MotoGP Sepang 2 Test
Casey Stoner proved once again that the Repsol Honda RC212V has one of the sharpest blends of power and handling in the 2011 MotoGP paddock.
On Wednesday, the second of a three-day pre-season test in Malaysia, Stoner set the pace with a 2:00.171, which was quicker than Valentino Rossi’s 2009 record lap.
But the Australian wasn’t the only RC212V topping the time sheets at Sepang International Circuit; not far behind were teammates, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, creating a 1-2-3 for Repsol Honda. The Yamaha Factory Racing team of Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo were fourth and fifth quickest, respectively.
While spirits were high for the Honda boys, one rider was absent from the test: Valentino Rossi. The doctor was recovering from flu symptoms. The nine-time world champion arrived at the track Wednesday with cold symptoms, and consulted doctors from the Clinica Mobile.
Rossi underwent an anti-flu treatment, and missed Wednesday’s test. He hopes to regain 100-percent health for the final day of Sepang MotoGP testing on Thursday.
As for Stoner, he posted his fastest time on his final lap of 42 after trailing Pedrosa for almost the entire session. During the MotoGP test, Stoner experimented with a 2011 front fork and several changes to his bike’s set-up, which included new rear-suspension components.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda MotoGP) says: "We tested a lot of different things including the 2011 fork and new shocks and we found quite a lot of chattering with them. We spent 90-percent of the day on one bike trying different configurations, changing the geometry to get the new fork working with the bike but didn’t find anything that felt really good, but these things are necessary to do before the start of the season.
"We’re slowly starting to lean more towards the standard frame but tomorrow will give us more confirmation on this. We found the new forks to be quite amazing in the braking points, in hard breaking I didn’t need to use half as much pressure and I was able to stop for the corner much quicker, but found a lot more chattering in the last part of the corner. We managed to reduce this but we just seemed to lack the extra feeling that the alternative forks were giving."
Pedrosa tried a new Ohlins fork, and concentrated on set-up and different tires Wednesday at Sepang.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda MotoGP) says: "Today we were testing mainly suspension parts, a new front fork in the morning that gives us a more positive feeling on braking, and a rear shock in the afternoon that improves the feeling with the rear tire, so I’m satisfied with the work we’ve done together with Ohlins.
"We also tried different settings for the chassis and I’d like to be in the position tomorrow to decide which one we will use for this season. Now, both chassis give me a good feeling and I have to put my head down and think about it because it’s a very important decision.
"Since coming into MotoGP, this test together with the 2006 winter test on the 990 cc. bike, is the best pre-season. In 2006 I remember we had a very good last test that allowed us to face the first race well prepared and with a lot of confidence; and now it feels very similar.
"The bike is responding in the areas we need, although the first race is where you see clearly where you win and where you lose. I think Yamaha will be closer than they are now, so we have to keep an eye on them."
The Italian Dovizioso continued tuning the chassis on the RC212V and tested engine braking, which trimmed a few tenths at the entrance of corners.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda MotoGP) says: "I’m repeating myself, but I’m very very happy. It was a surprise to do 2:00.9 in the first test and we’ve been able to do 2:05 today, which is great. Normally I’m not so fast in testing, so to be competitive like this is very good.
"Today, the track conditions were better, as usual in the second day of testing, but another good point is that we have improved our lap times from the first test, and our rivals haven’t so much.
"In terms of tested items, today we did nothing in particular, just tried a few things that you don’t have time to test during the season, and we were consistent all day. The plan for tomorrow is to do a simulation, and it will be a good training to start the season in Qatar with more information about how the tires and the bike work in race distance."
Spies and Lorenzo were the final riders to post under the 2:01 mark. Spies went down at Turn 7 towards the end of the session, but was unharmed. He finished 0.65 of a second behind Stoner. The reigning MotoGP Champion Lorenzo trailed Stoner by 0.76 of a second.
Following the Yamaha M1 machines were the San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212Vs piloted by Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama. Simoncelli, who was the fastest overall rider in Sepang 1 at the beginning of the month, was the final rider to post within a second of Stoner.
The American Colin Edwards continued tuning his Monster Yamaha Tech 3, posting the eight fastest time. Completing the top 10 behind Edwards were Mapfre Aspar Ducati rider Hector Barbera and Rizla Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista. Like Rossi, Bautista also was stricken ill, but was able to complete 35 laps before retiring for the day.
Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden posted a 2:02.208 on the Ducati GP11. He was followed by two other Ducati riders, Randy de Puniet and Loris Capriossi on the Pramac Racing prototypes.
Taking the final three times were Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati), Toni Elias (LCR Honda) and Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
The MotoGP grid will return Thursday for the final day of MotoGP pre-season testing at the Sepang Circuit. And if the speeds keep ascending, the top riders will likely break the 2:00 barrier.
2011 MotoGP Test Results, Sepang 2, Day 2:
|Pos||Rider||Team||Fastest lap||Prev. Gap||Lead. Gap||Laps|
|1.||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda Team||2:00.229||–||–||0|
|2.||Casey Stoner||Repsol Honda Team||2:00.342||+0.113||+0.113||0|
|3.||Andrea Dovizioso||Repsol Honda Team||2:00.531||+0.189||+0.302||0|
|4.||Ben Spies||Yamaha Factory Racing||2:00.824||+0.293||+0.595||0|
|5.||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha Factory Racing||2:00.931||+0.107||+0.702||0|
|6.||Marco Simoncelli||San Carlo Honda Gresini||2:01.160||+0.229||+0.931||0|
|7.||Colin Edwards||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||2:01.738||+0.578||+1.509||0|
|8.||T2||Yamaha Test Team||2:01.792||+0.054||+1.563||0|
|9.||Alvaro Bautista||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||2:02.150||+0.358||+1.921||0|
|10.||Nicky Hayden||Ducati Marlboro Team||2:02.208||+0.058||+1.979||0|
|11.||Hiroshi Aoyama||San Carlo Honda Gresini||2:02.403||+0.195||+2.174||0|
|12.||Hector Barbera||Mapfre Aspar Team||2:02.505||+0.102||+2.276||0|
|13.||Loris Capirossi||Pramac Racing Team||2:02.624||+0.119||+2.395||0|
|14.||Karel Abraham||Cardion AB Motoracing||2:02.676||+0.052||+2.447||0|
|15.||Cal Crutchlow||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||2:02.984||+0.308||+2.755||0|
|16.||Toni Elias||LCR Honda MotoGP||2:03.186||+0.202||+2.957||0|
|17.||Randy De Puniet||Pramac Racing Team||2:03.283||+0.097||+3.054||0|
|18.||T1||Yamaha Test Team||2:03.306||+0.023||+3.077||0|
|19.||Noburu Aoki||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||2:05.474||+2.168||+5.245||0|