— March 23, 2012
– Stoner quickest on opening day of Jerez Test
The final official MotoGP Test of the pre-season at Jerez got underway on Friday with Casey Stoner laying down the fastest time, as the reigning World Champion shot to the top of the timesheet with his 54th and final lap of the opening day. Breaking the 1’40” barrier with five of his laps, it was the Repsol Honda rider’s final turn of the session which left him 0.273s quicker than Jorge Lorenzo.
Stoner’s blistering lap of 1’39.146 came after the Australian spent most of the latter part of the day heading out for runs of between three and four laps, as many riders found increasingly windier conditions harder to deal with.
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Lorenzo had occupied top slot for the majority of the day, as he focused on the electronics settings on his YZR-M1 to aid an improvement in acceleration. His best time of 1’39.419 was set on the 46th of a tiring 76 laps, and at one point the Spaniard set five sub-1’40” laps on the trot as he rode with a similar set-up to the one used at the last Test at Sepang.
Dani Pedrosa got under 1’40” once and it was that lap of 1’39.579 which left the Repsol Honda rider third on the timesheet at the conclusion of the day. The Spaniard highlighted an improvement in braking as the main outstanding issue to be tackled on the RC213V. In fourth position Ben Spies, who at one stage had led the timings with his best lap of 1’39.984, ended 0.838s off Stoner with that effort.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow was the fastest non-factory rider in 1’40.130, with Nicky Hayden the quickest Ducati in sixth. The American of the factory team’s best effort was a 1’40.512, which left him 1.366s off Stoner’s pace. Álvaro Bautista (San Carlos Honda Gresini) was unharmed following a crash early in the day as he continued his adaptation to the RC213V with the seventh-best time, and Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) tried to concentrate on the base setting of his M1. The Italian’s day was hampered however as he complained of not feeling well.
In ninth spot Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) struggled to a best time of 1’40.920, almost 1.8s off Stoner. The nine-times World Champion explained at the end of the day that he was losing time on corner entry, as he encountered problems loading the front of the Desmosedici GP12 and carrying speed into each turn. Rookie Stefan Bradl’s (LCR Honda) inauguration into the premier class continued as the 2011 Moto2 World Champion completed the top 10 with a time of 1’40.983.
In 11th position Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar) was the fastest of the CRT bikes, as the nine riders who will compete on the new regulation machinery pitted themselves against one another on the same track for the first time this pre-season. The Frenchman was largely concerned with the seat height and subsequently the riding position of his Aprilia machine, and escaped unhurt from a fall around midday and went on to register a 1’41.015.
De Puniet’s team-mate Aleix Espargaró timed in just ahead of Colin Edwards, as the American continues to fine-tune the Suter-BMW CRT machine of the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team. Italians Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Danilo Petrucci (Came Iodaracing Project) and Mattia Pasini (Speed Master) were separated by less than three-tenths behind the American as half a second stretched across all four riders.
Avintia Racing riders Yonny Hernández and Iván Silva on the BQR-FTR machines sandwiched Paul Bird Motorsport rider James Ellison on an Aprilia.
The Test continues on Saturday and Sunday, with the track open from 10am to 6pm local time on both days.
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Repsol Honda Team 1’39.146
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing 1’39.419
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’39.579
4. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha Factory Racing 1’39.984
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha Tech3 1’40.130
6. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Team 1’40.512
7. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Honda Gresini 1’40.545
8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Yamaha Tech3 1’40.665
9. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Ducati Team 1’40.920
10. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda 1’40.983
11. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Power Electronics Aspar 1’41.015
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Pramac Racing Team 1’41.388
13. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 1’41.603
14. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Power Electronics Aspar 1’42.293
15. Franco Battaini (ITA) Ducati Team 1’42.403
16. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’42.462
17. Michele Pirro (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’42.655
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Came Iodaracing Project 1’42.750
19. Mattia Pasini (ITA) Speed Master 1’43.006
20. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Avintia Racing 1’43.437
21. James Ellison (UK) Paul Bird Motorsport 1’43.477
22. Ivan Silva (SPA) Avintia Racing 1’44.025
– HRC Report
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) continued his exemplary testing season by setting the pace in the first gathering of the entire MotoGP field on the opening day of the final MotoGP pre-season test in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) was third fastest, while Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) and Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) were both adapting to riding the Honda RC213V at Jerez for the first time. In his first proper MotoGP test, Michel Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini-FTR) was fourth fastest among the nine CRT riders.
Reigning World champion Stoner has been the pace-setter at every pre-season session that he has seriously contested. After being hobbled by a back injury on the first day of the first Sepang test, the 26-year-old Australian was fastest in the final two sessions. And on returning to Sepang weeks later, Stoner was again fastest in the two sessions in which the Honda riders took part.
Today he continued his torrid pace at the Jerez circuit. Stoner’s fastest lap of 1m, 39.146s. came on his 54th and final lap, as the winds were picking up the 4.423Km Andalucian circuit. His lap was only a touch slower than the 1m, 38.757s lap that he ran to take the pole for last year’s Spanish GP, one of Stoner’s 12 poles on the season. And it was the fastest lap the day by .273s.
Pedrosa was third fastest and .433s off the pace of his team-mate. The Spaniard found that the chattering problem that had been a constant bother in Sepang had diminished, even though his track time was limited by various issues. Those issues were resolved by the end of the day and Pedrosa expects to be in attack mode for the remainder of the test.
In his first visit to Jerez on the San Carlo Gresini Honda RC213V, Bautista ended the day seventh fastest with a time of 1m, 40.545s. Bautista’s previous experience on the RC213V had come in the tropical conditions of Sepang, Malaysia. The track and ambient temperatures in southern Spain are much more moderate, presenting new challenges for the riders and technicians. In addition, Bautista has little MotoGP experience at Jerez having been hurt practicing for last year’s Spanish GP. Despite hundreds of laps in Jerez, the Spaniard was initially caught out by how tight the circuit seemed on the RC213V. But he adapted as the day went on and ended the day confident of the team’s direction.
Bradl was tenth fastest on his first ride at Jerez on the LCR Honda RC213V with a time of 1m, 40.983s. Like Bautista, Bradl was adjusting to the vastly different conditions from Sepang, especially the engine power, which was greater due to the weather conditions. The control tyres are not the same ones used in Sepang, where track temperatures are much higher, and the young German found all the tyres did not offer as much grip. That the MotoGP rookie was able to adapt quickly is important since every track will be a new experience on the LCR Honda RC213V with Bridgestone tyres.
For Italian Michel Pirro, this was his first chance to join team-mate Alvaro Bautista on track, and his first real test of the San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR machine. The former Moto2 rider had only a shakedown test of the Honda CBR1000RR-powered machine at Imola prior to Jerez, and it was not on the control Bridgestone tyres. With so much to work on, Pirro and his team had to prioritise, which they did by concentrating on the front end. His fastest lap of 1m, 42.655s was the fourth best among the CRT set, most of which had tested extensively during the off-season.
HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTES
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V): 1st, 1m, 39.146s “Today has been quite good. We did race distance with a soft set of tyres this morning and we were getting quicker and quicker as we progressed, but I think also the circuit was getting better. Then we put the hard tyre on and did a tyre comparison and we had very similar feelings to what we had in Sepang. We tried a few things with the chassis as the bike was proving slow to turn in the corner, but in general it is working well, especially at the end of the tyre life. On the last exit we did our fastest lap on a new soft rear tyre. It’s been a good first day.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V): 3rd, 1m, 39.579s “It’s been a pretty tough day. The mechanics had a lot of work to do in the garage and I’ve been stationary a long time, so it was not easy to get into the rhythm quickly. But I’m happy because we have a clear idea about the changes we need to do on the bike to improve tomorrow, especially on braking and the exits of the corners. We also tested the new front Bridgestone tyre, but just for a few laps, so I will keep testing it tomorrow to know if it’s better. Unfortunately, in the afternoon I had a problem on one bike and I couldn’t use it any more, so I spent quite a long time in the box between runs and thinking about the changes we want to do. We didn’t have too much chattering today, but I think it’s because of the circuit characteristics.”
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V): 7th, 1m, 40.545s “Today went well on a track with very different characteristics to Malaysia, especially considering that I haven’t ridden Jerez for a couple of years and I’d forgotten how close all the corners are to each other. We worked a lot on the electronics in terms of power delivery and anti-wheelie, which is an important issue at this track. I had a little crash this morning that cost us a little time, but in the afternoon we put a good rhythm together around the 1m 40.5s mark and tried two different Bridgestone front tyres which gave me a lot of feel. The new tyres are a lot better than the ones we had been using and that’s important for confidence in corner entry. Overall I am happy because we have improved with every outing and finished the day with a good pace. My confidence with the bike is growing, the team is working really well and, as I said, before we’re on the right lines. Obviously we’re going to need a little time to take the next step, but I think we’ll be ready for the first race.”
Stefan Bradl (Team LCR Honda RC213V): 10th, 1m, 40.983s “It has been a big change coming to Jerez from Sepang for the first European test. Thanks to the weather conditions the engine was more powerful and I was impressed about the performance of the bike. We had a couple of issues at the beginning of the day with the anti-wheelie and the electronics and we had to adjust a lot of things, but step by step we have improved and I could go faster. At the end of the session the tyres were working different compared to Sepang, especially the soft one, and I was expecting a little bit more grip. Tomorrow we will have to find the way to improve our braking stability, but today was A-OK.”
Michel Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V): 17th 1m, 42.655s “The Imola session was nothing serious, so today was really the first outing for this bike. We have worked very hard to find where our limits are right now and the biggest issue is with the front end, which is limiting our corner entry speed. Having said that, we have to be more than satisfied because the bike is only a few hours old and we’re measuring up to the rest, apart from (Randy) De Puniet. It was also a bit of a debut for me, with so many new things such as Bridgestone tyres, which I have never ridden before. We can be happy, and even though we have a lot of work ahead of us I have great faith in the team and I am sure that with the data we have gathered we can take another step forward.”
– Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing made a purposeful start to the final 2012 pre-season test today at the Jerez circuit in Spain. Riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies were out for the first time in the new racing livery and looking very comfortable on their 1000cc YZR-M1s. Today was the first opportunity to test this evolution of the 1000cc M1 at a different track to Sepang. Spies was the first rider to break under the 1’40 lap barrier with a 1’39.984, with team mate Lorenzo following quickly to take the lead with a 1’39.956. Lorenzo continued to pick up speed on one of his ‘home’ tracks, completing the first of the three days as the second fastest rider with a time of 1’39.419, 0.273 seconds behind Casey Stoner in first. Spies wrapped up the day in fourth having completed a race simulation, 0.838 seconds from first.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position: 2nd Time: 1’39.419 Laps: 76
“Today was a very long day because we started at 10am and finished at 6pm. We did a lot of laps and it was very interesting to see how different the bike was compared to Sepang because it’s a different track. Here it is much slower and more corners, not so many straights. The 1000cc is not so easy compared to the 800cc here. At the end of the day we were able to be very fast and stay in the first three positions so we are satisfied.”
Ben Spies / Position: 4th Time: 1’39.984 Laps: 71
“Today was a positive day; we actually got more than we thought accomplished. We were able to look at the two tyres Bridgestone wanted us to test and also went through a couple of different settings on the bike. We did a race simulation to get one out of the way and we might do one more before the end of the test just get me and the bike in tune for that many laps. Today’s was to test the fuel consumption and we were happy with that. We can now focus pretty much on going fast and trying to improve the bike lap time wise and also improve me around the track! This isn’t a strong track for me so I’m quite happy that we’ve shown some decent pace around here. We’ve got a lot done and it’s been a good day.”
Crutchlow and Dovizioso begin final preparations in Jerez
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso kicked off their final preparations for the 2012 MotoGP World Championship with a positive and productive first day of testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Crutchlow continued his outstanding winter testing form to set the fifth fastest time on Yamaha’s impressive new YZR-M1 1000cc machine. Evaluating different set-up options to improve stability on acceleration, the British rider’s best time of 1.40.130 ensured he was the quickest non-factory team rider and he was less than 0.2s behind factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies.
Having made only one previous visit to the Jerez track in his career, Crutchlow completed a marathon stint of 74-laps to build-up his experience of the circuit. He also managed to gather vital information on Bridgestone’s hard compound rear tyre option, improving his feeling and confidence throughout to continue the momentum gained in two morale-boosting test sessions at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Dovizioso, who celebrated his 26th birthday today, was eighth quickest but the Italian was unable to show his true potential having been struck down by a stomach bug overnight.
The illness meant Dovizioso was forced to ride in considerable discomfort during the day but he was still able to complete 46-laps and gain more experience of riding Yamaha’s YZR-M1 machine. A quickest time of 1.40.665 put him eighth on the time sheets and less than 0.2s away from the top six. He is confident with a good night’s rest he will be in better physical shape to post a more competitive pace tomorrow.
Cal Crutchlow / Position: 5th Time: 1’40.130 Laps: 74
“Today was a positive start to the test and important for me to carry on the momentum we gained in Sepang. I did a lot of laps but I have to do that because this is only my second time at this track and I need to gain some experience so I am in the best shape possible when we return for the race next month. We have made really good progress with the set-up of the bike today and it is good that we have come to a completely different style track compared to Sepang and the bike is working well. We are always looking to improve and the bike is still a bit of a handful to manage exiting the corner, but a real positiv e is that I did my best time today on the hard rear tyre. Last year on the 800 I could never really use the hard tyre, so I’m pleased about that because today I only did five laps on the soft tyre. Another big plus is my consistency. We talked about improving that over the winter and I’ve definitely improved in doing more constant times, so it has been a really productive start to the test.”
Andrea Dovizioso / Position: 8th Time: 1’40.665 Laps: 46
“I was really looking forward to starting this test today because it is a very important three days for me. It is my birthday too and I was looking forward to gaining more experience with the Yamaha. This morning though was not easy because I didn’t have the same good feeling with the bike as I did at the last test in Sepang. Thanks to my Tech 3 crew we found a much better setting but unf ortunately I wasn’t able to exploit it because of my physical condition. I had some problem with my stomach and I had zero energy and I am sorry I could only make 46-laps. The most positive point of the day was some new electronics I tried which helped stability exiting the corner. But we can still improve more in this area. I am not worried about the gap to the front because I didn’t feel in a good enough physical condition to push hard.”
– Ducati Report
The final winter MotoGP test started this morning with the first of three days of work at the Spanish circuit in Jerez de la Frontera. The weather was sunny with springtime temperatures until about two hours from the end, but it was also windy enough to affect all the riders. Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden worked on the Desmosedici GP12’s setup, overseen by their respective crew chiefs and Technical Director Filippo Preziosi.
Nicky Hayden finished sixth and Valentino Rossi was ninth, but both riders hope to improve the setup over the course of the next two days and to reduce the gap to the front.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 6th, 1:40.512 (77 laps)
“After missing the test at Valencia and having to do damage control in Malaysia, where I wasn’t strong, especially at the first test, it was nice to be able to get back on the bike today and feel close to 100 per cent physically. I felt good here and I was able to ride all day and finish sixth, which isn’t bad even if the gap is obviously still too big. We got off to a nice start, but we didn’t improve enough, while the guys ahead of us continued to make progress. It’s a little frustrating, although we gathered a lot of data by being able to ride all day without trying a million different things, and we have some good ideas for tomorrow. Of course our goal is to get closer to the leaders, especially with the lap time.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th, 1:40.920 (64 laps)
“We solved some things today, but not one important thing, which is corner entry, especially in the fastest part of the turn. I’m not able to be incisive there, and it’s where most of our gap comes from. I can’t load the front enough to enter fast, so I don’t carry enough speed through the corner, and that’s why we’re far from the front. We found a more promising setting toward the end and I was able to repeat my fast time with a tyre that was very used, but it was already 5:30 and the temperature had dropped, so we decided to start working on it again tomorrow because we think there’s a margin. Nicky went better today, and we also have to reduce the gap.”