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Top speed proving less of an advantage in Spain

Top speed proving less of an advantage in Spain

Much has been made of the differences in power between the various new 800cc MotoGP prototypes and their larger 990cc predecessors in terms of top speeds and lap times – and which teams have the current upper hand.

Much has been made of the differences in power between the various new 800cc MotoGP prototypes and their larger 990cc predecessors in terms of top speeds and lap times – and which teams have the current upper hand.

The first race of the season in Qatar provided the first chance to look out how the new bikes are likely to perform this season and the main observations followed the patterns noticed in winter testing. The 800 bikes are not quite as quick as the 990s on the straights but they can produce quicker lap times at certain tracks due to faster corner speeds and that Ducati have produced a monster of a machine in the Desmosedici GP07.

Thus far in Jerez the Ducatis have continued to demonstrate their acceleration and top speed capacities, but with a far different layout for the Gran Premio bwin.com de España than in Qatar the Desmosedici GP07 is not dominating the track to quite the same effect.

All four Ducati riders were way out ahead of the top speed chart in Qatar, with Alex Barros recording a blistering 316.3 kmph at one stage, more than 6kmph quicker than the fastest non-Ducati.

Although the Brazilian has been recording the fastest top speeds again in Jerez, at around the 280 kmph mark, Dani Pedrosa and Toni Elias on Honda machinery and John Hopkins on his Suzuki GSV-R800 have not been too far off that pace.

The Yamaha YZR-M1 of Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards continues to struggle to stay on the pace of the Ducatis, as Casey Stoner so wonderfully demonstrated in Qatar. However with Stoner the fastest Ducati rider taking only fifth place on the grid for Sunday's race, while Pedrosa secured pole and Rossi apparently overcame some early difficulties with tyre grip to finish second in qualifying, the Australian will need to show utilize every ounce of his undoubted racing skill to get the maximum from his powerful Italian machinery.

The overall top speeds so far at Jerez are around 6 to 7 kmph less than in 2006, a result of the track's technically demanding layout - with the main straight being just 600 metres long, 400 metres less than the main straight at Losail.

Stoner and his Ducati colleagues therefore have less room to make use of their power advantage and the respective top speeds of the various MotoGP bikes should not be such a determining factor as they appeared to be in Qatar.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GRAN PREMIO bwin.com DE ESPAÑA

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