Casey Stoner leaves Sepang test on top
Defending MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner has finished the third and final day pre-season MotoGP testing heading time sheets at the Sepang International Circuit.
The Australian posted a 2:00.473 in the morning; an effort that registered the best time of the entire Test though was 0.8s off his best effort from the first pre-season Test at the same track last month.
Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa trailed by 0.175s as the Spanish rider focused his efforts on chassis modifications to improve stability under braking and reduce front end chatter. Andrea Dovizioso was three tenths from Stoner with a time of 2:00.802 on his Tech 3 machine as the Italian continues to make big strides on the Yamaha.
Although happy to top the time sheets, Stoner was frustrated with the inclement weather in Malaysia, which included the second day being totally washed out.
“We’ve been unable to profit from the full three days of the test here in Sepang,” said Stoner.
“The first day we only managed about 16 laps before the rain came and then yesterday we weren’t able to get out at all. So today it’s been good to have some nice weather, get out on track and find some different solutions on the bike.
“We’ve been trying a few different things with electronics to have the engine character the same way we like it. We’ve also tried shortening the wheelbase to reduce chatter and we’ve been successful in decreasing it slightly, but at the moment we’re unable to eliminate it completely, so we still have quite a lot of work to do.
“The chassis balance feels good as does the traction on the bike, it’s turning well but we really need to get rid of the chatter. Overall we are happy with the bike”.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo was fourth quickest and ended his day with a race simulation that revealed the more powerful 1000cc bikes will require careful tyre management. The 2010 World Champion reported that the new soft Bridgestones lost their grip early in the simulation making braking more difficult due to sliding. The Spaniard also reported that the electronics improvements made during this test made corner entry easier and smoothed out the YZR-M1 overall.
Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies ended his day early, completing 28 laps with a best time of 2:01.432 set before a crash in the morning. The American walked away from the fall unhurt though did not re-enter the track in the afternoon and his time from the morning placed him eighth in the line-up.
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) climbed to fifth position by the end of the day with a best lap 2:00.986, half a second off the leading time of Stoner and 0.245s ahead of the quickest Ducati in the field, the Pramac Racing GP12 of Héctor Barberá.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini) recovered from a crash in the morning to post a time of 2:01.275, over a second quicker than his time set on Tuesday, placing him seventh .
Newcomer Stefan Bradl finished the day in ninth and 1.019 of the top time set by Stoner, with Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden following in 10th and 11th respectively. The Ducati Team pair have work to do, with Rossi reporting that the outstanding issues are corner entry and riding position and that the riding position geometry was better at the first Sepang Test. Progress made with the traction control, however, has reportedly been good.
Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing ) wrapped up the second Test in 13th position with a best time of 2:03.681, three seconds ahead of Avintia Racings’s Yonny Hernandez and Ivan Silva.
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