With testing concluded at Jerez, the MotoGP paddock has just two short weeks before the opening round at the Losail International Circuit is underway. Heading into Qatar, there are few surprises from last season though, as the Honda of Casey Stoner continues to dominate the time sheets, while teammate Dani Pedrosa and top-Yamaha man Jorge Lorenzo trail closely behind.
Yamaha’s package looks very refined and balanced, and appears to have gained a step on the Honda machines. This should make for more interesting racing moments, where the more balanced Yamaha YZR-M1 will excel at certain tracks, while the more powerful Honda RC213V will shine at others. Also coming more into play will be the strengths and weaknesses of Honda and Yamaha’s top riders, whose particular track preferences could be the x-factor at some of the races.
Still at best, MotoGP is shaping up to be a three-man show, with maybe Ben Spies and some other riders occasionally mixing the order of things up. This statement is of course a direct reflection on the progress of Ducati Corse, which despite having made improvements to the Ducati Desmosedici GP12, is not really any closer to making up the difference to the front of the pack. Now using a completely revised aluminum frame, the team still seems to be struggling to find a starting point from which to build from, and in the process they have killed enough spare parts to start a pick-and-pull MotoGP junkyard.
Meanwhile the CRT riders continue to be off the pace, sans one Randy de Puniet. Apparently no one told the Frenchman that his Aprilia ART was not supposed to be competitive, as the Power Electronics Aspar rider has been nipping on the heels of the slower satellite riders throughout the testing week. A thinnly disguised Aprilia RSV4 World Superbike, the Aprilia ART is the CRT of choice in the paddock, despite being one of the newer models to hit the track.
NGM Forward’s BMW/Suter machine has perhaps been in the limelight the longest, though the team and Colin Edwards have not been able to make the bike be competitive. In what may be Edwards’s last season in MotoGP, this certainly is not the way he wanted to start the long goodbye. BMW is reported to be helping the team to some degree now (as is Aprilia with the ART), and Suter seems committed to making the package work. Though like Ducati Corse, NGM Forward is talking more about future potential and opportunities, as opposed to good expectations at Qatar. Photos and test results below.
Overall MotoGP Test Results from Jerez, Spain:
|1||Casey Stoner||Repsol Honda||Honda||1:38.780||–||–|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||Factory Yamaha||Yamaha||1:38.953||0.173||0.173|
|3||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||Honda||1:39.157||0.377||0.204|
|4||Ben Spies||Factory Yamaha||Yamaha||1:39.495||0.715||0.338|
|5||Cal Crutchlow||Monster Tech 3||Yamaha||1:39.585||0.805||0.090|
|6||Valentino Rossi||Ducati Factory||Ducati||1:39.733||0.953||0.148|
|7||Andrea Dovizioso||Monster Tech 3||Yamaha||1:39.868||1.088||0.135|
|8||Nicky Hayden||Ducati Factory||Ducati||1:39.919||1.139||0.051|
|9||Alvaro Bautista||San Carlo Gresini||Honda||1:40.017||1.237||0.098|
|10||Stefan Bradl||LCR Honda||Honda||1:40.098||1.318||0.081|
|12||Karel Abraham||Cardion AB||Ducati||1:40.579||1.799||0.292|
|13||Randy de Puniet||Power Electronics Aspar||Aprilia ART||1:40.601||1.821||0.022|
|14||Aleix Espargaro||Power Electronics Aspar||Aprilia ART||1:41.645||2.865||1.044|
|15||Danilo Petrucci||IODA Racing||IODA Aprilia||1:41.926||3.146||0.281|
|16||Franco Battaini||Ducati Test Team||Ducati||1:42.057||3.277||0.131|
|17||Colin Edwards||NGM Mobile Forward||Suter BMW||1:42.073||3.293||0.016|
|18||Mattia Pasini||Speed Master||Aprilia ART||1:42.184||3.404||0.111|
|19||Michele Pirro||San Carlo Gresini||FTR Honda||1:42.212||3.432||0.028|
|20||James Ellison||PBM UK||Aprilia ART||1:42.437||3.657||0.225|
|21||Ivan Silva||Avintia Racing||FTR Kawasaki||1:42.446||3.666||0.009|
|22||Yonny Hernandez||Avintia Racing||FTR Kawasaki||1:42.906||4.126||0.460|
Ducati Corse Testing at Jerez, Spain
HRC Testing at Jerez, Spain
Yamaha Racing Testing at Jerez, Spain
Source: MotoGP; Photos: Ducati & Yamaha