Honda Riders Start Strong In Malaysia

From Honda Racing
MotoGP Test Sepang, Malaysia Day one of three-day test. February 28, 2012
Weather: Hot and sunny, rain midday. Track temperature: 37 degrees C Ambient temperature: 56 degrees C

Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa started strongly at the second MotoGP test of the season by topping the time sheets on a rain-interrupted hot and humid day.

Stoner left home for the first time since becoming a father earlier this month to continue the domination he showed at the previous Sepang test. Early in his second run Stoner lapped the 5.548Km circuit in 2m, 1.761s. The time was the benchmark for the rest of the day after torrential rains moved in just after the lunch break.

As quick as it was, Stoner's lap did not approach his 1m, 59.607s fastest lap from the first test, which ended on earlier this month. Still, it was the fastest of the day by .244s. And Stoner believes the times would have been faster had the day not been hit by the typically torrential Malaysian downpours.

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa finished with the second fastest time. The Spaniard, who had been third in the earlier Sepang test, spent the limited track time working on chassis geometry, rider position, and power delivery. Pedrosa completed 36 laps, but his day ended early with an engine problem that the team will diagnose overnight.

Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) was the first of the satellite team machines with the fifth fastest time. The Spaniard was affected by the poor track conditions, which he put down to a car race on the previous weekend. That, coupled with only 24 laps of dry track time, left Bautista unable to reach his true potential on the first day.

The best of his 24 laps came on his 15th, when he clocked a time of 2m, 2.959s, just .140s outside of the fourth position. Rather than risk crashing, which he nearly did in the morning, Bautista decided to end the day early and continue his testing program in the morning.

In his second MotoGP test on the LCR Honda RC213V, Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl finished with the tenth fastest time. The young German put in 31 laps with a best time of 2m, 3.820s.

Bradl used his time to compare the two Honda frames, as well as working on rear suspension settings and engine mapping.

The test continues on Wednesday.


Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V): 1st, 2m, 1.7601s
"It was really hard to leave Switzerland. Ally woke up for a feed at the same time as I was leaving for the airport and I didn't really want to leave. The first day of testing has gone well. We started off where we left last time, but the track conditions have been a little worse. We have some work to do. This morning we managed to compare a few things back to back. We've tried a new set of brake discs to try and reduce the brake fade that I've been having at the last test, so that's been an improvement. We're trying a few other things with set up to shorten the wheelbase and get a little more traction. We have a couple of things we can try to change the stiffness and also move the weight around a little bit to try and upset the chatter and reduce the frequency. This afternoon I have no doubt we would have gone a second or a second and a half faster, but the rain came out and the track didn't dry up enough to warrant going out, so we'll wait until tomorrow."

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V): 2nd, 2m, 2.005s
"It was a good test for us; we made a couple of good runs. The track was very dirty at the beginning of the practice and you could feel the grip level was not so good, but it's been improving little by little during the day and we could work through our testing program. It was much warmer than in the last test; after the first run I was sweating more than in the three days we came here last time. Today we did some tests on the engine to see how can we manage the power delivery, and also worked on the chassis. Also, on the rider position to work on the balance and it was positive. In the afternoon I did some laps in the rain, but on my second run it started to dry up quickly, so we finished earlier. On my last run, I had a small issue, I saw a red light on the dashboard, so I took the clutch and stopped. We have to analyse now what it was."

Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V): 5th, 2m, 2.959s
"The track surface was in poor condition and it was very difficult to push, so we focused on experimenting with some different set-up solutions to increase my confidence on the 1000cc bike. The rainfall brought our day to an early conclusion because with the already precarious conditions it was better to leave everything else we had planned until tomorrow. I had a miraculous escape this morning in turn five when I basically crashed, but managed to keep the bike upright on my elbow."

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V): 10th, 2m, 3.820s
"Well, the surface conditions today were not very good due to the rain, but we could make our first long run in the wet to see my feeling on wet tyres. I lapped two seconds slower than my first test here, but on these conditions I take the most of the bike and we will proceed with our set up work in the next two days. Technically speaking, we have compared the two chassis specs working on rear suspension too and we have tested a new map which includes the wheelie software."

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Honda Riders Start Strong In Malaysia () 02/29 10:43 AM

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