Casey Stoner Leads MotoGP Testing at Sepang

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Casey Stoner set the pace today at MotoGP’s second off-season test at Sepang. The Australian, and the rest of the four factory Honda riders, proved to be very impressive on the Malaysian track, as the 2011 Honda RC212V seems to be hitting its stride just before the season opener in Qatar in a few weeks.

The Honda riders don’t have things all sewn up though, as the Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo was looking very fast, as were Americans Ben Spies and Colin Edwards. Earlier in the day, nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi even cracked into the Top 5 on the standings, and despite finishing the day just over a second behind Stoner, the Italian was upbeat about the team’s progress and his physical condition.

Pos. No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 27 Casey Stoner Honda 2:00.987
2 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 2:01.360 0.373 0.373
3 1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2:01.468 0.481 0.108
4 5 Colin Edwards Yamaha 2:01.654 0.667 0.186
5 4 Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2:01.747 0.760 0.093
6 11 Ben Spies Yamaha 2:01.808 0.821 0.061
7 7 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 2:01.939 0.952 0.131
8 58 Marco Simoncelli Honda 2:01.996 1.009 0.057
9 46 Valentino Rossi Ducati 2:01.999 1.012 0.003
10 19 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 2:02.224 1.237 0.225
11 40 Hector Barbera Ducati 2:02.645 1.658 0.421
12 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati 2:02.680 1.693 0.035
13 24 Toni Elias Honda 2:02.779 1.792 0.099
14 14 Randy de Puniet Ducati 2:02.920 1.933 0.141
15 35 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 2:02.936 1.949 0.016
16 65 Loris Capirossi Ducati 2:03.082 2.095 0.146
17 17 Karel Abraham Ducati 2:03.167 2.180 0.085
18 100 T1 Yamaha 2:03.676 2.689 0.509
19 300 Nobuatsu Aoki Suzuki 2:04.639 3.652 0.963
20 200 T2 Yamaha 2:04.958 3.971 0.319

Casey Stoner – Repsol Honda RC212V – 1st
“We had a really good day today. From the beginning I felt more comfortable with the bike again, like I understood the bike a little better. We managed to work on set-up, but we are still doing a chassis comparison, finding strong points and weak points on both. It’s difficult to choose one or the other. Whatever set-up we throw at them we seem to be able to run pretty similar lap times. We’re very happy with the progress we made today and everything and everybody seems to be working well.”

Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda RC212V – 2nd
“We made the most of the test today, which is a good job, because it looks like tomorrow we will get some rain. In the morning, we focused on some different electronic mappings to improve the entering and exit of the corners and in the afternoon we did some set-up modifications on the chassis to improve the stability on braking. The track temperature was high at the middle of the day and the track was quite slippery, but we did a good test and tomorrow we will work on smaller details. Also, physically my shoulder felt better on the bike than in the first test. I had two more weeks and I’ve become stronger from training, so my condition is getting better.”

Andrea Dovizioso – Repsol Honda RC212V – 5th
“I’m really happy about how we have started this second test. Honda engineers have made a very good job on the engine brake with the electronic system to improve the feeling on the rear and these are really good because, I have to say, that it was our main problem last year and we couldn’t make such a big step forward as we did today. We have decreased the chattering compared to the first test and the stability on the rear, so I’m very satisfied. We were able to be fast from the beginning and, even though we were not looking for a lap time today, we tried three different tyre compounds and we had a good pace with all of them.”

Jorge Lorenzo – Yamaha Factory Racing – 3rd
“Today was a good day for me, we worked on the traction to improve it from the previous test which helped us a lot in the set up, I’m now very satisfied with it. We have our chassis for 2011 now and we are working on it as well as our engine spec. With the improvements we’ve made we can now brake a little later and enter the corners a little more quickly as well so I was able to do some good fast consistent lap times this afternoon when it was still very hot on the track.”

Ben Spies – Yamaha Factory Racing – 6th
“Today we came to this test with the engine configurations we’re going to race with so both bikes have that. We just warmed up in the morning and spent the afternoon on one set of tyres. We set our fastest lap of the day when it was very hot and mid race distance on a hard tyre. We’re saving some tyres for the end of the test when the track’s good. We worked on some race set up an d I also worked on some different riding styles. We’ll start again tomorrow with plenty more to do. We tried a couple of shocks and found a few tenths and were still consistently fast on used tyres which was promising. It’s definitely a good day and I’m happy with it.”

Valentino Rossi – Ducati Marlboro Team – 9th
“We can be satisfied with today as a first day, because we’re a second from the top, like we were at the end of the first test but without trying a late ‘time attack’ with the soft tyre like the others did. For the most part today, I was between fifth and sixth place, which is the goal we had set. I’m still losing about three tenths due to the shoulder, because I’m still stronger in the left turns, whereas I’m normally the opposite; the rest we’ll have to find by working on the bike. I’m also happy because we spent all our time on the hard tyres, which we struggled with before today. In the end, we chose one of the two setups that we had settled upon at the last test, and that will now be our base to work from, and the one on which we’ll concentrate our efforts in the next couple of days.”

Nicky Hayden – Ducati Marlboro Team – 12th
“It’s good to be back at Sepang, working on and developing the GP11. We spent the morning checking a few things and confirming what we had learned the last time we were here. Everything pretty much went according to schedule, except I had a little crash in Turn 1 toward the end of the morning session. It was really hot, and I lost the front and tipped over, but I was going slow and didn’t do any damage to myself or the bike. Today we experienced less chatter than we had last time, so that’s quite good. We need to keep reducing that over the next two days and also find some more traction, so we’ve got plenty to keep us busy.”

Álvaro Bautista – Rizla Suzuki – 10th
“Well, I feel much better today than the last time I did some laps here – then it wasn’t so nice with the sickness! Today I wanted to ride in a calm way and concentrate on the details that we had to work on. Also, last time here in Sepang we really struggled to use the hard rear tyre, so we did many laps on it today and made some progress. Then finally we put in some softer tyres – the same as I used in the race last year – and the feeling was really smooth and very easy to make a low 2.02. We didn’t make an exciting lap-time today but we improved the bike, especially on corner exit where it now feels much smoother. I’m looking forward to pushing a bit harder tomorrow.”

Marco Simoncelli – San Carlo Gresini Honda – 8th
“We have resumed from the last test of twenty days ago always here at Sepang. Today the track conditions were not optimal and, in any case, I have not tried for a lap time, but we have engaged in many trials. We tested different set-ups and electronics and will continue to do so tomorrow. I’m pretty happy because the tyres had twenty laps and could make for interesting times of around 2 ’02. Honestly, we’re a little far from first because we have a gap of a second, but I am confident because I have not used the very soft rubber. I repeat, as a first step we are not far from the best and so I’m happy.”

Hiroshi Aoyama – San Carlo Gresini Honda – 7th
“I did a lot of laps and a lot of work. I have done several comparative tests and found a different feeling, but in the end I was feeling much better with the technical parts that I already knew. Tomorrow I will continue to do the work, but it certainly is not easy to find a good condition with new solutions and, anyway, we will see. In any case, it was an interesting day to understand which direction to take to continue to work successfully for the season that is approaching.”

Source: MotoMatters, HRC, Yamaha Racing, Ducati Corse, & Rizla Suzuki