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MotoGP™ test in Mugello ends with Lorenzo quickest

MotoGP™ test in Mugello ends with Lorenzo quickest

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo continued his good run of form at the Italian circuit as he topped the day’s combined timesheets at the third official in-season MotoGP™ at Mugello today ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner.

Lorenzo was one of the first riders out on track in the morning session as he tested new engine parts and a new software package for his Yamaha M1, as well as new suspension. His time of 1:47’435 was just marginally below the time he set in Saturday’s qualifying at the track, and the Spaniard said that there was not an awful lot of difference from the current machine. Having put in 40 laps before the mid-day break, Lorenzo cut his day short, and did not participate in the afternoon run-out. Teammate Ben Spies, who has suffered from a stomach virus since yesterday, did not take part in the day’s proceedings.

The Repsol Honda Team had taken the big step to bring its 2013 prototype racer to the test, one for each rider, in order to solve the chattering issues both Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa have been having so far this season. They were also evaluating an updated engine with a new specification. Pedrosa, despite suffering a crash in the afternoon session, set a time only fractionally slower than Lorenzo in second, while Stoner was only a hair’s breadth away in third. Both riders felt the engine was an improvement, yet the chassis was not met with joint optimism. Whilst Pedrosa felt the new chassis had some more positives, despite not eliminating chatter, Stoner felt it was not a step forward. The Australian commented he would like the current chassis fitted with the new engine for Laguna Seca.

For the Ducati Team today was day one of a four-day test schedule at the track, during which it will be evaluating numerous different parts and settings to take its bike a step closer to competing with the factory Yamahas and Hondas. Test rider Franco Battaini spent spending the day working alongside official riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, both only present for today, to help evaluate the much anticipated upgrades the team had announced for the Laguna Seca round in just under two weeks. One item that was tested today was a new ECU for the Desmosedici engine, which Rossi claimed was not a big step forward, yet should bring improvements. He only managed a run in the morning however, as he crashed after one lap in the afternoon, and was unable to continue due to a problem with the ECU. Hayden and Battaini did however continue lapping, and Hayden set the fourth quickest time of the day. Rossi’s morning time left him in tenth.

Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow focussed their efforts on race set-up, in particular on improving corner speed. Both looked on the pace throughout the day as the Brit finished in fifth place, with his teammate narrowly behind in sixth. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl was evaluating new brake pads and a new master cylinder for enhanced braking performance, as well as testing new Öhlins front forks and rear suspension. In addition, the team tried out new geometry settings on the bike. Like Rossi and Pedrosa, the German rookie also suffered a crash in the afternoon. He did not break the 1.48 barrier, yet finished the day a credible seventh. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who had a disappointing race weekend at the Tuscan track, was working on the front suspension of his bike throughout the day, and ultimately came in ninth. Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, who did well to qualify on the front row for the Italian race, was working on new electronics and set-up with his team. He ended the day in 11th.

Amongst the CRT field, the most notable test was that of NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, who in the morning turned seven laps on San Carlo Honda Gresini’s FTR-Honda, and six laps on the Avintia Blusens BQR-FTR machine of Yonny Hernandez in the afternoon. He also tested upgrades on his Suter-BMW machine, which he will be racing in Laguna Seca whilst continuing to try and improve it. San Carlo’s Michele Pirro was also out on track with FTR-Honda, trying to resolve the mechanical issues that have plagued him in the last two races. The Power Electronics Aspar team had tasked Aleix Espargaró to test a new frame, whilst Randy de Puniet was evaluating a new fairing. Avintia’s Iván Silva was undertaking tests on the part-carbon Inmotec chassis to aid with its development, although the team has stated it will continue with the FTR chassis this season. Silva also went out on his teammate’s machine to evaluate its Öhlins suspension. It was however Espargaró who lapped the quickest of the CRT bunch, having set the 12th fastest time of the day.

Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini, Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, as well as Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham were absent from the test.

MotoGP, 2012

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