Results are in from the MotoGP IRTA Test at Jerez this past weekend, and it was Casey Stoner who lead the entire weekend and came out the M Award winner. Despite this, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were closer than these times suggest. Jorge Lorenzo, in particular, made a big step forward, and looks like he could run with Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa this season, though he is still not ready to challenge for the title. At least, that’s what he says. Unsurprisingly, the best times for most people were set during the BMW M Award session, but the lack of qualifying tires this year, combined with the fact that that 45 minute session was disrupted by both the weather and James Toseland’s crash meant that there was not so much in it.
The big surprise from the weekend was the performance of the Suzuki squad. Both Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen put up competitive results, and it looks like they could be close to the fight for the podium this year again. Mika Kallio managed to pull out a single perfect lap for the M Award session, but otherwise, was further off the pace, and the Ducatis, which aren’t ridden by Casey Stoner, seem to be struggling once again. Vito Guareschi, Ducati’s test rider, was out with a cast aluminium chassis, suggesting they may be experimenting with a chassis which copes with crashing better, anticipating the single bike rule expected to come into effect in 2010, but the factory riders stayed with the carbon fiber frame. Casey Stoner tried both an aluminium and a carbon fiber swingarm, and ended up staying on the carbon arm later in the testing.
Honda look to be struggling still, and are badly missing the input of the injured Dani Pedrosa. HRC will have a lot of catching up to do once Pedrosa’s knee is healed, and the Spaniard is back in action. While Hayate seem to have solved some of the rear traction problems they were having, at least on a dry track which has some heat in it.
In two weeks time, the riders will hit the track and finally start racing for the 2009 season
Compiled times from all four sessions at the IRTA MotoGP test at Jerez:
|1||27||Casey Stoner||Ducati||1’38.646||0.000||M Award|
|2||46||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||1’39.365||0.719||M Award|
|3||65||Loris Capirossi||Suzuki||1’39.757||1.111||M Award|
|5||7||Chris Vermeulen||Suzuki||1’39.848||1.202||M Award|
|6||36||Mika Kallio||Ducati||1’40.149||1.503||M Award|
|7||4||Andrea Dovizioso||Honda||1’40.168||1.522||M Award|
|8||59||Sete Gibernau||Ducati||1’40.228||1.582||M Award|
|9||24||Toni Elias||Honda||1’40.266||1.620||M Award|
|10||5||Colin Edwards||Yamaha||1’40.305||1.659||M Award|
|11||69||Nicky Hayden||Ducati||1’40.401||1.755||M Award|
|12||33||Marco Melandri||Kawasaki||1’40.405||1.759||M Award|
|13||14||Randy de Puniet||Honda||1’40.646||2.000||M Award|
|14||72||Yuki Takahashi||Honda||1’40.814||2.168||M Award|
|15||15||Alex de Angelis||Honda||1’40.869||2.223||M Award|
|17||22||Vito Guareschi||Ducati||1’41.485||2.839||M Award|
|18||88||Niccolo Canepa||Ducati||1’41.551||2.905||M Award|