Stoner Tops Sepang II MotoGP Test

2012 MotoGP Testting

The second official pre-season test of 2012 MotoGP concluded Thursday at Sepang International Circuit, with the most dominant name in the sport on top – Casey Stoner.

The Repsol Honda RC213V rider, who won 10 races en route to his second MotoGP title last year, posted a best lap of 2:00.473 during the Sepang II session. This was 0.8 of a second off his Sepang I time from early February (1:59.607), but still quicker than the fastest lap set by Valentino Rossi at the Malaysian track in 2009 (2:00.518, Fiat Yamaha).

Following Stoner by 0.175 of a second was his teammate, Dani Pedrosa. During the final day, both riders focused on reducing chatter problems on the RC213V’s chassis during Thursday, the only day without rain.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Again we’ve been unable to profit from the full three days of the test here in Sepang, the first day we only manages about 16 laps before the rain came and then yesterday we weren’t able to get out at all.

“So today it’s been good to have some nice weather, get out on track and find some different solutions on the bike, we’ve been trying a few different things with electronics to have the engine character the same way we like it. We’ve also tried shortening the wheelbase, aiming to reduce the chattering and we’ve been successful in decreasing it slightly but at the moment we’re unable to eliminate it completely, so we still have quite a lot of work to do.

“The chassis balance feels good as does the traction on the bike, it’s turning well but we really need to get rid of the chatter, in general we are happy with the bike.”

The fastest Yamaha didn’t arrive from the usual factory riders, but rather Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian, who competed on a Respol Honda last year with Stoner and Pedrosa, posted a 2:00.802, only three-tenths of a second off Stoner’s time.

Following Dovi was Yamaha Factory Racing’ Jorge Lorenzo. The 2010 MotoGP Champion and his teammate Ben Spies both suffered crashes during the morning, but walked away unscathed.

During the afternoon sessions, the Spaniard delivered consistent laps around the 2:01 mark; Lorenzo finishing 0.404 behind Stoner. Lorenzo also reported that the new soft Bridgestone tires lost grip early due to the powerful 1000cc engines.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Well, this afternoon was one of the hardest race simulations of my career because the 1000 is more tiring to ride and the rear tire seems to drop a lot after three or four laps.

“After this the feeling stays the same but it’s very different to last year, it’s almost like racing in the rain trying to control the rear in the corner exits and acceleration. I managed to finish the simulation with a good pace so all in all it has been a very positive test, thank you to Yamaha for their hard work.”

Dovi’s teammate Cal Crutchlow finished fifth, followed by the quickest Ducati, the Pramac Racing GP12 ridden by Hector Barbara. Behind was Alvaro Bautista aboard the San Carlo Honda Gresini, and the American Spies, who was the last rider to post within a second of Stoner. Spies was 0.959 of a second behind Stoner.

LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, the reigning Moto2 Champions, finished ninth quickest, 1.019 of a second behind Stoner. Bradl was followed by the Ducati Team duo of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, respectively.

Rossi reported he had outstanding issues with corner issue and riding position, and that the riding position geometry was more optimal during the Sepang I tests. But both report that the team made progress on the GP12’s traction control.

As he was all week, the American Colin Edwards was the quickest of the CRT prototypes; the NGM Mobile Forward Racing rider posted a 2:03.681, which was 3.208 behind Stoner.

The riders will now break before the third and final pre-season MotoGP testing period of 2012 at Jerez March 23-25 ahead of the season-opener at Qatar April 8.

2012 MotoGP Test, Sepang II Day 3 Results (Thursday, March 1):

PosRiderTeamFastest lapPrev. GapLead. GapLaps
1.Casey StonerRepsol Honda Team2:00.47334
2.Dani PedrosaRepsol Honda Team2:00.648+0.175+0.17540
3.Andrea DoviziosoMonster Yamaha Tech 32:00.802+0.154+0.32954
4.Jorge LorenzoYamaha Factory Racing2:00.877+0.075+0.40451
5.Cal CrutchlowMonster Yamaha Tech 32:00.986+0.109+0.51354
6.Hector BarberaPramac Racing Team2:01.231+0.245+0.75866
7.Alvaro BautistaSan Carlo Honda Gresini2:01.275+0.044+0.80251
8.Ben SpiesYamaha Factory Racing2:01.432+0.157+0.95928
9.Stefan BradlLCR Honda2:01.492+0.060+1.01954
10.Valentino RossiDucati Team2:01.550+0.058+1.07757
11.Nicky HaydenDucati Team2:01.609+0.059+1.13644
12.Franco BattainiCardion AB Motoracing2:03.490+1.881+3.01739
13.Colin EdwardsNGM Mobile Forward Racing2:03.681+0.191+3.20843
14.Yonny Hern?ndezAvintia Racing2:06.632+2.951+6.15948
15.Ivan SilvaAvintia Racing2:06.785+0.153+6.31253