The weather at Jerez turned miserable on the final day of the Moto2 test there, bringing the action to a premature end at the Andalucian circuit. Only the few riders brave enough to venture out early managed a few dry laps, the rain arriving shortly after noon.
The shortness of available track time did not hamper reigning 125cc World Champion Marc Marquez. The young Spaniard managed just six laps before the rain came on Friday, but he still managed to improve his time, getting down to 1'45.2, just half a second off the official lap record set by Toni Elias back in May, in much more favorable conditions. Both Julian Simon and Xavi Fores also got a quick run out, Simon managing a 1'44.8 in just 10 laps, while former Spanish CEV Moto2 rider Fores set a 1'45.9.
In the MotoGP class, Karel Abraham made use of the wet conditions to get familiar with the bike in the rain, putting in an impressive 38 laps on board the Ducati Desmosedici GP11. With MotoGP testing so limited, Abraham simply had to make the best of the extra testing days he is allowed as a MotoGP rookie for the 2011 season, and riding in the rain was a better option than not riding at all for the Cardion AB rider.
Abraham was of course not the only Ducati rider at the track. Ducati's test team was also present, but team boss Vito Guareschi called off the test once the rain set in, and the team packed up and headed back to Bologna. Before leaving, Guareschi spoke to Italian site GPOne.com about the work they had done there. Guareschi explained that they had been testing various setup options, and had succeeded in making the bike a little easier to ride. The results, though, would have to await the final judgment of "the boss", as Guareschi styled Valentino Rossi.
The hirsute team manager also revealed that Ducati hoped to return to testing in January, prior to the official MotoGP tests at Sepang. Guareschi told GPOne.com that Ducati's engineering guru Filippo Preziosi was working on new parts for the Desmosedici, including narrower front forks and more flexible triple clamps, all aimed at improving the feedback from the Ducati's front end, which was the area which Rossi had complained most about at the Valencia tests. This has long been the weakness of the Desmosedici, the front tire needing to be pushed very hard before it is up to temperature and providing the necessary grip and feedback, and it looks like being the area which Preziosi and his engineering department are focusing on most of all.
The Suter MotoGP bike, the machine being prepared for the 2012 season, when non-prototype engines will be allowed into MotoGP as long as they are housed in prototype chassis, also got a run out over the past three days, but the rain - and his crash on Thursday - ended any chance Scott Redding had of riding the machine at Jerez. The Suter MotoGP bike saw no action on Friday, the Marc VDS team being forced to pack up and head for home. Redding will now have to wait until February for another chance to ride the MotoGP machine.
The Marc VDS press release on their MotoGP machine, containing one or two interesting details, is shown below:
SUCCESSFUL SHAKEDOWN FOR SUTER MARC VDS MOTOGP MACHINE
The Suter Marc VDS MotoGP machine completed a successful first shakedown test at the Jerez circuit in Andalucía, Spain this week. The bike completed more than 100 laps, in both wet and dry conditions, with positive results.
Rain on the first day of testing meant that the bike made its track debut on Michelin wet tyres, with Marc VDS test rider Damian Cudlin at the controls. Despite the difficult conditions the Australian took the opportunity to complete 30 laps, getting a feel for the bike and for the Jerez circuit, which he was riding for the first time.
Dry conditions on the second day saw Cudlin joined by Suter Racing test rider, Carmelo Morales, with the Australian completing more than 70 laps in the morning, before handing over testing duties to his Spanish colleague in the afternoon.
Testing was curtailed on the third and final day, as rain returned to the Jerez circuit.
Powered by a BMW engine, the Suter Marc VDS MotoGP machine has been designed to take advantage of rule changes for 2012 that will allow teams to contest the MotoGP class with machines based around a 1000cc engine housed in a prototype chassis.
Damian Cudlin: Marc VDS Test Rider
"Not many people get to ride a MotoGP bike, especially a prototype bike for 2012 like this one; it's pretty cool and it's been heaps of fun! We've learnt a whole lot about the bike and, while there's still a lot more to learn, the potential is definitely there. The weight, or lack of it, is impressive and the handling has been pretty much spot on from the start of the test; it feels a bit like a more powerful Moto2 machine in a lot of ways. This week we've taken the first small steps on what will be a fairly long journey, I'm excited to be a part of it and I'm looking forward to seeing how the bike turns out at the end of the journey. I've got the easy job really, riding the bike, it's all the clever people around me who will be taking on responsibility for development, but they've certainly done an impressive job so far."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Manager
"For a first rollout of the new bike the test has been very successful. The weather has been a problem, restricting us to just one day of dry testing, but we still managed to complete over 100 laps on the bike with no issues at all. The bike definitely has potential; we've seen that here in Jerez this week. Now we need to sit down with Eskil Suter and his technical team to agree a development plan that will unlock this potential, starting at the next test in January. This is an exciting project and we are a part of it only because of the support of our President, Marc van der Straten, to whom I'd like to say a big thank you on behalf of the team."