MotoGP: Test Results & Photos from Day 1 at Sepang II

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Returning to Malaysia for a second round of testing, MotoGP’s first day at Sepang was delayed by torrential rain. Coping with the water and intense humidity, MotoGP riders did get to spend some laps around the Southeast Asian circuit, with Casey Stoner once again dominating the time sheet. Apparently not getting the memo that fatherhood makes you slower on the race track, Stoner was the only rider to get into the 2’01 lap times, and did so seemingly at will during his 16 lap testing day. Second quickest was teammate Dani Pedrosa, who was a quarter second back, while Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was over half a second back from Stoner, and third quickest for the day. Noticeably quick was Alvaro Bautista, who continues his dark horse status, as the Spaniard was fifth quickest and even bested Nicky Hayden, who lead the Ducati contingency.

“It was really hard to leave Switzerland,” said new father Casey Stoner. “Ally woke up for a feed at the same time as I was leaving for the airport and I didn’t really want to leave. The first day of testing has gone well. We started off where we left last time, but the track conditions have been a little worse. We have some work to do. This morning we managed to compare a few things back to back. We’ve tried a new set of brake discs to try and reduce the brake fade that I’ve been having at the last test, so that’s been an improvement. We’re trying a few other things with set up to shorten the wheelbase and get a little more traction. We have a couple of things we can try to change the stiffness and also move the weight around a little bit to try and upset the chatter and reduce the frequency. This afternoon I have no doubt we would have gone a second or a second and a half faster, but the rain came out and the track didn’t dry up enough to warrant going out, so we’ll wait until tomorrow.”

For the Yamaha contingency, the factory Yamaha squad tested a number of different engine configurations, hoping to make a decision on which engine design to go with for the 2012 season. Other testing items included different settings to help a chattering problem, which seems to be affecting all the teams at Sepang this season. On the satellite Yamahas, Cal Crutchlow continued to improve on the 1,000cc Yamaha YZR-M1, while noticeably absent from the top of the time sheet was Andrea Dovizioso, who was over two seconds off Stoner’s pace, and eleventh fastest for the day.

“Everything was good this morning; we were just waiting for the weather to improve in the afternoon,” commented Factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies. “The Yamaha engineers delivered a lot for us to test again, it’s important we go the right way with the parts and not worry too much about what everyone else is doing. We have to focus on the task at hand which is what we’re doing and getting through all the updates methodically. We will keep working and hope for some good weather in the next two days.”

For Ducati Corse, the shaking down of the factory-spec Ducati Desmosedici GP12 continued, though little progress was made because of the weather. Still recovering from his shoulder injury, Nicky Hayden was able to lap Sepang, and confirm that his shoulder was healing nicely. Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi took advantage of the wet weather to try the newly revised GP12 in the wet conditions. Unable to get more progress because of a lack of tires, the team tomorrow hopes to make headway on a new software package that Ducati Corse has brought out to Sepang for testing.

“Paradoxically, we actually started too early this morning!” explained Valentino Rossi. “It would’ve been better to start at 11 like the others, because before that the asphalt was quite dirty, and by the time the conditions started to improve, the tyre already had about fifteen laps on it. We decided to save the second tyre for the afternoon, but it started raining after lunch. As a result, we didn’t get much done today. We didn’t even start working with the new software that we have available for this test. On the plus side, we were able to confirm that the feeling in the wet is still pretty good with the GP12. Weather permitting, and with a couple more tyres at our disposal, I think that tomorrow we’ll be able to work a little more comprehensively and understand things a bit more.”

Test Results from Day 1 at the Second Sepang Test in Malaysia:

Pos. Rider Team Time Diff. Diff. to Leader Laps
1 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team 2:01.761 16
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 2:02.005 +0.244 +0.244 36
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 2:02.436 +0.431 +0.675 22
4 Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 2:02.819 +0.383 +1.058 31
5 Alvaro Bautista San Carlo Honda Gresini 2:02.959 +0.140 +1.198 24
6 Nicky Hayden Ducati Team 2:03.132 +0.173 +1.371 55
7 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:03.213 +0.081 +1.452 27
8 Valentino Rossi Ducati Team 2:03.245 +0.032 +1.484 39
9 Hector Barbera Pramac Racing Team 2:03.612 +0.367 +1.851 24
10 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 2:03.820 +0.208 +2.059 31
11 Andrea Dovizioso Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:03.830 +0.010 +2.069 23
12 Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:05.510 +1.680 +3.749 25
13 Franco Battaini Cardion AB Motoracing 2:05.563 +0.053 +3.802 11
14 Ivan Silva Avintia Racing 2:08.109 +2.546 +6.348 32
15 Yonny Hernández Avintia Racing 2:08.767 +0.658 +7.006 16

Ducati Corse Testing at Sepang II – Day 1

Yamaha Racing Testing at Sepang II – Day 1

HRC Testing at Sepang II – Day 1

Source: MotoGP; Photos: Ducati, HRC, & Yamaha