The 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.
– 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.”
– 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.”
Alvaro 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.”
Nicky 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.”
Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com