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Stoner heads morning session of MotoGP™ test in Catalunya

Stoner heads morning session of MotoGP™ test in Catalunya

In the wake of an exciting weekend of racing at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya, the MotoGP™ class was back in action this morning as the first in-season test at the Catalunya circuit got underway.

It was Repsol Honda Team’s Stoner who led the opening session with a time of 1.42’458 ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa, who was just over two tenths behind. Yesterday’s podium finisher Andrea Dovizioso was a further tenth down in third.

After heavy downpours over night, the track proved too wet for the majority of teams early on, with only a few riders heading out for a sighting lap to test the conditions. One such rider was Ducati Team’s official test rider Franco Battaini, who was undertaking the initial shakedown of the Desmosedici. The Italian outfit will predominantly be testing a new swingarm and working on their set-up. Nicky Hayden finished the morning fifth fastest, while Valentino Rossi came in ninth.

The Repsol Honda Team started testing the new Bridgestone front tyre, as they seek to tune their bike’s settings for Silverstone, after which the new compound will be available as a full allocation. Signs were positive from the start as both their riders went quickest.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, who was one of the few riders out on track early on in the session, began a testing plan for Yamaha to establish whether their future developments should focus more on traction or an increase in power. Yesterdays’ race-winner was fourth fastest, while his teammate Ben Spies, who endured another difficult race, finished in sixth.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s aim for the day is to test a new-spec engine and its corresponding electronics. Their day got off to a bad start however, as Cal Crutchlow had a high-speed crash after just one lap. The British rider walked away gingerly, and appeared to have sustained no serious injury. He was however taken for medical checks, but was cleared to ride with some grazes and bruises. Andrea Dovizioso took over the reigns for most of the morning and posted the third fastest time of the morning.

San Carlo Honda Gresini´s Álvaro Bautista started working on new suspension settings, while his CTR-riding teammate Michele Pirro was continuing work on his FTR-Honda machine, predominantly on set-up. Bautista posted the seventh fastest time, with Pirro in 17th. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, eight in the session, had reserved the morning session for working on front end feel, while in the afternoon the team plans to work on improving traction coming out of corners, focussing on both the suspension and the electronics.

Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham, who’s team are keen to try some new set-up ideas, fell victim to the damp track early on as he crashed on his out-lap. Fortunately he was unhurt in the incident. The Czech rider was one of the first in his garage this morning rearing to go, and was one of the first out on the track. Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá has no new components to test, and, like Abraham, has his sole focus on set-up. He was tenth quickest before the break.

Paul Bird Motorsport were making use of their British Superbike rider Shane Byrne for the first part of the day, as they seek to improve the set-up of their ART machine. James Ellison will also be involved throughout the day. Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini and the Power Electronics Aspar pair of Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaró also had no new parts to test for their ART bikes, focussing solely on obtaining the best bike settings for the next round at Silverstone.

NGM Mobile Forward Racing continue their work on dialling in the electronics package, while Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva worked with both the FRT and part-carbon Inmotec chassis, in the hope that the team can start deciding which one to use in the future. This will however not be decided until at least after the mid-week test in Aragón. Yonny Hernandez continued his work on reducing chatter on the FTR chassis.

Check out motogp.com for the full timing sheets.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2012, GRAN PREMI APEROL DE CATALUNYA

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