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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Honda MotoGP riders halted by engine checks


Further checks on the engine problem suffered by Dani Pedrosa at the end of the opening day of MotoGP testing at Sepang caused all four Honda riders to be absent on Wednesday.

Pedrosa had been second fastest behind factory team-mate Casey Stoner during day one, but needed to be pushed back to the pits after engine gremlins on his final run.

“I was in the back straight and then the bike had some problem. I had the red light so this means you have to stop. Then I take the clutch. Now they are checking,” Pedrosa had said on Tuesday evening.

Those checks were continuing on Wednesday morning, meaning the RC213V riders - Stoner, Pedrosa, Alvaro Bautista (Gresini) and Stefan Bradl (LCR) - missed out on the opening two hours of dry track time before a heavy rain shower arrived at midday.

A statement from Repsol Honda, released on Wednesday afternoon, explained:

“Due to an engine failure on Dani Pedrosa's RC213V machine yesterday, HRC sent the engine to Japan for analysis.

“The feedback after the investigation was positive, however it arrived after lunch when the Sepang circuit was drenched by heavy rain, so unfortunately the Repsol Honda riders were unable to take to the track.

“Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa will return back on track tomorrow and resume their testing programme.”

With the four Hondas absent, Yamaha riders Ben Spies, Jorge Lorenzo (+0.008s), Andrea Dovizioso (+0.237s) and Cal Crutchlow (+0.410s) filled the top four places by the time of the rain interruption.

The top Ducati of Nicky Hayden is fifth (+0.463s), followed by Pramac's Hector Barbera (+0.704s) and Hayden's factory team-mate Valentino Rossi (+0.845s).

Spies' best time, of 2m 1.285s, is half-a-second inside Stoner's day one best - Tuesday's action also being interrupted by a rain storm - but is some way off the 1m 59.607s set by the Australian at the first test earlier this month.

Stoner also missed one day at the first Sepang test, due to a back strain.

UPDATE: Honda test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi took to the drying track late on Wednesday.

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