MotoGP Race And Practice Results

2006 Qatar Post-Race Test Times

After Saturday's race, a few teams stayed on to do some testing on Sunday. Here's the times released:

 1. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 55.950 secs
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 56.250 secs
3. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 56.350 secs
4. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 56.360 secs
5. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 56.610 secs
6. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 56.770 secs
7. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 56.860 secs
8. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 58.180 secs

It's always hard to judge test times, as often, all that the teams release is the fastest lap time, without talking about whether qualifiers or race tyres were used, compounds or settings. However, a couple of notes on these times:

  • Ellison and Melandri were the only riders to improve on the times set during the race weekend. Ellison is obviously still getting to grips with the bike, and showing good progress. Seeing Melandri find just under 0.9 of a second makes me wonder which bike he was out on: the RC211V with all the new parts which he has been riding so far this season, or did he hop back on the 2005 bike?
  • Rossi spent some time back on the 2005 Yamaha M1 in an attempt to track down the cause of the chatter which is still plaguing this year's bike. I really hope that they tell us all what the problem was when they find it, because I'm almost dying of curiosity by now.


Testing press releases:

Ducati Press Release

There have been press releases by Honda and Yamaha as well, but to be honest, press releases aren't the fullest and most honest form of communication known to man. I'll try and post links if they post them on their websites.

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2006 Qatar FP2 Qualifying times - First Day

One of the interesting things to do when looking at times set in practice is to look at the full sequence of times set. A rider can end up at the top of the list by putting in a single fast lap on qualifying tyres, whilst struggling with race tyres. Other riders tend to concentrate on finding a decent race set up, and you can see that in their times: they'll go out and set consistent sequences of laps, all within a few 10ths of a second.

So, in the light of this, how are we to interpret Thursday's practice times? Here are the times set:

 1       Kenny Roberts Jnr.      Team Roberts    KR211V  1:56.905
2 Casey Stoner Honda LCR Honda RC211V 1:56.911
3 Marco Melandri Fortuna Honda Honda RC211V 1:57.010
4 Colin Edwards Camel Yamaha Team Yamaha YZR-M1 1:57.024
5 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati Desmosedici GP-6 1:57.031
6 Valentino Rossi Camel Yamaha Team Yamaha YZR-M1 1:57.141
7 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda RC211V 1:57.360
8 Toni Elias Fortuna Honda Honda RC211V 1:57.392
9 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team Honda RC211V 1:57.452
10 Sete Gibernau Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati Desmosedici GP-6 1:57.569
11 Carlos Checa Tech 3 Yamaha Yamaha YZR-M1 1:57.992
12 Chris Vermeulen Team Suzuki Suzuki GSV-R 1:58.783
13 Shinya Nakano Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR 1:58.786
14 John Hopkins Team Suzuki Suzuki GSV-R 1:58.892
15 Alex Hofmann Team D'Antin Pramac Ducati Desmosedici GP-5 1:59.245
16 Makoto Tamada Konica Minolta Honda Honda RC211V 1:59.609
17 James Ellison Tech 3 Yamaha Yamaha YZR-M1 1:59.620
18 Randy De Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR 2:00.216
19 Jose Luis Cardoso Team D'Antin Pramac Ducati Desmosedici GP-5 2:00.406

First, Roberts only did 11 full laps, most of which were 1.58s, with a couple of 1.57s thrown in for good measure. Stoner did 12 full laps, most of which were 1.57s. Melandris 14 laps were a mix of 1.58s and 1.57s, but both Rossi and Edwards did a lot of laps, 19 and 17 respectively, most of which were 1.57s. What's notable is that both Rossi and Edwards had long 8-lap runs at the end of the session, where they were running consistently in the low 1.57s. Capirossi and Hayden were both mainly running 1.58s, while Pedrosa was all over the place, with one fast lap, and otherwise varying from 1.58 to 2.00. Looking at the sequence, you can really see him learning to handle the bike. Which makes Stoner's reliable 1.57s look pretty astonishing, to be honest.

I think, seeing as Rossi, Edwards, and Stoner were all consistently lapping in the low 1.57s, that the race record (Hayden: 1.57.903) will be broken, nay, shattered. There's a good possibility that it will be pushed into the 1.56 mark.

You can see the lap sequence on the results page of the MotoGP site.

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