Stoner closes Sepang on Top

MotoGP Sepang test, February, 2012

Casey Stoner

The second Official MotoGP Test of 2012 in Malaysia came to a close with the reigning World Champion Casey Stoner again top of the timesheets, closely followed by teammate Dani Pedrosa and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso.

The third and final day of testing at Sepang was held in hot and dry conditions, with teams setting out early to make up for time lost yesterday due to rain. All riders were out on track upon opening, including all four Hondas, and under ideal 40 degree track temperatures Stoner (Repsol Honda) posted a 2’00.473 in the morning. That time remained as the best of the three days as the World Champion focused his efforts in the afternoon on efficient fuel consumption.

Dani Pedrosa totes the wheel of the new RC213V

Dani Pedrosa pursued his teammate by 0.175s as the Spanish rider focused his efforts on chassis modifications to improve stability under braking and reduce front end chatter. Andrea Dovizioso was three tenths from Stoner with a time of 2’00.802 on his Tech 3 machine after the Italian found a more efficient and comfortable riding position yesterday.

Jorge Lorenzo

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo was fourth quickest and ended his day with a race simulation that revealed the more powerful 1000cc bikes will require careful tire management. The 2010 World Champion reported that the new soft Bridgestones lost their grip early in the simulation, making braking more difficult due to sliding. The Spaniard also reported that the electronics improvements made during this test made corner entry easier and smoothed out the YZR-M1 overall.

Yamaha teammate Ben Spies ended his day early, completing 28 laps with a best time of 2’01.432 set before a crash in the early afternoon. The American walked away from the fall unhurt though did not re-enter the track in the afternoon and his time from the morning placed him eighth in the line-up. Spies commented that he was happy with the electronic improvements though he and his team “haven’t pushed the bike to its limit yet.”

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) climbed to fifth position by the end of the day with a best lap 2’00.986, half a second off the leading time of Stoner and 0.245s ahead of the quickest Ducati in the field, the Pramac Racing GP12 of Héctor Barberá.

Álvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini ) recovered from a crash in the morning to post a time of 2’01.275, over a second quicker than his time set on Tuesday, placing him seventh. The Spaniard declared at the end of the day: “This morning I had a hard time riding, it’s clear that I have a lack kilometers on the bike and yesterday we didn’t ride, plus I had a silly fall today but then picked up speed and reached a good pace.”

Valentino Rossi

Newcomer Stefan Bradl finished the day in ninth and 1.019 off the top time set by Stoner, with Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden following in 10th and 11th respectively. The Ducati Team pair have work to do, with Rossi reporting that the outstanding issue remains riding position and that the set up for it was better at the first Sepang Test. Developments made with the traction control, however, has been reportedly been good.

Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing ) wrapped up the second Malaysian Test in 13th position with a best time of 2’03.681, a one second improvement from his last visit to the circuit, while Avintia Racing riders Yonny Hernández and Iván Silva also improved the team’s performance with a best lap that was 1.6 seconds faster than at the first Sepang test.

Spies kickin’ it on Day 2 in Sepang

Texan Ben Spies

Day 2 of the second Official MotoGP Test of 2012 at the Sepang International Circuit finished with Ben Spies leading the field after rain hindered testing and Honda riders were sidelined. But there was plenty of early activity at the Malaysian circuit, with the riders who entered the track immediately bettering their times from the day before thanks to cooler track temperatures.

Absent from the track however the Honda riders: Repsol’s Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, LCR’s Stefan Bradl and San Carlo Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista did not enter the track due an engine failure in Pedrosa’s RC213V machine yesterday forcing HRC to prevent their riders from participating in the test today. The engine was sent to Japan for analysis overnight, the results of which HRC stated were positive and that the Honda riders will be back on track tomorrow. Also absent today was Karel Abraham who withdrew from the event yesterday after injuries from a crash at the private Jerez test last week prevented him from riding.

Spies topped the time sheets early in the day with a lap of 2’01.285, 1.6s quicker than his best time of yesterday and half a second faster than the lead time set by Casey Stoner. Jorge Lorenzo followed his Factory Yamaha team-mate by 0.008s (1.2s faster than his time of yesterday) as the pair tested updates to the electronics, chassis and engine of the YZR-M1 to help improve corner exit speed.

Andrea Dovizioso

Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) were third and fourth, both pacing nearly two seconds quicker than their best times yesterday. The pair did not continue riding in the wet afternoon, but the British rider was happy with a new engine specification he is tested though he reported that it requires a riding style adjustment, while the Italian was pleased with a new bike set up on his Tech 3 Yamaha that allowed for a more efficient riding position. “Today was the first day that I could run well and in a comfortable position, and being two-tenths off the official Yamaha is not too bad. I tested the new engine specification and so far it has been positive,” reported the Italian at the end of the day.

Héctor Barberá ventured out into the rain on his Pramac Racing Ducati, sporting the new rear light that will be compulsory for rain riding in 2012. Standing water on the track led to the Spaniard hydroplaning and falling in turn 13, though he walked away unhurt. His time of 2’01.989 set in the morning put him sixth in the lineup and was 1.6s quicker than his time from yesterday.

Nicky Hayden

The Ducati Team pair both set times more than a second quicker than the day before with Valentino Rossi opting not to run his Ducati Team GP12 in the rain while Nicky Hayden made a few laps on a drying track later in the day. Hayden reported that tomorrow he will continue with some set up changes in search of better grip.

NGM mobile Forward Racing rider Colin Edwards encountered an electronics throttle connection issue that did not allow the Texan did not improve his time from the day before, while Ivan Silva and Yonny Hernandez continued riding throughout the wet afternoon, both improving by over half a second as they continue with the development of their Avintia Racing BQR-FTR machine

Honda testing Quickest in Sepang

The second Official MotoGP Test of 2012 commenced in Malaysia on Tuesday, with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa topping the timesheet at midday before stormy tropical weather washed out much of the afternoon’s testing.

world champion Casey Stoner leans in

Leading the early pace in the opening half of day one was reigning world champion Casey Stoner with a best lap of 2’01.761 set on a slippery track, three tenths of a second ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa. Stoner ended his day after just 16 laps, while teammate Pedrosa ventured out after the weather cleared to continue working to find a better position on the RC213V. The Spaniard was happy to finish the day having found improvements that allow him to better handle the heavier 1000cc bike under braking.

2009 champ and Indy winner Jorge Lorenzo

Yamaha Factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies completed the day third and fourth fastest, with Lorenzo testing a new engine though the slippery track in the morning and rain in the afternoon prohibited testing its full potential. The pair also tried modifications to the YZR-M1’s existing gearbox in search of more stability when shifting.

Alvaro Bautista was the highest satellite team rider with a best time of 2’02.959, placing him in fifth position. The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider focused on riding position and geometry as he continues to adapt his riding style to the 1000cc machines, claiming “I think I will have to sacrifice corner speed in order to get more traction exiting the corner,” said Bautista.

Returning from surgery just three weeks ago, Nicky Hayden closed out the day in 6th place on the Ducati with a time of 2’03.132. The Kentuckian said via Twitter that although he is not yet 100% recovered, he feels much better than he expected. He also reported to that his plans to work on improving traction were difficult to carry out thus far because of the challenging track conditions.

With water still on the track, Ducati teammate Valentino Rossi was the first to return to the asphalt, donning wet tires and continuing to work on GP12 electronic package, traction, and corner exit acceleration. His best lap from the morning of 2’03.245 placed the Italian eighth for the day.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso concluded the day in seventh and 11th positions, respectively, with the Italian rider suffering with a rear brake issue that slowed his progress adapting to the Yamaha. Héctor Barberá was ninth and spent the morning searching for more grip from his Pramac Racing Ducati and testing the new braking light that will be required to run under wet conditions this year.

Just behind Barberá was rookie Stefan Bradl on his LCR Honda who reported felling confident with his progress on the premier class bike as he continues to work on the Honda electronics.

Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) tested a new seat and a new chassis for the Suter-BMW, completing the day 12th ahead of Ducati test rider Franco Battaini and the Avinitia Racing riders Iván Silva and Yonny Hernández.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) entered the track in the morning but exited soon after, eventually withdrawing from the Test completely after the shoulder and back injuries he suffered in crash at Jerez last week proved too painful to allow the Czech rider to continue.

courtesy of MotoGP