2011 MotoGP Preparation
With the 2010 MotoGP season behind them for only one day, riders and teams hit the track again on Tuesday for the first of two days of traditional post-Valencia test sessions at the Spanish venue.
The tests are the initial preparation for the 2011 MotoGP season, and many riders who joined other teams had their first experience with the new machines on Tuesday. Out of 17 riders, five were able to post times under the 1:33 mark at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia.
Fastest was the man who won the final round of the 2010 MotoGP Championship this past Sunday, Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard posted a 1:32.012 aboard his Fiat Yamaha M1.
Second fastest was Casey Stoner on his new ride, the Repsol Honda RC212V. Stoner, who is part of a three-man team with Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, was just over seven-tenths of a second behind Lorenzo.
In third was Ben Spies, who hit the track for the first time aboard the factory Yamaha M1. Fourth and fifth fastest were Pedrosa and San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli.
Here’s what the riders were saying after Tuesday’s Valencia post-season tests. A few riders’ quotes aren’t listed, most notably the thoughts of Valentino Ross.
Rossi is reportedly under order to not discuss his Ducati test until his current Yamaha contract is complete. Although the 2010 MotoGP season is over, some contracts are not complete until the end of the year.
Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “Today we tried the new chassis on the 2011 M1 which felt good, although it is still to early to say too much about it. We also tried the new Ohlins suspension which felt better to me on the track. The new engine seems to have less wheelie but we will see more tomorrow in the next session.”
Ben Spies (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “For the first day of testing I’m super happy with the team, a lot of things are new including obviously riding the prototype bike. There are a lot of subtle changes from last year so I spent some time getting used to it along with working with a new Japanese engineer who is very, very good.”
“I had a couple of new mechanics who were learning the ropes as well so it was a lot of learning today. I’m really happy, I can feel the potential of the bike and I think there’s quite a bit more to come.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP11) says: “The 2011 season is already on us and we have some big decisions to make. We had a lot of things to try today, especially in terms of the engine. The rain didn’t help anybody because we lost some time this morning with the rain and when we were eventually able to get out on the track the conditions weren’t ideal.”
“Anyway, we were able to get some laps in and I can say that the 2011 version of the big bang engine is definitely an improvement. We switched to the screamer at about three o’clock and in some areas it’s also really strong, I like it. Before making a choice to move forward with we need to test some more, get all the data together and make a calm, considered decision.”
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) says: “The conditions today certainly weren’t easy with track temperatures down to just 20°C and strong winds but I am satisfied. I was pleased with the updates brought to us by Honda and everything worked very well.”
“The new chassis gives us better traction compared to what we have been using this season, which made life difficult for us in a lot of places, and I could feel a good improvement. The new forks also worked better and my feeling was immediately as good if not better than the ones we’ve been using so overall it is good for the future and we can continue improving.”
“Looking ahead to 2011 we have been working to a new strategy brought in by Honda, who have provided us with another telemetry engineer so that Elvio Deganello can concentrate more on the set-up of the electronics. I am really happy with this and I appreciate the support of Honda, which gives me even more motivation for next year.”
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) says: “I am really happy with this first day of testing with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini. I quickly established a good feeling with the team and I like the way they work. We still have a lot of things to get used to but we already have a good understanding.”
“Obviously I know the bike because I have been on it all year but I have to get used to a different way of working compared to the team I was with last year. I am happy though and tomorrow we will work hard again and try to improve on our performance today.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “Today I rode the 2010 bike we used in Sunday’s race and also next year’s evolution machine. The chassis is slightly different and I have to do more laps tomorrow to understand it further – but my first thought is that it is a bit stiffer with the target of getting more stability, more grip and better braking. Today we used only one tire and didn’t make many changes to the bike to keep things simple.”
“Unfortunately we had a problem with the electronics on the first lap and this meant we lost some time in the pits, but anyway it was good not to do so many laps today because of my physical condition.”
“I thought that having Monday off I would feel better but I’m still tired from yesterday and feeling some effects from the injury. The feeling is quite similar from both machines, although I didn’t get stuck into any real comparisons, so we will come back tomorrow and continue with our testing schedule.”
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “I had a very good day. I was disappointed that we couldn’t get a full session in this morning because of the weather, but it dried out and gave us some hours of good track time this afternoon.”
“It’s been very exciting these past few days waiting to get on the bike, and then having to wait again this morning. It’s been a great experience to get back on a Honda, the way it feels is fantastic.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “We tried a new chassis and new swing-arm in 2011 configuration and we could feel small differences – although there was a lot of wind compared to race day which made for tricky conditions. The new chassis gave a little bit more stability at the rear and the new swing-arm gives less pumping, but there was a little less grip also, so we aim to find a compromise.”
“The lap time came quite easily today without pushing too much or being at the limit, which is positive. I didn’t fit a soft tire and go out to set one fast lap because we wanted to focus on our program. So I’m very confident that we can improve a lot. Apart from Lorenzo who was so fast, we were all very close.”
“At first we spent quite a long time finding the right setup for a new engine braking configuration, and we wanted to fix this before going on to analyze any new items.”
“For tomorrow the plan is to test another chassis and several electronics settings, and we will also test the 2011 forks which are modified compared to the ones we tested in Brno in August. Tomorrow the weather forecast is good so I’m really looking forward to continuing this test.”
Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1) says: “It was a really good day and we got through a lot of work, despite losing quite a bit of track time this morning. It took me a while just to tune my brain back into MotoGP mode after the Moto2 test but once I’d done that, it was a positive afternoon.”
“It is only half-a-day on track but already I can tell Yamaha has done a really good job with the bike. The engine feels smoother than last season’s and I really like the new chassis. All year I’ve been struggling with turning performance but with this new chassis we have improved a lot in that area and I can get into the corner easier and with a lot more confidence.”
“I also did a fair amount of work for Bridgestone and they’ve been working hard too. I tried a couple of things that are really interesting for next year, so it was a productive start to 2011.”
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) says: “It was good to be finally part of MotoGP and to get in some dry track time on the bike because the rain hampered my first ride in Japan. It wasn’t the easiest day I’ll have because there is just so much to learn about riding a MotoGP bike fast, but my pace was good and I’m happy with my times.”
“I’m happy with my performance and so are the team and it was good to start working with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. I’m losing most of my time in just three points of the track but that is just down to experience. I had a small crash at the left-hander before the back straight.”
“I think it must have been the wind because I had a slower corner speed and less brake pressure than before. But these things will happen when I’m on such a big learning curve. Lap times and position are not bothering at my moment. I just need to be getting laps in on the bike to build up my experience and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSVR) says: “Today we have had a good test even though we lost some time due to the rain. We started with the base setting from the race so we could get the feeling of the track, it was a bit different out there because there was less grip and it was very windy, this made it more difficult to ride than during the weekend.”
“We tested two different front forks and one felt the same as the ones I’d used in the race, but the other one was much better overall. It helped me in the mid-corner braking, because it gave me more confidence to release the brake than it had done before and this gave me more speed so I could exit better.”
“I also tested a new swinging arm, it was not a big difference but it also helped a little. I am very happy with the first day because I’ve done close to my best time and the conditions were much worse than in qualifying. I’m looking forward to tomorrow because we have more things to test.”
Randy De Puniet (Pramac Racing Ducati) says: Today I found my self at ease on my Ducati. I really like for the delivery of engine power and the way to control it. The thing that surprised me most is the ease of entry into the curve. I can always break at the last moment and keep the brakes in the first part of the turn.”
“When I release the brake the bike runs with incredible speed. I’m really happy with the work done today and I hope that tomorrow, weather permitting, we will work hard to further improve my feeling with the bike.”
Toni Elias (LCR Honda RC212V) says: “Well…This morning I was very excited to be back on a MotoGP machine. I missed the power and the sound of this bike but I have decided to take my time to adapt to the new machine and the new Team.”
“This RCV is different and I need more track time to find the right feeling. Surface conditions were not fabulous today because of the rain and the dust taken by the strong wind so I took my first laps using the brain.”
“The first impression about the squad is very positive: they are very organized and very friendly. There is still a lot of work to do together but I am confident we can find the right direction.”