2011 Post-Season MotoGP Testing
The traditional post-season MotoGP tests began Tuesday at Valencia, with the majority of riders piloting the new 1000cc-capacity prototypes that will be used in 2012.
One of these riders was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard who finished fifth Sunday at the 2011 MotoGP finale in Valencia immediately found rhythm on the RC213V. Pedrosa was quick during his the 40 laps he completed Tuesday, but he set the blistering top time of 1:32.186 on his final lap.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “It’s been a good day for testing after so much rain! The track conditions were good which allowed us to work well on the bike and get the first feeling with the new RCV.
“We made a step forward from August, when I first tried the bike in Brno which is a good thing: we modified the front end a little and I felt the corner entry is better, also under braking. I’m quite satisfied, not because of the lap times but more for the feeling I had.
“It was a bike test but also a rider test, I feel it’s like a schooling for me also and I enjoyed it. Not only the bike is new, also the tires are different for these bikes, the engine is new, you have more power and more torque.
“We’ve been riding 800cc quite a long time and I feel that I need to adapt my riding style a little and it’s interesting. It’s more fun, in general.”
But not far behind Pedrosa was the 2011 MotoGP Champion, Casey Stoner. The Autralian who ended 2011 with 12 wins, including the season finale at Valencia, posted a 1:32.322 on lap 34 of 42.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Everything has gone pretty well for us we’re struggling a little bit with the new tires, we’re finding they are giving us a little bit of chatter on the bike.
“We compared the bike that we tested in Jerez and Brno to the newer version we have here and we found quite a lot of improvements in some small ways with chattering but we still need to work on this some more.
“In general it was good to be out there on the 1000 and feel the horsepower, it’s a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to feeling it on a lot of different tracks!”
The quickest Yamaha went to Ben Spies, as the American was the sole rider representing Yamaha Factory Racing due to teammate Jorge Lorenzo still recovering from surgery on his fingers due to a Phillip Island crash.
Spies, who took second Sunday at Valencia MotoGP, posted a 1:33.226 during his 72 laps.
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing M1 MotoGP) says: “We weren’t too worried about lap times today, we made a lot of small changes to the bike including geometry changes, electronics etc to make the bike as comfortable as possible.
“Tomorrow we’ll try a different chassis spec so we can choose which one to go forward in. We confirmed which direction to go with in power delivery today which is good. This is testing so we never got close to the limit with the bike; it’s about riding at 90-percent consistently to test the motorcycle.
“When we get the full package next year in Sepang we’ll go closer to the limit. I can’t complain about the engine power though, we don’t need any more. It’s a shame my team mate Jorge is not here today, I know that whatever you give him he can go fast on it! I’m looking forward to getting his feedback as well when we test together in Sepang.”
Following Spies were the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha duo of Cal Crutchlow, the 2011 MotoGP Rookie of the Year, and newly-signed Andrea Dovizioso.
The fastest Ducati was Valentino Rossi aboard the GP12. He was the sole Ducati Team rider due to teammate Nicky Hayden unable to ride from his wrist injury sustained in the first-turn crash at Valencia. Rossi also experimented with a new chassis on GP12.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “This bike is nicer to ride than the 800, even if we’re only just starting our work. You can say that it’s improved in some respects, while in others, it’s very similar to the other bike, but that’s exactly what we expected.
“We know we’re doing preparatory work for the bike that we’ll use in the 2012 winter tests, which are very important. The engine seems to be pretty good already. It’s fast, although I never really found myself with the others to do a direct comparison.
“On the other hand, I’m a little slower in mid-corner, and we also have to try to improve rear grip because for now, we’re not able to get the power to the ground and take full advantage of it. But it’s not bad for a first taste, and the really important thing is that we can work more freely, changing the bike’s balance, the weight distribution, the measurements, and whatever we need as we prepare for the important next three months of work.”
Also newly-signed, Hector Barbera also got his first experience not only with Pramac Racing, but also with the GP12. Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati’s Karel Abraham was also on the GP12 for the first time Tuesday.
MotoGP says there were 800cc bikes out on track as well on Tuesday, as Randy de Puniet and Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl both went out. De Puniet was on the Rizla Suzuki GSV-R as he worked with the team to aid them with an alternative perspective on the machine’s potential, amassing 55 laps in the afternoon and posting a best time of 1’33.544. Bradl went out on the LCR Honda RC212V in his first MotoGP ride, enjoying just over 60 laps on his debut on a premier class bike, MotoGP says.
The riders will be back on the Valencia circuit Wednesday for the second and final day of testing.
2011 MotoGP Post-Season Valencia Tests – Tuesday Times:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) 1:32.186
2. Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda Team) 1:32.322
3. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:33.226
4. Randy De Puniet (Suzuki) 1:33.544
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:33.652