Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa set the fastest time of the three-day test at Jerez on Thursday as the extraordinary 2006 MotoGP season drew to a close. Pedrosa, 21, completed another full day's development work aboard the Honda RC212V, before setting an impressive laptime of 1m 39.910s with a qualifying tyre to end the day ahead of former World Champion Valentino Rossi.
The MotoGP Rookie of the Year began the day trying alternative chassis and engine settings as his crew gathered further valuable data from the new prototype 800cc machine. Later in the afternoon Pedrosa carried out tyre testing for Michelin, finally taking the chance to complete a single lap on qualifying tyres. His time of 1m 39.910 was just 0.176s behind Spaniard's qualifying time of 1m 39.734s set at the opening Grand Prix of 2006.
The Jerez test completes a fantastic season for the Repsol Honda Team which saw it win every major accolade available in MotoGP. Nicky Hayden took the Riders' World Championship and the Best Qualifier Award, while Dani Pedrosa was the Rookie of the Year. Honda also won the Constructors' title and Repsol Honda took the Team Championship.
The winter testing ban which runs from December 1, 2006 until January 20, 2007 now comes into force. The Repsol Honda Team will resume testing at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia on January 22, 2007.
In the 250cc the Repsol Honda Team finished the test without any incident and with a large number of kilometres covered during these three test days. Julito Simón's debut in the quarter-of-a litre class couldn't be more positive since the young Repsol rider has been evolving steadily from the first day constantly improving his lap times. Shuhei Aoyama, completely focussed on testing new material did not have the chance at any time to ride as fast as he would have wanted. After these tests, both riders of the Repsol Honda Team 250cc will enjoy their Christmas holidays and won't be back on the track until next month.
Dani Pedrosa Best lap time: 1m 39.910s - 94 laps
"Today we worked on just about everything again - chassis, engine, suspension and tyres. We began with chassis and engine testing in the morning and then concentrated on testing tyres for Michelin. I used a qualifying tyre to set my fastest lap time and this is good because it's important to see how a new bike like the RC212V behaves on qualifiers too. Of course there's still plenty of work to do before the season starts but this was a positive test for us. Now I will relax a little over the winter break, before getting ready for the January tests"
"I'm not really happy today. I haven't been able to set good lap times and I really don't know why. I can't say whether these test days have been positive or negative, because it's always good to be back on the track and do as many laps as possible with the bike, but I expected a bit more. We've been testing again with the new frame today and it's clear that there is still a lot to improve, not only the bike, the rider as well. Now we'll have some time to rest and to get ready for the next season."
"I'm happy. This first contact has been a great experience. I basically spent the time lapping and covering as many kilometres as possible to adapt as quickly as possible to the new class. What I have noticed is that the 250cc machine demands a lot more physical effort than the 125cc, so I'm quite tired after three days. Now it's time to have some rest and work on the physical shape to be ready for the start of the 2007 season."