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Simoncelli on top as Estoril Test concludes

Simoncelli on top as Estoril Test concludes

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) finished top of the timesheet at the official MotoGP test in Portugal on Monday. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) had been quickest in the morning session and the Italian took control in the afternoon. Lorenzo was second fastest, ahead of Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) third.

The test session was run in warm conditions, giving some riders a much needed run out and a chance to collect valuable data. It was also a chance for the riders to test the new Bridgestone tyre compounds (one front and two rear). Simoncelli’s best lap of 1’36.211 was just over a tenth quicker than the current championship leader and he had spent the day working on new clutch settings, completing 70 laps.

“I'm obviously satisfied after this test but also angry because we showed one time more that yesterday we could have ridden with the first group,” said the Italian. “We tried something new that could definitely help us in the future and the new Bridgestone tyre for 2012, and I'm quite happy with that too.”

Jerez race winner Lorenzo concentrated on new electronic components and worked on suspension as well. The Mallorcan ran 91 laps, the third highest tally of the day. Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) worked on his race settings and completed 49 laps which was a lot less than many of his championship rivals.

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was fourth fastest, two places ahead of his team mate Colin Edwards. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 pair worked on the race setting from Sunday. The British rider, who made his first appearance at the Portuguese circuit for the race weekend, worked with his crew to find a set-up which would suit and improve his riding style. Edwards and his team were trying to find more traction from modifications on the chassis.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) was fifth, with his team mate Nicky Hayden ninth. Both the Ducati riders were testing two types of chassis and doing comparative runs, one bike with the chassis from yesterday’s race and one bike with the modified chassis (for each rider). They also worked on new electronic components. The nine time World Champion completed 82 laps, showing positive signs than his shoulder is causing him less issues than at the start of the campaign.

“We finally chose the new chassis and now we have a clear direction to follow,” said Rossi. “We also made some changes to the engine and now I'm more confident with the bike. Unfortunately the rivals also made great improvements and our gap is still too big to the front. The shoulder is good now, but of course after the first 50 laps I was a bit tired and I had no chance to try the new Bridgestone tyres in a good shape. Anyway the feeling with that is great”

The second Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, was eighth fastest and continued work on his race setting. San Carlo Honda Gresini Team rider Hiroshi Aoyama also spent time improving the race setting and changes to the electronics, with the target of not completing too many laps to save the engine. The Japanese rider completed 73 laps and was 11th.

Estoril race winner, Dani Pedrosa called an early halt to his test session after completing 17 laps. The Spaniard tried a new clutch and worked on the race setting, but was in too much pain to continue and will now rest in the lead up to the next MotoGP race in Le Mans. Pedrosa finished tenth, just under one and half seconds off Simoncelli’s time.

Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing was seventh and tested a new swingarm and new suspension components. Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing) was another rider working on improvements to the race settings and ended the day in 14th after testing for 97 laps. Toni Elías (LCR Honda) took the opportunity to work on many elements of the bike, including chassis geometry, suspension, braking stability and increasing heat into the tyres. The reigning Moto2 champion ran more laps than any other rider today, 108 in total and finished 13th.

Rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) was 12th, suffering from pain in his elbow following his first lap incident in the race yesterday. The Czech rider was also being hindered by his injured fingers and worked on trying to find more grip in the rear tyre and improve the general race setting.

Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) finished the test early. After his successful return to the bike at the weekend, just six weeks after breaking his femur, the Spaniard worked on improving the feeling with the bike and the suspension. Nobuatsu Aoki took over for the afternoon session to work on the electronic settings and completed 68 laps.

The two absentees from the test in Estoril were Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar Team) who sustained a damaged vertebrae from an awkward crash from yesterday’s race and Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing). The Frenchman had already left Portugal to return to Nice, to have medical tomorrow regarding the situation with his leg.


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