MotoGP Info 2012: Honda takes early control of Sepang Test

MotoGP Official Test at Sepang (2) Tues, 28 February 2012 Report Day 1

[The second Official MotoGP™ Test of 2012 commenced in Malaysia on Tuesday, with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa topping the timesheet at midday before stormy tropical weather conditions washed out much of the afternoon’s testing.

Leading the early pace in the opening half of day one was reigning World Champion Casey Stoner with a best lap of 2'01.761 set on a slippery track, three tenths of a second ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, before heavy rain at the mid way point washed out much of the afternoon’s testing. Stoner ended his day after just 16 laps, while team-mate Pedrosa ventured out after the weather cleared to continue working to find a better position on the RC213V. The Spaniard was happy to finish the day having found improvements that allow him to better handle the heavier 1000cc bike under braking.

[Yamaha Factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies completed the day third and fourth fastest, with Lorenzo testing a new engine though the slippery track in the morning and rain in the afternoon prohibited testing its full potential. The pair also tried modifications to the YZR-M1’s existing gearbox in search of more stability when shifting.

Alvaro Bautista was the highest satellite team rider with a best time of 2’02.959, placing him in fifth position. The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider focused on riding position and geometry as he continues to adapt his riding style to the 1000cc machines, claiming “I think I will have to sacrifice corner speed in order to get more traction exiting the corner.”

Returning from surgery just three weeks ago, Nicky Hayden closed out the day in 6th place with a time of 2’03.132. The Kentuckian said via a Twitter that although he is not yet 100% recovered, he feels much better than he expected. He also reported to motogp.com that his plans to work on improving traction were difficult to carry out thus far because of the challenging track conditions.

With water still on the track, Ducati team-mate Valentino Rossi was the first to return to the asphalt, donning wet tyres and continuing to work on GP12 electronic package, traction, and corner exit acceleration. His best lap from the morning of 2’03.245 placed the Italian eighth for the day.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso concluded the day in seventh and 11th positions, respectively, with the Italian rider suffering with a rear brake issue that slowed his progress adapting to the Yamaha. Héctor Barberá was ninth and spent the morning searching for more grip from his Pramac Racing Ducati and testing the new braking light that will be required to run under wet conditions this year.

Just behind Barberá was rookie Stefan Bradl on his LCR Honda who reported felling confident with his progress on the premier class bike as he continues to work on the Honda electronics.
Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) tested a new seat and a new chassis for the Suter-BMW, completing the day 12th ahead of Ducati test rider Franco Battaini and the Avinitia Racing riders Iván Silva and Yonny Hernández.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) entered the track in the morning but exited soon after, eventually withdrawing from the Test completely after the shoulder and back injuries he suffered in crash at Jerez last week proved too painful to allow the Czech rider to continue.