The season-opening Sepang test ended with an unlikely name atop the timesheet, Gresini Honda’s Marco Simoncelli.
San Carlo Gresini Honda’s Marco Simoncelli took top honors as MotoGP testing concluded at Sepang. The Italian logged the fastest time of the three-day test, followed by Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) and Jorge Lorenzo (Factory Yamaha). Still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, Valentino Rossi managed 10th-fastest aboard the factory Ducati.
Simoncelli gives Honda a clean sweep of the top three combined times at Sepang. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, paced sixth-fastest on the final day but his impressive Day 2 lap was good enough for second overall and just 0.013 behind Simoncelli. Honda’s newest addition to the factory squad, 2007 champ Casey Stoner, maintained a consistent pace throughout testing – second fastest on Day 3 and third-fastest overall.
The third Repsol Honda man, Andrea Dovizioso, was fourth-fastest on the day and fifth-fastest overall. Simoncelli’s new teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama, further bolstered Honda’s impressive Sepang results with a solid seventh. The one exception to RC212V dominance at the Malaysian circuit was LCR Honda’s Toni Elias, with the inaugural Moto2 champ relegated to 16th on the timesheet and suffering from the flu during the test.
In the Yamaha camp Lorenzo managed third-fastest to close out the test. The reigning MotoGP champion claimed to be pleased with the season-opening results. The Mallorcan also commended the efforts of his new teammate, American Ben Spies, saying: “Ben is doing a very good job, I spoke with him yesterday and we discussed many things about the bike, he’s a good teammate.”
The jab aims, no doubt, at Lorenzo’s former teammate, Rossi. During last year’s preseason tests the Yamaha factory riders squabbled about the sharing of data (Rossi and Lorenzo Saga Continues). As for Spies, the Texan lapped fifth-fastest on Day 3 and touted the consistency of the M1 during the test, an overall solid 2011 debut for the former AMA and World Superbike champion on the factory squad.
Yamaha’s satellite effort was led by veteran Colin Edwards. Ninth-fastest overall, the Texas Tornado is paired with another rookie WSB promotion in Cal Crutchlow. The British rider recovered from a Day 2 get off to finish the test 17th overall – dropping more than a second off his Day 1 times in his first-ever visit to Sepang.
Nicky Hayden was the top-finishing Ducati rider at Sepang. Eighth-fastest overall, Hayden was two positions ahead of his factory Ducati paddock-mate, Rossi. The Doctor claims satisfaction in both the number of laps completed and progress on setting up the Desmosedici, with Rossi still recovering strength in his bad shoulder.
The sizable contingent of satellite Ducatis followed Rossi on the Day 3 timesheet. Aspar Ducati’s Hector Barbera was 11th-fastest, followed by Pramac Racing’s Loris Capirossi and Randy de Puniet. Karel Abraham settled in 14th, with the first-ever Czech rider in the premier class campaigning 2011 for his father’s Cardion AB squad.
Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista did not participate fully in the final day of testing due to illness. Stomach cramps sidelined the Spaniard, leaving the solo Suzuki effort to be piloted by test rider Noburu Aoki.
2011 MotoGP Sepang Test Day 3 Results:
1. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 2:00.757
2. Casey Stoner (Honda) 2:00.811
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:00.845
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 2:00.945
5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 2:01.002
6. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:01.241
7. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 2:01.353
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2:01.534
9. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 2:01.651
10. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 2:01.842
11. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2:02.030
12. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2:02.057
13. Randy De Puniet (Ducati) 2:02.159
14. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 2:02.645
15. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2:02.717
16. Toni Elias (Honda) 2:02.916
17. Yamaha Test Rider (Yamaha) 2:02.965
18. Kousuke Akiyoshi (Honda) 2:03.452
19. Yamaha Test Rider (Yamaha) 2:03.621
20. Noburu Aoki (Suzuki) 2:04.700