Loncin

2009 MotoGP Motegi Day 1 Round Up - Cold Conditions Make Setup Difficult

Practice at Motegi commenced earlier today for the MotoGP series, starting under cool and cloudy conditions. The combination of the cold temperatures and rain expected on Saturday and possible on Sunday meant that most of the teams sent their riders out on the hardest of the compounds that Bridgestone had brought to the track, as this is the tire which is thought will last race distance. The 45 minute session - the proposed return to one hour is yet to be agreed, with lap totals not settled yet  - was once again dominated by Casey Stoner from the start, but the Australian Ducati rider didn't have it all his own way.

Throughout the session, Valentino Rossi whittled away at Stoner's lead, taking over top spot after the flag had fallen. But Rossi's margin was only very small, just 0.056 seconds, though it remains to be seen just how sensitive a blow the loss of top spot is to the Australian.

Yamaha and Suzuki were clearly the bikes to have, with Jorge Lorenzo taking 3rd, while Suzuki men Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi took 4th and 6th respectively, sandwiching Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards between them. James Toseland recovered some of his form, ending the day in 10th spot, slowly getting his confidence back.

Marco Melandri was once again the surprise package, setting the 8th fastest time on the Hayate / Kawasaki. If the purpose of the Hayate's form is to impress upon the Kawasaki bosses the magnitude of their mistake in pulling out of MotoGP, then Melandri's performance so far has to be rated a success.

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2009 Qatar MotoGP Day 1 Round Up - Stoner Firmly In Charge

The waiting really is over for MotoGP fans, as the MotoGP bikes finally took to the track at Qatar to compete in earnest. First blood in the 2009 campaign went to Casey Stoner on the Marlboro (and at Qatar, it really is a Marlboro) Ducati, a fact that shocked absolutely nobody. As ever, Stoner was fast from the moment he rolled out onto the track, getting down into 1'57 territory within ten minutes, and slashing a further 0.8 seconds off his time with 12 minutes of the session left. 

For a long time, Stoner's advantage seemed insurmountable, but in his final run, Valentino Rossi closed the gap from a second to get to within 0.4 of a second, with the potential for more if he hadn't run into traffic on a very fast lap. Though four tenths is a sizable gap, Rossi will feel he is at least in touch with Stoner, and with two more sessions to go, and no qualifying tires to distort the grid, the reigning world champion will be confident of staying with Stoner away from the line.

Third fastest man in the opening session of 2009 was Colin Edwards, the only other rider capable of getting within a second of Stoner, and looking as strong here as he looked last year during practice. Rossi's Fiat Yamaha team mate Jorge Lorenzo makes it three Yamahas in the top four, Lorenzo 1.2 seconds behind but with more likely to come.

The session threw up plenty of surprises. Such as Alex de Angelis in 5th, for example, but de Angelis also showed his Mr Hyde by running wide into the gravel during the session, a harbinger of what is to come, perhaps. An even bigger suprise was Mika Kallio finishing 7th, after having been as high as 5th earlier in the session. Though we've only had one 45 minute session of practice to judge him by, Kallio's single fast lap at the IRTA test at Jerez could possible be the rule rather than the exception.

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Final Night Test For 250s And 125s - Smith And Bautista Fastest Over Two Days

Results for the final test of the year for 125 and 250 classes, before the MotoGP series kicks off in earnest at Qatar on Friday night.

Qatar night test 250 results, day 2, Tuesday

Pos. Rider Time
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA 2'00.496
2 Hiroshi AOYAMA 2'00.873
3 Hector BARBERA 2'00.922
4 Mike DI MEGLIO 2'00.946
5 Roberto LOCATELLI 2'01.061
6 Karel ABRAHAM 2'01.094
7 Raffaele DE ROSA 2'01.129
8 Thomas LUTHI 2'01.152
9 Mattia PASINI 2'01.170
10 Ratthapark WILAIROT 2'01.222
11 Alex DEBON 2'01.563
12 Jules CLUZEL 2'01.719
13 Gabor TALMACSI 2'01.772
14 Lukas PESEK 2'01.797
15 Alex BALDOLINI 2'02.249
16 Hector FAUBEL 2'02.293
17 Shoya TOMIZAWA 2'02.781
18 Imre TOTH 2'03.733
19 Axel PONS 2'05.293
20 Vladimir LEONOV 2'06.892
21 Aitor RODRIGUEZ 2'08.559
22 Bastien CHESAUX 2'10.020

Qatar night test 125 results, day 2, Tuesday

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2009 Jerez 125 Afternoon Session - Simon Unstoppable Again

In the 125cc class, the afternoon session of the final day at Jerez followed the same pattern of almost every other session here so far. Bancaja Aspar's Julian Simon dominated completely, leading the field by over 7/10ths of a second. Simon has opted to fit an older version of the forks to his Aprilia RSA, whilst others, such as Danny Webb, are using the 2009 version, which are causing problems for some riders. For now, Simon's decision has paid off very well indeed.

The race for second was a lot closer, KTM's Marc Marquez taking second spot by just two thousandths of a second from Sandro Cortese on the Ajo Aprilia, while Derbi's Pol Espargaro - riding hurt after a crash - took fourth just a few hundredths behind. Simon's team mate Sergio Gadea rounded out the top 5.

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2009 Jerez IRTA Test 250s and 125s Day 3 Update - Simoncelli And Iannone

The final day of testing for the junior classes at Jerez is well underway, and after a cloudy and chilly start, the sun is out and it's warming up nicely. Out on track, the riders are filling the air with the sweet smell of two stroke fumes, but the lap times set so far are still slower than the faster times of yesterday and Wednesday.

In the 250 class, it's Marco Simoncelli who's topping the timesheets as of midday ahead of Hector Barbera, who has just pushed Hiroshi Aoyama down into third. Alvaro Bautista is down in 11th, though the Spaniard has yet to run many laps.

For the 125 boys, Julian Simon just leapt to the top of the timesheets, deposing Andrea Iannone from the top spot he had held previously. Stefan Bradl is in third, a huge improvement after a few difficult days, and after crashing and bruising his hand yesterday. Britain's Bradley Smith is sixth fastest,  two places ahead of Scott Redding. American Cameron Beaubier is yet to take to the track.

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2009 IRTA Test 125 Class - Day 2 - Simon Continues Reign Of Terror

The sun is shining, temperatures are soaring, and you'll never guess who's the fastest of the 125 riders on the second day of the official IRTA test at Jerez. Coming as a complete shock to absolutely no one, Bancaja Aspar's Julian Simon continued to top the timesheets, leading from Red Bull KTM's Spanish flyweight Marc Marquez in the morning, and Ongetta Team's Andrea Iannone in the afternoon. The only bright spot on the horizon - apart that is from the hot Andalucian sun - is that Simon's margin over the competition has dropped, with Marquez getting to within a tenth of a second, while Iannone closed the gap to just 0.065 seconds. 

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2009 IRTA Test 125 Class - Day 1 - Simon Dominates Once Again

The first day of testing for the 125 class at Jerez saw Julian Simon continue his domination of preseason testing. The 125 class returnee - Simon raced in the 250 class with Repsol KTM last year - has topped almost every session of 125 testing he has participated in this winter, and he doesn't look like slowing down.

Only Andrea Iannone managed to better Simon this morning, but the Italian Aprilia rider had to cede over a second to the Spaniard in the afternoon. Simon's compatriot Marc Marquez was the other man to be near the top of the timesheets, finishing third fastest in the morning, and fourth fastest in the afternoon.

British rider Bradley Smith was the worst of the Bancaja Aspar riders, finishing in 11th and 7th spot behind his team mates Julian Simon and Sergio Gadea. Smith is one of the title favorites for 2009, but he has yet to make the kind of impression in testing that his team mate Simon has. Fellow Brits Scott Redding and Danny Webb were further down the order, Redding finishing 9th and 10th, while Webb only managed the 20th and 18th fastest times, despite having an Aprilia RSA at his disposal.

Haojue won the battle of the Chinese manufacturers in the morning, Michi Ranseder finishing ahead of Loncin rider Alex Masbou, but the roles were reversed in the afternoon, with Masbou taking the 24th time, just ahead of Ranseder.

Cameron Beaubier, the sole American in the 125 class, finished a respectable 14th in the afternoon, up five places from the morning. Beaubier, who came up from the Red Bull Rookies cup last year, is having a solid debut so far.

Testing continues tomorrow.

Session 2 times (afternoon session) 

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