MotoGP Sepang 2
For the second time in 2011 MotoGP, the riders traveled to Malaysia to partake in the second of three pre-season tests.
The grid was welcomed at Sepang International Circuit with sunshine on Tuesday for the first of three days before the final test March 13-14 at Qatar (night testing), which is also where the season opener will be held on March 20.
On Tuesday, Casey Stoner topped the time sheets on the the Repsol Honda RC212V, the only rider to break the 2:01 mark. Second fastest was his teammate Dani Pedrosa, then 2010 MotoGP Champ Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing).
The nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi finished the test in ninth, saying he felt more comfortable on the Ducati GP11 than he did at the first Sepang test earlier this month.
Here’s what the MotoGP riders were saying after Tuesday’s testing session:
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team GP11) says: "We can be satisfied with today as a first day, because we’re a second from the top, like we were at the end of the first test but without trying a late ‘time attack’ with the soft tire like the others did.
"For the most part today, I was between fifth and sixth place, which is the goal we had set. I’m still losing about three tenths due to the shoulder, because I’m still stronger in the left turns, whereas I’m normally the opposite; the rest we’ll have to find by working on the bike. I’m also happy because we spent all our time on the hard tires, which we struggled with before today.
"In the end, we chose one of the two setups that we had settled upon at the last test, and that will now be our base to work from, and the one on which we’ll concentrate our efforts in the next couple of days."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team GP11) says: "It’s good to be back at Sepang, working on and developing the GP11. We spent the morning checking a few things and confirming what we had learned the last time we were here.
"Everything pretty much went according to schedule, except I had a little crash in Turn 1 toward the end of the morning session. It was really hot, and I lost the front and tipped over, but I was going slow and didn’t do any damage to myself or the bike. Today we experienced less chatter than we had last time, so that’s quite good. We need to keep reducing that over the next two days and also find some more traction, so we’ve got plenty to keep us busy."
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: "We made the most of the test today which is a good job because it looks like tomorrow we will get some rain. In the morning, we focused on some different electronic mappings to improve the entering and exit of the corners and in the afternoon we did some set-up modifications on the chassis to improve the stability on braking.
"The track temperature was high at the middle of the day and the track was quite slippery but we did a good test and tomorrow we will work on smaller details. Also, physically my shoulder felt better on the bike than in the first test. I had two more weeks and I’ve become stronger from training, so my condition is getting better."
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: "I’m really happy about how we have started this second test. Honda engineers have made a very good job on the engine brake with the electronic system to improve the feeling on the rear and these are really good because I have to say that it was our main problem last year and we couldn’t make such a big step forward as we did today.
"We have decreased the chattering compared to the first test and the stability on the rear, so I’m very satisfied. We were able to be fast from the beginning and, even we were not looking for a lap time today, we tried 3 different tyre compounds and we had a good pace with all of them."
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: "We had a really good day today, from the beginning I felt more comfortable with the bike again, like I understood the bike a little better. We managed to work on set-up but we are still doing a chassis comparison, finding strong points and weak points on both.
"It’s difficult to choose one or the other, whatever set-up we throw at them we seem to be able to run pretty similar lap times. We’re very happy with the progress we made today and everything and everybody seems to be working well."
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing M1) says: "Today was a good day for me, we worked on the traction to improve it from the previous test which helped us a lot in the set up, I’m now very satisfied with it. We have our chassis for 2011 now and we are working on it as well as our engine spec. With the improvements we’ve made we can now brake a little later and enter the corners a little more quickly as well so I was able to do some good fast consistent lap times this afternoon when it was still very hot on the track."
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing M1) says: "Today we came to this test with the engine configurations we’re going to race with so both bikes have that. We just warmed up in the morning and spent the afternoon on one set of tires. We set our fastest lap of the day when it was very hot and mid race distance on a hard tire.
"We’re saving some tires for the end of the test when the track’s good. We worked on some race set up and I also worked on some different riding styles. We’ll start again tomorrow with plenty more to do. We tried a couple of shocks and found a few tenths and were still consistently fast on used tires which was promising. It’s definitely a good day and I’m happy with it."
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V): "We´ve picked up from where we left it at the last test twenty days ago here at Sepang. Track conditions were not optimal today and in any case, I´ve not tried for a fast lap time, we were focused doing lots of different tests. We tried several set-ups and electronic settings, which we will continue to work on tomorrow.
"I´m quite happy because with twenty laps on the tyres I was still able to lap around the 2´ 02" mark. Honestly speaking, we are a bit behind the front-runners with about a second´s gap, but I am confident nonetheless because I didn´t use the softest tyre. In terms of pace, we´re not far off the best, so I´m happy with that."
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) says : "I did a lot of laps and a lot of work today. I did lots of comparisons and found a different feeling with the bike and in the end I felt much better with the technical parts that I´d already been using.
"Tomorrow I will continue to work hard but it´s certainly not easy to find a good feeling with the new options so we will see! In any case, it was an interesting day figuring out which direction to take so that we can make the most of the season that is fast approaching."
Toni Elias (LCR Honda RC212V) says: "Today I am really happy because we have found some directions and I could lap with more confidence. On these conditions it is not easy as the track surface reached 61 degrees today but I wanted to take the most of the bike despite the heat.
"Basically we have worked to develop the machine base set up using the data we gathered before and my pace is getting better lap by lap. We didn’t make an exciting lap-time today but we aimed to improve the bike working on chassis geometry and suspension regulations. Of course there is still work to do but I am more confident now because we took a first step forward."
Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R) says: "Well, I feel much better today than the last time I did some laps here – then it wasn’t so nice with the sickness! Today I wanted to ride in a calm way and concentrate on the details that we had to work on. Also, last time here in Sepang we really struggled to use the hard rear tire, so we did many laps on it today and made some progress.
"Then finally we put in some softer tires – the same as I used in the race last year – and the feeling was really smooth and very easy to make a low 2.02. We didn’t make an exciting lap-time today but we improved the bike, especially on corner exit where it now feels much smoother. I’m looking forward to pushing a bit harder tomorrow."