MotoGP race fans looking for some profound changes in 2012 may be in for disappointment if reigning champion Casey Stoner has anything to say about it. The Repsol Honda rider completed the third day of the 1000cc test in Sepang, Malaysia today by laying down a blistering sub-two-minute pace, with a time of 1:59:607 on only his second lap of the day—this after missing the first of the three-day test due to a glitch in his back.
Chatter issues notwithstanding, the Australian’s laptime shattered any previous race or test records at the Sepang International Circuit (Valentino Rossi holds the race lap record set in 2009 of 2:00:518 aboard a Factory Yamaha 800cc machine).
Yamaha Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo was the closest to Stoner, with a best time of 2:00:198, but still not enough to catch the Honda. According to Lorenzo, “I’m really, really satisfied, I have improved on my best record here in Sepang. We tried a lot of things; some were better, especially one major improvement. We also know where we have to improve in the future. The electronics are not perfect yet, we still need to make it smoother but the bike has so much potential we are optimistic. The Yamaha engineers worked really hard and they have done a good job. I made my best time today at midday which is the hardest time with the conditions so it was pretty good. Let’s see what we can do when we come back.”
Stoner’s teammate Dani Pedrosa was third overall, with a time of of 2’00.256. According to MotoGP.com, the Spaniard was working on comparing two different chassis on his Repsol Honda and testing suspension and tire pressure settings to deal with chatter the heavier 1000cc bikes have many of the teams working on.
Ben Spies finished the day in 4th place with a time of 2:00:495, following a mild crash while testing a new chassis earlier in the day.
In the Ducati camp, Valentino Rossi improved his times and finished the day in 5th position with a time of 2:00:824. According to Rossi, “We on the team are all happy with how this test has gone, especially today. With a 2’00.8, we’re starting to get to a decent time. The two Hondas and the two Yamahas are still ahead of us, but we consider this test to be a starting point. The most positive things we’ve achieved are that the front now lets me ride a little more as I like, and the bike reacts well to changes and that we have very clear ideas on what’s still missing. In particular, if we manage to improve the bike’s behaviour on acceleration, we’ll be able to take a consistent step forward.”
The CRT teams continued to struggle with closing the gap, with Colin Edwards showing a fastest CRT laptime of 2:04:722 on his NGM Forward Racing machine.
The MotoGP machines return to the Sepang International Circuit Feb 28-March 1, 2012 for further testing.
Full MotoGP Day 3 Test Results from Sepang International Circuit.