Dani Pedrosa ended top of the heap on the second day of the MotoGP test in Jerez, pipping Valentino Rossi to the post, and being the first rider to crack into the 1'39 bracket. Pedrosa set his fast lap on the 2008 version of the Honda RC212V, demonstrating that HRC has learned its lesson from the beating it took early in the 2007 season. Rossi set his fastest lap on qualifying tires, which he commented were not quite as good as the Michelins. Otherwise, Rossi is pleased with Bridgestones, claiming he has found real improvements with edge grip, despite the tires' construction being softer and less rigid than Yamaha expected.
Rossi has been testing the 2007 tires, while Casey Stoner went out on 2008 rubber and crashed heavily, which Rossi put down to the tires not warming up quickly enough. Stoner injured some ligaments in his left shoulder, the result of a nasty Turn 3 highsider. His injuries compounded the problems he was already having with his right shoulder, after falling on the first day of the test as well. As a result of his injuries, Stoner has decided to pull out of the test, and concentrate on healing up before testing recommences at Sepang in January.
The timesheets were dominated by Hondas, with Valentino Rossi the only non-Honda rider in the top 7. With Stoner out, the main burden of testing will fall on Marco Melandri, but the Italian is still having a torrid time adapting to the Ducati. The Bologna factory must surely hope that Melandri will start to meld with the bike very soon.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Rizla Suzuki completed a two-day test at Phillip Island, a track where the team has been tragically, and inexplicably slow at. No times were released, but Chris Vermeulen stated that he'd gone faster during the test than he had ever gone at Phillip Island, and the team seemed pleased with the progress made so far.
Back at Jerez, testing finishes tomorrow, after which the MotoGP teams will take a forced break until mid-January, with the MotoGP winter testing ban commencing on December 1st.
|4||Alex de Angelis||Honda||1'40.332|
|7||Randy de Puniet||Honda||1'40.820|