The post-season test in Valencia this week provided the teams with a good foundation for further development of their 2010 prototypes over the winter, with the MotoGP riders reporting positively on the initial responses of their new machines.
Casey Stoner was consistently fast on his new Ducati Desmosedici prototype across the three days (Monday and Wednesday were half-day sessions), testing new forks and a new engine configuration as well as a new rear Bridgestone tyre which several MotoGP riders also tried out. Stoner’s lap of 1’31.900 on Wednesday morning was the fastest recorded during the test.
Working with a new chassis on his Yamaha M1, Jorge Lorenzo topped the timesheet in Tuesday’s session with a 1’31.939 lap, the second fastest time over the three days – and he left the Ricardo Tormo circuit pleased with how his bike had responded.
Dani Pedrosa experimented with Ohlins suspension as he rolled out the 2010 version of his RC212V, and at just 0.005s off Lorenzo’s best lap was the third and final rider to break the 1’32" barrier throughout the three days. Sunday’s race winner was followed in the order by World Champion Valentino Rossi, who was satisfied with the improvement made on the throttle control of his race machinery as both he and Lorenzo concluded their test a day early, having ridden both new versions of the M1 as well as their 2009 bikes for comparison.
Nicky Hayden was also fast throughout, going through a range of set-up options on his Desmosedici, with Andrea Dovizioso changing the engine position on his factory Honda to improve stability. The move paid off, with the Italian breaking the 1’33" marker on Wednesday morning.
On his return to the San Carlo Honda Gresini set-up, Marco Melandri appears to be settling back onto his RC212V well. The Italian improved his time in each session to rank seventh fastest overall, with Ben Spies eighth. The newly-integrated Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider – who tested only on Monday and Tuesday – concentrated on tyre and wheel set-ups for the most part. His team-mate Colin Edwards’ test ended after Monday’s ride, as the Texan was laid low with a virus on Tuesday.
2009 Rookie of the Year Mika Kallio felt the benefit of a new aluminium swing arm on his Pramac Ducati machine as he steadily made progress, and Randy de Puniet tested suspension and electronics modifications on his 2009 LCR Honda bike. Rizla Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi gathered information with laps completed in each session, and Aleix Espargaró’s best lap of 1’33.275 indicated he is advancing well ahead of his first full MotoGP season in 2010 with Pramac Racing.
Coming up from the 250cc category, Héctor Barberá was the fastest of the four riders making the leap to the premier class. Riding a Desmosedici GP9 to get used to power delivery, a best time of 1’33.787 from the Aspar rider left him just under a tenth of a second faster than Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini). Álvaro Bautista rode the Rizla Suzuki in a best time of just over 1’34", with 250cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama of the Interwetten Honda MotoGP team also becoming accustomed with his MotoGP ride.
Toni Elías was out on track testing a Gresini Moriwaki Moto2 prototype, with the Spanish rider still to confirm his plans for next year. Also working with Moto2 bikes were Ratthapark Wilairot, Héctor Faubel and Scott Redding (all Stop and Go – FTR), Shogo Moriwaki (Gresini Moto2 Team – Moriwaki), Axel Pons (Pons Racing Pepe World – Pons Kalex), Joan Olivé and Kenny Noyes (both Promoracing – Promo-Harris), as the pace of development gathers ahead of the introduction of the new category to the World Championship in 2010.