Stoner Tops The Field In Malaysian Heat
By: londonbikers.com | Published 01 February 2012, 13:33 | Views: 952 | tags: honda, sepang, motogp, casey stoner, alvaro bautista, dani pedrosa, lcr honda, repsol honda, san carlo honda gresini, stefan bradl
Reigning World champion Stoner was rendered immobile when a nearlydecade-old back injury flared up as he was preparing for the start ofthe test on Tuesday morning. The injury, suffered in the 125cc GP inthe 2003 Dutch TT, put him out of action and onto thephysiotherapist's table after only a few exploratory laps. But whenhe woke up on Wednesday morning, and with the help of someover-the-counter medication "that takes the edge off," he was readyto ride, he said.
The 26-year-old Australian spent the day comparing the new RC213Vchassis to the one he had tested at the end of 2011 in Valencia. Thediligence paid off, with the team finding a direction for the thirdand final day of the test, while giving Stoner a machine on which hecould set both the day's best time and one of his personal best.Stoner was the only one to lap the 5.548Km track under the two minuteone second target, with a best of 2m, 0.895s.
Pedrosa took advantage of the better weather to improve his time byover half a second. Unlike Tuesday, when overnight rains kept ridersidle until late in the morning, Wednesday was sunny, hot, and humid;the track temperature was 50 degrees C. The team continued working onthe new RC213V to reduce chatter, which has become noticeable on mostof the MotoGP factory prototypes with the newest generation controltyres. Solving that issue is magnified by the concurrent issue ofbraking stability, which most of the riders agree is more essentialon the 1000cc machines than the previous 800s.
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Bautista took nearly a second off hisbest lap time as he gained confidence in the Honda RC213V. Bautistasprinted out of the garage in the morning to take advantage of theslightly cooler temperatures; from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the searingheat makes it more difficult to achieve a good lap time. It was inthe slightly cooler afternoon-the track is open until 6:00 p.m.-thatthe Spaniard recorded his best time, on the 45th of 46 laps. That putthe team on the right path for the third and final day of the test onThursday.
Bradl's best lap of 2m, 2.414s was set in the morning on the ninth of41 laps. Not long after the young German endured every rider's riteof passage, his first MotoGP crash, which was a result of trying aslightly different line in a right hand corner around the middle ofthe day. With only minor damage to both himself and his LCR HondaRC213V, he was able to resume his testing programme and considerablyimprove his time.
The test concludes on Thursday.
HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTES
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V): 1st, 2m, 0.895s
"It was great to be able to ride today and everything went prettywell, although I would have liked to have done a few more laps. Wespent most of the day on the new chassis comparing it back to backwith the one we had in Valencia and we found a good direction andwhere we want to go. As usual, it would be great to take someelements from one chassis and some from the other, but at least wefound the direction we are happy to follow. We used the hard fronttyre this afternoon, but found we had more chattering with it so wehave to work on this. There is still room for improvement. We didn'tget a chance to use the new spec tyres that Bridgestone have broughthere. We'll try them out tomorrow and go from there."
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V): 4th, 2m, 1.508s
"Today we started to work well from the beginning; the trackconditions were better than yesterday and it was hotter out there.We've been working on the setting of the bike, focusing mainly on thebraking and reducing chatter, to improve the stability on the entryof the corners; that's our main target right now. We made somecomparisons between the two chassis' and we will keep working withthe bike and see what can we do before choosing. We have one moreday, so we'll try some other things with the shocks-this couldhelp-and also different tyre pressures. We will see. I didn't do manylaps during the day, but now it's time to test as much as possibleand sometimes you have to spend more time in the garage. It's normal.The new Bridgestone tyres are working OK, I just tried one hard onthe rear, but I didn't have much grip and the soft ones are workingbetter. Even for the endurance they don't look so bad."
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V): 8th, 2m, 1.933s
"The second day of the test has seen us improve our lap timesslightly, but above all put together a consistent pace over a seriesof outings. Today I had more confidence with the bike and I was ableto push with more conviction, which I am particularly pleased about.We have tried some things with the electronics and some settingsolutions that will give us an idea of what we need to do tomorrow. Iam sure that we can improve the bike and my riding significantly.Obviously I need to get used to riding a 'thousand' because it hasdifferent characteristics to an 800, mainly in that it has more powerand you have to use that in a different way. I have been able to seehow professional this team is. They are doing a great job so thatgives me confidence for tomorrow, when we will try to take anotherstep forward."
Stefan Bradl (Team LCR Honda RC213V): 11th, 2m, 2.414s
"Today has been a full day of work for me and the guys. We made somegood steps forward including in our 'to-do' list, suspensionregulations, chassis geometry adjustments and some electronics. Ifound the bike easier to ride and my fastest lap time came early inthe morning and I was very pleased with that."
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