When Stefan Bradl was given the chance to ride the 2011 Honda RC212V fielded by the LCR Honda team, the official explanation that it was as a reward for winning the 2011 Moto2 World Championship was accepted as plausible for about a day. From that point on, it became increasingly clear that this was to be a general audition for Bradl to secure a slot on the 2012 MotoGP grid.
After Nico Terol finally clinched the 125cc World Championship at Valencia, the Aspar press office went into overdrive, issuing a positive avalanche of press releases covering every aspect of Terol the rider and the title he won. They have been assembled below, starting with the official Dorna press release, and continuing with the pile of Aspar press releases:
Nico Terol – 2011 125cc World Champion
The 2011 MotoGP season is now officially over, and the first steps on the road to 2012 have been taken. Coming on top of a race weekend, two days of testing leave the MotoGP paddock exhausted, drained, and after an 18-race season, quite frankly sick of the sight of each other.
Alongside the on-track action, the final round of MotoGP at Valencia saw a flurry of activity to fill the final seats of the 2012 MotoGP grid. That process was not as easy as it could have been: the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli left the picture complicated at Gresini, and the continuing uncertainty over Suzuki's plans for 2012 made it difficult for riders to commit to the Japanese factory.
Press releases after the final day of testing at the MotoGP test in Valencia:
Bridgestone's 2012 tyres debuted successfully in Valencia
Official MotoGP Test
Valencia, Tuesday 8 – Wednesday 9 November 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
During the two-day official MotoGP test at the Valencia circuit, Bridgestone debuted the final specification 2012 tyres, providing them to all teams for the duration of the test.
For a complete picture of the times from the two days of testing, below are comparisons for all riders from both days of testing. The track improved a lot during the second day of testing, and everyone who rode both days set their fastest time on Wednesday, the second day of the test.
Final times from day 2 of the MotoGP test at Valencia:
Times at 3pm:
As predicted over the past few days, Alvaro Bautista has finally signed with the San Carlo Gresini Honda team for the 2012 season. The Spaniard had been holding on for news from Suzuki, but with no confirmation of the factory's involvement for 2012, Bautista's patience was tested to its limits and he had to make a decision.
The Hondas continue to dominate the proceedings on the second day of testing at Valencia. Both Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner are into the 1'31 bracket, while Ben Spies is the best of the rest half a second behind Pedrosa. At least is within a second of the Hondas, as the 4th place man Cal Crutchlow is nearly one-and-a-quarter seconds behind on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha.
If the first day of last year's Valencia test was one of the biggest media events of the century - at least in the MotoGP world - the first day of this year's test was a lot more interesting. Though the test was missing a number of big names - Jorge Lorenzo was ruled out with a finger injury, Nicky Hayden couldn't take part because he fractured his scaphoid in the crash on Sunday - this was a day that the future was on display.
Press releases from some of the teams after the first day of the MotoGP test at Valencia:
FIRST DAY OF TESTING IN VALENCIA
The sun is out at Valencia and the bikes are circulating, though the times are not yet anywhere near the lap record. The two Hondas lead, Casey Stoner faster than Dani Pedrosa by two tenths of a second, while Yamaha's Ben Spies is in 3rd, half a second off Stoner's pace. Spies is the only factory Yamaha rider at the test, Jorge Lorenzo already having pulled out due to the finger injury he is still carrying.