MotoGP: Testing at Jerez Provides Few Surprises

03/27/2012 @ 1:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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:

Pos. Rider Team Bike Time Diff. Leader
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
11 Hector Barbera Pramac Ducati 1:40.287 1.507 0.189
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

  • Halfie 30

    Ummm… Nicky and Vale are not down as much as they were last year. I’m pretty sure Vale is sandbagging too. Tore season tests are hardly a benchmark for how the season will go other than the fact that Casey is obviously the guy to beat. Being a second or so off pace from Casy’s Honda is not a bad gap considering how down the GP11 was last year. The GP12’s development will only excelerate as the season progresses. Counting any of the factory riders out of regular podium finishes is just silly.

  • Dr. Gellar

    Saying that Valentino Rossi is sandbagging is just silly. He and the Ducati package may be slowly improving, but no way is he sandbagging.

  • Halfie 30

    Like he wasn’t sandbagging in ’04 during pre season tests…? LoL. What mean is he can get more .10’s out of the bike. These times won’t be the same come race qualifying. Expect the factory riders to up the ante. Including Casey.

  • Westward

    Well, I am hoping Rossi and Spies surprises us all, and makes this season more than a three man series. last year, Simoncelli was the biggest X-factor that threatened the front runners….

    Also looking forward to De Puniet maybe turning some heads with his ART.

    Maybe it’s just me, but, Kalex seems to make anyone look better than they were before…

  • Pooch

    haha…that’s funny. Vale needs a crapload more than a few .10’s to be competitive. He’ll be fortunate to finish better than 5th/6th this season. Again.

  • Halfie 30

    @pooch Really? Less than a second down on an under developed bike and
    Vale needs more? I’m not even a fan and I know not to count Rossi out this season… LoL

  • Pete

    Oh man… Halfie, you’re hilarious. Thanks for the laughs. Vale sandbagging! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read on a motorcycle forum in a long time. I don’t need to put LOL cause I am actually really having a good old chuckle.

    Again – cheers for the laughs. Made my day :-D

  • Westward

    If Rossi could get with 6 tenths of the leaders, he could podium or even win via racecraft alone…