The Yamaha Factory Racing team wrapped up a successful one-day test at the Aragon Motorland circuit today. Riders Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo spent the sessions re-confirming areas tested in Monday’s Catalunya test.
The focus was again on a new engine specification, various chassis settings and some electronics. The riders also took time to work on set up for the Aragon track ahead of the race later in the season.
Spies led the majority of the day as the fastest rider on track, only overtaken by team mate Lorenzo towards the end of the session with a gap difference of 0.255 seconds. The Factory riders were followed by satellite Yamaha riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, making the top four all Yamaha.
Position 1st – Time: 1’49.187 – Laps 59
“This test has been very important because it’s not easy to find the best set up for the 1000cc bike here as there is so much change from the 800. We tried the engine again like we did in Barcelona, there wasn’t so much difference so the engineers now have to make a decision for moving forward. They will consider the data from today to help them.”
Position 2nd – Time: 1’49.442 – Laps 57
“Today was a good test, to come back after not such a fantastic race on Sunday and be consistently fast here and in the Catalunya test is important. We’ve worked really well with the bike and the electronics and just tried to change a few things and fine tune. The track was a lot better than we thought, we were expecting it to be quite dirty but it wasn’t. I feel like I’m getting back up to the potential of the bike and myself which is good.”
Yamaha Factory Racing Complete Aragon Test
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team wrapped up the one-day test at Catalunya today with both riders successfully testing all required items. Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo spent the day testing a different engine specification along with some electronic and chassis settings on their YZR-M1s.
The team will now move to Aragon for a second one-day test to be held on Wednesday.
Position 2nd – Time: 1’42.143 – Laps 44
“We worked on some things and got going pretty well. The main focus was on distance with the bike. We got a decent pace going, especially with lots of laps on the tyres. I was happy with what we tested so now we go to Aragon and try to keep going forward. We tried a different engine spec and played around with the electronics. The engine spec was a little improvement but you know riders, we always want at least 10km faster on the straights!”
Position 8th – Time 1’42.635 – Laps 51
“We tried a new engine spec today that in theory is more powerful. Until now we didn’t find any big improvement, some little advantages and some little disadvantages. In Aragon we will try some modifications to the electronics to see if we can gain something.”
Yamaha Complete Successful 2012 Catalunya MotoGP Test
After a warm-up session that was affected by mixed conditions, with just enough rain to render it useless, the Catalan MotoGP took place in the dry, though with cooler temperatures than had marked the previous two days.
Valentino Rossi finished seventh, still far from the type of results for which both he and the Ducati Team are working so hard, but there were very promising signs in today’s lap times and in the gaps to the top positions, as the Italian ran at a competitive pace for much of the 25-lap race.
Hayden, ninth at the finish, was also fast in the early stages, only to be slowed when he lost feeling in his right hand.
The Ducati Team will remain in Barcelona tomorrow for an official one-day test, during which they’ll confirm the progress made over the weekend and carry out additional checks with the settings, chassis, and electronics. Another test will be held on Wednesday at the Aragon track.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th
“Today went pretty well, and in some ways, it was the best dry race of the year so far: I finished closer to the group in front of me, and the gap in lap times was about half a second, which is the smallest that we’ve had so far. Of course we’re still only talking about a seventh-place finish, but nonetheless we reached our current potential in the dry. At a certain point in the race, I thought I could catch and pass Bautista, who himself wasn’t far from Stoner and the others. Unfortunately, toward the end I lost performance from my rear tyre, which we tend to stress too much since I oversteer with it in the corners when the front needs some help. Now we have two days of important testing, and we’ll try the aluminium swingarm again, along with some setup ideas in an effort to gain a bit more front grip, to help the bike to corner better. We hope to take another small step, because the riders who were ahead of me today weren’t ‘too far’ ahead.”
2012 Catalan MotoGP: Progress for Rossi, Hayden problem with hand
Local hero Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode to a determined second-place finish in today’s Catalan Grand Prix after a long battle with compatriot Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) had a tough race, crossing the line in fourth place, just behind Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha).
Following a wet morning warm-up, Stoner started from pole, but it was the fast-away Pedrosa who shot through from the second row to lead into turn one. The Spaniard stayed there for the first half dozen laps, except for a split second on lap three when Ben Spies (Yamaha) came past, ran wide and slid off.
Lorenzo, however, was soon shadowing Pedrosa and moved ahead on lap seven. For the next few minutes Pedrosa bided his time, then moved ahead once more at the start of lap 12. For a while it looked like he might have made the race his own, but Lorenzo fought back after running wide at turn one and was able to take Pedrosa when the Honda rider ran wide at turn ten with five laps to go.
Reigning World Champion Stoner was never quite able to get on terms with the leading pair. Fifth at the end of the first lap he moved into fourth a few laps later, but was unable to make further progress due to issues with chatter and a rear tyre that did not work the way he had hoped.
He spent the rest of the race behind Dovizioso, closing right up on the Italian in the final couple of laps, but he was unable to find a way past. This was the Australian’s first race finish off the podium since he joined Honda for the 2011 MotoGP season.
Pedrosa and Stoner were the only factory riders to choose the hard compound Bridgestone rear for this race because during practice they found the medium tyre ran too hot. Their factory Yamaha and Ducati rivals all went for the medium rear.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) had a strong race from the third row of the grid, coming through to a sixth-place finish after completing the first lap in tenth place. This result was the same as he scored at Jerez and Estoril, but this was his best race so far on the Honda because he was closer to the front than before.
MotoGP Rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) finished eighth following a brilliant showing in the early laps when he showed brilliant fighting spirit while battling with much more experienced rivals. From mid-distance the reigning Moto2 World Champion found himself all alone and he ended the race almost five seconds behind Valentino Rossi (Ducati).
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) enjoyed a great battle with several fellow CRT riders, eventually crossing the line in 14th for the third consecutive race. The Italian finished second best CRT, less than a second behind top CRT finisher Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia).
Pedrosa Scores Strong Second Place at Home MotoGP Race
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo claimed a superfluous victory in dominant form today in the Grand Prix of Catalunya, his third win of the season. Starting from second on the grid, the Championship leader tucked in behind team mate Ben Spies on the first corner, and held third until a mistake by Spies on lap two promoted him to second behind Dani Pedrosa.
The two local heroes then battled it out exchanging the lead until six laps from the end where Lorenzo put the hammer down, moving into first and building a lead of over five seconds the line. This second consecutive victory puts him 20 points clear of closest rival Casey Stoner in the Championship standings and Yamaha nine points clear of Honda at the top of the Constructors Championship standings.
Fellow Yamaha Factory rider Spies made a fantastic start to the race, shooting from fourth on the grid to slot in behind Pedrosa in second on the first corner. After two laps sitting on the race leader’s back wheel the Texan made to pass but unfortunately ran wide and crashed. He was able to rejoin in last position and worked tirelessly to take ten places and move through the pack to tenth at the line. The result delivered six points, leaving him in 11th place in the standings ahead of Silverstone in two weeks time.
The team will now remain in Catalunya for a one day test tomorrow before moving to Aragon for a further one day test on Wednesday.
Position 1st – Time: 43’07.681
“I’m really happy with this victory as it was a very tough weekend. We performed a lot better than yesterday as in qualifying it was very hot. The grip on the track after the rain this morning was also not so great. At the beginning of the race when I was following Ben and Dani it was very easy to make a mistake under braking and touch them so I waited calmly for my opportunity. When Ben made a mistake I moved up. I followed Dani and watched him, he slowed his pace and eventually made a mistake so I was able to pass him then give it full throttle. Thank you so much to Yamaha and my team for working hard to make a great bike for today’s victory.”
Position 10th – Time: +32.897
“I’m more disappointed for the team than for me because I felt good with the bike and we definitely had a bike to be on the podium today. I just made one mistake in the race and blew our chance. We were going good in the beginning but I was getting impatient with Dani. He was holding me up but I couldn’t make the pass on the straight so I had to go for it on the brakes and unfortunately got out onto the edge of the track. I got up and we got back into it and our pace was pretty good, unfortunately it was too late to get back to the front.”
Jorge Lorenzo Claims 2012 Catalunya MotoGP
It was tight at the top in Catalunya today as the MotoGP elite battled in sweltering temperatures to qualify for tomorrow’s Grand Prix. Yamaha Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo was on typically fast form, breaking into the low 1’41s to take second on the grid. The Championship leader’s qualifying time of 1’41.441 was just 0.146 seconds from pole man Casey Stoner.
Ben Spies was also on form for qualifying, narrowly missing the front row by just 0.004 and pole by just 0.257 seconds.
The Texan starts from fourth place on the grid for tomorrow’s race having beaten local hero Dani Pedrosa by 0.104 seconds for the grid slot.
Position 2nd – Time 1.41.441 – Laps 24
“It was very important to finish on the front row today because I knew all the riders would be pushing to the limit in qualifying. The lap times were very close but I managed to make a good lap. I almost crashed in T3 on my first hot lap on the bumps so second place is good for tomorrow.
We still need a little good feeling on the front; we are struggling on some corners so we need to improve the feeling or it’s going to be difficult in the race. We would have liked to be on pole, but we are happy with the position.”
Position: 4th Time: 1.41.552 Laps: 24
“That was a pretty good qualifying session. I’m a little frustrated as I lost a couple of tenths on one of the splits which would have put me on the front row. I think I had almost too much grip through T1 and T2 with the soft tyre! The bike is working really well, the team’s worked hard to deliver a good set up so I’m confident we can run a competitive pace and stay with it tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough race and I’m hoping the rain stays off!”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very exciting qualifying, second position on the front row is great and lap times were really good. There’s still some space for improvement as we are not completely happy with the base set up. Jorge had to fight hard for the front row and it was a spectacular session, let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Jorge Lorenzo Battles for 2012 Catalunya MotoGP Front Row
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) produced a brilliant performance at scorching hot Catalunya this afternoon to put himself in pole position for tomorrow’s Catalan MotoGP. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V), who started the last race at Le Mans from pole, ended the day a close fifth fastest, just 0.361s off pole.
Conditions could be very different for the race, however. While track temperatures soared to over 50 degrees this afternoon, latest weather forecasts suggest that tomorrow will bring significantly cooler temperatures and possibly rain as well.
Stoner was a close second to pace-setter Pedrosa in this morning’s final free practice session, then found some more speed for qualifying.
The reigning World Champion spent much of the hour experimenting with the two rear tyre choices and despite having to contend with some chatter issues he was able to better title rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) by 0.146s, good enough to give him his second pole position of 2012.
After the session Stoner announced that he isn’t especially confident of victory tomorrow, but added that he is “definitely in it to win it”.
Two weeks ago Stoner finished third in the rain-soaked French GP, which lost him the World Championship lead to race winner Lorenzo. Stoner had won the previous two races at Jerez and Estoril and is aiming to score his third win of 2012 here at Catalunya where he dominated last year’s race.
Pedrosa missed out on a front-row start when he had a moment at the entry to turn ten during his final run. The Spaniard got his RCV crossed up on the brakes and had to run wide, which spoiled what should have been his fastest lap and consigned him to the second row. Nevertheless the former 125 and 250 World Champion is happy with the progress he has made over the past two days and believes he can be a contender tomorrow if his crew can make a few final tweaks to his RC213V.
Casey Stoner and Honda Back on Top at 2012 Catalunya MotoGP