Here at MotoMatters.com, we have never been keen on posting press releases without any commentary to explain the background to them. But the circumstances of the first MotoGP test of the 2011 season at Valencia are so extraordinary - Valentino Rossi's long-awaited Ducati debut, for example, as well as the first outing for Casey Stoner on the Honda - that we are prepared to make an exception. Here are all today's press releases, featuring expertly massaged opinions and heavily doctored ride quotes:
LORENZO AND SPIES FIRST AND THIRD AT VALENCIA TEST
Yamaha Factory Racing Team riders Jorge Lorenzo and new team-mate Ben Spies completed a successful first day of the official MotoGP test at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia today, topping the timesheets as only two of five riders to dip below the 1.33 minute mark . Rain in the morning saw the day's session delayed until the track had dried with all riders waiting until the afternoon before venturing out onto the circuit.
Reigning 2010 World Champion Lorenzo continued to show the form that delivered the world title this year, taking just five warm up laps to go straight to the top of the timesheets where he remained unbeaten for the entire session. The Mallorcan split his riding time between the 2011 prototype YZR-M1 and an updated version of his 2010 machine.
Taking his first outing as a Yamaha Factory rider, the 2010 ‘Rookie of the Year' Spies spent the majority of the afternoon riding the 2011 prototype YZR-M1. The American rider and his crew used their inaugural session to focus on the chassis settings of the new bike, moving quickly up the timesheets, delivering consistent fast laps to end as the third fastest rider of the day.
No.1 Jorge Lorenzo, 1st (1'32.012, 48laps)
"Today we tried the new chassis on the 2011 M1 which felt good, although it is still to early to say too much about it. We also tried the new Ohlins suspension which felt better to me on the track. The new engine seems to have less wheelie but we will see more tomorrow in the next session."
No.11 Ben Spies, 3rd (1'32.878, 42laps)
"For the first day of testing I'm super happy with the team, a lot of things are new including obviously riding the prototype bike. There are a lot of subtle changes from last year so I spent some time getting used to it along with working with a new Japanese engineer who is very, very good. I had a couple of new mechanics who were learning the ropes as well so it was a lot of learning today. I'm really happy, I can feel the potential of the bike and I think there's quite a bit more to come."
Wilco Zeelenberg, Team Manager - Jorge Lorenzo
"2011 has started I would say! We finished the session on top so I think everything went quite well. Our lap times were good and we improved on our qualification time from Sunday's race. We managed to test everything we wanted to today so tomorrow we will continue with more and see how far Jorge can go."
Massimo Meregalli Team Manager - Ben Spies
"As a first day, I think Ben's crew worked really well. He was very satisfied with the new 2011 prototype YZR-M1 bike which is a good sign. We didn't make many changes to the setup in the session so it's clear that we have a good base to work with. Tomorrow we will start to test the 2011 tyres as today Ben used the same ones as he ran for Sunday's race."
VALENTINO ROSSI MAKES DUCATI DEBUT AT VALENCIA AS HAYDEN COMPARES NEW ENGINES
The first day of the long awaited post-season MotoGP test at Valencia started with grey skies and light drizzle this morning, which left the track unsuitable for the opening hour of the session between 9 and 10 when, luckily, the sun emerged to gradually dry the track surface.
At 10:55am Valentino Rossi arrived in the garage where Filippo Preziosi, Jeremy Burgess and his crew as well as engineers and technicians from Ducati's Reparto Corse were waiting for him. At precisely 11:46am the official Ducati test rider Franco Battaini took to the track for a first shakedown on the black 'carbon' coloured GP11 and finally, at 12:23, the nine-time World Champion rode the Ducati Desmosedici for the first time.
Rossi started out on a Desmosedici GP11 fitted with a 'big bang' version of the engine, which he used for virtually the entire day as he worked on geometry and other settings. As the day drew to a close he made one final run on the 'screamer' version.
Nicky Hayden made several outings on both versions, also starting on the 2011 'big bang' before switching to the 'screamer'. The American completed 54 laps with a best time of 1'33.882.
NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th - 1'33.882
"The 2011 season is already on us and we have some big decisions to make. We had a lot of things to try today, especially in terms of the engine. The rain didn't help anybody because we lost some time this morning with the rain and when we were eventually able to get out on the track the conditions weren't ideal. Anyway, we were able to get some laps in and I can say that the 2011 version of the big bang engine is definitely an improvement. We switched to the screamer at about three o'clock and in some areas it's also really strong, I like it. Before making a choice to move forward with we need to test some more, get all the data together and make a calm, considered decision."
FILIPPO PREZIOSI, General Director Ducati Corse
"It has been an exciting day for sure. The main thing that hit me today was Vale's positive feedback and his capacity for analysis. Today he tested the GP11 with the 'big bang' engine on a standard setting, which he modified step by step to adapt it to his riding style. His first comment when he lifted his visor up was a positive one about the power delivery and then he gave some impressive technical details. We certainly have a lot to do to adapt the bike to his riding style but it is really nice and very interesting to work in this way. We worked on the geometry and setting today to see how the bike responded and to get a bit of experience working with both Vale and Jeremy (Burgess). At the end of the session he went out on the screamer version but we will make more of an analysis between the two engines tomorrow because they deliver the power in very different ways - the big bang has a more regular power curve whereas the screamer is more aggressive but also more powerful. Nicky tried both versions today and this evening we will have a look at all the data."
Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati - 2008), 1'32.582 – 155.732 Km/h
Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha - 2006), 1'31.002 – 158.436 Km/h
REPSOL HONDA'S 2011 PREPARATIONS BEGIN AT VALENCIA
The Repsol Honda Team was back in action at Valencia today as preparations for the 2011 season began with the first of two days of MotoGP testing. Early morning rain ruled out any action when the track opened at 10am, but sunshine at lunchtime dried the surface and at 12.30 the garage shutters began to open and the new-look MotoGP field, which features several riders who have switched teams, took to the circuit.
Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner began a busy schedule of testing aimed at honing the development direction of the 2011 RC212V in preparation for the first tests of 2011 at Sepang, which take place at the beginning of February. The 2011 machine will be an evolution of the RC212V that won four races, secured 16 podium finishes and became one of the strongest packages on the grid in the second half of the season. Pedrosa rode both the latest evolution chassis and his 2010 race bike, reporting that at this early stage he felt an improvement in stability.
Dovizioso also rode with different chassis and swing-arm options in order to gather further information for Honda's development engineers to use over the winter break and testing ban period, which comes into force after this test and lasts until the end of January. Dovizioso spent valuable time honing engine electronics settings to improve the stability under braking and, although the increasing wind at the Valencia circuit limited the opportunity for laps at maximum pace towards the end of the afternoon, the Italian was satisfied with today's test.
Stoner, Repsol Honda's new rider for 2011, got his first taste of the 800cc Honda RC212V that he will campaign next year as part of the three-rider factory Honda squad. The Australian, who was kindly granted permission to test here by Ducati, spent the day getting comfortable with the 2010 RC212V, adjusting riding position, controls and working up to speed. Stoner was satisfied with his first day on the Honda and will join the other riders at Valencia again tomorrow for the final day of MotoGP action of 2010.
"Today I rode the 2010 bike we used in Sunday's race and also next year's evolution machine. The chassis is slightly different and I have to do more laps tomorrow to understand it further - but my first thought is that it is a bit stiffer with the target of getting more stability, more grip and better braking. Today we used only one tyre and didn't make many changes to the bike to keep things simple. Unfortunately we had a problem with the electronics on the first lap and this meant we lost some time in the pits, but anyway it was good not to do so many laps today because of my physical condition. I thought that having Monday off I would feel better but I'm still tired from yesterday and feeling some effects from the injury. The feeling is quite similar from both machines , although I didn't get stuck into any real comparisons, so we will come back tomorrow and continue with our testing schedule."
"We tried a new chassis and new swing-arm in 2011 configuration and we could feel small differences - although there was a lot of wind compared to race day which made for tricky conditions. The new chassis gave a little bit more stability at the rear and the new swing-arm gives less pumping, but there was a little less grip also, so we aim to find a compromise. The lap time came quite easily today without pushing too much or being at the limit, which is positive. I didn't fit a soft tyre and go out to set one fast lap because we wanted to focus on our programme. So I'm very confident that we can improve a lot. Apart from Lorenzo who was so fast, we were all very close. At first we spent quite a long time finding the right setup for a new engine braking configuration, and we wanted t o fix this before going on to analyse any new items. For tomorrow the plan is to test another chassis and several electronics settings, and we will also test the 2011 forks which are modified compared to the ones we tested in Brno in August. Tomorrow the weather forecast is good so I'm really looking forward to continuing this test."
Positive start to the test for new-look Rizla Suzuki squad
Publish Date: Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Rizla Suzuki began its preparations for 2011 at Valencia in Spain with a constructive first day at the post-season test which saw Álvaro Bautista post the eighth fastest time.
Bautista (1'33.558, 44 laps) set about his testing duties with the same professional and thorough manner he has shown throughout his rookie season. He tested many new and re-designed parts for the Suzuki GSV-R and - although a big part of the day was lost to rain – he managed to improve on his times continually despite conditions being considerably worse than the race weekend due to strong winds blowing across the circuit.
Bautista was able to compare a range of two specifications of Öhlins front forks, new rear swing arm, different settings and various other items in the time that was available. The whole team finished the day in a very positive frame of mind and all eager to continue with the test tomorrow.
The blustery weather that blew across the 4,005m Valencian track made things difficult for all riders and was even responsible for one being blown off line and into the gravel! The fastest time of the day was set by World Champion and last weekend's race winner Jorge Lorenzo.
Rizla Suzuki has one more day at Valencia tomorrow to continue with the evaluation of the Suzuki GSV-R in readiness for next season, before the winter testing ban comes in to force at the end of this month.
"Today we have had a good test even though we lost some time due to the rain. We started with the base setting from the race so we could get the feeling of the track, it was a bit different out there because there was less grip and it was very windy, this made it more difficult to ride than during the weekend. We tested two different front forks and one felt the same as the ones I'd used in the race, but the other one was much better overall. It helped me in the mid-corner braking, because it gave me more confidence to release the brake than it had done before and this gave me more speed so I could exit better. I also tested a new swinging arm, it was not a big difference but it also helped a little. I am very happy with the first day because I've done close to my best time and the conditions were much worse than in qualifying. I'm looking forward to tomorrow because we have more things to test."
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
"Álvaro and the team have completed a very solid first day's work and given that the conditions were worse than race day, we can be pleased with the relative performance as well. We've struggled to generate grip and feedback in colder conditions and the track temperature was right down today, so this is also a step in the right direction. We've got roughly the same volume of work to get through tomorrow, so fingers crossed that the weather will remain good enough to get things done properly and we can take some more steps forward, before Alvaro and the team get a little down-time at the end of a long season."
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
Edwards and Crutchlow kick off 2011 winter testing schedule
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team was back in action at the Valencia circuit in Spain today with Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow commencing their 2011 MotoGP World Championship preparations.
With excitement and anticipation reaching fever pitch ahead of the first day of the winter testing schedule, proceedings were delayed when rain started to fall an hour before the circuit was due to open for action at 10am.
Cold temperatures meant the track was slow to dry but once clear blue skies emerged in the early afternoon, Edwards and Crutchlow were able to begin lapping the Ricardo Tormo Circuit. A gusting wind though that worsened as the ses sion wore on made for unpredictable conditions.
It was still a productive afternoon for experienced Texan Edwards as he began preparations for his ninth season in the MotoGP World Championship. The 36-year-old needed a few laps to adjust his riding style back to the YZR-M1 MotoGP machine after he completed over 50 laps yesterday evaluating the Tech 3 Racing Team's 2011 Moto2 machine.
Edwards had a busy schedule to work through with his crew as he evaluated an updated YZR-M1 engine and revised chassis. He also tested different spec Bridgestone rear tyres with positive results.
Crutchlow was unleashed on the MotoGP field for the first time today after a successful campaign in the World Superbike Championship with Yamaha's factory squad. The talented British rider tested a YZR-M1 machine at Yamaha's Fukuroi test track in Japan last month. But today gave him the opportu nity to line up against the star-studded MotoGP line-up for the first time and he acquitted himself superbly. The former World Supersport immediately formed a good understanding with experienced crew chief Daniele Romagnoli and was able to reel off several laps in the 1.34 bracket.
Crutchlow had a small crash at the fifth corner but returned to the track later in the day and impressively built up his confidence again to post a best time of 1.34.314 in his 59-lap stint. It was a hugely encouraging display from Crutchlow and he was able to lap faster than Loris Capirossi and new Moto2 world champion Toni Elias, as well as fellow rookie Karel Abraham.
Colin Edwards 7th 1.33.513 – 49 laps
"It was a really good day and we got through a lot of work, despite losing quite a bit of track time this morning. It took me a while just to tune my brain b ack into MotoGP mode after the Moto2 test but once I'd done that, it was a positive afternoon. It is only half-a-day on track but already I can tell Yamaha has done a really good job with the bike. The engine feels smoother than last season's and I really like the new chassis. All year I've been struggling with turning performance but with this new chassis we have improved a lot in that area and I can get into the corner easier and with a lot more confidence. I also did a fair amount of work for Bridgestone and they've been working hard too. I tried a couple of things that are really interesting for next year, so it was a productive start to 2011."
Cal Crutchlow 14th 1.34.314 – 59 laps
"It was good to be finally part of MotoGP and to get in some dry track time on the bike because the rain hampered my first ride in Japan. It wasn't the easiest day I'll have because there is just so much to learn about riding a MotoGP bike fast, but my pace was good and I'm happy with my times. I'm happy with my performance and so are the team and it was good to start working with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. I'm losing most of my time in just three points of the track but that is just down to experience. I had a small crash at the left-hander before the back straight. I think it must have been the wind because I had a slower corner speed and less brake pressure than before. But these things will happen when I'm on such a big learning curve. Lap times and position are not bothering at my moment. I just need to be getting laps in on the bike to build up my experience and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
DE PUNIET AND CAPIROSSI FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THE PRAMAC DUCATI BIKE
First day of practice for new Pramac Racing riders, Randy De Puniet and Loris Capirossi. Both riders have ridden for a lot of laps despite a slight morning rain has soaked the track in the early hours of the day. The Italian rider was the first rider on track, inaugurating the 2011 season. Tomorrow there will be a new day of testing at the Valencia circuit before the winter break.
Fabiano Sterlacchini - Technical Director
"Loris today began to know his new Ducati and it was a good first impression. The lap times are not so important now, first of all we must make sure that Loris can have total confidence in what the bike can give to him. The wind has created some complications too and right now he didn't want to force too much. Hopefully tomorrow the weather conditions will improve."
Randy De Puniet - Pramac Racing Rider - 11th best lap time in 1'33.914
"Today I found my self at ease on my Ducati. I really like for the delivery of engine power and the way to control it. The thing that surprised me most is the ease of entry into the curve. I can always break at the last moment and keep the brakes in the first part of the turn. When I release the brake the bike runs with incredible speed. I'm really happy with the work done today and I hope that tomorrow, weather permitting, we will work hard to further improve my feeling with the bike."
MotoGP post season test session, Valencia. Day one of two day test November 9, 2010.
Honda 2011 MotoGP rider line up test new race equipment at Valencia
The MotoGP teams and riders began 2011 pre-season testing at Ricardo Tormo Circuit at Valencia today just two days after the 2010 season finale was held at the same circuit.
Honda racing Corporation (HRC) has brought a host of RC212V chassis and engine parts to Valencia for the six riders to evaluate. Repsol Honda works riders Andrea Dovizioso, Dani Pedrosa and, new to the team, Casey Stoner were joined by Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli on the fourth factory spec RC212V plus satellite team riders Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Toni Elias (LCR Honda) on base line RC212V's.
"We will test with many new parts," said HRC Vice Preident Shuhei Nakamoto. "We are still developing now and we have many parts here including chassis, swing-arms, engines etc. We have many testing items here. We have four factory supported riders next year. We have a plan one rider tests this another other parts. Including chassis, we have frame body, we are still developing and we have two different types of chassis here. We will ask one for Dani, one for Casey, one for Andrea, one for Marco."
The teams and riders were greeted by a rain soaked track when they arrived to begin work on a busy testing schedule which makes the already tight schedule even tighter. The track surface had dried sufficiently at lunch time to allow the riders dry testing time. In these days of limited MotoGP testing every hour permitted is vital to engineering progress.
Casey Stoner made his return to Honda machinery after a four year absence, his last season for Honda was in 2006 when he raced a 990cc RC211V for LCR Honda. With the blessing of Ducati The Australian rode the factory Repsol Honda RC212V 800cc machine for the first time, clocking an astonishing second fastest time of the day at 1m 32.775s was just 0.763s down on pole sitter Lorenzo's time. He was just a tenth of a second outside his own FP3 time from the grand prix.
Stoner ran with the 2010 version of the RCV chassis, using one of Pedrosa's 2010 race machines. He concentrated his efforts on finding the best possible riding position to suit his style and when reasonably comfortable on the RCV moved on to setting up the RCV for serious lap times. As in all forms of automoto racing the electronics play a huge part in machine set up and the RC212V debutant devoted considerable attention to that aspect of machine performance.
Pedrosa, the most experience of the RC212V riders, ended the day with fourth fastest time at 1m 32.912s just outside his fastest GP lap at 1m 32.914s on Sunday. The Spaniard is still suffering the after effects of a lingering collarbone break and ran for just 55 laps while evaluating improvements to his 2010 chassis and testing the first version of the proposed 2011 chassis chasing improved stability.
Andrea Dovizioso spent his day testing new chassis and swinging arm combinations before moving on to trying various electronic settings which, together with chassis modifications he hopes to improve stability under braking. The Italian expressed great satisfaction with the progress made on day one of the two day test.
Marco Simoncelli spent his first day as a full factory supported rider testing a new chassis that gave him improved traction and new front fork options. The young Italian was in superb form during the final races of the championship and today's result of fifth place augers well for the future.
Casey Stoner is not the sole returnee to Honda MotoGP equipment. Spaniard Toni Elias, fresh from winning the inaugural Moto2 World Championship, took the LCR Honda RC212V to the track for the first time today. Elias raced the Gresini Honda RC212V to seventh place in the 2009 MotoGP series and is confident he can equal or better that performance in 2011.
Elias returning to power and delivery characteristics of the four-cylinder Honda engine after a year racing a Ducati put in 60 laps of the 4.005km circuit concentrating his time on electronics and tyre testing. Track conditions were not ideal and the Moto2 Champion decided upon a step by step approach to testing with his new team recording 16th fastest time of the day.
Hiro Aoyama has moved to the San Carlo Honda Gresini squad for his second tilt at MotoGP honours. Aoyama finished the 2010 season down in 15th place in the final points standings mainly due to the serious back injury sustained at the British GP in June that sidelined him for six races. Aoyama has experience of the RC212V but will need time to the new way of working at Team Gresini. The Japanese rider ended the day in buoyant mood.
Honda rider lap times and quotes.
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th - 1m 32.912s.
"Today I rode the 2010 bike we used in Sunday's race and also next year's evolution machine. The chassis is slightly different and I have to do more laps tomorrow to understand it further - but my first thought is that it is a bit stiffer with the target of getting more stability, more grip and better braking. Today we used only one tyre and didn't make many changes to the bike to keep things simple. Unfortunately we had a problem with the electronics on the first lap and this meant we lost some time in the pits, but anyway it was good not to do so many laps today because of my physical condition. I thought that having Monday off I would feel better but I'm still tired from yesterday and feeling some effects from the injury. The feeling is quite similar from both machines, although I didn't get stuck into any real comparisons, so we will come back tomorrow and continue with our testing schedule."
Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 5th – 1m 32.919s.
"The conditions today certainly weren't easy with track temperatures down to just 20°C and strong winds but I am satisfied. I was pleased with the updates brought to us by Honda and everything worked very well. The new chassis gives us better traction compared to what we have been using this season, which made life difficult for us in a lot of places, and I could feel a good improvement. The new forks also worked better and my feeling was immediately as good if not better than the ones we've been using so overall it is good for the future and we can continue improving. Looking ahead to 2011 we have been working to a new strategy brought in by Honda, who have provided us with another telemetry engineer so that Elvio Deganello can concentrate more on the set-up of the electronics. I am really happy with this and I appreciate the support of Honda, which gives me even more motivation for next year."
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 6th - 1m 33.190s
"We tried a new chassis and new swing-arm in 2011 configuration and we could feel small differences - although there was a lot of wind compared to race day which made for tricky conditions. The new chassis gave a little bit more stability at the rear and the new swing-arm gives less pumping, but there was a little less grip also, so we aim to find a compromise. The lap time came quite easily today without pushing too much or being at the limit, which is positive. I didn't fit a soft tyre and go out to set one fast lap because we wanted to focus on our programme. So I'm very confident that we can improve a lot. Apart from Lorenzo who was so fast, we were all very close. At first we spent quite a long time finding the right setup for a new engine braking configuration, and we wanted to fix this before going on to analyse any new items. For tomorrow the plan is to test another chassis and several electronics settings, and we will also test the 2011 forks which are modified compared to the ones we tested in Brno in August. Tomorrow the weather forecast is good so I'm really looking forward to continuing this test."
Hiro Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 12th – 1m 33.953s.
"I am really happy with this first day of testing with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini. I quickly established a good feeling with the team and I like the way they work. We still have a lot of things to get used to but we already have a good understanding. Obviously I know the bike because I have been on it all year but I have to get used to a different way of working compared to the team I was with last year. I am happy though and tomorrow we will work hard again and try to improve on our performance today."
Toni Elias, LCR Honda: 16th – 1m 35.058s.
Elias: "Well...This morning I was very excited to be back on a MotoGP machine. I missed the power and the sound of this bike but I have decided to take my time to adapt to the new machine and the new Team. This RCV is different and I need more track time to find the right feeling. Surface conditions were not fabulous today because of the rain and the dust taken by the strong wind so I took my first laps using the brain. The first impression about the squad is very positive: they are very organized and very friendly. There is still a lot of work to do together but I am confident we can find the right direction".