After much debate about the amount and costs of testing for the MotoGP class, IRTA and the MSMA have agreed to loosen the reins a little for 2012. Preseason testing for the 2012 MotoGP testing will be increased by 1 day, from the 8 days the teams had in 2011 to 9 days next season. To help contain costs and make better use of the available time, the night tests at Qatar which preceded the season opener in previous years has been dropped in favor of the Jerez circuit in the south of Spain.
The two three-day tests at Sepang will stay on the schedule, with the MotoGP class heading to Malaysia for three days of testing from January 31st through February 2nd, then returning again a month later for another three days on February 28th and 29th and March the 1st. The reason for flying halfway round the world for testing is simple: In February, the Sepang circuit is almost guaranteed to have excellent weather, while all the northern hemisphere tracks are trapped in the throes of winter. The class then heads to Jerez for three more days of testing from March 23rd through March 25th, the climate in Andalucia offering a better chance of good weather as spring approaches.
The test at Jerez takes the place of the night test at Qatar, which had been a regular slot in previous years. But the riders did not like the night test, with conditions so early in the year often treacherous as the night progressed. Both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden expressed their dislike of the night test, pointing out that they never really got more than a couple of hours testing each day, as dew would start to appear at around 10pm, making the track very slippery and causing the riders to crash without any warning. The data was only ever usable for the Qatar race, and so a test at a track like Jerez during daylight hours will provide the teams with much more usuable feedback.
The nine days of testing in 2012 comes in addition to the two days of testing at Valencia after the final race of the year, and also in addition to the eight extra days of testing agreed by the factories ahead of the 2012 season.
Below is the testing schedule for the MotoGP classes, and the combined Moto2 and Moto3 testing schedule:
|Sepang I||Jan 31st , Feb 1st & 2nd|
|Sepang II||Feb 28th & 29th, March 1st|
|Jerez||March 23rd, 24th & 25th|
|Moto2 and Moto3 classes|
|Valencia||February 8th, 9th & 10th|
|Jerez||February 16th, 17th & 18th|
|Jerez||March 19th, 20th, 21st|