Testing the 2012 MotoGP bikes, when the series ups its capacity limit to 1000cc once again, has raised more questions than it has answered for the media and fans trying to follow the series. The first public test at Brno saw some promising results, with the Hondas and Yamahas fairly evenly matched, and the 1000cc bikes between 0.5 to 1 second faster than the 800s. But Brno has been the only public test, the others all being held behind closed doors - though journalists were present at the Misano test, that one being declared a private test only at the last minute when Honda and Ducati pulled out, leaving the track to Yamaha.
The times from the private tests have been much harder to track down, and though rumors have emerged from all sorts of sources, both verification or official confirmation have been absent. Journalists have been left to cast out their nets among their sources and try to make sense of the numbers being returned. It basically boils down to sifting through the times, and hazarding a guess as to which might be reliable and which are completely off base.
The biggest source of controversy - probably because these are the most significant numbers for the 2012 season - have been the times from Honda's 1000cc test with Casey Stoner back in May of this year at Jerez, and Ducati's recent test of the brand new aluminium twin spar chassis which Valentino Rossi put through its paces at Jerez just over a week ago. Initial reports suggested that Rossi had been running 1'39s, closely matching Stoner's pace. But that assumes that Stoner was also running 1'39s at Jerez during the test, and paddock rumor has it that Stoner was running a good deal faster than that during his test earlier in May. Two seconds, was the figure most commonly quoted, and rumored to be accurate.