The two Repsol Honda Team riders leave Malaysia after being the only ones able to lap under 2 minutes.
The two Repsol Honda Team riders leave Malaysia after being the only ones able to lap under 2 minutes. Andrea Dovizioso keeps progressing and finishes fourth
The Repsol Honda Team leaves Sepang satisfied after three days of important set-up work with the Honda RC212V they will use to compete this year. In this third and last testing day, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa surprised again his rivals with impressive lap times under 2 minutes. Andrea Dovizioso, fourth, also progressed a lot during these three days in Sepang.
When there is less than a month left for the start of the 2011 season in Qatar, the progression of the three Repsol Honda Team riders with the RC212V allow to face the first race of the World Championship with optimism. Casey Stoner hinted yesterday afternoon that it was possible to reduce his lap time under two minutes and he did so this morning. Taking advantage of the first hours of the day - with milder temperatures-, the Repsol rider went out to the track determined to push his bike to the limit to check where he could get with it.
In his first lap, a couple of minor mistakes prevented him to pass the 2-minute barrier -2.00'122-, but in the next lap, the second of the day, the Australian of the Repsol Honda Team set a superb register -1.59'665-, breaking the two minutes barrier and setting the fastest time of the three days. His team mate Dani Pedrosa also wanted to take advantage of the perfect conditions of this morning to get the most from his Honda RC212V. In his case it was on the third lap when he was able to pass the 2-minutes barrier with a time of 1 minute, 59 seconds and 803 thousandths.
Andrea Dovizioso also made the most of his Honda in the early morning, but in his case it was in the sixth lap and he set the fourth fastest time, behind his two team mates and his fellow countryman Simoncelli.
After this spectacular start, for the rest of the day the Repsol Honda Team riders focused on the set-up of their bikes. Stoner worked on different engine configurations and compared the two chassis available, which in the end allowed him to make a decision about which one he will use in the next tests, on March 13 and 14 in Qatar.
In the morning, Dani Pedrosa focused on the electronic configuration of his bike's engine and on the suspensions, while in the afternoon he completed a series of consecutive laps, although without doing a proper race simulation. Andrea Dovizioso also made chassis comparison, tried geometry changes and some adjustments to the electronics to improved the entrance to the corners, ending the day with several consecutive laps to test the behaviour of his bike.
After concluding these three days of test in Malaysia, the long winter will reach its end in Qatar, where first there will be two more testing days before the first race of the season on march 20.
Dani Pedrosa 1'59.803 sec, 38 laps, 211 km.
"We did a very good three days testing; both tests here in Sepang have been very positive. We improved the braking and worked a lot with different chassis configurations and electronics. It's been a much better winter test than last year, even we know that everybody will improve for the first race. I'm leaving Sepang satisfied and I think testing in Qatar will give further opportunity to check our work at another circuit, with a different layout and track conditions to what we have had here.
I've spent more or less the same time with last year's chassis and the modified 2011 chassis and my best lap time was with the 2011 version, but it will be nice to check it again in Qatar and take there the final decision. I think the bike and myself are in a good shape and we are getting to Qatar with more confidence than last year, but we need to keep our feet on the ground because we had many pro blems at the beginning of last season and then we improved a lot, so the others can do the same. Nothing is clear until we start racing".
Andrea Dovizioso 2'00.541 sec, 45 laps, 250 km.
"The good point is that we are really fast, and to have the first two tests like this is a great thing. Also, when we tried the race simulation we were fast so this is confirmed that we are strong and can fight. However, after completing the simulation I discovered a problem in the front - as I had in some races in 2009 - after a few laps I lose some grip in the middle of the corner.
I will leave this test very happy but we're far from perfect, we need to study what we changed that caused this problem as it occurred after we added just five litres more of fuel. Anyway, even with this problem I completed many fast laps and we are very fast compared to last year. I feel without the problem I had in the front of the bike, I would be able to achieve a similar pace to Dani and Casey, so I'm happy about this".
Casey Stoner 1'59.665 sec, 37 laps, 205 km.
"We had a good day comparing the chassis' again and I'm happy we have made our decision on which one we'll use for the season. We also tried a lot of electronics with engine braking and found improvements in a few areas, and some losses in others so we need to rectify these. The chassis we've chosen always behaves in the way we want it to, no matter what set-up we use, we are also able to adapt it fairly easily.
So when we get to Qatar in a few weeks we'll be able to test different set-up's at the same time and get more track time on it. Some changes can be quite time consuming to do, so having the two bikes with identical chassis will be useful. The test here has been very productive for us, we did a long run here today - almost race distance - and gathered some key information. I'm feeling more and more comfortable on the RC212V and I can't wait to get to Qatar".