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Heavy rain disrupts start of Jerez MotoGP™ test

Heavy rain disrupts start of Jerez MotoGP™ test

Intermittent heavy rain showers resulted in little track activity as the final Official MotoGP™ Pre-Season Test kicked off at Jerez on Saturday. Dani Pedrosa was fastest for Repsol Honda Team, but using Slick tyres was never an option.

The green light illuminated at ten o’clock, with one side of the circuit bathing in rays of sun while the other was already being covered by threatening dark clouds. Adding to the general frustration, overnight rain had left a wet track and the dissatisfying mixed conditions from which it is hard to extract any meaningful information.

No rider was pushing to the limit and for this reason the nine who did decide to complete laps saw the times dramatically spread out, with Pedrosa leading the way on 1:48.488 as almost 13 seconds covered the small field. Aiming to confirm what they found at the private test in Austin, the Honda duo only intend to depart the pit lane if they feel conditions are worthwhile. Marc Márquez, for instance, completed only four laps en route to sixth position as reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo circulated six times and was fifth on the timesheets for Yamaha Factory Racing.

At Ducati Team, test rider Michele Pirro was back in action to analyse new parts. Unlike most, the Italian outfit stated early on that it would run whether rain was falling or not; Pirro completed ten laps and Andrea Dovizioso 11. Racking up by far the most mileage was Hiroshi Aoyama on Avintia Blusens’ CRT machine, which the Japanese rider had been yet to ride in the wet; however, because of the ongoing snow disruption across the United Kingdom, new parts from FTR have not arrived at the circuit on time and are hoped to be at the venue tonight.

By the time the halfway point arrived at two o’clock, so did some of the heaviest rain of the day so far. This left the PBM bike of Yonny Hernández fourth quickest, with NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti - gaining a taste for chassis changes made by teammate Colin Edwards - and Bryan Staring’s GO&FUN Honda Gresini eighth and ninth. Fellow CRT runners Power Electronics Aspar may not be seen on-track at all today, as Aleix Espargaró and the team are keen to avoid any damage to a new engine. Should he leave the pits at any point, the class winner of 2012 will also be analysing the new chassis and swingarm he first sampled at Sepang.

The rain is a particularly vexing element for British rookies Michael Laverty and Bradley Smith. The respective PBM and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders are keen to gain as much experience as possible, although the mixed conditions have not been wet enough to risk destroying one of only four sets of Wet tyres available for the duration of the test. It is possible that they may venture out later in the afternoon, as the heavy rain at lunch time will result in a significantly wetter surface.

The session is set to remain active until 6pm local time (CET), although the poor weather looks likely to stay for the remainder of the day. Furthermore, forecasts continue to change which is making it difficult for teams to prepare running plans.

See full timesheets for the Jerez MotoGP™ test.

MotoGP, 2013

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