The Monday test after Mugello was one of the most eagerly-awaited tests in recent history, at least until it was announced that none of the factories would be testing their 1000cc bikes at Mugello. And so the test transmogrified into a fairly humdrum 800 affair, with Honda the only factory present, and even them only having a new swingarm and a few electronics to test. The extra day at Mugello saw Casey Stoner take nearly a quarter of a second off his pole record, getting well into the low 1'47s. He was followed closely by Marco Simoncelli, while Andrea Dovizioso ended the test as 3rd fastest, but nearly a quarter of a second off Stoner's time.
Despite the relative lack of novelty, there were still some entertainment to be found in the test. Apart from an altercation between Casey Stoner and Karel Abraham - Abraham accusing Stoner of having barged into him, Stoner denying it emphatically, the collision a result of Abraham trying to get a tow from Stoner, and Stoner backing off the throttle to prevent him from doing so - the test saw the first public outing of the BMW-powered Suter machine being tested by Marc VDS, the return of Sylvain Guintoli on a Pramac Ducati, and the first outing of Moto2 star Andrea Iannone on a MotoGP bike.
Guintoli is to replace the injured Loris Capirossi at the Sachsenring round of MotoGP, and probably also at Laguna Seca. Having now spent 3 years on Superbikes - first in BSB, then in World Superbikes - Guintoli needs a little time to get reacquainted with the MotoGP bike. He ended the day 1.3 seconds off his best lap time the last time he raced here at Mugello, back in 2008, but the bigger problem was that Guintoli was fully 5 seconds slower than Casey Stoner, and 3 seconds off the pace of fellow Pramac rider Randy de Puniet. Guintoli is in for a tough time in Germany, on the evidence of the Mugello test so far.
Perhaps even more worryingly, Guintoli was only fractionally ahead of Andrea Iannone, who was riding a MotoGP machine for the very first time. Iannone's Speed Master team is one of the teams accepted as a CRT entry for 2012, and was looking to get a feel for a MotoGP machine prior to entering the class next year.
Iannone wasn't the only Moto2 rider taking to the track on a MotoGP machine: Marc VDS' Mika Kallio took the BMW-powered Suter out for its first fully public test against the 800s. The results are distinctly worrying for the viability of the CRT concept - or at least, for the viability of the current BMW and Suter project, more of which tomorrow - as the Suter lapped the track over 6.3 seconds off the pace of the 800cc MotoGP machines. The 1000s will be even faster - at Mugello, Ducati team boss Vito Guareschi revealed that simulations done by the Bologna factory calculated that their 2012 machine should be 0.5 seconds faster around Mugello than an 800, some four tenths of that difference coming along Mugello's front straight - making the Suter in its current form nearly seven seconds slower than the pace we might expect from a competitive 1000cc MotoGP machine. Kallio was only six tenths quicker on the 1000cc machine than he had been on his Honda CBR600 powered Moto2 bike (which probably makes at least 90 bhp less than the BMW Suter machine) in Sunday's race, and Kallio's time would have given him the 9th fastest lap of the Moto2 field. The CRT machines may have a future, but the BMW-based Suter may not be it.
Below are the times from the test (courtesy of MotoGP.com and GPOne.com), together with the fastest time from each rider during Sunday's race, as well as the difference between the two. The first "Diff" column is the difference between a rider's time and that set by Casey Stoner, the "Race Diff" column is the difference between the test time and the fastest lap from the race.
|Pos||Rider||Bike||Time||Diff||Best Race Lap||Race Diff|
|8||Randy De Puniet||Ducati||1:49.384||2.058||1:50.342||0.958|
+ Guintoli did not race, so has no race time to compare to
* Race lap set on Moto2 machine