MotoGP: Testing Concludes at Estoril with Simoncelli Fastest

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Testing concluded today in Estoril, with MotoGP teams getting another day to sort out their 2011 race motorcycles on the Portuguese track. The day was perhaps most anxiously awaited by the Ducati Corse squad, who brought out new chassis parts to address the issues with the Ducati Desmosedici GP11. Feedback from both Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi was positive about the changes, and the Ducati Corse team seems to be heading down the right course of softening up the GP11.

“It was a positive test because the new updates were immediately better. The bike was more sensitive to changes made to the front, which makes it easier to work on a setup that works better for me,” said an upbeat Valentino Rossi. “I realized that as soon as I got on the bike and then, over the course of the following hours, we constantly progressed. We also had an engine with a slightly smoother power delivery that I liked a lot.”

“We’ll start using it when the rotation plan allows it. I liked the tyres that Bridgestone had us try, they seemed very good. Of course the other riders also made great progress, and the less positive about today is the gap to the front on my best lap. Anyway, everything that the Ducati technicians brought worked, and that means that we’re on the right path. We have to continue working, but today’s test gives us confidence.”

Nicky Hayden said similar praises about the revised chassis, but also noted that the rest of the field seemingly made improvements to their pace as well. Perhaps exemplifying this the most was Marco Simoncelli, with the Italian completing the day as the fastest man at Estoril.

Other notable improvements included MotoGP rookie Cal Crutchlow, who finished the test an impressive fourth fastest. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team adjusted the Brit’s handlebars and wheelbase to provide better feedback to the satellite YZR-M1. American Colin Edwards also had a productive test, lapping most of the day as third fastest, and finishing in the Top 6 on the time sheets. Edwards tackled suspension settings for the Yamaha, and also provided feedback to Bridgestone on their 2012 tires that will be used with the 1,000cc format.

Both Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo were on-form from their race day results, while race winner Dani Pedrosa languished a bit, finishing the day only 10th fastest. Randy de Puniet and Hector Barbera did not ride during the test day, while Álvaro Bautista only turned 17 laps, then had Nobuatso Aoki filling-in on the Rizla Suzuki.

Times from the 2011 MotoGP Estoril Test:

Pos. Rider Team Fastest lap Prev. Gap Lead. Gap Laps
1 Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:36.211 70
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 1:36.316 +0.105 +0.105 91
3 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team 1:36.602 +0.286 +0.391 49
4 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:36.850 +0.248 +0.639 71
5 Valentino Rossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1:37.382 +0.532 +1.171 82
6 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:37.410 +0.028 +1.199 51
7 Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 1:37.421 +0.011 +1.210 69
8 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 1:37.460 +0.039 +1.249 63
9 Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 1:37.463 +0.003 +1.252 89
10 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1:37.679 +0.216 +1.468 17
11 Hiroshi Aoyama San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:38.032 +0.353 +1.821 73
12 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 1:38.087 +0.055 +1.876 85
13 Toni Elias LCR Honda MotoGP 1:38.412 +0.325 +2.201 108
14 Loris Capirossi Pramac Racing Team 1:38.633 +0.221 +2.422 97
15 Nobuatsu Aoki Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1:38.850 +0.217 +2.639 68

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Bridgestone