Stoner may have taken the championship but he’s 0.161 seconds behind Pedrosa after two days of testing in Valencia.
Casey Stoner bookended the 800cc MotoGP era with a pair of world titles and race wins. The 1000cc GP era now begins in full though, as teams conducted a two-day test at the Valencia circuit. The test saw a host of new bikes and teams, with several CRT efforts making their testing debut. It also saw an influx of premier class rookies, as well as familiar faces working for new employers.
Dani Pedrosa got the edge on his title-holding Repsol Honda teammate with a best lap of 1’31.807. The Spaniard was less than two-tenths ahead of Stoner on the timesheet, as the Honda duo tested their factory RC213V mounts. The Repsol trio remained in spite of Andrea Dovizioso’s move to Tech 3 Yamaha, as test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi turned laps for HRC (11th fastest on the day).
American Ben Spies was the lone Factory Yamaha, a half second off Pedrosa’s pace in third. The Tech 3 duo of Cal Crutchlow and Dovizioso followed Spies, each sinking their teeth into the 2012 M1.
A trio of Ducatis trails the Yamahas. Valentino Rossi led the way on the factory effort. The Doctor was joined by Franco Battaini, with regular factory rider Nicky Hayden nursing an injured wrist courtesy of the opening lap pileup at the 2011 season finale. Satellite Ducati riders Karel Abraham (Cardion AB) and Hector Barbera (Pramac) also spun laps aboard the GP12. The test marked Barbera’s debut for Pramac.
Former Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista officially joined the San Carlo Gresini team and rode the Honda into the top-10.
Another debut effort came on Day 2 of the test, after Alvaro Bautista inked a deal with Gresini Honda and took former rider Hiroshi Aoyama’s 800cc RC212V out for 55 laps where the former Rizla Suzuki rider finished ninth fastest. Interestingly enough, Rizla let former Pramac rider, Randy de Puniet, have a go on Day 1, with the Frenchman recording a time (1’33.544) that would have been good enough for eighth on Day 2.
More debuts included reigning Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl, tenth-fastest on the day.
A handful of CRT efforts also made their debut. Carmelo Morales was fastest, four seconds off Pedrosa’s pace aboard the BMW engine/Suter chassis project of Team Laglisse. Other CRT squads include Kawasaki/FTR equipped BQR team with pilot Yonny Hernandez, BQR Inmotec and rider Ivan Silva, as well as Frederico Sandi testing for Team Grillini.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden sits on the sidelines for the 1000cc test due to his injuries from the Lap 1 pileup during the Valencia GP.
MotoGP Valencia Test Day 2:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’31.807
2. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’31.968
3. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’32.338
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’32.550
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) 1’33.256
6. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’33.332
7. Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 1’33.433
8. Hector Barbera Pramac Racing Team 1’33.648
9. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’33.814
10. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’34.142
11. Kousuke Akiyoshi (Honda) 1’34.546
12. Franco Battaini (Ducati) 1’34.840
13. Carmelo Morales (TeamLaglisse) 1’35.911
14. Ivan Silva (BQR Inmotec) 1’36.695
15. Yonny Hernandez (BQR FTR) 1’37.279
16. Federico Sandi (Grillini Team) 1’38.680