Aboard the Factory Yamaha team Jorge Lorenzo continued showing excellent pace by taking the fastest time in Day 1.
2010 MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest rider out of the 17-rider field participating at the Valencia tests on Tuesday. The factory Yamaha pilot took control on Day 1 of the two-day test and by a margin of 0.763 seconds beat out Casey Stoner, who quickly took to his factory Repsol Honda. The much-anticipated debut of Valentino Rossi aboard the Ducati Desmosedici saw The Doctor running tenth-fastest.
“Today we tried the new chassis on the 2011 M1 which felt good, although it is still too early to say too much about it,” said Lorenzo. “We also tried the new Ohlins suspension which felt better to me on the track. The new engine seems to have less wheelie but we will see more tomorrow in the next session.”
Stoner spent most of his day comparing chassis models, while Lorenzo’s new Yamaha teammate, Ben Spies, took third during the tests with a time that was 0.866 seconds adrift of the leader.
Casey Stoner, now aboard Repsol Honda, came in second by 0.866 seconds while adjusting to his new machine.
“For the first day of testing I’m super happy with the team, a lot of things are new including obviously riding the prototype bike,” Spies said. “There are a lot of subtle changes from last year so I spent some time getting used to it along with working with a new Japanese engineer who is very, very good. I had a couple of new mechanics who were learning the ropes as well so it was a lot of learning today. I’m really happy, I can feel the potential of the bike and I think there’s quite a bit more to come.”
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa placed fourth in the field as the Spaniard lapped just more than a tenth off the pace of Spies. Pedrosa’s track time was also cut down to just 35 laps after he struggled with an electronic issue and fatigue from his recovering collarbone injury.
“Today I rode the 2010 bike we used in Sunday’s race and also next year’s evolution machine,” Pedrosa said. “The chassis is slightly different and I have to do more laps tomorrow to understand it further. Unfortunately we had a problem with the electronics on the first lap and this meant we lost some time in the pits, but anyway it was good not to do so many laps today because of my physical condition. I thought that having Monday off I would feel better but I’m still tired from yesterday and feeling some effects from the injury.”
Running fifth and sixth respectively were San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli and Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso. Simoncelli was only 0.007 seconds behind Pedrosa while Dovizioso underwent chassis work. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards and Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista both earned top-eight performances during the test as Edwards placed more than one and a half seconds adrift of Lorenzo. Meanwhile, the new factory Ducati duo of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi registered the ninth- and 10th-fastest times respectively, with Rossi’s debut on the Desmosedici GP11 raising tremendous enthusiasm.
American Nicky Hayden was the fastest Ducati rider on the first test day at Valencia and made several passes with both the big bang and screamer engines.
“We had a lot of things to try today, especially in terms of the engine,” said Hayden. “The rain didn’t help anybody because we lost some time this morning with the rain, and when we were eventually able to get out on the track the conditions weren’t ideal. Anyway, we were able to get some laps in and I can say that the 2011 version of the big bang engine is definitely an improvement. We switched to the screamer at about three o’clock and in some areas it’s also really strong.”
Cal Crutchlow continued improving on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike after recently making the transition from World Superbike to MotoGP. The 25-year-old suffered a crash during Day 1 while testing new tires, but fortunately walked away uninjured.
“We had less brake pressure, less corner speed, and managed to crash so no-one really knows why,” Crutchlow said. “I think it was just the harder front tire so we’ll go back to the soft tomorrow and keep working with that, and make sure we do some more laps.”
2010 Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias was also present at the MotoGP tests on his new ride with LCR Honda in the premier class. Elias finished the session in 16th and was joined from the Moto2 class by Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, who put in solid laps around the Valencia circuit after winning the final Moto2 race of the season.
2010 MotoGP Valencia Day 1 Test Results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’32.012
Ben Spies set an almost identical time to Stoner and claimed the third-best time with his new factory Yamaha.
2. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’32.775
3. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’32.878
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’32.912
5. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1’32.919
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’33.190
7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’33.513
8. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1’33.558
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’33.716
10. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’33.882
11. Randy De Puniet (Ducati) 1’33.914
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’33.953
13. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’34.110
14. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’34.314
15. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1’34.631
16. Toni Elias (Honda) 1’35.058
17. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’35.076