2009 Valencia Post-Race Test Total Times - Stoner, Lorenzo And Pedrosa All Close

Testing has finally concluded for the MotoGP class for this year - or rather, almost, as Alvaro Bautista will be testing in Estoril next week, while Hiroshi Aoyama will have a test in Sepang a few days before Christmas, the two rookies being allowed extra tests to acclimatize to the MotoGP bikes.

But the regulars go home with plenty to think about. Fastest of the three-day test was the man who had dominated practice, Casey Stoner topping the timesheets on the new iteration of Ducati's GP10. The bike features a radically revised firing order, changed to achieve two goals: to smooth power delivery and make the bike easier to ride, and to require less traction control, which in turn will use less fuel, leaving more fuel for the latter stages of the race. Both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden declared themselves pleased with the new engine, Stoner describing it as giving him "more feeling in the wrist."

The smoother power delivery also helps with pumping on exit and makes the bike easier to ride. That is going to be a benefit to everyone on a Ducati, as the satellite teams will be receiving the new engine specification from the Sepang tests onwards. No longer will taming the Ducati Desmosedici be such an intensely physical experience, leaving the riders with more energy towards the end of the race.

While Stoner was fastest, the gap between him, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa was minimal. The Yamaha riders all packed up on Tuesday, but both Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi ran through tests on a new chassis, as well as electronics and suspension changes, which improved the throttle response. Honda has a completely new chassis, which Andrea Dovizioso said that he liked, as it improved stability under braking. Dani Pedrosa spent his time still getting used to the Ohlins suspension, which he said felt completely different to the Showa units he had used previously. This test has encouraged Honda to elect to switch to Ohlins for the start of the 2010 season. Pedrosa also said that the engine response was still very aggressive, but that this was a problem they would not be working on until they have the suspension and chassis sorted out.

Hector Barbera was the fastest of the true rookies, the Spaniard getting up to speed very quickly with the Aspar Ducati. He finished ahead of Marco Simoncelli, who has been riding the factory spec test bikes in the Gresini garage, while Marco Melandri rode the customer-spec Gresini Honda that Alex de Angelis had previously used. Alvaro Bautista made several big improvements on the Suzuki, but that still left him as 16th fastest of the test. Last of the rookies, though, was Hiroshi Aoyama. The Japanese rider has been using the bike bequeathed by the Scot team, as the contract which his new Interwetten team has with Honda does not start until January 1st. Aoyama had started the test with no traction control at all, and has been gradually adding small amounts in one or two corners. It remains a remarkable sound to here, a MotoGP bike with a clean, crisp exhaust note, and none of the spitting and crackling as sparks are dropped to cut power. Power has not been Aoyama's problem, though, as the Japanese rider has had more problems getting used to the carbon brakes than anything. Having spent 10 seasons using the steel brakes on a 250, he has to turn the habits he learned around 180 degrees to get the most out of them.

The riders now all head off home, with the "overseas" riders looking especially pleased to be gone. Ben Spies had spent 8 days back in the US since coming over to Europe at the start of the season, and was looking forward to spending some time with his dog. Nicky Hayden was also looking forward to going back to the US, but said he had plenty of things to be working on, to try and close the 1 second gap which he has to the Fantastic Four.

Casey Stoner said he was looking forward to getting back to training, and going into the off-season without needing surgery. He is now "70% sure" that the mystery illness that has plagued him this season is down to lactose intolerance, as he accidentally ate something which had lactose in, and suffered a minor return of symptoms over the weekend. Part of Stoner's winter will involve more tests, to try and nail down the problem for certain.

Total times from all three days: 

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Day
1 27 Casey Stoner Ducati 1'31.899 0.000 Day 3
2 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1'31.939 0.040 Day 2
3 3 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'31.944 0.045 Day 3
4 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'32.528 0.629 Day 2
5 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati 1'32.804 0.905 Day 3
6 4 Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1'32.825 0.926 Day 3
7 33 Marco Melandri Honda 1'32.935 1.036 Day 3
8 11 Ben Spies Yamaha 1'32.942 1.043 Day 2
9 36 Mika Kallio Ducati 1'32.988 1.089 Day 3
10 14 Randy de Puniet Honda 1'33.111 1.212 Day 2
11 65 Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1'33.211 1.312 Day 2
12 41 Aleix Espargaro Ducati 1'33.275 1.376 Day 3
13 40 Hector Barbera Ducati 1'33.786 1.887 Day 3
14 58 Marco Simoncelli Honda 1'33.857 1.958 Day 3
15 5 Colin Edwards Yamaha 1'33.929 2.030 Day 1
16 19 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1'34.163 2.264 Day 3
17 400 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 1'34.821 2.922 Day 3
18 0 Toni Elias Gresini Moto2 1'37.279 5.380 Day 2
19 9 Kenny Noyes Promoracing Moto2 1'37.881 5.982 Day 2
20 5 Joan Olive Promoracing Moto2 1'39.227 7.328 Day 3
21 14 Ratthapark Wilairot Stop & Go Moto2 1'41.989 10.090 Day 1

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- that Simoncelli is on the "factory" bike, but Melandri is not (but Melandri is faster).  Just in terms of physique, that seems backwards.

- that Stoner is not speaking of problems with his wrist.  Did anyone ask him about that?  Wasn't there more work to do?

- that so many teams went away after Day 2.  It would seem to me they would want to rack up as many miles as possible to get ready for the 2010 engine rules; run them till they break.

- that Pedrosa and Rossi are that fast just working on new equipment and "not pursuing fast laps".

You're right. Rossi said that it would be premium to get as much out of the test as possible because of the engine rule and because of the limited tests.
Yamaha seems to be very sure of themselves.

David, you said that listening to the new Ducati GP10 in corners there is only little TC stutter to hear.

What about the race weekend in Valencia: Can you describe the difference in terms of TC stutter sound between Nicky and Casey as well as between the GP9 and the GP10?

Casey is rumored to use very little TC (and I recall reading no launch control), and if Ducati now reduces TC even further, that would mean that TC is rather useless. Or at least not too important. A few years back general wisdom said without TC you're nowhere, so that development is surprising.

I'll be typing up some debriefs we (the press) did with Stoner and Hayden about the new bike. I didn't get a chance to get out at trackside during the race weekend itself (something I have to work on next year), so I couldn't comment too much on Stoner vs Hayden. But Stoner said he hoped the new motor would allow him to go back to the old TC package, which had very little interference at all. But Stoner is also a master at holding the throttle right on the threshold of where the TC kicks in, just surfing ahead of it, using as little as possible.

The reason for avoiding TC is that it wastes fuel. The less TC you use, the more fuel you have, the faster you are at the end of the race.

Comparing Kallio with Stoner during the tests was very revealing, Kallio's bike sounded awful, spitting and banging, while Stoner's (and Hayden's) bike sounded a lot better, with the bike barely skipping at all.

I thought the "big bang" was invented to make inline engine that has firing order like that of V-engine (CMIIW) so, what is the point of big-banging the already-Vee Desmosedici's engine?

... engine feedback (harmonics).

Granted, that's an over simplified explanation to the hundredth power. And yeah, technically that was three words.

No, the "big bang" motors actually came about when everyone was running V4 (or, more correctly, 'square 4') 500cc two strokes, back in the nineties. "Big bang" doesn't refer specifically to engine layout, but to crank journal timing, and by extension, the timing (not order) of firing of each cylinder. In a "big bang", the cranks big end journals (the ones the pistons hang off) are not symmetrically laid out, instead they have varying distances, measured in degrees because the crank rotates, between them.

In a 'normal' (or screamer) 4 cyl engine (whether I4 or V4), you might have cylinders firing at 90 degrees, 180 degrees, 270 degrees and 360/0 degrees.

On a "big bang" engine, the firing might be at 120 degrees, then 180 degrees, then again at 300 degrees and 360/0 degrees. Between the first and second 'powerpulses' (60 degrees apart) the engine will rotate 120 degrees before firing again so it goes "BANG - 60 degrees - "BANG" - 120 degrees - "BANG" - 60 degrees - "BANG" - 120 degrees - "BANG" - 60 degrees - "BANG" - 120 degrees etc.

Look at an analog clockface - you can fire your cylinders at 3, 6, 9 & 12 - or you can fire them at 2, 4, 8 & 10.

It's this gap that makes it a "big bang". The theory is that the engine spits out some power, then pauses (ever so momentarily) before again firing the piston back down the bore, and it's this 'pause' that is supposed to allow the tyre to regain traction. Considering that this 'pause' occurs thousands of time a second, we're really splitting hairs with this - but it seems to work.

The I4s that mimic V4s are technically "crossplane crank" motors, which means that if you look at the crank from one from the end, the four journals will be at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock (assuming for this example that it is not a big bang layout). A 'normal' I4 crank will have the journals at 6 and 12 o'clock.

Having "this pause" as you wrote was the explanation for some time as "why big bangs work". It was thought that the tire gets time to regain grip in this pause.

Yamaha technical guru Furusawa explained it in another way in late 2007:


If I understand it correctly then a screamer firing order produces torque spikes while the big bang one doesn't.

ok, so, why not just change the V angle then?
screamer 90-deg V4 --> 3,6,9,12
screamer 60-deg V4 --> 2,4,8,10

no need to big bang?

That's what Honda has done with the new VFR1200F, 72 degree V4. The difference in exhaust note (from media test footage) is immediately obvious.

However it's an expensive way to do it, only applicable with a cleansheet design which also requires a massive redesign of the bike... and of course you need to take the balance into account (left out of my comment, but of major importance in the design of the engine).

I also said that the 'big bang' pause came around thousands of times per second; which should have said "per minute".

a v-twin- that's why.

the 2 cylinders on the same side don't fire together (traditionally) on a V-4.

OH dear we best back to square 1. A V twin has perfect secondary balance ie 1 piston is at max deceleration and one is at max acceleration, the net result nil secondary forces.

90-degree V-twin, to be precise. What I understand is, 90-deg twin has secondary balance but no primary balance, while 180-deg twin (boxer) is the opposite (primary balance but no secondary), correct?