2012 Valencia CRT Test Day 2 Times: De Puniet, Espargaro And Pasini Improve, Despite The Cold

The second day of testing at Valencia for the Aspar and Speed Master teams saw all three Aprilia-mounted riders improve their times significantly, despite conditions being much worse. Temperatures dropped significantly from yesterday, and a cold wind picked up making the track too cold to ride during the morning, the riders only taking to the track at noon. Randy de Puniet was fastest once again, ahead of his Aspar teammate Aleix Espargaro and Speed Master's Mattia Pasini, but both newcomers closed the gap significantly to the French MotoGP veteran, Espargaro getting to within seven tenths of De Puniet, Pasini wthin a second and a half.

De Puniet dived under the 1'35 barrier, posting a time of 1'34.9 and closing in on the time he set on the Ducati GP11 at the Valencia race event last November. Espargaro came close to matching De Puniet's time from yesterday, while Pasini matched the Spaniard's time from Monday. The progress was mainly down to the work being done on electronics, as both the Aspar and the Speed Master team work to match the Aprilia's electronics package to the Bridgestone tires. All three riders hailed the potential the Aprilia showed, despite the cold conditions.

As the CRT bikes currently in Sepang struggle, the Aprilias at Valencia appear to be pointing the way. Most of all, they are highlighting the crucial role that electronics play in modern motorcycle racing. With factory input on a set of electronics developed for World Superbikes - and barely less complex than factory MotoGP systems - the Aprilias are looking like they will be a serious concern for the satellite riders this season by mid-season. The next test - at Jerez on February 20th - should reveal a lot more about the progress the Aprilias have made.

Unofficial test times from day 2 at Valencia, courtesy of the circuit Twitter feed:

Rider Bike Time Diff
Randy de Puniet Aprilia ART 1:34.9  
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia ART 1:35.6 0.7
Mattia Pasini Aprilia ART 1:36.7 1.4


Comparison of day 2 times compared to the Valencia test and practice for the 2011 Valencia race:

Rider Bike Time Diff Diff previous When
Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 1:31.807     1000 test
Randy de Puniet Ducati GP11 1:33.118 1.311 1.311 Valencia QP
Randy de Puniet Suzuki 800 1:33.544 1.737 0.426 1000 test
Randy de Puniet Ducati GP11 1:33.743 1.936 0.199 Valencia FP3
Randy de Puniet Aprilia ART 1:34.900 3.093 1.157 CRT test
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia ART 1:35.600 3.793 0.700 CRT test
Carmelo Morales Suter BMW 1:35.911 4.104 0.311 1000 test
Mattia Pasini Aprilia ART 1:36.700 4.893 0.789 CRT test


Improvement from day 1 to day 2:

Rider Bike Day 1 Day 2 Improvement
Randy de Puniet Aprilia ART 1:35.3 1:34.9 0.4
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia ART 1:36.7 1:35.6 1.1
Mattia Pasini Aprilia ART 1:37.8 1:36.7 1.1

Speed Master Press Release:


The first two days of 2012 MotoGP tests ended today for Speed Master Team, at the Ricardo Tormo circuit of Valencia.

The first outing for the ART machine was satisfying for the team, giving them the chance to discuss with the Aprilia technicians and to discover the characteristics of the CRT bike that they will be using during 2012 season in the top class.

This initial occasion was essential to understand the motorbike electronics and move the first steps towards the beginning of the season. Mattia Pasini had the chance to start working with the crew that will be with him during this season and to begin adapting to the 1000cc.

Mattia Pasini

"This was a shakedown for us and we were aware of the type of work we had to do. Our objective for these two days is achieved: we focused on the electronics, we learnt the first few things about the bike and its performance on Bridgestone tyres and, what's more, we got to know each other as a team. With the data we gathered in this test, we can start arranging our working plan for the next one and keep learning things related to this class and machine. There are various new things we have to work on, but I'm satisfied with this first track days and I believe we fulfilled the aim for this outing."

Back to top


... the Aprilias are looking like they will be a serious concern for the satellite riders this season by mid-season.

I think this could be the first signs of more than just conern for the satellite teams, if De Puniet is allready that fast with a more or less new bike, with little to no historic data to build upon, under bad track conditions, then the Aprilias could beat some Satellite bikes right from the start of the season and still improve throughout the season.

Personally, I like that outlook a lot! ;-)

So an RSV4 tuned to run Bridgestones is showing the most promise amongst the CRT bikes. Boring. Surely there must be more changes, otherwise the BMW and Kawasaki based bikes would be closer to the front runners right?

ART are running more or less WSBK Aprilia electronics with a WSBK Aprilia engine and a prototype frame based on the WSBK Aprilia frame and designed to work with the Bridgestones.

That is completely different from Forward running a Suter frame housing a BMW engine with electronics that even BMW WSBK team is struggling with.
Not mentioning BQR running an FTR frame with a Kawasaki engine and who knows about their electronics.

ART is a complete package, the engine and frame have been designed by the same company and they are using WSBK-grade factory electronics.

There is also the MotoGP rider factor that no other team, except BMW-Suter with Edwards, can rely on.
Obviously BQR riders were quite successful in their national series but MotoGP is a huge step, same goes for Ellison who is yet to try the bike but did not set the world on fire last season finishing 7th with 2 podiums in world supersport.

Supposedly the engine and electronics are WSB spec and the frame and swingarm are revised RSV parts from data generated by a ex-WSB bike at the November Valencia test. Then add BS tires and carbon brakes.

The reason the ART bike seems so much faster than the BMW and Kaw bikes is that it is being developed as a complete package by a manufacturer with design and testing resources that an independent frame maker can only dream of. It is also being tested at a track that has practically no straightaway while the BMW and Kaw bikes are being tested at the track with the 2 longest straights of the season. The Hp difference will accentuate the lap time gaps. Then there's the issue of rider quality. The BQR bikes are giving up a lot here.