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GP Week : Issue 35
>>Moto GPnews Test times replicate Valencia race AS the 2009 season began the day after Valencia, the same three riders dominated the time sheets, in the same order. Stoner was fastest on the new Ducati, then Dani Pedrosa on the upgraded Honda, then Rossi on his prototype 2009 Yamaha. Times among the top trio were on average better by a tenth, attributed not to machine improvements, but to better track conditions. The improvement came in spite of the full field using new-for-next- year Bridgestone control tyres, supposedly introduced to slow down corner speeds for safety. But there were positive reactions all round to upgrades, and Stoner cited engine improvements – “more progressive and predictable”– and better braking stability from his carbon-fibre-framed Desmosedici GP9. Vermeulen was next best on his upgraded Suzuki, with team-mate Capirossi two-tenths slower. The Rizla riders had new engine and chassis parts, and a revised version of the bodywork rejected early in 2008. “We’ve definitely got a direction,” said Vermeulen. With New Ducati rider Nicky Hayden placed 12th on his special stars-‘n’-stripes machine; his factory Honda replacement Andrea Dovizioso was eighth in his first outing on the pneumatic-valve-spring bike. The Italian said he was still coming to terms with its adjustability, compared with his satellite-team bike. There was a positive reaction also from Melandri, in his first Kawasaki ride. He improved on his Ducati lap time and said “the stiffer Japanese style of bike seems to suit my style better,”acknowledging that “there is still a lot of work to do” to make the green machine competitive. Tech 3 Yamaha riders Edwards and Toseland were absent, as well as dumped riders Guintoli, West and Nakano. In their place were the returned Sete Gibernau, new boy Niccolò Canepa and ex-250 man Mika Kallio on Ducatis, Takahashi (also ex- 250) on his new Honda, and Kawasaki test Olivier Jacques. All of these made a steady rather than spectacular start. The accompanying chart shows best test times for all, compared with best race times from the day before – the first time POS. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 MOTOGP| Testing VALENCIA RIDER, TEAM Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Chris Vermeulen, Rizla Suzuki Loris Capirossi, Rizla Suzuki Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Jorge Lorenzo, Fiat Yamaha Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda John Hopkins, Kawasaki 10 Marco Melandri, Kawasaki 11 15 Mika Kallio, Alice Ducati 16 12 Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro 13 14 Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Sete Gibernau, Onde 2000 Ducati Olivier Jacque, Kawasaki 17 Niccolò Canepa, Alice Ducati 18 Yuki Takahashi, Team Scot Honda BEST TEST (BEST RACE) 1´32.464 (1’32.582) 1´32.672 (1’32.796) 1´32.921 (1’33.075) 1´33.142 (1’34.595) 1´33.325 (1’33.626) 1´33.375 (1’33.839) 1´33.550 (1’33.884) 1´33.676 (1’33.313) 1´33.760 (1'34.035) 1´33.782 (1’34.117) 1´33.832 (1’34.225) 1´33.960 (1’33.393) 1´34.129 (1’34.634) 1´34.451 (DNS) 1´34.793 (DNS) 1´34.925 (DNS) 1´34.995 (DNS) 1´35.203 (DNS) Underdogs go south as testing is cut WITH the winter testing schedule further abbreviated, Suzuki and Kawasaki MotoGP teams will miss the final official IRTA test at Jerez in favour of a trip to Australia. Instead of two days in Spain in unpredictable autumn weather, the teams will go to the Australian GP circuit at Phillip Island, where they can expect hotter and dryer weather. Tests have been cut both to reduce overall costs, and in response to the one- for-all control Bridgestone tyres next year. But Kawasaki team chief Michel Bartholemy believes the new tyres give them more rather than less to test. “Monday after the race was the first time we used the same front tyre of Stoner and Rossi, and we have to adapt our bike for it,” he said. “Anyway,” he added: “We have a lot to do to make our bike more competitive.” The testing ban from December 1 to January 20 remains as before, Jerez tests at the end of October have been cut from three days to two; while a planned late January trip to Phillip Island has been cancelled altogether. There will be only three pre-season tests in 2009, at Sepang (Feb 5-07), Qatar (Mar 1-3) and Jerez (Mar 28-29). A second visit to Sepang and a round of European tests surrounding Jerez have been cancelled. At the same time, tests after GP races at Jerez, Barcelona, Mugello, Brno and the new Lake Balaton circuit in Hungary have been cut back from two days to one. Suzuki has some tests planned during the break – but in a wind tunnel rather than on-track. 15