MotoGP: Stoner 3 for 3 in Malaysia

MotoGP Sepang 2 Test

After three days on top of the MotoGP time sheets in Malaysia, Casey Stoner appears to have adapted quite well to the Repsol Honda RC212V.

Stoner progressively got faster throughout the three-day MotoGP test at Sepang, and broke the 2:00 barrier on Thursday with a best of 1:59.665 within 37 laps. Only one other rider broke this mark, the Australian’s teammate Dani Pedrosa with a 1:59.803 (38 laps).

These two Repsol Honda MotoGP pilots finished in the same positions on Wednesday, but were above the 2:00 mark. Regardless, Stoner and Pedrosa’s Wednesday’s times still surpassed Valentino Rossi’s record lap set in Sepang in 2009.

On the final day, the RC212Vs set the pace; Two more Honda prototypes followed: San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli, who was quickest in the first Sepang test earlier this month, and the third Repsol Honda rider, Andrea Dovizioso.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: "We had a good day comparing the chassis’ again and I’m happy we have made our decision on which one we’ll use for the season. We also tried a lot of electronics with engine braking and found improvements in a few areas, and some losses in others so we need to rectify these. The chassis we’ve chosen always behaves in the way we want it to, no matter what set-up we use, we are also able to adapt it fairly easily.

"So when we get to Qatar in a few weeks we’ll be able to test different set-up’s at the same time and get more track time on it. Some changes can be quite time consuming to do, so having the two bikes with identical chassis will be useful.

"The test here has been very productive for us, we did a long run here today – almost race distance – and gathered some key information. I’m feeling more and more comfortable on the RC212V and I can’t wait to get to Qatar."

Following the Hondas were three Yamaha M1s, with the former MotoGP teammates in fifth and sixth, the Americans Ben Spies and Colin Edwards, respectively.

Spies, who went down at the end of Wednesday’s testing session, experimented with additional electronics on his Yamaha Factory Racing M1. Spies ran 32 laps, and wrapped up his three-day Sepang MotoGP test at lunch.

Edwards improved the rear grip on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha after some fine tuning to better suit the harder option Bridgestone rear tires. He finished sixth with a 2:00.966, just ahead of the reigning MotoGP champion, factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo completed 48 laps, with the final 20 all in one session. Lorenzo and the Yamaha MotoGP crew improved the traction issues on the M1 MotoGP machine, but Lorenzo stated he still needs to reduce his lap times.

Eight quickest was Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista, who finished just ahead of Simoncelli’s teammate Hiroshi Aoyama and Mapfre Aspar Ducati’s Hector Barbera.

Valentino Rossi returned to the track on Thursday after missing Wednesday’s test due to flu-like symptoms. Rossi completed 59 laps, posting a best of 2:01.469.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team MotoGP) says: "We can’t be satisfied with this test because we didn’t reach our goals, which were to finish close to the top six and especially to reduce the gap to the front. Instead, we’re 1.8 seconds back, and our rhythm is also lacking.

After the first day, we thought we could do it. We had started well and were able to make the bike work with the hard tires, which is good. After that though, we didn’t take steps forward. Although we have some good ideas for the electronics that I’m optimistic will solve those problems relatively easily, I’m not as confident about the chassis setup.

"We tried hard, but we haven’t yet managed it. I’m able to brake hard, but I’m still having trouble in mid-corner. It was definitely a disadvantage to only ride two days instead of three because we had to rush at the end and try many things in order to understand as much as we could.

"We were prepared for that possibility, but it started to drizzle, making it impossible to push. There could be some good solutions for the future, but we weren’t able to confirm them. This circuit hasn’t traditionally been favorable to the Ducati. The next test is in Qatar, where the track is different, so we’ll see if we can go faster there."

Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden followed; the American attempted to work through some chatter issues on the Ducati GP11 throughout Thursday.

Completing the MotoGP test were Pramac Racing Ducati’s Loris Capirossi, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, Capirossi’s teammate Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda’s Toni Elias and Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati’s Karel Abraham.

The MotoGP field’s next stop will be at Losail, Qatar, for the final pre-season tests of 2011 March 13-14, which will be held for the first time at night. The first race of season will be at the Qatar track on March 20.

2011 MotoGP Sepang 2 Test Results, Day 3

Pos Rider Team Fastest lap Prev. Gap Lead. Gap Laps
1. Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team 1:59.665 37
2. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1:59.803 +0.138 +0.138 38
3. Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 2:00.163 +0.360 +0.498 46
4. Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 2:00.541 +0.378 +0.876 45
5. Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.678 +0.137 +1.013 32
6. Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:00.966 +0.288 +1.301 29
7. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 2:01.003 +0.037 +1.338 48
8. Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2:01.194 +0.191 +1.529 34
9. Hiroshi Aoyama San Carlo Honda Gresini 2:01.328 +0.134 +1.663 48
10. Hector Barbera Mapfre Aspar Team 2:01.346 +0.018 +1.681 21
11. Valentino Rossi Ducati Marlboro Team 2:01.469 +0.123 +1.804 59
12. Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 2:01.469 +1.804 71
13. Loris Capirossi Pramac Racing Team 2:01.493 +0.024 +1.828 39
14. Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:02.034 +0.541 +2.369 50
15. Randy De Puniet Pramac Racing Team 2:02.155 +0.121 +2.490 42
16. Toni Elias LCR Honda MotoGP 2:02.410 +0.255 +2.745 57
17. T1 Yamaha Test Team 2:02.457 +0.047 +2.792 40
18. Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 2:02.506 +0.049 +2.841 55
19. T2 Yamaha Test Team 2:03.016 +0.510 +3.351 13