Honda riders dominated the second day of MotoGP testing at the Sepang circuit. Dani Pedrosa led the way, with his fellow Repsol Honda teammates, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso a respective second- and fourth-fastest. American Ben Spies prevented a top-three sweep by the Repsol triumvirate with a third-fastest time aboard the factory Yamaha. Valentino Rossi continued to linger in the double-digits with the ailing Doctor 13th on the day.
Pedrosa took care of business early, with his pace-setting time occurring on the fourth of 39 laps. The 2:00.770 lap was the only sub-2:01 time of the day, and was just shy of the standing lap record, 2:00.518, set in 2009 qualifying by Rossi. Pedrosa’s time was a full sixth-tenths ahead of new teammate and long-time rival Stoner, the Aussie opening the test as fastest rider in Day 1. Dovizioso tested new 2011 forks for the RC212V en route to a fourth-fastest result, the Italian less than a tenth behind Stoner.
Further showcasing Honda’s good fortune on Day 2, the San Carlo Gresini duo of Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama took up the fifth and sixth positions – making it five RC212V in the top six. The only Honda man who struggled was Toni Elias, who finds himself sandwiched between a pair of nameless Yamaha test riders on the official timesheets. Elias, the reigning Moto2 champion, marks his return to MotoGP in 2011 aboard the LCR Honda.
Rossi’s replacement on the Factory Yamaha, Spies piloted the M1 to a third-fastest result. The American turned 60 laps on Day 2 (only Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista turned more at 63) and was a scant 0.055 quicker than his new teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Now sporting the Number 1 plate, a clever graphic incorporating the reigning champ’s initials, Lorenzo was seventh-fastest.
The lone Suzuki on the grid, Bautista managed eighth on the Day 2 timesheet, with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards ninth-fastest. Edwards’ rookie teammate, Cal Crutchlow, was more than two seconds off the leader’s pace in 15th.
Hector Barbera tallied the fastest lap for Ducati, the Aspar pilot 10th on the day. Factory Ducati rider Nicky Hayden trailed Barbera by almost three-tenths in 11th, more than 1.6 seconds off the leading pace of Pedrosa – the Kentucky Kid’s Repsol teammate from way back. Randy de Puniet was 12th-fastest, the new Pramac Ducati rider crashing during Day 2 but escaping unscathed.
As for Rossi, The Doctor continues to plod along with his still rehabbing shoulder. The new Ducati man turned a respectable 42 laps and claims the shoulder is improving, though still a hindrance.
The bum shoulder isn’t keeping Valentino Rossi down as he gets his Ducati tenure underway at Sepang.
“Even when I work my shoulder hard, I’m finding that it doesn’t get worse, and I don’t suffer too much, to the extent that I was able to start again this morning without having lost anything compared to yesterday,” said Rossi in Ducati PR. “Actually, the shoulder is even getting better as I ride, and I’m able to make the movements that are required. Obviously, it’s still a handicap, because eventually I begin to lose strength and the pain increases, but we were able to do some good, consistent work.”
2011 MotoGP Sepang Test Day 2 Results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:00.770
2. Casey Stoner (Honda) 2:01.434
3. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 2:01.508
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 2:01.512
5. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 2:01.522
6. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 2:01.534
7. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:01.563
8. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 2:01.687
9. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 2:01.722
10. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2:02.093
11. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2:02.379
12. Randy De Puniet (Ducati) 2:02.426
13. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 2:02.597
14. Kousuke Akiyoshi (Honda) 2:02.619
15. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2:03.032
16. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2:03.047
17. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 2:03.466
18. Yamaha Test Rider (Yamaha) 2:03.910
19. Toni Elias (Honda) 2:04.026
20 Yamaha Test Rider (Yamaha) 2:04.142