MotoGP: CRTs 14 MPH Slower Than Prototypes at Losail

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Free Practice 2 for the Qatar GP has just finished at the Losail International Circuit, and the speed gap between the prototypes and the CRTs is abundantly clear. One of the faster tracks on the MotoGP calendar, everyone in the paddock knew going into the Qatar GP that the power advantage held by the Ducati, Honda, & Yamaha prototypes would be apparent down Losail’s .664 mile front straightaway. But now after getting to see how the two bike classifications stack up on the same course and on the same day, the results from FP1 & FP2 show a 13.6 mph gap between the tops CRTs to the top prototype GP bikes.

Hitting 210.6 mph at the speed trap, Hector Barbera, MotoGP’s king of drafting, has so far been the outright fastest man at Losail on the straightaway. While conversely, Colin Edwards has been the fastest CRT rider, clocking 197 mph through the speed trap.

But the Texas Tornado’s top speed tells only part of the story. Riding on the NGM Forward’s Suter/BMW, Edwards and Randy de Puniet (who rides an Aprilia ART) have been making the CRT effort look at least respectable, though under-gunned at Losail.

A tough order, the first track of the season is perhaps one of the least favorable places to get a reading on the new CRT experiment, as it highlights the power deficit held by the modified production motors (thought to be in the 20-30hp range).

While Edwards is only down 6.8 mph from the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 of Ben Spies (the slowest GP prototype on Losail’s straightaway), the story is a much more different one for Danilo Petrucci of the Came IodaRacing Project team. Though also using an Aprilia RSV4 motor, Ioda is not using ARTs “prototype” chassis, and has instead built its own bike with a steel trellis frame. Trapping 181.6 mph on his Ioda Aprilia, Petrucci is almost 30 mph slower at Losail than Barbera’s top speed, and still has nearly a 22 mph gap to Ben Spies on the other end of the prototype bracket…and it is a bracket.

While Petrucci is a bit of an outlier in the recorded top speeds, it is clear at Losail that there will be definitely two classes racing from the same starting line on Sunday. Over a second slower in lap times to the nearest prototype (Alvaro Bautista), Colin Edwards again leads the CRTs on the FP2 lap time time sheet, but still remains 2.841 seconds behind the leading time of Casey Stoner.

To put that a different way, Edwards is holding almost the same gap to the front as Toni Elias did at Losail in 2011, with the rest of the CRT contingency falls in between that point and Petrucci’s 6.8 second gap to Stoner (the second slowest CRT rider, Ivan Silva, was only 4.8 seconds back from Stoner).

With the majority of the CRT bikes 4+ seconds off the pace, there does not seem to be an issue of lapped-riders brewing, though surely fans would like to see all 21 entries on Sunday’s race to have a theoretical shot at the top step. On the bright sider however, with the majority of the CRTs relatively close to each other with lap times, there should be some good racing at the back of the pack. It will be interesting to see which battles Dorna’s television feed chooses to highlight.

FP2 Results from the Qatar GP at Doha, Qatar:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Bike MPH Times
1 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 206.7 1’55.960
2 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 204.3 +0.214
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 206.4 +0.688
4 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 203.9 +0.711
5 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 210.6 +0.718
6 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 206.0 +0.737
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 209.3 +0.822
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 205.4 +0.854
9 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 206.5 +1.237
10 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 209.4 +1.314
11 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 207.5 +1.563
12 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 207.6 +1.708
13 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 197.0 +2.841
14 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 193.2 +2.985
15 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR-FTR 191.1 +3.738
16 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 195.0 +4.037
17 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 192.6 +4.271
18 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 195.4 +4.413
19 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 181.7 +4.444
20 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR-FTR 190.1 +4.827
21 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 188.3 +6.152

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