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Rossi leads on penultimate day of testing

Rossi leads on penultimate day of testing

Valentino Rossi moved ahead on yet another rain-affected day at Jerez, topping the Sunday testing timesheets from Yamaha Factory Racing teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow joined his fellow Yamaha riders in the top three.

The first half of the day featured little track activity. Although there was no driving rain at that point, the track surface was greasy and semi-dry, meaning neither Slick nor Wet tyres would be completely suitable. After three and a half hours, now with a dryer surface, more runners elected to peel out of the pit lane.

Rossi was just 15 thousands of a second quicker than Lorenzo, leading the way on his lap of 1’39.525. Less than half a tenth separated the top three riders and the final position marked the first time Rossi had topped any MotoGP™ session since first practice for last year’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Tomorrow, he and Lorenzo intend to run new chassis. Dani Pedrosa was today’s leading Repsol Honda Team bike in fourth, ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso who ran several new small parts, as the second Repsol bike of Marc Márquez finished seventh.

Sixth was GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who missed over an hour of running following a crash towards the end of the afternoon. While testing different suspension to that of yesterday, the Spaniard lost control at Sito Pons corner and picked up small fractures in the fourth and fifth fingers of his left hand; now resting, he will be back in action on Monday morning.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team’s Andrea Iannone and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden rounded out the top ten, but both the German and Italian endured crashes during the day. All riders had hoped for either fully wet or fully dry conditions in order to conduct proper comparisons for setup changes, although the former was preferable. That was certainly the case for rookies Bradley Smith and Bryan Staring, plus Danilo Petrucci who was running a new chassis for Came IodaRacing Project.

Leading CRT was Héctor Barberá in 11th position, ahead of Tech 3’s Smith, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró and Ioda’s Petrucci. Incidentally, Espargaró sampled a single wet lap in the closing stages but elected to return straight to the pits, whereas teammate Randy de Puniet – who ended the day in 16th place, behind Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro – was caught out and crashed.

Rounding out the top 20 were NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti, Ignite Pramac Racing Team’s Ben Spies, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and PBM’s Yonny Hernández. The Colombian’s teammate, Michael Laverty, was all set to continue testing the team’s own-built chassis – on which much ECU work was carried out yesterday – but was also delayed by the rain en route to 24th slot.

The aforementioned Staring, Forward’s Colin Edwards and Avintia Blusens’s Hiroshi Aoyama occupied positions 21 to 23; the latter may have destroyed a set of Wet tyres while running on a drying track, but was able to extract direct comparisons in similar conditions to those he finished in yesterday. The second Ioda bike of Lukáš Pešek, the Czech newcomer in the CRT ranks, backed up the 25-bike field.

Monday brings the last day of pre-season testing before the 2013 MotoGP™ campaign commences in Qatar on 7th April. Sunshine and blue skies are wished for in the paddock, but weather reports are warning of more rain.

See full timesheets for the Jerez MotoGP™ test.

MotoGP, 2013

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