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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Dani Pedrosa leaves Sepang test on top

The third and final day of MotoGP testing at Sepang is over and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa closed out the first official 2013 pre-season test on top of the timesheets for the third consecutive day as the session wound down with the appearance of rain in the final hour, effectively freezing lap times, that again improved from yesterday, with five riders under the 2.01 mark.

Pedrosa’s best lap was in 2.00.100 and done on his fourth lap out of the 44 he completed and breaking the official Sepang race lap record and the pole record, but not Casey Stoner’s 2012 Sepang test record. Finishing Honda’s testing programme early, Pedrosa packed it in at 3pm, leaving the rest of the field to try to play catch-up.

Jorge Lorenzo made a quick start also in the morning and with his fourth lap he stopped the clock in 2.00.429, 0.329s slower than the Repsol Honda rider and unable to improve in the afternoon session and he finished 2nd, again. Team mate Valentino Rossi also finally made it under the 2.01 and he finished third and just 0.113 from the reigning World Champion, but it took his 43rd lap to get him there.

Marc Marquez fell to fourth, but the MotoGP rookie took his first tumble with the RC213V in the morning, harmlessly lowsiding (his lean angles wore out the leather on his elbow) out of the final hairpin in the morning session, but he returned to track to post his best time of the day in 2:00.636.

Cal Crutchlow finished fifth and he too was able to dip under the 2.01 barrier once, the same as Rossi. Stefan Brad seems to have recovered from his health problems as he was sixth and just 0.269s from the Yamaha satellite rider and the last rider to be within a second from Pedrosa.

Alvaro Bautista concluded the day in 7th and ahead of a highly impressive Bradley Smith who is continuing his learning process with the satellite M1.

9th and 10th went to Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso who shaved off only some thousandths of second from Wednesday’s lap times. Pramac rider Andrea Iannone was the only other Ducati rider to cut a couple of tenths of a second from his previous day that put him in 13th and little more than 7 tenths from veteran Ducati rider Nicky Hayden. Team mate Ben Spies decided to sit out the entire day of testing, because of general soreness, as he is still recovering from his shoulder injury and hasn’t been able to train.

Michael Laverty is also another rider who impressed in these testsm as the MotoGP newbie and PBM’s CRT rider started slowly to climb the charts and concluded the day as the second best CRT rider with his 15th spot leaving behind him riders like Randy de Puniet, Danilo Petrucci and Colin Edwards.

MotoGP testing will be returning to Sepang for another three days of testing from February 26th to the 28th.

MotoGP Sepang Day 3 Test Results

01 PEDROSA, Dani - Repsol Honda Team - 2:00.100 -

02 LORENZO, Jorge - Yamaha Factory Racing - 2:00.429 +0.329

03 ROSSI, Valentino - Yamaha Factory Racing - 2:00.542 +0.442

04 MARQUEZ, Marc - Repsol Honda Team - 2:00.636 +0.536

05 CRUTCHLOW, Cal - Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - 2:00.734 +0.634

06 BRADL, Stefan - LCR Honda MotoGP - 2:01.003 +0.903

07 BAUTISTA, Alvaro - Go & Fun Honda Gresini - 2:01.502 +1.402

08 SMITH, Bradley - Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - 2:02.093 +1.993

09 HAYDEN, Nicky - Ducati Team - 2:02.184 +2.084

10 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea - Ducati Team - 2:02.277 +2.177

11 NAKASUGA, Katsayuki - Yamaha Factory - 2:02.616 +2.516

12 ESPARGARO, Aleix - Power Electronics Aspar - 2:02.628 +2.528

13 IANNONE, Andrea - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team - 2:02.864 +2.764

14 AKIYOSHI, Kosuke - HRC Test Team - 2:03.082 +2.982

15 LAVERTY, Michael - Paul Bird Motorsport - 2:03.874 +3.774

16 DE PUNIET, Randy - Power Electronics Aspar - 2:04.066 +3.966

17 YOSHIKAWA, Wataru - Yamaha Factory - 2:04.137 +4.037

18 BARBERA, Hector - Avintia Blusens - 2:04.211 +4.111

19 TAKAHASHI, Takumi - HRC Test Team - 2:04.288 +4.188

20 PETRUCCI, Danilo - Came IodaRacing Project - 2:04.531 +4.431

21 ABRAHAM, Karel - Cardion AB Motoracing - 2:04.766 +4.666

22 AOYAMA, Hiroshi - Avintia Blusens - 2:04.915 +4.815

23 CORTI, Claudio - NGM Mobile Forward Racing - 2:05.107 +5.007

24 PESEK, Lukas - Came IodaRacing Project - 2:05.321 +5.221

25 HERNANDEZ, Yonny - Paul Bird Motorsport - 2:05.407 +5.307

26 EDWARDS, Colin - NGM Mobile Forward Racing - 2:05.913 +5.813

27 STARING, Bryan - Go & Fun Honda Gresini - 2:05.970 +5.870

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pits to victory for Pedrosa at Valencia

Dani Pedrosa won Sunday's Valencia MotoGP season finale from a pit lane start, after a dramatic accident for race leader and newly crowned double champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga finished in a shock second, while Casey Stoner hunted down Alvaro Bautista to snatch a podium place in his final MotoGP appearance before retirement.

Lorenzo had been one of the few riders to correctly choose slick tyres for the drying conditions, alongside Nakasuga and Stefan Bradl.

Pole sitter Pedrosa realised his wet tyre error on the warm-up lap and was joined by Nicky Hayden, Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautistato in pulling into the pits to change bikes, meaning an end of pitlane start.

Slick tyres soon began to pay off with Lorenzo rising from eighth to first in the space of four laps, as more and more wet-tyre riders peeled into pitlane.

Once all were on dry bikes, Lorenzo was leading by three seconds from title runner-up Pedrosa, with Bradl third, Nakasuga fourth and Cal Crutchlow fifth. Bradl crashed out soon after.

Pedrosa caught Lorenzo after ten laps, but then ran wide and lost five-seconds.

However Lorenzo then got into a tank-slapper while trying to lap James Ellison, just before the halfway mark of the 30 laps - which turned into a massive highside on corner exit.

The Yamaha star was left fuming but lucky not to be hurt as he trudged through the gravel to only his second non-score of the year.

The incident left Pedrosa with a huge lead over Crutchlow - who also started from pit lane - but the Englishman then crashed with seven laps to go, ending his hopes of rising higher than seventh in the standings.

Nakasuga, who impressed with sixth in last year's damp Valencia race, thus secured a shock second place in only his sixth grand prix appearance!

Meanwhile Stoner - well outside the top ten early in the grand prix – got ever faster and passed Gresini Honda's Bautista to claim the final podium place with two laps to go.

27-year-old double champion Stoner waved to his Repsol Honda team, who were hanging off the pit wall and holding a pit board saying "Going Fishing", as he took the flag for the final time in MotoGP.

Stoner was the highest ranked rider to swap bikes during the actual race.

Fifth for Gresini's Michele Pirro was the best ever result for a CRT rider, while Andrea Dovizioso (Tech 3), Karel Abraham (Cardion), Danilo Petrucci (Ioda) and Ellison (PBM) followed.

Valentino Rossi's last Ducati ride ended in tenth place and one lap down, while team-mate Hayden was an early faller.

Pedrosa concluded the season 18 points behind Lorenzo and with a best ever seven wins, one more than Lorenzo this year. Third in the standings Stoner took five wins, but missed three races due to ankle surgery.

Dovizioso was the top satellite rider with fourth overall in this year's championship, with Bautista's Valencia performance confirming a career-best fifth from Rossi and Crutchlow.

Riders and teams now have just one day off to celebrate before preparations for the 2013 season begin in earnest with a post-race test at Valencia on Tuesday and Wednesday - without Casey Stoner.

Valencia MotoGP - Race Results

The race took place on a drying track, with only Jorge Lorenzo, Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Stefan Bradl lining up on slicks.

Dani Pedrosa, Nicky Hayden, Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista then realised their tyre error on the warm-up lap and pulled into the pits to switch to their slick bikes and start from the end of pit lane.

Pedrosa caught Lorenzo after ten laps, but then ran wide and dropped five-seconds behind. However Lorenzo got into a tank-slapper while trying to lap James Ellison just before the halfway mark, which turned into a massive highside.

Pedrosa then rode to a comfortable win, while Crutchlow later crashed out of second place - handing the position to Lorenzo's team-mate and Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, replacing injured Factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies and also starting on slicks.

Casey Stoner put in a late charge to claim third from Alvaro Bautista in his final MotoGP appearance.

1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 48m 23.819s

2. Katsuyuki Nakasuga JPN Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 49m 1.480s

3. Casey Stoner AUS Repsol Honda (RC213V) 49m 24.452s

4. Alvaro Bautista ESP San Carlo Honda Gresini (RC213V) 49m 26.630s

5. Michele Pirro ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 49m 50.427s

6. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 49m 54.242s

7. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (GP12) 49m 55.608s

8. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT) 1 lap

9. James Ellison GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 1 lap

10. Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Team (GP12) 1 lap

11. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 1 lap 12. Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 2 laps

13. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 2 laps

14. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (Suter-BMW CRT) 3 laps

DNF:

Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)

Claudio Corti ITA Avintia Blusens (Inmotec-Kawasaki CRT)

Hector Barbera ESP Pramac Racing (GP12)

Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1)

Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V)

Roberto Rolfo ITA Speed Master (ART CRT)

Ivan Silva ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)

Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP12)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Valencia MotoGP - Qualifying

Qualifying was the first fully dry session of the weekend.

Injured Factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies is being replaced by test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

Former 250cc world champion and MotoGP rider Hiroshi Aoyama has been drafted into the Avintia Blusens squad in place of the injured Yonny Hernandez.

Also running under the Avintia banner is Claudio Corti, making his MotoGP debut this weekend as a wild-card on the Inmotec-Kawasaki.

Valencia has been resurfaced for this year's round.

1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 30.844s

2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 31.195s

3. Casey Stoner AUS Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 31.428s

4. Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 31.512s

5. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 1m 31.757s

6. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 31.795s

7. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP12) 1m 32.503s

8. Alvaro Bautista ESP San Carlo Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 32.585s

9. Hector Barbera ESP Pramac Racing (GP12) 1m 32.605s

10. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 32.834s 11. Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Team (GP12) 1m 32.877s

12. Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 33.346s

13. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (GP12) 1m 33.442s

14. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (Suter-BMW CRT) 1m 33.453s

15. Michele Pirro ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 1m 33.971s

16. Katsuyuki Nakasuga JPN Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 33.979s

17. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT) 1m 33.980s

18. Ivan Silva ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 34.407s

19. Roberto Rolfo ITA Speed Master (ART CRT) 1m 34.866s

20. James Ellison GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 1m 34.918s

21. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 35.363s

22. Claudio Corti ITA Avintia Blusens (Inmotec-Kawasaki CRT) 1m 36.531s

Fastest practice time:

Dani Pedrosa ESP Honda 1m 33.033s (FP3)

Official Valencia MotoGP records:

Best lap:

Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha 1m 31.002s (2006)

Fastest race lap:

Casey Stoner AUS Ducati 1m 32.582s (2008)

Pedrosa leads sunny final practice at Valencia

2012 MotoGP title runner-up Dani Pedrosa led the way during a slow-starting final free practice session for the Valencia season finale.

After a wet and gloomy Friday, Saturday practice saw the best weather of the weekend, with bright sunshine from the start of the 45-minutes.

But damp patches were still present from overnight rain and, with the new asphalt proving slow to dry, only half of the 22 riders had recorded a lap time - on wets - by the halfway stage.

As on Friday afternoon, CRT riders were the first to risk a set of slicks, with the improving lap times of Avintia Blusens team-mates Ivan Silva and Hiroshi Aoyama eventually prompting the prototype riders to emerge on slicks with ten minutes to go.

Lap times duly plummeted, easily surpassing Randy de Puniet's 1m 36.965s Friday best and culminating in Pedrosa clocking a 1m 33.033s on his 13th and final lap. The official race lap record is a 1m 32.582s, set by Pedrosa's Repsol Honda team-mate Casey Stoner in 2008 (on a Ducati).

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso got closest to Pedrosa this morning, but 0.6s adrift, with team-mate Cal Crutchlow a fraction slower. MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl was the final rider within one-second of the top, with Nicky Hayden - fastest in FP1 - the lead Ducati in fifth place (+1.2s).

Yamaha's newly crowned double world champion Jorge Lorenzo spent the start and end of the session waving and wheelieing to the fans on his way to sixth, with fellow Spaniard Alvaro Bautista seventh for San Carlo Honda Gresini.

de Puniet was again the leading CRT rider in eighth (+1.9s), with double world champion Stoner, taking part in his final MotoGP weekend before retirement, ninth from a brief four-lap appearance.

Michele Pirro completed the top ten on his Gresini CRT, with Ducati riders Valentino Rossi and Karel Abraham eleventh and twelfth.

Providing the sunshine continues, this afternoon's qualifying session should be the first fully dry session of the weekend.

World Superbikes winner MSMW2012