Suzuki Joins Catalunya MotoGP Test; Lorenzo Leads

Suzuki Test Team's Randy de Puniet

2013 Catalunya MotoGP Official Test

Following the Grand Prix of Catalunya, the MotoGP grid remained in Spain for an official test at the 2.937-mile circuit containing 13 corners.

The session was highlighted by the return of Suzuki machinery, as the official test team, headed by Valentino Rossi’s former manager Davide Brivio, made its European debut.

Suzuki, which will return to MotoGP in 2015, fielded a 1,000cc inline-four prototype with official Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki and, later in the session, former Rizla Suzuki GSV-R rider Randy de Puniet.

Under colder conditions than Sunday’s MotoGP round, de Puniet quickly got the Suzuki prototype up to speed. The Frenchman, who currently rides for the Power Electronics Aspar CRT team, and DNF’d Sunday at Catalunya due to mechanical issues, posted the eighth quickest time.

De Puniet put in 73 laps on the Suzuki with no issues. He lapped the circuit at 1:42.676, and trailed the leader by 0.772 of a second.

And the leader was no surprise, considering he dominated the round on Sunday – Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard, and reigning MotoGP Champion, posted a 1:41.904 on his 45th of 54 laps. To put this time into perspective, Lorenzo was only 0.011 of a second slower than Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa’s record pole time set on Saturday.

During the test, Lorenzo experimented with a new fuel tank. As for his teammate, nine-time World Champion Rossi, the Italian worked on getting better front-end feeling aboard the YZR-M1. Rossi finished sixth fastest, 0.609 of a second off his teammate.

Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden ran back-to-back comparisons between his GP13 and GP13 “lab” bike, finishing second, 0.051 of a second behind Lorenzo. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was next, posting a best lap time that was 0.0323 of a second slower than Lorenzo while dialing in the RC213V for front-end grip.

Hayden’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso also did some back-to-back comparisons between the GP13 and GP13 “Lab” prototypes, as did the Pramac Racing outfit of Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies substitute, Michele Pirro.

Dovi would finish fourth quickest, just ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who crashed out of Sunday’s GP.  The Brit sampled the Yamaha chassis evolution as tested by Lorenzo and Rossi in the post-race test at Jerez, while teammate Bradley Smith departed the circuit early in order to undergo a skin graft operation in Barcelona city centre.

As for Iannone and Pirro, they finished ninth and 11th, respectively.

Rossi, who crashed at the test causing a red flag, was sixth fastest, followed by the quickest CRT rider – Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro. The Spaniard, who has been the top finisher in all six rounds so far in 2013 MotoGP, experimented with chassis and suspension setup aboard his Aprilia-powered Aspar.

MotoGP says for sole tire supplier Bridgestone, the order of the day was to test a new rear compound tire, although carrying out meaningful runs was a difficult task as teams were engrossed in their own programs. The new Hard compound is closer to the current Medium and designed to come into its own towards the end of races.

Next up is some testing Tuesday from the Repsol Honda team of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa at Motorland Aragon. The Honda boys will be joined by Yamaha and Suzuki prototypes on Wednesday.

2013 Catalunya MotoGP Official Test Results (June 17):

PosRiderTeamFastest lapLead. GapPrev. GapLapsLast lap
1LORENZO, JorgeYamaha Factory Racing Team1:41.90445 / 541:53.362
2HAYDEN, NickyDucati Team1:41.9550.0510.05171 / 734:27.603
3BRADL, StefanLCR Honda MotoGP1:42.2270.3230.27225 / 312:01.512
4DOVIZIOSO, AndreaDucati Team1:42.4170.5130.19023 / 561:48.568
5CRUTCHLOW, CalMonster Yamaha Tech 31:42.4620.5580.0454 / 572:25.044
6ROSSI, ValentinoYamaha Factory Racing Team1:42.5130.6090.05128 / 571:53.059
7ESPARGARO, AleixPower Electronics Aspar1:42.5370.6330.02457 / 632:30.581
8DE PUNIET, RandySuzuki Test Team1:42.6760.7720.13964 / 731:47.707
9IANNONE, AndreaEnergy T.I. Pramac Racing Team1:42.6970.7930.02164 / 652:19.934
10SMITH, BradleyMonster Yamaha Tech 31:43.1801.2760.48314 / 251:54.015
11PIRRO, MicheleIgnite Pramac Racing1:43.7841.8800.60469 / 701:56.017
12BARBERA, HectorAvintia Blusens1:43.8991.9950.11554 / 542:06.481
13EDWARDS, ColinNGM Mobile Forward Racing1:44.1832.2790.28429 / 382:00.637
14ABRAHAM, KarelCardion AB Motoracing1:44.4582.5540.27556 / 612:33.175
15PETRUCCI, DaniloCame IodaRacing Project1:44.4772.5730.01935 / 492:06.580
16LAVERTY, MichaelPaul Bird Motorsport1:44.5472.6430.07052 / 532:00.014
17CORTI, ClaudioNGM Mobile Forward Racing1:44.7942.8900.24748 / 562:31.590
18HERNANDEZ, YonnyPaul Bird Motorsport1:45.0783.1740.28426 / 361:51.065
19PESEK, LukasCame IodaRacing Project1:47.3795.4752.30122 / 522:01.546