Lap Times: Prototypes vs. CRT vs. Moto2 at Phillip Island

10/27/2012 @ 1:40 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

For qualifying at Phillip Island, it would be safe to say that the weather conditions were tricky. Cold, cloudy, windy, with at times drops of rain, both MotoGP and Moto2 had to overcome the variable climate at the coastal Australian track.

With three turns clocking well over 200 km/h (~125 mph), Phillip Island is a fast circuit, but not necessarily a circuit dominated by bikes with a lot of horsepower. Instead, rhythm is the name of the game at PI, with the riders who are able to navigate the circuit’s intricacies benefiting the most: cue Casey Stoner.

Almost a full season now into the great CRT experiment, Phillip Island is one of the circuits where the production-motor machines can shine brighter, and none of them shine brighter than Team Aspar’s Aprilia ART.

Embarrassing some prototype machines during Saturday’s sessions, Randy de Puniet will start on the grid Sunday right next to Valentino Rossi, having qualified only 0.006 seconds behind the factory Ducati rider. Behind him will be the other prototype Ducatis, with Aleix Espargaro also in the mix.

The progress of the Aprilia ART is said to be down to Aspar getting a new set of motors from Aprilia Racing for the Australian GP, with those new motors making a sizable step in horsepower (+10hp according to Cal Crutchlow).

With the WSBK-spec Aprilia RSV4 Factory proving to be a potent machine in its own right, MotoGP’s CRT riders are clearly benefiting from getting closer to Aprilia Racing’s capabilities, but what about the Honda-powered 600cc Moto2 machines?

With the top Moto2 bikes dangerously close to the lap times of the slower MotoGP CRT machines at Phillip Island, Pol Espargaro managed to do the unthinkable and best Ivan Silva with his Kalex-chassised Moto2 race bike, with a bevy of other riders within MotoGP’s 107% qualifying cut-off.

In fact, if you let the Moto2 riders on the MotoGP grid, you would have an even 40 bikes for Sunday’s race, while Australia’s Kris McLaren would be forced to watch the race from pit lane, as his Avinta Blusens BQR-FTR wasn’t able to make the cut this afternoon.

While many CRT machines have failed to live up to their potential, the Aspar Aprilia ART does show some signs of hope in the class — though there seems to be a three-fold separation in the series now, with CRT teams being behind on machinery, rider talent, and team budgets/preparedness.

For instance, the NGM Forward team has been languishing pretty much all season with its BMW/Suter race bike, but no one would attribute those results to Colin Edwards’ riding ability and the amount of testing that has gone into the project.

Similar thoughts can be said about the other two teams running the Aprilia ART, as both Speed Master and Paul Bird Motorsports have struggled to get out from the back of the pack, despite being on the preferred CRT package.

With PBM said to have basically done no testing this season, and forced to develop the bike on race weekends, the results are not that surprising. It should not be surprising either that the machines in the Aspar garage are a bit different than the ones found at Speedmaster and PBM, a function perhaps of Team Aspar’s funding situation compared to the other smaller outfits.

With only 12 prototypes on the grid next season, and the CRT grid said to expand, it remains to be seen whether the CRTs can make the gap to true MotoGP performance, though things like a spec-ECU might make the difference, as it will allow the less-funded teams to get a boost in their electronics, while simultaneously hindered the factory prototypes.

All of this just fuels the WSBK vs. MotoGP debate, and what differentiates the two series — especially when back in February, Carlos Checa qualified quicker on his Ducati Superbike 1098R than Rossi did on his Ducati Desmosedici GP12.

Qualifying Results from the Australian GP at Phillip Island, Australia:

1Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda335.61’29.623
2Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha330.61’30.1400.517
3Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda335.71’30.5750.952
4Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha332.71’30.7631.140
5Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda337.11’30.7981.175
6Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha334.71’31.2001.577
7Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda334.91’31.4901.867
8Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati337.41’31.6612.038
9Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART323.61’31.6672.044
10Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati334.41’31.6812.058
11Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati339.61’31.9102.287
12Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART319.81’31.9902.367
13Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati334.11’32.2312.608
14Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR316.81’33.0503.427
15Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter315.41’33.0693.446
16Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter321.71’33.4503.827
17James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART317.41’33.4893.866
18Roberto ROLFOITASpeed MasterART314.01’33.5773.954
19Pol ESPARGAROSPATuenti Movil HP 40Kalex281.31’33.7054.082
20Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR313.51’34.1564.533
21Scott REDDINGGBRMarc VDS Racing TeamKalex282.51’34.2644.641
22Marc MARQUEZSPATeam Catalunya Caixa RepsolSuter280.81’34.4084.785
23Thomas LUTHISWIInterwetten-PaddockSuter281.51’34.5134.89
24Takaaki NAKAGAMIJPNItaltrans Racing TeamKalex277.31’34.5414.918
25Randy KRUMMENACHERSWIGP Team SwitzerlandKalex290.71’34.5964.973
26Johann ZARCOFRAJIR Moto2Motobi285.11’34.6965.073
27Andrea IANNONEITASpeed MasterSpeed Up281.51’34.7145.091
28Anthony WESTAUSQMMF Racing TeamSpeed Up278.61’34.7655.142
29Esteve RABATSPATuenti Movil HP 40Kalex283.11’34.9005.277
30Simone CORSIITACame IodaRacing ProjectFTR277.61’34.9735.35
31Dominique AEGERTERSWITechnomag-CIPSuter284.31’35.0205.397
32Axel PONSSPATuenti Movil HP 40Kalex281.71’35.0525.429
33Mika KALLIOFINMarc VDS Racing TeamKalex291.31’35.0715.448
34Bradley SMITHGBRTech 3 RacingTech 3274.11’35.1695.546
35Xavier SIMEONBELTech 3 RacingTech 3276.21’35.3105.687
36Julian SIMONSPABlusens AvintiaSuter280.41’35.4665.843
37Toni ELIASSPAItaltrans Racing TeamKalex283.31’35.5465.923
38Mike DI MEGLIOFRAKiefer RacingKalex281.21’35.5895.966
39Jordi TORRESSPAMapfre Aspar Team Moto2Suter275.91’35.6095.986
40Ricard CARDUSSPAArguiñano Racing TeamAJR272.01’35.8646.241
DNQKris McLARENAUSAvintia BlusensBQR311.61’36.3246.701

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • Philip Island is always weird though. I can’t help thinking a 2002 McWilliams in his prime would have put the Aprilia on pole. Seeing as he did a 1’31.919 on the KR3 Proton way back then.

    What’s also interesting is Supersports Broc Parkes 1’34.445 vs Moto2 Marquez 1’34.408 IMHO, the MotoGP problem of SBK vs MotoGP is not the problem. It’s Moto2 vs Supersports that looks like duplication.

  • A grid of 40 bikes within the 107% rule would change the face of the racing completely, as there’d be so much overtaking going on. There’s your show: combine the classes into MotoGP2.

  • Rick65

    Not sure why we need 1000s when the Moto2 bikes with package motors are good for 175 -180mph.