MotoGP: Stoner Leads Day 1 Sepang Test

MotoGP Test Results

The MotoGP grid returned to Sepang Tuesday for the second official pre-season test of the 2011 season, and the Honda RC212V continued to flex its balance of horsepower and handling in a huge way.

Out of the top eight bikes at the first of three days in the MotoGP test, Honda claimed five spots, with the other three going to Yamaha. Valentino Rossi was the highest Ducati rider, placing his GP11 in ninth.

After completing 53 laps in hot temperatures typical of Sepang in late February, Casey Stoner posted a best time of 2:00.987 aboard the Repsol Honda RC212V. Stoner, who was third fastest overall in the first Sepang pre-season MotoGP test earlier this month, was the only rider to lap under the 2:01 mark.

Next up were two Spaniards. Trailing Stoner by 0.373 of a second in the opening day was his teammate Dani Pedrosa. Claiming third was the reigning MotoGP Champion, Jorge Lorenzo. The Factory Yamaha rider was 0.481 of a second behind the Australian Stoner.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda MotoGP) 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."

Pedrosa spent his 46 laps on Tuesday testing various electronics and trying different setups on the Repsol Honda RC212V. Pedrosa, who continues to heal from the shoulder he busted up at Motegi MotoGP last season, posted his best time on the 43rd lap at Sepang.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda MotoGP) 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."

Following the two front-running Hondas were a pair of Yamaha M1s, the first MotoGP machine ridden by Lorenzo, the second by the American Colin Edwards aboard the satellite Monster Tech 3.

Lorenzo started the day slowly, but after some modifications made to the M1 that will don the Number 1 plate in 2011 MotoGP, he worked his way up to third fastest by the end of the session.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha MotoGP) 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."

The third Repsol Honda rider, Andrea Dovizioso, was fifth fastest with a 2:01.747. He was followed by Lorenzo’s teammate and last year’s Rookie of the Year Ben Spies.

Two additional Honda RC212V prototypes took the seventh and eighth positions, the San Carlo Gresini team of Hiroshi Aoyama and Marco Simoncelli, who was the overall quickest at the first Sepang test with a 2:00.757.

Rossi continued to work on the Ducati GP11’s setup during his 53 laps at Sepang on Tuesday, finishing 1.012 seconds behind Stoner. The Italian also rode the Desmo without the fairing "wings" that were originally presented on the bike during the Ducati Team’s livery launch at WROOOM in January.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati MotoGP) says: "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."

Rounding out the top 10 was Alvaro Bautista, the sole Rizla Suzuki GSV-R rider. He was 1.237 seconds behind Stoner.

As for crashes, Mapfre Aspar Ducati’s Hector Barbera and Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden both went down, but were not injured. They finished 11th and 12th, just ahead of Moto2 Champion Toni Elias aboard the LCR Honda.

Pramac Racing Ducati’s Randy De Puniet and the rookie Cal Crutchlow on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha both finished 14th and 15th; both also crashed unharmed. Reports state Crutchlow is still recovering from food poisining that he picked up on the way to Malaysia.

Taking the final two spots on Tuesday were de Puniet’s teammate Loris Capriossi and the rookie Karel Abraham on the Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati.

2011 MotoGP Sepang Test Results, Day 1 (Feb. 22):
1. Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda MotoGP) 2:00.987
2. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda MotoGP) 2:01.360
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha MotoGP) 2:01.468
4. Colin Edwards (Yamaha MotoGP) 2:01.654
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda MotoGP) 2:01.747