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GP Week : Issue 142
The first tests for the 2012 season suggested little change from the previous year, in spite of the switch from 800cc to 1000cc. The Repsol Hondas dominated again, with Ben Spies’s sole factory Yamaha next, but almost a second slower. With Jorge Lorenzo missing, there were still questions left un-answered. Rookie of the year Cal Crutchlow went well on a second 1000cc Yamaha, while his new team-mate Andrea Dovizioso first essayed a run on the 800cc M1 before switching to next year’s very similar-looking machine. They placed fourth and fifth on the list. Dani Pedrosa was fastest on both days, adapting his riding style to the torquier motor while reeling off a best lap of 1:31.807, marginally faster than Stoner’s pole time, and a full second better than his own second-place qualifying time four days before: “ We’ve been working on engine mapping for better power management, and with the rear shock. The changes from Brno to here have been positive,” he said. Stoner was less than two-tenths slower, saying: “Everything has gone pretty well to be honest. There’ve been a few small improvements especially in terms of the bike working with the new 2012 tyres.” They’d managed to cut some front-end chatter. “ We’d like to improve that a bit more,” he said. Spies reported “a long two days. We had a lot of work to do with Jorge not being here.” But they’d established a direction, and “a good idea of what we need to work on. There’s a lot of potential in what we have. “ The 1000 seems to suit my style a little better,” he added. There was much interest in Dovizioso’s Yamaha debut after a career spent with Honda. After a short run on the 800 on the first day, he switched to the 1000. He praised the braking stability and engine braking system for the Yamaha, adding: “ This was my first chance to ride a 1000, and the power is very impressive. The riding style is very close to the 800, and the Yamaha has a lot of good points for my style.” Honda dominates tests Dovi makes Yamaha debut 14