Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa say goodbye to Phillip Island setting the fastest laptimes of the three-day MotoGP test.
Demonstrating the continuing progress of the new RC212V, both Repsol riders were able to consistently improve their pace on race tyres, before taking the opportunity to try a flying lap on Michelin qualifying tyres towards the end of the day.
World Champion Nicky Hayden was pleased with progress today as he put in a massive 101 laps on the prototype 800cc machine that will be campaigned for the first time at the season opener in Qatar on March 10. Finding a positive combination of chassis geometry, tyres and suspension settings, the American rider was able to set consistently quick laptimes and bring his best on race tyres down to 1m 30.45s. Then, with the qualifier fitted, Hayden once again demonstrated the pace that took him to pole position here in September's Australian Grand Prix by putting in a lap of 1m 29.52s - the fastest time of anyone over the three-day test.
Dani Pedrosa also went quickly today as his team ran through an extensive test schedule aimed at further improving his bike's set-up and maximising the potential from the new engine. During a day spent gathering valuable data and testing many Michelin tyre options, the 2006 MotoGP Rookie of the Year set an impressive laptime of 1m 30.07s on race tyres. This was well inside the race lap record for the 4.448km (2.764 miles) Australian circuit set in 2005 by Marco Melandri on the 990cc Honda RC211V. On his single flying lap on qualifying rubber, Pedrosa then recorded a lap of 1m 29.72s to finish just behind Hayden.
The Repsol Honda Team will complete two further three-day tests at the Losail circuit in Qatar (13-16 Feb) and the Jerez circuit in Spain (23-25 Feb) before the opening race of what promises to be another gripping MotoGP season. Round 1 takes place in Qatar on March 10.
Alex Barros (1'30.410 - 47 laps):
"Today we utilised only Bridgestone race tyres, having tried yesterday the qualifying round, making a good laptime of 1'30.010; a performance that reveal a hi gh level of improvement if compared with others rider times, today obtained with soft tyres. Having already individualized a good general bike set-up, we focused in one race simulation with satisfying results. I'm very happy about the work done, my Team and the obtained results. I have to thank Ducati for the material at my disposition."
Nicky Hayden, 1m 29.52s - 101 laps;
"The last day here was definitely the most positive of this test and also of the year so far. We found a few settings on the bike that I liked and made some good progress. I also did a longer run and the times were pretty consistent in the 1m 30s bracket on race tyres, which is positive too. It's not like we can call the dogs off yet though because we've still got some work to do! We were fastest today on the qualifying tyre and I really think that's down to Michelin's qualifying tyre working really well here. Also, a certain somebody wasn't at this test, so just because we're quickest today we can't relax. I want to say thanks to my team because I'm really happy with how well we're working together. Plus I've got a new Showa suspension technician and that's already going well too. Now we'll head to the next two tests and see where we stand then."
Dani Pedrosa, 1m 29.72s - 86 laps;
"We did a lot of work today on the engine and tyres, which is just what we planned from yesterday. I'm happy about the results and we improved a lot at this track over the course of the test which is important. We tested some aspects of the engine performance today and found some settings that have given us a good direction to work in. And we did quite of lot of tyre testing with Michelin that helped us too. The laptimes on both race tyres and qualifying tyres were pretty good, so we have to keep on working at the next two tests to be ready for the season."
Loris Capirossi (34 laps, best time, with race tyre, 1m30.14s);
"These have been three positive days of testing. Since last week in Malaysia we have improved the set-up of the bike a lot and now we know that we are in good shape both here at Phillip Island and at Sepang. If we confirm these good sensations in the next test in Qatar and Jerez we will be satisfied and could be competitive throughout the entire championship. Today we did a successful race simulation. I really liked the new tyres brought by Bridgestone and I am already in good shape with them even though it was the first time we used them. The information accumulated in the long-run will be useful for their development but I am really pleased with the work done. With the qualifying tyres on the other hand we haven't yet resolved the problems that we had here last year, but we are on the right track and I am sure that we will resolve these as well. A big thanks to the guys in Ducati Corse who have done a great job this winter and to my team who as always have been fantastic!"
Casey Stoner (40 laps, best time, with race tyre, 1m30.21s);
"Yesterday we were satisfied with the bike, so today we didn't do any more work on the set-up and concentrated on the race simulation which went well. I was able to lap at a good pace and I set some good times without pushing that hard, so I'm really satisfied! It was very useful to do a simulation to really get an idea of how the new Bridgestone tyres perform and I think that with the information we accumulated today the Japanese technicians will have enough data to continue the development of the new race tyres, which have great potential. I like the bike more and more and it's great working with this team! The qualifying tyres didn't perform as well as we expected but at this time of the year it's right to focus on the race set-up, and I'm really pleased with that. Now I'll be staying a few days in Australia before leaving for Qatar, a track that I really like and where I can't wait to test with the GP7".
"When we first got here on Tuesday we struggled quite a bit, but we did expect to really. We had a similar problem to that which we had at last year's race weekend here and the bike was quite hard to ride without spinning the tyre - that obviously affected the durability. We worked a lot on that, both with chassis settings and engine mapping over the week and it got a lot better as time went on. I improved my average lap time by about one and a half seconds over the three days and that is quite a big step! I also did my fastest ever lap around Phillip Island. I also tested a new heart monitor while I was out riding the bike, this will help me to see how I can improve on my fitness over a race and show me how my body is reacting to various situations on track. So all-in-all it was a pretty good test. We have still got quite a long way to go around here but the progress we have made at Phillip Island will hopefully help us at other circuits and make the bike work even better."
"Basically we have done a lot of laps, and although we found a lot of positives we didn't end up getting exactly what we wanted from here. We sorted out some of the engine mapping and power delivery issues, but this test has been a bit of a reality check. We did struggle over the three days and it showed we still have a bit of work to do on the bike before we come back here for the race in October. I still have some things to sort out with my own riding round here as well, and they can't be fixed overnight - I also have to improve at Phillip Island, not just the bike. I am now really looking forward to getting out in the desert in Qatar, we had a good 990 set-up for there and the bike usually feels good. I'm certainly looking forward to riding the new 800 there and getting back to the sharp end of the timesheets!"
Alex Hofmann (1'30.210 - 53 laps):
"Still Today we made good work, I'm very satisfied; I have the right feeling with the Team and all the technical package at my disposition. We have made further set-up refinements, with the identified base was good. Today I tried qualifying tyres, but I haven't pushed at maximum because was my first time. The race set-up is consistant and make us confident. I'm very satisfied with my Team to prepare for the next test in Qatar where I want re-confirm our fas t and with consistant rhythm".
"We are quite satisfied about these three-day of test. Today we worked especially on the
rear suspensions aiming to find a better feeling on the bike. The solutions we found work good but
we still have to fix the front suspensions in the next test sessions. We also worked on the engine
torque gathering useful data. I did not lap on qualifying tyres today but the I rode with a good
pace on race tyre improving also my yesterday lap time. I feel more comfortable day bay day and I
look forward to testing again in Qatar and Jerez to settle the bike in the best way for the beginning
of the season".
Toni Elias (93 laps, 1.30.56):
"The balance of this 3 days test session is positive. We worked on chassis, suspensions and tyres in order to find a good compromise. In particular, tyre testing was very important to collect important data and impressions. I'm confident because, starting from next test in Qatar we should have some tyres that are more suitable to my characteristics. We also used the qualifying data to collect some further information for Bridgestone. I'm not happy with my lap time but, at the moment, we are working step by step to understand the bike and create a good base for further set-up improvements".
Shinya Nakano - Rider, Konica Minolta Honda;
"My physical condition is much better than Monday but I'm still not feeling 100%. At least today we finished the job of testing the Michelin tyres. Today we were looking at finding the different solutions of rear tyre and this allowed us to obtain a good balance with the bike and an overall good set-up, which we will use in two weeks in Qatar. I am happy about the results gained in these three days as I have better understood the working style of my Team and I am working well with them. Tomorrow I fly to Japan and I'm going to use the next six days to try and recover physically so I'm 100% fit for the next important test."
Marco Melandri (100 laps, 1.30.80):
"It was an important day because we understood many things as for the chassis, suspensions and tyres. The Rc212V is really a new bike, very different from the Rc211V 1000cc, so we needed to test some different set up solutions in order to understand the behaviour of the bike. We also made a race simulation to collect important data that will be useful for next test session. The balance is positive, my lap time cannot be take as point of reference because I didn't use the qualifying tyre, in fact I preferred to work for the race pace".
Unofficial Lap Times;
- 1. Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 1m 29.52s.
- 2. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 1m 29.70s.
- 3. Loris Capirossi, Marlboro Ducati: 1m 30.14s.
- 4. Casey Stoner, MarlboroDucati: 1m 30.20s.
- 5. Alex Hofmann, D'Antin Ducati: 1m 30.21s.
- 6. Chris Vermeulen, Rizla Suzuki: 1m 30.34s.
- 7. Alex Barros, D'Antin Ducati 1m 30.43s
- 8. Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 1m 30.46s.
- 9. Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 1m 30.56s.
- 10. Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 1m 30.80s.
- 11. John Hopkins, Rizla Suzuki: 1m 30.80s
- 12. Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 1m 30.97s.
- 13. Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: 1m 31.10s.