During the second official pre-season test at the Sepang circuit, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner snared the fastest lap aboard his RC212V, becoming the only rider to dip below the 2’01 mark. The Aussie was closely followed by teammate Dani Pedrosa, who helped make it an excellent day for Honda by grabbing second in the charts with a time that was 0.373 seconds off the leader’s pace.
“We had a really good day today,” said Stoner. “From the beginning I felt more comfortable with the bike again, like I understood the bike a little better. Whatever set-up we throw at them we seem to be able to run pretty similar lap times. We’re very happy with the progress we made today and everything and everybody seems to be working well.”
At the end of the hour-long session Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the top-three times on Day 1 with a lap of 2:01.468. The Spaniard found a solid set-up during the afternoon which allowed him to run within 0.48 seconds of Stoner.
“Today was a good day for me, we worked on the traction to improve it from the previous test which helped us a lot in the set-up, I’m now very satisfied with it,” said Lorenzo. “With the improvements we’ve made we can now brake a little later and enter the corners a little more quickly as well so I was able to do some good fast consistent lap times this afternoon when it was still very hot on the track.”
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa claimed second on the charts behind his teammate with a lap of 2:01.360.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards took the fourth-fastest lap in Malaysia after finishing within two-tenths of a second from Lorenzo. Following the Texan was Stoner and Pedrosa’s Honda teammate, Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian posted a lap of 2:01.747 to earn fifth in the books with a lap that was just 0.061 seconds ahead of Yamaha’s Ben Spies.
“I’m really happy about how we have started this second test,” said Dovizioso. “Honda engineers have made a very good job on the engine brake with the electronic system to improve the feeling on the rear and these are really good because, I have to say, that it was our main problem last year and we couldn’t make such a big step forward as we did today.”
Ducati’s Valentino Rossi may have been only ninth-fastest on Day 1, but The Doctor managed 53 laps on the circuit to gain crucial base settings on the GP11. Meanwhile Rossi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden, earned the 12th-best time despite a slow fall in the early half of the session. The American spent time reducing chatter on his GP11 and came away from Day 1 with an optimistic outlook.
“We can be satisfied with today as a first day because we’re a second from the top, like we were at the end of the first test, but without trying a late ‘time attack’ with the soft tire like the others did,” said Rossi. “For the most part today, I was between fifth and sixth place, which is the goal we had set. I’m still losing about three-tenths due to the shoulder, because I’m still stronger in the left turns, whereas I’m normally the opposite; the rest we’ll have to find by working on the bike.”
2011 MotoGP Sepang Test Day 1 Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 2:00.987
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:01.360
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:01.468
4. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 2:01.654
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 2:01.747
6. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 2:01.808
7. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 2:01.939
8. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 2:01.996
9. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 2:01.999
10. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 2:02.224
11. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2:02.645
12. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2:02.680
13. Toni Elias (Honda) 2:02.779
14. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 2:02.920
15. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2:0 2.936
16. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2:03.082
17. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 2:03.167