2012 Sepang 1 MotoGP Test Day 1 Times Compared: 2012 Test vs 2011 Test And 2011 QP

With the first results of MotoGP testing in 2012 in, it is worth making a comparison with the times from previous times set at Sepang, though just as at Valencia, conditions were hard to compare, as the day started on a damp track. Below is a set of three comparisons, comparing times set during the first day of the 2012 test at Sepang with time set on day 1 of the Sepang test in 2011, and with times set during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix in October, the race that was cancelled after the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli in a second-lap crash.

Despite the differences in track conditions, it is surprising to see that the 1000s have yet to beat the 800s. Compared to the 2011 test, Jorge Lorenzo's time on the 1000cc Yamaha is just under a tenth of a second slower than the time set by Casey Stoner on the 800cc Honda RC212V. Include qualifying from october, and Lorenzo's time is actually 4th fastest, slower than Stoner at the test and both Dani Pedrosa and Stoner during QP. Compare the 2011 test and the 2012 test, and just half of the top 10 times were set by 1000s. Include qualifying, and that drops to just 2 bikes, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, in 4th and 7th spot respectively.

Of course, the 1000cc bikes are still in a very early state of development, and the conditions at the track were different, but the results certainly give pause for thought. Do the times posted mean that the 21 liter fuel limit is a bigger constraint on the performance of the larger capacity bikes than we thought? How much progress could the bikes make over the next three days? How much of a factor did the track conditions actually play? 

More should become clear in the coming days, but for the moment, here are the raw numbers to ponder. Three tables are show below, the first comparing the times between the 2012 test and the 2011 test, the second comparing the 2012 test and Qualifying for the race, and the final table containing times from all three events compared.


Times from the 2012 test compared with the times from the 2011 test:

Rider Bike & Capacity Session Time Diff. Diff. Previous
Casey Stoner Honda 800 2011 Test 2:01.574    
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:01.657 0.083 0.083
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:01.977 0.403 0.320
Dani Pedrosa Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:02.003 0.429 0.026
Dani Pedrosa Honda 800 2011 Test 2:02.024 0.450 0.021
Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.221 0.647 0.197
Ben Spies Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.234 0.660 0.013
Marco Simoncelli Honda 800 2011 Test 2:02.295 0.721 0.061
Ben Spies Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:02.332 0.758 0.037
Valentino Rossi Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:02.392 0.818 0.060
Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 800 2011 Test 2:02.422 0.848 0.030
Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 800 2011 Test 2:02.483 0.909 0.061
Andrea Dovizioso Honda 800 2011 Test 2:02.507 0.933 0.024
Colin Edwards Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:02.514 0.940 0.007
Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.751 1.177 0.237
Hector Barbera Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:02.773 1.199 0.022
Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.829 1.255 0.056
Alvaro Bautista Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:02.869 1.295 0.040
Nicky Hayden Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:03.151 1.577 0.282
Randy de Puniet Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.152 1.578 0.001
Kousuki Akiyoshi Honda 800 2011 Test 2:03.224 1.650 0.072
Valentino Rossi Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.365 1.791 0.141
Nicky Hayden Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.508 1.934 0.143
Stefan Bradl Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:03.668 2.094 0.160
Loris Capirossi Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.695 2.121 0.027
Hector Barbera Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.767 2.193 0.072
Karel Abraham Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:03.781 2.207 0.014
Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:04.009 2.435 0.228
Toni Elias Honda 800 2011 Test 2:04.238 2.664 0.229
Karel Abraham Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:04.470 2.896 0.232
T1 test bike Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:04.717 3.143 0.247
Franco Bataini Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:04.986 3.412 0.269
T2 test bike Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:05.235 3.661 0.249
Kousuke Akiyoshi Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:07.163 5.589 1.928
Colin Edwards Suter BMW 1000 2012 Test 2:08.240 6.666 1.077
Jordi Torres FTR Kawasaki 1000 2012 Test 2:10.671 9.097 2.431
Ivan Silva FTR Kawasaki 1000 2012 Test 2:11.267 9.693 0.596

 


Times from 2012 test compared to Qualifying Practice at Sepang in October, 2011:

Rider Bike & Capacity Session Time Diff. Diff. Previous
Dani Pedrosa Honda 800 2011 QP 2:01.462    
Casey Stoner Honda 800 2011 QP 2:01.491 0.029 0.029
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:01.657 0.195 0.166
Andrea Dovizioso Honda 800 2011 QP 2:01.666 0.204 0.009
Dani Pedrosa Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:02.003 0.541 0.337
Colin Edwards Yamaha 800 2011 QP 2:02.010 0.548 0.007
Marco Simoncelli Honda 800 2011 QP 2:02.105 0.643 0.095
Nicky Hayden Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:02.172 0.710 0.067
Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.221 0.759 0.049
Ben Spies Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.234 0.772 0.013
Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 800 2011 QP 2:02.254 0.792 0.020
Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 800 2011 QP 2:02.332 0.870 0.078
Valentino Rossi Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:02.392 0.930 0.060
Valentino Rossi Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:02.395 0.933 0.003
Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.751 1.289 0.356
Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 800 2011 QP 2:02.756 1.294 0.005
Hector Barbera Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:02.773 1.311 0.017
Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.829 1.367 0.056
Alvaro Bautista Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:02.869 1.407 0.040
Randy de Puniet Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:02.939 1.477 0.070
Loris Capirossi Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:03.077 1.615 0.138
Nicky Hayden Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:03.151 1.689 0.074
Karel Abraham Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:03.438 1.976 0.287
Hector Barbera Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:03.619 2.157 0.181
Toni Elias Honda 800 2011 QP 2:03.646 2.184 0.027
Stefan Bradl Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:03.668 2.206 0.022
Ben Spies Yamaha 800 2011 QP 2:03.678 2.216 0.010
Karel Abraham Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:03.781 2.319 0.103
Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha 800 2011 QP 2:04.072 2.610 0.291
Franco Bataini Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:04.986 3.524 0.914
Kousuke Akiyoshi Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:07.163 5.701 2.177
Colin Edwards Suter BMW 1000 2012 Test 2:08.240 6.778 1.077
Jordi Torres FTR Kawasaki 1000 2012 Test 2:10.671 9.209 2.431
Ivan Silva FTR Kawasaki 1000 2012 Test 2:11.267 9.805 0.596

 


Times of 2012 test compared against 2011 test and 2011 QP:

Rider Bike & Capacity Session Time Diff. Diff. Previous
Dani Pedrosa Honda 800 2011 QP 2:01.462    
Casey Stoner Honda 800 2011 QP 2:01.491 0.029 0.029
Casey Stoner Honda 800 2011 Test 2:01.574 0.112 0.083
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:01.657 0.195 0.083
Andrea Dovizioso Honda 800 2011 QP 2:01.666 0.204 0.009
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:01.977 0.515 0.311
Dani Pedrosa Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:02.003 0.541 0.026
Colin Edwards Yamaha 800 2011 QP 2:02.010 0.548 0.007
Dani Pedrosa Honda 800 2011 Test 2:02.024 0.562 0.014
Marco Simoncelli Honda 800 2011 QP 2:02.105 0.643 0.081
Nicky Hayden Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:02.172 0.710 0.067
Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.221 0.759 0.049
Ben Spies Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.234 0.772 0.013
Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 800 2011 QP 2:02.254 0.792 0.020
Marco Simoncelli Honda 800 2011 Test 2:02.295 0.833 0.041
Ben Spies Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:02.332 0.870 0.037
Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 800 2011 QP 2:02.332 0.870 0.000
Valentino Rossi Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:02.392 0.930 0.060
Valentino Rossi Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:02.395 0.933 0.003
Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 800 2011 Test 2:02.422 0.960 0.027
Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 800 2011 Test 2:02.483 1.021 0.061
Andrea Dovizioso Honda 800 2011 Test 2:02.507 1.045 0.024
Colin Edwards Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:02.514 1.052 0.007
Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.751 1.289 0.237
Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 800 2011 QP 2:02.756 1.294 0.005
Hector Barbera Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:02.773 1.311 0.017
Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha 1000 2012 Test 2:02.829 1.367 0.056
Alvaro Bautista Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:02.869 1.407 0.040
Randy de Puniet Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:02.939 1.477 0.070
Loris Capirossi Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:03.077 1.615 0.138
Nicky Hayden Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:03.151 1.689 0.074
Randy de Puniet Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.152 1.690 0.001
Kousuki Akiyoshi Honda 800 2011 Test 2:03.224 1.762 0.072
Valentino Rossi Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.365 1.903 0.141
Karel Abraham Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:03.438 1.976 0.073
Nicky Hayden Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.508 2.046 0.070
Hector Barbera Ducati 800 2011 QP 2:03.619 2.157 0.111
Toni Elias Honda 800 2011 QP 2:03.646 2.184 0.027
Stefan Bradl Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:03.668 2.206 0.022
Ben Spies Yamaha 800 2011 QP 2:03.678 2.216 0.010
Loris Capirossi Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.695 2.233 0.017
Hector Barbera Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:03.767 2.305 0.072
Karel Abraham Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:03.781 2.319 0.014
Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:04.009 2.547 0.228
Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha 800 2011 QP 2:04.072 2.610 0.063
Toni Elias Honda 800 2011 Test 2:04.238 2.776 0.166
Karel Abraham Ducati 800 2011 Test 2:04.470 3.008 0.232
T1 test bike Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:04.717 3.255 0.247
Franco Bataini Ducati 1000 2012 Test 2:04.986 3.524 0.269
T2 test bike Yamaha 800 2011 Test 2:05.235 3.773 0.249
Kousuke Akiyoshi Honda 1000 2012 Test 2:07.163 5.701 1.928
Colin Edwards Suter BMW 1000 2012 Test 2:08.240 6.778 1.077
Jordi Torres FTR Kawasaki 1000 2012 Test 2:10.671 9.209 2.431
Ivan Silva FTR Kawasaki 1000 2012 Test 2:11.267 9.805 0.596

 

2012
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Comments

Sorry to point it out, I know how hard it is to catch smaller details like this, but Bradl should be listed on a honda right?
All in all it seems a bit of an anti-climactic start to the year, conditions being poor and all. Lets hope for decent weather tomorrow and Casey fit in order to get a better idea of where everyone stands. Ducati's performance is at this stage pretty hard to judge.
Looking at the apparent difference between the performance of the Aprilias and the other CRT's, one wonders why they didn't simply introduce a rule saying all bikes could have 24l but must be owned outright and sold on to lesser teams/series' at years end and leave it at that. But I for one welcome the prospect of lapped traffic in MotoGP... I like retro.

Due to a spot of erroneous cut & pasting, I had Bradl on the Ducati and Hayden on the Honda. That's been corrected now, thanks for picking it up!

The biggest winner from this round of high-speed musical chairs would seem to be Cal Crutchlow; he's taken to the new bike like a duck to water. The other obvious winner would appear to be a certain Mr. V. Rossi...

Fuel load is going to play a big part. I, for one, think the fuel allotment should have been increased along with the capacity. An extra 3-4 liters. Or look at it this way. Displacement went up 25% so at least let the bikes have a 20% increase in fuel.

It's only the first day but I hope we don't see a continuation of one line around the track, slot bike, processional racing. Tired of it.

Interesting stats... Though I have to say for me personally what I want to see from the 2012 season is that the increased power and new tyres allow closer and more exciting racing. I don't think it matters in the end if they don't go any faster than the 800s. It will be nice to see a huddle of riders at the top of the table all with close times..... no run-aways this year please!

The pace of the CRTs is concerning though, at least De Puniet seems to have done better in Valencia, i think his time is only a second or so off that of the Pramac Ducs at Valencia last Nov.

... is it the tyres & electronics?

Assuming the changes to the 2012 Bridgestone spec tyres have delivered greater usability but no outright performance gains then the actual optimum lap times for any circuit, even one with such long straights such as Sepang is tyre performance. The 1000cc bikes may well deliver more torque & power, but the electronics will only dole out what the tyre can use. Increase permissible fuel burn & the times will stay the same.

Ducatis' Nicky Hayden has alluded to this by saying that we should not expect a return to the good old days of the sideways 990's with the new 1000's. So it is not surprising that the teams that were successful in 2011 with 800cc bikes post identical lap times in 2012 using what are essentially long stroke versions of their 2011 bikes on the same tyres.

Speaking of Ducati it seems that the only team to show a significant performance gain from 2011 to 2012 is the Italian squad. Finally the factory has succumbed to pressure from Rossi, Burgess & the great unwashed to build a bike that suits the spec tyre, rather than a pure prototype of alternative chassis ideas with rubber designed to suit.

With all the bleating that has been going on about the CRT rules threading the hallowed kingdom of the factory prototype we should pause to consider this. Amongst "anti-innovation" decisions like 81mm bore 4 cylinder 4 stroke only engines, no forced induction, progressively raising minimum weights, reducing testing time (with GP riders), season limits on engines numbers the real knife in the back of prototype racing is spec tyres.

Why? Because with one tyre there is only one right answer to the chassis design question. Modern electronics mean that the CRT teams will arrive at that optimum chassis design point faster than they would have in the past so by 2013 we may well have a premier race series like Moto2 with bigger engines. Lets' call it Moto1, drop the Moto "Grand Prize" moniker and pass the batton for hardware design innovation to WSBK competitors.