big story of the day for the Moto2™ riders was the second of Rabat’s crashes, which resulted in the Spaniard destroying his Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex on the exit of the Southern Loop but fortunately escaping unhurt. On his 600cc machine, he ended the test impressively just 3.1 seconds off Lorenzo’s pace.

Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres was the only Moto2™ rider to improve on the final day, though he ended up third best of the intermediate class riders, sandwiched between Marc VDS Racing’s Mika Kallio and his own Aspar team-mate Nico Terol on the combined timesheet.

For the MotoGP™ riders present, their next contact with their bikes will be at the opening round of the season in Qatar from 20th-23rd March, whereas the rest of the premier class grid will carry out a three-day test at Losail from this Friday (7th March) to Sunday (9th March).

MotoGP Moto2 Phillip Island Tyre Test 2014 – Combined Times over three days

1 99 J. LORENZO (ESP) Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’29.213 1’29.133 1’29.068 1’29.068 165
2 26 D. PEDROSA (ESP) Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’29.961 1’29.381 1’29.458 1’29.381 0.313 178
3 4 A. DOVIZIOSO (ITA) Ducati Team Ducati 1’29.965 1’29.387 1’30.101 1’29.387 0.319 136
4 46 V. ROSSI (ITA) Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’29.730 1’29.516 1’29.554 1’29.516 0.448 216
5 35 C. CRUTCHLOW (GBR) Ducati Team Ducati 1’29.576 1’29.660 1’29.606 1’29.576 0.508 166
6 53 E. RABAT (ESP) Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex 1’32.316 1’32.168 1’32.194 1’32.168 3.100 241
7 36 M.KALLIO (FIN) Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex 1’33.440 1’32.698 1’33.149 1’32.698 3.630 202
8 81 J. TORRES (ESP) Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter 1’34.000 1’33.160 1’32.998 1’32.998 3.930 198
9 18 N. TEROL (ESP) Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter 1’33.290 1’33.014 1’34.443 1’33.014 3.946 197

Dani Pedrosa – 2nd – 1’29.458 – “Overall, this has been a positive three days. Today we tried to do another 20-lap race simulation with the second best tyre that we had. I didn’t fully complete it, only managing 14 laps, because after so many days riding I had some neck ache. In any case, generally speaking it was a test that went well. We have enough data gathered not only for Bridgestone, but also for ourselves, so I think that it has been positive and now we shall try to rest up a bit. It’s all about continuing our training now, with the first race in Qatar on the horizon

 Ducati Report

Today was the third and final day of testing for the Ducati Team at the Phillip Island circuit. The Australian session had been organized by IRTA and Bridgestone with the specific aim of developing the Japanese tyres in view of the Australian Grand Prix in October, and it was reserved for the official teams of the three manufacturers taking part in the MotoGP World Championship.

Following the good results obtained at Sepang last week, in Australia the two Ducati Team riders were able to carry out the work requested by Bridgestone, which included an appraisal of compound, construction and profile technology, and race simulation, as well as a continuation of development work on the Desmosedici GP14 in ‘Open’ configuration. The tyres available for the three teams present at the tests were however the same for all.

After three days of intense work, Andrea Dovizioso concluded the test with an overall third fastest time of 1m29.387s, three-tenths of a second away from the quickest rider, while his team-mate Cal Crutchlow ended up fifth with a best time of 1m29.576s.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 3rd (1m29.387s) – “Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling at 100% these days, but when I was able to lap my feeling with the bike was good and so I’m pretty satisfied with this test at Phillip Island. We continued development work on the GP14 and on this track, which is very different to Sepang, we were again able to obtain results that make us feel confident for the future. Our pre-season tests have been quite positive and now I can’t wait for the championship to start.”

Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 5th (1m29.576s) – “The team worked great at Phillip Island. We had a lot of stuff to try for Bridgestone over the three days to evaluate the rear tyre. I’m happy enough to go away from here feeling positive at this circuit. At no point did I push for a one-off lap time over the three days, so I’m confident we could have made an improvement if we’d needed to but the test was about evaluating the tyres for Bridgestone and I wasn’t taking any unnecessary risks.”

Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager) – “For us it was important to show that we could also make progress at Phillip Island, on a track that is so different from Sepang in Malaysia. We also tried to do a race simulation, which is always very useful. I am quite pleased with the results, but in any case we still have a lot of work to do before becoming really competitive.”

Bridgestone Report

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Hard (various test compounds – asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 17-33°C; Track 22-52°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Bridgestone completed a successful three-day tyre test at Phillip Island, as the Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP™ met its objective of testing a range of new rear slick tyres to deliver safety, performance and durability for a full race-distance at the Australian Grand Prix in October.

Bridgestone brought two front and eight rear specifications of slick tyre to the test, with six of the rear slick specifications being brand new test tyres developed specifically for the Phillip Island circuit. Five riders; Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi took part in the three-day test, completing a total of 861 laps.

The experimental rear slicks provided for the tyre test featured developments in compound, construction and profile technology in order to find the optimum solution for a circuit that is the toughest on rear tyres on the whole MotoGP™ calendar. The first day of the test was used for initial testing of all six experimental tyres; the second and third days of the test were dedicated to race simulations on the tyres that were more found to be more suitable following analysis of tyre data and rider feedback. Out of the six experimental rear slicks provided, three specifications proved to be more promising both in terms of durability, performance, and rider feedback. These three rear slick options were tested extensively over the final two days of the test and the further positive rider feedback and data analysis acquired on these three options on the final two days means that they will form the basis of tyre development for the Australian Grand Prix in October.

The weather at Phillip Island was changeable over the three days, allowing Bridgestone to acquire tyre performance data in a wide variety of conditions. Track temperatures ranged from 22°C to 52°C and brief periods of rain were recorded on the final day of the test. The lower ambient and track temperatures on the final day of the test were a welcome change, as they allowed the riders to test the tyres in similar conditions to what can be expected for the Australian Grand Prix in October.

Bridgestone now heads to Qatar to support the final MotoGP™ pre-season test of 2014 at the Losail International Circuit from March 7-9.

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “This was a very positive test for Bridgestone as we achieved all our objectives. I would like to thank the riders and teams for all their hard work over the three days, as without them we couldn’t have achieved what we set out to do. Our primary focus was to find some suitable rear tyre options for this circuit, and out of the six experimental rear slicks we provided for the test, three options yielded some very encouraging results. These three rear slick options will now steer development for the race tyres we will provide for October’s Australian Grand Prix and following a successful three days, we are confident of delivering an allocation of tyres that will last the full-race distance while maintaining very high levels of safety and performance.”

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Marc VDS Team Report

Tito Rabat smashed the Moto2 lap record by almost half a second, to end the Phillip Island tyre test at the top of the timesheet. The 24-year-old Spaniard was quickest on day one, but his time of 1’32.168 on day two was the fastest ever recorded by a Moto2 bike at Phillip Island.

But it wasn’t just his Moto2 rivals who had their eye on Rabat; the Marc VDS rider was also quicker than all but two of the MotoGP riders through sector two on the first two days of the test.

Only a crash at turn two late in the afternoon on the final day marred Rabat’s Phillip Island test. While his Kalex Moto2 machine was badly damaged, Rabat himself walked away from the crash with minor grazes on his lower back.

Mika Kallio ended the three-day test second on the Moto2 timesheet, despite crashing heavily at Siberia late on Monday afternoon. The 31-year-old Finn was lucky to walk away with only a bruised left wrist, but the injury hampered his efforts to close the half-second gap to his teammate over the remaining two days.

Rabat and Kallio completed an extensive test programme for Dunlop at Phillip Island, including race simulations in both the hot conditions of day two and the cooler conditions of day three. The two Marc VDS riders declared themselves happy with both the performance and endurance of the tyres supplied by Dunlop at the test.

Tito Rabat // 1’32.168 // 241 Laps – “I’m really happy with how the test has gone overall. We came here to test tyres, but we’ve also managed to confirm a lot of things on the bike, as well as improving the suspension set up, the operation of the shifter and many other things. The first two days were good, with the lap time improving with each exit, but I’m a little bit disappointed that a crash during my race simulation ended today’s testing early. I was chasing a 1’31s lap today, but the crash caused so much damage to the bike that it wasn’t possible to continue. Luckily, I walked away with just grazes, but I’m sorry for my mechanics, who now have a lot of work to do to rebuild the bike.

Mika Kallio // 1’32.698 // 202 Laps – “Alongside the tyre testing for Dunlop we wanted to work more on our base set up here at Philip Island. Last year the changes we had to make at different circuits were too big, so we’ve been working towards a more balanced base set up on the bike. So far it’s worked at Valencia, Jerez and now Phillip Island, three very different circuits, so we’re definitely going in the right direction. Some of the tyres Dunlop brought to this test were too stiff in the construction for my riding style, but the two we used for the race simulations today were good. Now it will be up to Dunlop to decide which tyres they bring for the race, not an easy choice given the difference in conditions on the second and third days. Hopefully at least one of my preferred tyres will be included in the race selection.”

Pete Benson // Chief Mechanic, Tito Rabat – “The focus of the test has been on tyre testing for Dunlop, but we’ve also managed to do a couple of other little things with the suspension and the quick shifter, to try and make it a little smoother, which have both been quite positive. Tito has just been completely focussed the whole three days. Lapping on or under lap record pace, lap after lap, just seems quite effortless to him at the moment. It’s been a good test for us and, I hope, it’s been equally productive for Dunlop.”