The press releases issued after the first day of testing at Sepang by the MotoGP teams:
Positive Start to 2012 for Yamaha Factory Racing in Sepang
MotoGP 2012 finally got underway today with the first of three days of testing at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. Yamaha Factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies took their first ride on the 1000cc YZR-M1 since last year. Both riders blew the cobwebs off quickly and settled down to an impressive pace, Lorenzo proving to be the fastest man on track with his team mate always close behind him.
The focus for the first day was to get back into the swing of riding and also to establish a good base set up. Tomorrow and the day after Lorenzo and Spies will compare various new settings to provide valuable data for the second Sepang test in one month's time.
Position : 1st Time: 2'01.657 Laps: 30
"I'm very happy with today. For the first ride on the bike in some time, it's been very positive. Yamaha has worked very hard over the winter for this M1. I can see very easily where I have to adapt my riding style for the bike and I can see a lot of potential. We have many areas where we can improve so I'm looking forward to beginning again tomorrow. I'm also very happy that my finger is fine and doesn't affect my riding at all!"
Position : 4th Time: 2'02.234 Laps: 28
"I'm happy, it was fun to get back on the bike today, I haven't ridden any type of motorcycle since Valencia. It didn't take too long to knock the rust off, we tried a few things in set up and every step we did made small improvements. We have a lot to do in the next couple of days and a lot more in the second test. It's been a confidence inspiring start, Yamaha have put in a lot of effort for this season so we'll work day by day to be even better."
Pedrosa starts in a good shape but Stoner unable to ride
Today the Repsol Honda Team officially kicked off the 2012 MotoGP season with the first of three days testing at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.
Due to early morning rain, the track conditions were not good enough to go out on track until midday when HRC test rider, Kosuke Akiyoshi performed the first 10 laps on Dani Pedrosa's bike and then jumped onto Casey Stoner's machine to complete a further 4 laps and confirm that everything was working well.
Dani set the second fastest laptime of the day with a 2'02.003 and completed a total of 48 laps on a bike similar to the one he tested in Valencia in November.
Dani was the only Repsol Honda rider on track with the new RC213V as current World Champion, Casey, pulled his back whilst warming up and preparing to go on track for the first time this season. The Australian rider received some treatment from a physiotherapist and after resting this evening he will hopefully feel better tomorrow and be able to begin his testing program.
DANI PEDROSA 2nd 2'02.003
"Today was good, for the first laps I think it was important for me to come back and just ride again. Of course, the first day I was a little bit stiff, not totally smooth on the bike, but we completed some laps and they were good. Today was mainly a test for myself, to get used to the bike again, recover the feeling, feel the throttle and the brakes after a long time off. The whole day I stayed with the same bike that I tested in Valencia in November and tomorrow the real test will start for us, we will work on the set up and probably try a modified chassis that Honda has brought here according to our requests after Valencia".
"I was stretching this morning for a good twenty minutes preparing to go out on track for the first time and then all of a sudden my back just locked up on me, I couldn't move or do anything. I had to call someone to come and help me move into a position that was less painful! Then I had some physio on it straight away trying to get it better for this afternoon but it's wasn't feeling good. I had some more physio after lunch but it still wasn't easing up, I felt I could have gone out on the bike in the afternoon but we all agreed it would probably make it worse for tomorrow. We have two more days testing here in Sepang, we know the track well and we are getting to know the bike, we just need some time to test the new parts we have here to giv e feedback to HRC. I think tomorrow the track conditions will be better and as long as my back improves overnight we should get back on schedule with our testing programme tomorrow".
FIRST DAY ON THE HONDA RC213V FOR BAUTISTA AT SEPANG
The 2012 MotoGP season officially got underway today with the first day of preseason testing at Sepang. There was a melancholy feel to the day following the tragic events of October and the memory of Marco Simoncelli remains in the hearts of all those present, as it will for many years to come. Shortly before lunchtime Alvaro Bautista took to the circuit on board the Honda RC213V for a shakedown that became more and more encouraging as the laps went by. By the end of the session he had completed 45 circulations of the Malaysian track, with some impressive lap times and a positive early feel for the Honda RC213V.
Alvaro Bautista (2' 02" 869 – 45 laps) "This was my first day on the RC213V and I am very pleased with it because I instantly felt comfortable riding a 'thousand'. Obviously after a three-month break from racing it is not easy to get back out there because you have to reset your mind and body to the task and rediscover your pace. We have worked on adapting the bike to my riding style and I have just tried to get confident without worrying about lap times at this early stage. I am satisfied because I am working well with the team and everybody is putting in a lot of effort. Over the next two days we will work on general set-up and the electronics but I am already feeling positive because we are not too far off the fastest times and we haven't started pushing yet."
BRADL MAKES HIS DEBUT ABOARD THE HONDA RC213V
Sepang, 31 Jan: After 2-month break the premier class teams and riders were back in action today for the first official testing session held at Sepang track (Malaysia). Day one was marked by a damptrack after the light rain fell during the night but around 11:00am riders could make their first contact with the Malaysia asphalt starting the development of their new 1000cc bikes.
17 MotoGP riders (3 of them riding a MotoGP CRT machine) lapped till 6pm chasing the best set up of their prototypes ahead tomorrow's second day of testing. Today's pacesetter Jorge Lorenzo posted a best lap time of 2'01.657 whilst his main contender Casey Stoner only finished 14th due to a pulled muscle in his back after few laps. First outing for the reigning Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl aboard the LCR RCV who set the 11th lap time of the day starting his learning process of the Honda machinery.
Stefan – 2'03.668: "I am quite satisfied about this first outing aboard the new bike. After few laps I was impressed by the potential of my machine and I did not find it particularly physically demanding as I trained a lot in the winter break. We mainly concentrated on my riding position adjusting the seat, the handlebar, the foot rest and so on… Later from 1 pm to 4:45 we worked hard including the electronic side, chassis regulations and tyres changing: I posted my best lap time on hard rubber. So far I can say it was a productive day for everybody: now I need to look at the data to fix more adjustments for tomorrow".
The Ducati Team starts work on the GP12 at Day 1 of Sepang Test
The 2012 MotoGP test season started with today's first day of a three-day test at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit. The Ducati Team took to the track with its Desmosedici GP12, and after official test rider Franco Battaini carried out the shakedown, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden started the important work of finding a base setup.
Ducati Corse Technical Director Filippo Preziosi followed the team's work from the garage. Last night's rainfall resulted in a damp track surface this morning, delaying the team's start until around midday. Valentino Rossi and his team progressed step by step, improving the lap time in each outing before finishing with the fifth-fastest time, .735 seconds behind that of Jorge Lorenzo. Nicky Hayden also began working on the GP12's setup, although his physical condition was still affected by the injury to his left scapula. The American finished the day tenth, having completed 25 laps.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 5th, 2:02.392 (30 laps)
"I'm happy because first impressions are important, and already in the first few laps, I could tell that I like the bike. Ducati did a good job in a just a short time. The bike is beautiful, but more importantly, it's nice to ride. The riding position has improved a lot, and it's better on braking and corner entry. I can brake like I want to and take the lines that I like, and I feel comfortable in general. I was able to ride well and not make mistakes, and there's a reason for that. It means that the bike can be ridden. It's more agile in change of direction, and it wheelies much less. We're 7 tenths back today, and of course there's still a lot of work to do before we can win. We have to improve in some areas: acceleration, electronics, power delivery and setup. I'd say we'll be able to make a more accurate assessment at the end of the test, because let's remember, the bike is just 40 days old. To leave here a second back from the top would be okay because anyway, we know that there's still much more to be done. But one of the best things from today is that the bike reacts well to changes. That enabled us to drop one or two tenths every outing, which means further progress should be possible."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 10th, 2:03.151 (25 laps)
"It's great to be back at the track with the team, riding a motorcycle. We lost a little time this morning, but I hadn't planned to ride the whole day anyway. Obviously, I wish my physical condition were better. On one hand I'm happy just to be here and not miss another test after missing the one in Valencia, but I wasn't able to do a lot of laps, and definitely no long stints. We know how important shoulders are on these bikes, and I didn't have the strength I would like. The bone itself was okay, but I had a lot of pain in the joint, although there was no problem with the ribs and very few problems with the wrist. Anyway, it was great to try the new bike and get some information. We made a step forward with the feeling at the front while braking and turning, but I need to find more edge grip and rear grip on entry, and a better balance with the electronics. We'll do some treatment to my shoulder tonight and see how I feel in the morning."
The official MotoGP Test at Sepang: Abraham finishes twelfth
Twelfth place and 2,124s gap between him and the fastest rider Jorge Lorenzo aboard factory Yamaha. This is the result of Karel Abraham after the first day of the official MotoGP test at Sepang in Malaysia. For the first time in 2012 season, Karel Abraham tried out the new Ducati Desmosedici GP12 with 1000cc engine. The Czech motorcycle rider set a best lap time on lap 36 and completed 45 laps – approximately 250 kilometres. Except Dani Pedrosa, who completed 48 laps, Karel Abraham spent the most time aboard his bike with his 45 laps, as well as the Spaniard Alvaro Bautista from San Carlo Gresini team.
"Motocross was my only chance to ride a bike over the winter and it's a great feeling to be back aboard the race bike. Last time I tried this bike was at Valencia during the post-season test, so I was looking forward to this test. We start with a new bike, we need to set-up everything and change a lot of things on the chassis. Actually, we start from the scratch with electronics. New 1000cc engine has a different course, but I'm trying to adapt on it. Today we gathered a lot of data and now we can prepare the bike for tomorrow. We can set a fast lap times only during the morning when the weather isn't so hot and I'm not so tired. The weather here is the same as always – big heat and high humidity. I must admit that I don't like this kind of weather, but it just belongs to this test."
Martin Havlícek, mechanic of Cardion AB Motoracing team
"We completed 45 laps, we made some small changes and spent a lot of time working on electronics. Now we are making some adjustments on the gearbox and tomorrow we want to try various set-up of the swingarm. It's a lot of work because the bike is completely different comparing to the last year's Ducati. Engine has a different course and Karel needed some time to adapt on it. Then we gathered some data which will be important for tomorrow.
"It's a shame that we lost some time due to weather today. Although the test began at 10:00 AM, some parts of the track were still wet after overnight rain and were drying up very slowly, especially around the roofed grandstands. We are just beginning and there was no point to risk any crash and injury on wet track. Tomorrow will be much more important day for us. Weather forecast reports changeable weather, but we are hoping for sun and dry track."
PEDROSA OFF TO FAST START IN MALAYSIA
The first day of the 2012 MotoGP testing season provided mixed results for the Honda riders at the sultry Sepang Circuit in Malaysia. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished with the day's second fastest time while team-mate Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) retired early after an old back injury flared up. The two newest riders to the Honda camp had encouraging starts. Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) was ninth fastest while Stefan Bradl, the MotoGP rookie and 2011 Moto2 World Champion, was only half a second behind in his debut on the LCR Honda RC213V.
Anticipation was high on the first of three days of testing at the start of the 2012 season, with the garages brimming with new technology and riders eager to test it. But overnight and morning showers doused the track, keeping the 17 riders, including two test riders and three CRT riders, in their pit boxes until late in the morning. Once the track was dry, Pedrosa put in a full day's work completing 48 laps of the Sepang Circuit, the most of any rider. His efforts paid off with the second fastest lap time of 2m, 2.003s. Only former world champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) was faster, and only by .346s.
Pedrosa's time compared favorably to the 2m, 1.462s lap that he turned to earn the pole for the 2011 Malaysian GP. The race was later canceled after the horrific accident that took the life of rising star Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) on the second lap.
What Pedrosa quickly discovered was that Repsol Honda RC213V is a much more physical motorcycle to ride than the previous RC212V. Despite being in peak physical condition for the first time in years, he admitted at the end of the day that he was a bit sore after having not ridden a MotoGP machine for close to three months. But the discomfort was a small price to pay for the data gathered over the course of the day's work. Honda has provided Pedrosa with more than one chassis specification, but he chose to stick with one bike and make incremental changes before the heart of the testing begins in earnest on Wednesday.
Stoner's day was over almost before it began. The two-time world champion was stretching before putting on his leathers when his back suddenly locked up. So severe was his predicament that he needed help just to be moved into a less painful position. A physiotherapist eased the pain enough so that he could get into his leathers and take to the track, but he quickly discovered there was nothing to be gained and retired for the day. More physiotherapy was performed before he returned to the hotel to prepare for the second of the three days, which he's certain of riding. Stoner first injured his back years ago, while racing the Dutch TT during his 125cc days.
Bradl declared himself "satisfied" after his first laps on the LCR Honda RC213V. The young German had ridden the 800cc RC212V at the November Valencia test, but that was so long ago that he couldn't make a comparison to the larger displacement machine. What impressed him greatly about his new ride was the seamless gearbox, which shifted so smoothly that it didn't upset the motorcycle while leaned over. Much of the day was spent on riding position; the brute power of the RC213V made it imperative that his body be properly positioned on acceleration. Once properly situated, Bradl could concentrate on handling the physicality of the machine, which requires far more strength to race than the Honda-Kalex he raced to last year's Moto2 title.
Bautista finished ninth, but less than .2s from sixth on his first day on the San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V at the Sepang Circuit. Bautista ended the 2011 season badly with a crash in the first turn of the Valencia Grand Prix and he'd also started the season badly, crashing out of the Qatar Grand Prix in practice. The Qatar crash required that pins be inserted into his left femur, pins which were surgically removed in mid-December. Now 100% healthy for the first time in a year made adapting to the new motorcycle much easier for Bautista.
The test continues Wednesday and Thursday with similar weather expected.
HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTES
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V): 2nd, 2m, 2.003s
"Today was good. For the first laps I think it was important for me to come back and just ride again. Of course, the first day I was a little bit stiff, not totally smooth on the bike, but we completed some laps and they were good. Today was mainly a test for myself, to get used to the bike again, recover the feeling, feel the throttle and the brakes after a long time off. The whole day I stayed with the same bike that I tested in Valencia in November and tomorrow the real test will start for us. We will work on the setup and probably try a modified chassis that Honda has brought here according to our requests after Valencia."
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V): 14th, 2m, 7.163s
"I was stretching this morning for a good twenty minutes preparing to go out on track for the first time and then all of a sudden my back just locked up on me. I couldn't move or do anything. I had to call someone to come and help me move into a position that was less painful! Then I had some physio on it straight away trying to get it better for this afternoon, but it wasn't feeling good. I had some more physio after lunch, but it still wasn't easing up. I felt I could have gone out on the bike in the afternoon, but we all agreed it would probably make it worse for tomorrow. We have two more days testing here in Sepang, we know the track well and we are getting to know the bike, we just need some time to test the new parts we have here to give feedback to HRC. I think tomorrow the track conditions will be better and as long as my back improves overnight we should get back on schedule with our testing programme tomorrow."
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini): 9th, 2m 02.869s
"This was my first day on the RC213V and I am very pleased with it because I instantly felt comfortable riding a 'thousand'. Obviously after a three-month break from racing it is not easy to get back out there because you have to reset your mind and body to the task and rediscover your pace. We have worked on adapting the bike to my riding style and I have just tried to get confident without worrying about lap times at this early stage. I am satisfied because I am working well with the team and everybody is putting in a lot of effort. Over the next two days we will work on general set-up and the electronics but I am already feeling positive because we are not too far off the fastest times and we haven't started pushing yet."
Stefan Bradl (Team LCR Honda RC213V): 11th, 2m, 3.668s
"I am quite satisfied about this first outing aboard the new bike. After a few laps I was impressed by the potential of my machine and I did not find it particularly physically demanding as I trained a lot in the winter break. We mainly concentrated on my riding position adjusting the seat, the handlebar, the foot rest and so on. Later, from 1:00 to 4:45 p.m. we worked hard including the electronic side, chassis regulations and tyres changing: I posted my best lap time on hard rubber. So far I can say it was a productive day for everybody. Now I need to look at the data to fix more adjustments for tomorrow."
SHOWA TO MAKE MOTOGP RETURN WITH TEAM GRESINI
Showa has chosen to make their return to the MotoGP World Championship with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini, a show of faith in the prestigious Italian team, who will line up riders in the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes this season. The new deal is a revival of a previous relationship between Showa and Fausto Gresini's team, who hope to relive some of the many successes enjoyed together in the past.
Yoichi Hojo (President Showa Corporation) "It is our greatest pleasure to announce that through cooperation with TEAM SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI, we will be making our return to the world's most prominent motorcycle race. We have competed in MotoGP together with TEAM SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI in the past, so it is heartening to be able to aim for the ultimate finish line together with our trusted friends. Showa Suspension will be used in the all of the race classes (MotoGP, the Moto2, CRT, and in the Moto3) so in addition to our expectations, we are also feeling a keen sense of responsibility. With Showa's latest technologies being used in all the classes, we will continue to strive in the hopes of contributing to a championship win for the team."
Fausto Gresini "To link up again with an important technical partner like Showa is a source of pride and great satisfaction for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini. We have enjoyed significant success together in the past and we hope to recreate that winning feeling again with this new deal. The technical support of a partner such as Showa is fundamental in MotoGP but especially so with additional projects such as CRT, Moto 2 and Moto3. We are sure that we can create a positive technical synergy with Showa that translates into top results on the track."