Dovizioso Tops Catalunya MotoGP Test

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2012 MotoGP Test

On Sunday, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso delivered his team its first podium result in over a year following a third-place finish at Sunday’s Catalunya MotoGP.

And the Italian kept the satellite Yamaha YZR-M1 on top once again Monday for the first in-season MotoGP test of 2012, Dovi taking the top time.

Following 42 laps on the Catalunya circuit, Dovizioso set a quickest lap of 1:41.997, 0.146 of a second faster than Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies. Hector Barbera took the third quickest time aboard the Pramac Racing Ducati GP12, finishing 0.189 of a second behind Dovi.

Although rainstorms moved through the Spanish region Sunday evening, the track dried as the day progressed, allowing Dovi the riders to work on their MotoGP machines ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone June 15-17.

During the Monday test, Dovi experimented with a new electronics package, which his team reported produced positive results in prolonging tire life and managing grip on worn tires. He also provided his team with some info on an upgraded engine spec.

Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Today was very positive and despite missing a bit of time while the track dried this morning, we were able to work through our schedule. Finishing fastest means we have shown once again our potential and I am now starting to feel really confident and comfortable with the YZR-M1.

“Yamaha gave us a new engine to try and I was able to give my impressions of it and help with some comments for future development. The most positive point of the day was the electronics package. It doesn’t help for a single lap but it makes the life of the tire significantly better and that is really important for us.

“We made another step forward with the set-up of the bike compared to the race and now I am looking forward to the Aragon test. This track has not been the best for me so I am curious to check my level on the Yamaha there. I am looking forward to confirming the results of the race and the test here in Catalunya.”

When the riders began Monday’s test session, a wet track caused havoc for two riders. Both Cardion AB Racing Ducati’s Karel Abraham and Dovi’s teammate Cal Crutchlow crashed, but able to walk away and rejoin the test.

Following is individual team reports from teams/MotoGP:

There was no set theme for the day, as most teams worked on different areas to improve either their immediate, or future pace. The Ducati Team, which has been the most vocal about the need for testing predominantly worked with a new swingarm and the coinciding bike set-up. Nicky Hayden finished the test in tenth, while Valentino Rossi was behind him in 11th.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “We didn’t have much new stuff, so we concentrated on testing settings, trying many different configurations.

“In the end we understood that the setup we settled on for yesterday’s race was really the best one for this track. We tried the aluminium swingarm, which could help us in terms of grip on acceleration, but it triggers too much chatter, as opposed to during the Mugello test, where it proved to be advantageous. It will be interesting to try it again at Aragon on Wednesday.”

The Repsol Honda Team’s sole goal was to test the new specification Bridgestone front tire, as they sought to tune their bike’s settings for Silverstone, after which the new compound will be available as a full allocation. Both Stoner and Pedrosa went quickest in the morning session, though were relegated down the order in the afternoon with Pedrosa fifth and Stoner sixth.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, yesterday’s race winner, was targeted with establishing whether Yamaha’s future developments should focus more on traction or an increase in power. Ben Spies, on the other hand, was evaluating different engine specs, frame variations and some electronics settings. Lorenzo ended the day in eighth, while Spies put a positive note on his season finishing second.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s aim for the day was to also test a new-spec engine and its corresponding electronics. Despite Crutchlow’s early morning detour into the gravel, the team had a positive day as Andrea Dovizioso, who recorded his first Yamaha podium on Sunday, set the fastest time of the day with a 1.41’997. A slightly bruised Crutchlow grit his teeth to post the seventh quickest time.

San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who was working on new suspension settings, looked on form all day, and was rewarded with a fourth place on the final time sheet. Michele Pirro, on board the team’s CRT machine in the shape of an FTR-Honda, continued to search for the best settings on the still relatively new bike. He finished the day in 16th.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl used the morning session to work on front end feel, while in the afternoon the team worked on improving traction coming out of corners, focussing on both the suspension and the electronics. The German rookie set the ninth fastest time overall, and will no doubt be looking to improve further at the next text.

Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham, whose team were keen to try some new set-up ideas, recovered from his morning disappointment, yet could not finish higher than 12th. Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, like Abraham, solely focused on his Desmosedici’s set-up, and had a terrific day as he was third fastest of the bunch.

Paul Bird Motorsport were making use of their British Superbike rider Shane Byrne, who took it in turns with official rider James Ellison to work on the team’s ART machine. It was Byrne who rode most of the day, with Ellison only running five laps with a new swingarm. Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini and the Power Electronics Aspar pair of Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaró also had no new parts to test for their ART bikes, focussing solely on obtaining the best bike settings for the next round at Silverstone. De Puniet was quickest CRT in 13th in front of Espargaró, whilst Pasini finished in 19th.

NGM Mobile Forward Racing continued their work on dialing in the electronics package and evaluating two different spec engines, with Colin Edwards finishing the day in 15th. Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva worked with both the FTR and part-carbon Inmotec chassis, in the hope that the team can start deciding which one to use in the future. This will however not be decided until at least after the mid-week test in Aragón. Yonny Hernández continued his work on reducing chatter on the FTR chassis.

The next official MotoGP test will be held in Aragón on Wednesday, June 6.