Stoner Leads After Day 1 in Sepang

Casey_Stoner_Sepang_TestCasey Stoner kept the Repsol Honda team at the top of the time sheets today, claiming the best lap time around the Sepang track. Stoner set a 2’01” lap time around the Sepang track, leading his teammate Dani Pedrosa to a Repsol Honda 1-2 on the first day of the MotoGP test.

“We had a really good day today, from the beginning I felt more comfortable with the bike again, like I understood the bike a little better,” said Stoner. “We managed to work on set-up but we are still doing a chassis comparison, finding strong points and weak points on both. It’s difficult to choose one or the other, 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.”

The two Honda riders were followed by two Yamaha bikes, as Jorge Lorenzo and Colin Edwards rode their M1s into third and fourth. Lorenzo finished .48 seconds behind Stoner’s time, and Edwards was another two-tenths of a second back.

“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.

The third Repsol Honda rider followed Edwards to take fifth for the day. Andrea Dovizioso beat out Ben Spies by .06 for the fifth place spot. Spies was followed by a couple more Hondas, making it five RC212Vs inside the top 8. The final two Hondas were ridden by the San Carlo Honda Gresini pair Hiroshi Aoyama and Marco Simoncelli.

The highest ranking Ducati bike was driven by Valentino Rossi. Rossi is still recovering from shoulder surgery, but he looked pretty comfortable around the Sepang track. Rossi finished with a 2’01.999 lap time, 1.012 seconds behind the leader.

The top ten was finished off by Alvaro Bautista with the Rizla Suzuki team.

“Today I wanted to ride in a calm way and concentrate on the details that we had to work on,” Bautista said. “We didn’t make an exciting lap-time today but we improved the bike, especially on corner exit where it now feels much smoother. I’m looking forward to pushing a bit harder tomorrow.”

Courtesy of

Rizla Suzuki, Alvaro Bautista, Set for Second Sepang Test

alvaro_bautista_at_sepangAlvaro Bautista and the Rizla Suzuki squad are back in Malaysia for the penultimate pre-season MotoGP test of 2011 with another comprehensive test schedule ahead of them.

Bautista had an impressive first test of 2011 at the Sepang circuit, despite missing the final day due to illness. He recorded his fastest ever time around the 5,548m circuit earlier this month and is in a determined mood to continue with the work he has already begun.

The team has another busy workload during the three days which will see Bautista test new and updated chassis parts, as well as significantly revised electronic control strategies. This is a very important test as it will be the last time that Suzuki’s engineers will have significant time following a test to scrutinise the data and make any further changes in readiness for the start of the season. The final test – at Qatar – is just a few days before the first race, so Bautista and the team will be looking to get every last bit of track-time and information from these three days as possible.

Suzuki’s MotoGP test rider Nobuatsu Aoki will also join the Sepang test with his own GSV-R and support crew, and will be concentrating on refining the newly-developed strategies as well as confirming the base specification for 2011. He will fly in from Japan having tested at Suzuki’s private test track last Saturday, where he was joined by long-time Suzuki Factory racer and tester Yukio Kagayama for his first feedback on the 2011 GSV-R prototype.

Rizla Suzuki will take to the track on Tuesday March 22nd to continue its countdown for the 2011 MotoGP season, which gets underway next month, with the first scheduled race at Losail in Qatar on Sunday March 20th.

Alvaro Bautista:

“I am eager to get to the test and continue with what I started earlier this month. I tried many new things in the first test, but didn’t finish the whole schedule because I was ill on the last day. I am sure the engineers at the factory will have some more updated parts for me to check out in Sepang, because with even missing the final day we still did lots of laps and I’m sure they’ve put the data to good use. I know after the first test that we can be more competitive and fight for podiums at some races – I feel very positive about 2011. As I am the only rider in the team it’s great feeling to know that a Factory like Suzuki is working just for me! We know the bike works well in hot conditions – like we have in Malaysia – but in this test we will be trying lots of components and strategies that should make it work better in other situations.”

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Rizla Suzuki]

Yamaha Factory Team Unveils 2011 MotoGP Livery in Malaysia

Defending champion Jorge Lorenzo and teammate Ben Spies helped unveil the Yamaha Factory Team’s 2011 MotoGP livery today in Malaysia. The Yamaha team, which is defending it’s third consecutive MotoGP championship, unveiled the 2011 YZR-M1, which was dressed in a Yamaha corporate blue color scheme, and incorporated the iconic Yamaha speed block design.

The Yamaha Factory Team will continue preparations for the 2011 MotoGP season tomorrow at the testing session at the Sepang track.

“I’m very happy to be here again preparing to start another season riding with Yamaha,” said Jorge Lorenzo. “Winning the World Championship last season was an incredible feeling, but now we start again. I have a great crew and with the hard work of the Japanese engineers over the winter I feel confident we can fight for more success this year.”

This is Yamaha’s 50th year of MotoGP racing, and both Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo will work hard to bring Yamaha one more title.

“We worked really hard last year to earn the seat with the Yamaha Factory team so it’s a great feeling to be here alongside Jorge,” said Ben Spies. “It’s obviously a special year for Yamaha with the 50th Anniversary of GP racing celebrations so I’m really stoked to be par t of it. The bike’s feeling really good, we’ve got a few days more of testing now to really shake it down and fine tune the set up and we’ll be ready to go. I’m loving the corporate blue colour scheme, I’m a big fan of the design.”

The Yamaha team will have one more testing session before the start of the 2011 MotoGP season. After Sepang, the Yamaha team will travel to Qatar for one last session before the season starts on March 20th.

“I’m proud to be here for the 2011 Yamaha Factory Racing launch and the start of a new era for the team,” said Lin Jarvis, Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing Srl. “This is an important year for us being our 50th anniversary of involvement in Grand Prix racing and we start the season not only with the reigning MotoGP World Champion but also welcoming Ben Spies, last year’s Rookie of the Year to the Factory Team. It’s fitting that we will line up for the start of this special year in our corporate colors.”

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MotoGP Riders Prepare for Test 2 at Sepang

sepang_circuitNext week, the MotoGP riders will gather at Sepang for the second of three testing sessions before the start of the 2011 MotoGP season. The first, which was also held at Sepang, gave a glimpse at what we can expect this season. A whole lot of action, and numerous riders stepping onto the podium.

The Honda RC212V was the star of the first Sepang session. The Repsol Honda team of Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, and Casey Stoner all showed that the RC212V will be a force around the MotoGP track this season. Pedrosa also was able to show that his injured collar bone shouldn’t be a factor this season, and Stoner proved that his adaptation to his new team and new bike was going smoothly.

But the Honda team of all-stars was overshadowed by the smaller San Carlo Gresini team. Marco Simoncelli, who probably wasn’t looked at as a major threat before the first Sepang test, climbed to the top of the time sheets, narrowly missing Valentino Rossi’s track record. Simoncelli led a group of five Honda machines to finish inside the top 7.

The Honda group was the most impressive at Sepang, but Jorge Lorenzo was also in the mix. Lorenzo, the defending 2010 Champion, came within .088 seconds of Simoncelli’s time. Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies also ranked among the top riders. Spies had a fantastic rookie season, and now with a little experience under his belt, should be a consistent contender in the 2011 MotoGP season.

Valentino Rossi couldn’t manage to find a top 10 spot, but the “Doctor” is still nursing a shoulder injury. Rossi said that he was pleased with the Sepang test, and was surprised by the strength of his shoulder. A few weeks have passed sinced the last time he was at Sepang, and we could see Rossi push himself and his speed a little this weekend.

The second MotoGP testing session will start on Tuesday, the 22nd, and will go for three days at Sepang.

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Quotes From Sepang: MotoGP Riders Talk About Testing Session

motogp_logoThe first official testing session of the 2011 MotoGP season is over, and the riders and teams will now take their track day information to get ready for the start of the season.

The first testing session showed that the Repsol Honda team has three riders in Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, and Andrea Dovizioso, that are capable of contending for the podium. But Honda also has a quick rider in Marco Simoncelli, who set the fastest time of the session today.

The Fiat Yamaha team also has a competitive team. Jorge Lorenzo should be in the fight for the title this year, but his teammate Ben Spies also showed some impressive speed on the M1.

In the Ducati garage, Valentino Rossi is still nursing his shoulder. Rossi says that he is feeling stronger every day, but we’ll have to wait until the next testing session to see how his injury progresses.

Here are some quotes from the MotoGP riders after the Sepang session.

Fiat Yamaha
Lorenzo_at_SepangJorge Lorenzo – One of the best winter tests

“I’m very happy after the three days, it has been one of the best winter Tests. Normally we have more issues before feeling good. The bike feels better but we still need to improve some points. I think the next Test will see us take the next step. This afternoon when it was really hot on the track I still managed to put in a few fast laps which has given me the confidence that we are heading in a good direction. Ben is doing a very good job, I spoke with him yesterday and we discussed many things about the bike, he’s a good team-mate.”

Ben Spies – Happy with the consistency of the bike

“For the second and third day we did very consistent times so I’m very happy with it, it shows the consistency of the bike. There are some things we still need to work on. We tested two configurations of engine and we know which direction we want to go in now which is great. We also worked on some electronics for fuel consumption without compromising lap times and we found a good solution for that as well.”

“We’ll come back with some different goals in two weeks to look at being a bit faster and also test some different tyres. We’ve definitely done what we needed to do here. It’s been good riding alongside Jorge, we’ve both worked hard to deliver important information which the team can now take away and work with.”

Repsol Honda
Casey_Stoner_at_SepangCasey Stoner – Today was the best day

“Today was definitely the best day, despite the crash. In general we made some nice steps forwards, alternating between the different chassis, trying to get a good feeling for them. We managed to make the bike work a lot better with used tyres and a different traction control system that catches the tyres a little quicker when they start to spin – which assisted with our corner speed.”

“I’m really pleased with what I’ve found in this test, in fact it’s a little better than what I expected. I’m happy with the overall package, just to be able to focus with such a good base set-up has been really important for us.”

Andrea Dovizioso – I’m Very Happy

“This morning we tried a different bike set-up and we improved in the middle of the corner. We worked on some electronics, in particular on the traction control and we found some good solutions. We also tested a different set-up of the clutch, but unfortunately the feedback was not as we expected,” evaluated the Italian. “This morning the track conditions were very good, so I used the soft tyre and I could lap in 2’00”. It was the first time that I set 2’00” on this track so I’m very happy.”

“I’m satisfied about the work done by HRC, myself and the team during these three days of testing. We start from a very good package. All Hondas are very competitive with many strong riders. We are aware that what we have done is not enough and that we need to continue working.”

Dani Pedrosa – Great news about his arm

“The best news we could have is that recovery of the arm has been effective and cramps have disappeared and the lack of power which had me so worried. This afternoon we did a long run of 12 laps and we have done well. As for the work on the bike, I am also satisfied. We tried many things, step by step, and we leave Malaysia with clear ideas regarding suspensions and some more things to confirm about chassis and engine when we come back here.”

“I have concentrated more on the 2010 machine and in the second Test we will have more time to test this year’s bike. Öhlins will also bring some new parts that can still improve the package. For me the most important step we have given is in terms of stability on braking, which was one of the things we wanted.”

Rizla Suzuki

Alvaro_Bautista_at_SepangAlvaro Bautista – Sick at Sepang

“I am not feeling well at all, I have a constant feeling of sickness and it hasn’t improved all day. I tried to ride the bike this morning; I really wanted to use the good track conditions and try to do my first 2’00 minute lap-time of Sepang! But immediately I made the first lap, the physical effort made the sickness worse and it was just impossible. So, I must say sorry to the team and I am also very disappointed for myself. But the guys keep reminding me that there are no points or prizes for today’s lap-times, and we made a lot of work in the last two days, so I guess it’s not a big problem. Also, Nobu did a good job and tested a lot of stuff so I hope this helps me next time. Anyway, I am really happy about the potential in the 2011 Suzuki and with my team – I can’t wait to come back in a couple of weeks.”

Ducati Team

Valentino_Rossi_at_SepangNicky Hayden – We reduced the gap everyday

“It’s great to be back here, and to be back on the bike. We had three important days with a lot of work to do. Of course I don’t like to still be so far away from the leaders, but we’ve reduced the gap every day. Today it looked like it could rain at any time, so we did a lot of laps in the morning and found some stuff we like. We chased the chatter a lot, which cost us time trying to figure out what’s going on. Last year, that was something we only had a problem with at this one track. We don’t want it anywhere, but it could be a problem that’s not related to the GP11 in general and is specific just to this circuit. We also tested some tyres for Bridgestone and gave them some information that can help down the road. We realize there’s still a lot of work to do, and that starts with the rider. When we come back, we’ll keep reducing the gap to the front guys.”

Valentino Rossi – I feel much more at home with the Ducati

“I’m very happy because before coming here, I expected to do 20, 30 laps per day, and as it turns out, I did around 40 each of the first two days and over 50 today. Of course I was really finished by the end, in part because the rest of my body has to work differently; my left arm has to do extra work, so it’s very tired. But I’m really happy with my shoulder because it’s improving day-by-day, and even after the stress of having ridden a MotoGP bike at the limit, I don’t have any problems: now it’s just a question of strength.

“My mobility has improved a lot, and I no longer think my physical limitations cost me a second; let’s say I lose five or six tenths, especially on braking and in corner entry. Anyway, we worked well today too, and we were able to collect a lot of data and solve the chattering problem we were experiencing. Obviously, there’s still a lot to do, but compared to the start of the Test, we’ve definitely gotten closer to the base set-up we’re looking for. There’s no need to change the Desmosedici’s character; we need to take advantage of its best characteristics – its stability and its engine – and improve the other areas, especially the in-corner behavior, to make it turn better. In any case, the overall evaluation of the Test is definitely good.

“Today we’re a second off the top riders, and also in the afternoon, riding with race tyres, the distance stayed around seven or eight tenths. I still have to do more kilometers in order to understand other aspects of the GP11 but, although I have to change my riding style a little, I now feel much more at home with the Ducati.”

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