Yamaha Welcomes Honda Competition for 2011 MotoGP Season

wilco_zeelenbergThe MotoGP Sepang test showed one thing for sure about the 2011 MotoGP season; Honda’s RC212V motorcycles are going to be hard to beat. The Repsol Honda team, consisting of Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, and Andrea Dovizioso, were consistently at the top of the time sheets. But Jorge Lorenzo and the Factory Yamaha team are happy with the competition, saying that it will make them work harder and make less mistakes.

“It’s interesting that I have to say this because we improved the bike quite a lot compared to last year. But obviously, our competitors are very strong,” said Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg.

“The competition being harder is better for us. Last year Jorge won by 138 points, that is too much. 25 points or two races ahead is nice, but with 138 points it makes it easy for somebody make a lot of mistakes. I hope the competition will be very tough this year.”

Lorenzo and his teammate Ben Spies had a solid testing session in Sepang, but they couldn’t match the speed of the RC212Vs. The two Yamaha riders were closest to matching the speed of the Honda bikes, but were still about a second behind.

Still, the Yamaha Factory team was happy about the results.

“Jorge is the most consistent rider out there, and so far things are going well,” Zeelenberg said. “We know Honda’s engine configuration is completely different from ours, and we are not able to match that. But we believe that it’s not always necessary since there are 18 races, and we race on very short tracks.

“We are going the right way but we need to continue working hard.”

You can see a video of Zeelenberg’s interview at MotoGP.com.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Rossi Sits Out of Day 2 Test; Hayden Continues Work on GP11

nicky_hayden_sepangValentino Rossi has been struggling this off-season. Rossi moved to a new team this year, and is doing his best to get the feel of his new Ducati GP11. But an injured shoulder has prevented him from pushing the Ducati to its limits, and today, illness kept Rossi off of the track entirely.

Rossi showed up to the track to this morning, but after feeling ill, decided that it was best to return to his hotel room to rest.

“(Rossi) was feeling weakened by fever and cold when he arrived at the track this morning,” said Ducati in a press release. “After consulting with the team and with doctors from Clinica Mobile, he returned to his hotel, where he underwent anti-flu treatment.”

With Rossi resting in hotel room, Nicky Hayden took to the track to try and finalize settings on the GP11.

“It wasn’t the smoothest day, as we had a couple of time-consuming glitches,” Hayden said. “We had planned to put on some fresh tyres at the end to see how good the changes we’d made really were, but we had a small problem with the gearbox near the end, and there wasn’t time to go back out.”

Hayden finished the testing session more than 2 seconds behind the pace setter, Casey Stoner.

“We still did 44 laps though, and it was a pretty solid day overall. The team really worked hard today, so thanks to them as always. Our gap to the front is still quite big, but we’ve definitely managed to get the chatter a lot better. It’s not completely cured, but it’s good enough that we can focus on some other stuff. I’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow, so hopefully we can take a big step and leave here positive.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Rossi Improves Time on Day 2, Finishes 13th

Valentino_Rossi_-_SepangValentino Rossi continues to concentrate on his shoulder instead of speed during the first official testing session of the 2011 MotoGP season. Rossi finished in 13th today, but was happy with how his shoulder performed.

“Being able to ride again today is important because the shoulder isn’t getting worse under the continued strain,” Rossi said. “Everything is fine while riding under 2’03”, then when I try to take another second off the strength diminishes and the pain increases. It needs more time, without doubt. The situation will improve, but it will be a wait until May. Only then will we be able to work extensively on the bike, because everything we do now could be thrown into doubt when we record more competitive times, when my physical condition is perfect.”

Rossi was able to shave .8 seconds off of his day one time, but still wasn’t able to put in a competitive lap. Today’s winner, Dani Pedrosa, finished more than two seconds ahead of Rossi. But Rossi is happy to have the chance to test out the GP11, even though he isn’t able to push the bike to its limits.

“Today we tried a lot of things, especially with the aerodynamics,” Rossi said. “We focused on comparing fairings and riding with and without wings, and I’m more inclined towards the latter option. The fact is that I’m not in the best physical condition and with the wings I find more resistance in corner entry, which is not good for my shoulder. One of the things we need to improve is going through the turns, because I can’t turn the bike as I would like to. Tomorrow we’re going to continue working with the same enthusiasm as we had today, and at the end of the test we’ll leave with a lot of information.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Valentino Rossi Tests at Misano [Video]

Ducati_MotoGPPrior to the first official testing session for the 2011 MotoGP season, Valentino Rossi and the Ducati team headed to Misano for a few laps. Since it was an unofficial test, Rossi rode the Ducati 1198 instead of the GP11 that he’ll be riding during the season.

Rossi hopped on the Ducati 1198 just 73 days after his shoulder surgery. After the test he said that his shoulder was “painful” and “not very strong.”

Rossi and the Ducati team will get a chance to test out the GP11 tomorrow, when they join the rest of the MotoGP riders at Sepang for the first official test of the 2011 season.

Here’s the video of Valentino Rossi riding the Ducati 1198 at Misano.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com