Leon Camier has carried his strong form from last week's private test at Phillip Island into the official test which started at the circuit on Monday. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki man used a race tire to lap half a second under Max Biaggi's race lap record, then going on to post a strong race simulation. The improvements the Crescent Suzuki squad have made, in conjunction with the Japanese Yoshimura company, are clearly paying off, the Suzuki lapping a second quicker than it did at the test last year.
It has been a good day for the Yamahas on the first day of the official World Supersport and World Superbike test at Phillip Island. The Yakhnich Yamaha squad got off to a strong start, with Sam Lowes topping the timesheets, and his teammate Vladimir Leonov in 3rd, just over a third of a second behind. Despite missing most of the first session of testing due to what the team described as a "technical problem", the young Englishman led the second session, setting a time just a tenth of a second off Joan Lascorz' pole record at the iconic Australian circuit.
The first test at Sepang was a disheartening affair for Ducati. The times of all four Ducati riders - Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso in the factory Ducati team, and Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies in the Pramac Ducati junior team - were well off the pace of the fastest men at the test, with Hayden, fastest Ducati rider, ending the test two seconds behind Dani Pedrosa on the Honda. Ducati acknowledged that they had a lot of work to do, and that there would be no quick fixes. Serious improvement would not come in the short term.
Wherever racing paddocks assemble, rumors accumulate. The latest piece of gossip to hit the racing grapevine concerns Casey Stoner, and is emerging from the paddock he has just entered - the Australian V8 Supercars series - and revolves and the paddock he has just left, MotoGP. According to the V8 gossip*, Casey Stoner is to wildcard in at least two MotoGP races in the 2013 season, aboard a Honda RC213V.
A new Moto3 season is about to start and, even if it is obviously too soon to talk about favourite contenders for the final crown, watching the fastest riders on the track and examining lap times can give an idea of how 2013 may play out in the smallest class. After three days of testing at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack -with nicer weather everyday- it is clear that KTM is a step ahead again. But lap times are not everything and these test sessions brought some other interesting facts.
The Yakhnich Yamaha squad has laid down a marker for the 2013 World Supersport season, with both Sam Lowes and Vladimir Leonov off to a flying start in Australia. Both Lowes and Leonov lapped under Fabien Foret's race lap record, while Lowes matched the pole record for the Phillip Island circuit, set in 2010 by Joan Lascorz.
The second day of the private test for the World Superbike teams at Phillip Island went very much as the first day did: with fast times, and a lot of crashes. The new surface was to blame for both: Leon Camier got half a second under the race lap record, but the on/off grip levels of the track saw him, and almost every one else, flung off their bikes at one point or another.
Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the three-day test at Valencia:
ZARCO IS SATISFIED OF VALENCIA TEST RESULTS
The last Moto2 and Moto3 test day in Valencia occurred in a spring weather that has allowed to all the riders to improve a lot their performances. The only bad news is a crash between Luthi and Wilairot where the Swiss rider has recived the fracture to the right humerus and carried to the hospital to scan any other possible problem to the right shoulder, while the Thai rider has got a light cranial concussion.
Pol Espargaro has stamped his authority on the Moto2 class at Valencia, leading the overall standings after all three days. Espargaro is two tenths quicker than Mapfre Aspar's Nico Terol, and four tenths faster than Julian Simon. The Moto2 class, like the Moto3 class, sees a trio of Spaniard leading, but the question is whether this will still be the case at the next test at Jerez. Terol has always excelled at Valencia, his home track, and he may not find it as easy at Jerez.
Maverick Viñales has dominated all three days of testing for the Moto3 class at Valencia, at the head of a trio of Spaniards consisting of himself, Alex Rins and Luis Salom. These three head to the Jerez test next week as the hot favorites for the Moto3 championship, though there is still a lot of testing to be done.
Pol Espargaro has topped the final day of testing for the Moto2 class at Valencia, taking advantage of a day of excellent weather to destroy his existing pole record by over half a second. The Tuenti HP 40 rider ended two tenths ahead of Nico Terol, the local man who always has something extra at Valencia, while Julian Simon took 3rd, some four tenths of a second behind Espargaro. Jordi Torres, Mapfre Aspar teammate to Terol, set an excellent 4th fastest time, while Thomas Luthi was 5th fastest.
Maverick Viñales has topped the Moto3 timesheets for the third day in a row, the Spaniard taking two seconds off the Moto3 lap record, and getting very close to the lap records posted by the 125cc bikes which Moto3 replaces. Viñales once again leads a Spanish trio, with Alex Rins impressing again in 2nd and Luis Salom just a third of a second behind Viñales.
MotoGP is to change pits once again at the Silverstone circuit. The paddock is to move away from the new Silverstone Wing between Club and Abbey and back to the old facilities between Woodcote and Copse. The move has been made to accommodate fans, who could not reach the paddock behind the Wing very easily, with buses running between the old paddock and the new Wing. The situation is set to continue until a bridge or tunnel can be built for fan access to the pit complex at the Wing, but that is an investment which the circuit does not currently have the funds to make.
While the Moto2 and Moto3 riders finish up their test at Valencia, on the other side of the world, the World Superbike and World Supersport riders are beginning the final run in to the season opener in 10 days' time. They started today with the first of two days of private testing, the first chance the riders get to see the resurfaced Phillip Island track. The overall reaction to the new surface was very positive, though the lack of rubber on the track caused a spot of mayhem in the morning, with several riders crashing out.