MotoGP test Losail, Qatar. Final day of three-day test, February 15, 2007

2007-02-15 12:45
Dani Pedrosa and the RC212V set fastest lap time at Qatar MotoGP test

The final day of the last pre-season MotoGP test
at the Losail circuit, Qatar was a crucial day
for many of the teams present. With just 21 days
to go before the opening race of the 18-round
world championship series, hosted by the same
Losail circuit, Honda teams, technicians and
riders worked hard to complete the development programme set out by HRC.

The majority of teams head back to Europe to
prepare for the final pre-season, at Jerez, Spain
on February 23-25 with sufficient technical data
to establish good base lines for overall machine set up.

Dani Pedrosa was particularly satisfied with his
three-days in Qatar. The diminutive Spaniard made
few set up changes to his four-cylinder 800cc
RC212V for today spending most of his time
testing Michelin tyres. Pedrosa ran fast
consistent times on race tyres before conducting
a 22-lap race simulation during which he ran one
lap at 1m 56.835s, 0.5 seconds inside the
existing lap record set on a 990cc machine. The
precocious 21-year old then fitted a set of
qualifying tyres to his RCV and set fastest time
for the three-day test with a scintillating time of 1m 55.471s!

For MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden it was a
bounce-back day. The Repsol Honda factory rider
suffered two crashes yesterday and needed to run
laps and get comfortable on his RCV instead of
chasing lap times. He spent his day working
towards getting a better feeling from the front
end with encouraging results to carry into the
final pre-season test at Jerez, Spain on February
23-25. He left Qatar in positive mood confident
HRC will provide the solutions necessary to
improve the Champions prospects of opening his title defence with a victory.

Gresini Honda rider Marco Melandri ended the
three days of testing with his RCV in very
buoyant mood. The former 250cc world champion has
worked methodically all winter and he has nothing
but praise for his technical crew who have
established a solid base line with chassis and
suspension for the Honda. That has allowed
Melandri the freedom to ride confidently and at a
consistent fast pace on the Bridgestone tyres he
will race on for the first time in his career.

Melandri's team-mate, Toni Elias continues to
struggle as he adapts to the Bridgestone tyres
Gresini Honda will race with in 2007. Despite not
finding the tyres to suit his style the young
Spaniard improved drastically today slashing 1.7
seconds off his best time of yesterday. Elias is
not despondent with the situation he looks to the
hard working combination of Bridgestone and the
Gresini technicians to resolve his problems in
time for the Jerez test next week.

Japanese star Shinya Nakano has adapted well to
the RC212V and grows in confidence each time he
rides the bike. He is beginning to understand the
characteristics of the Honda and has resolved the
front end problems he experienced at previous test.

LCR Honda rider Carlos Checa is satisfied with
the work they have done and the results achieved.
The team have found a good direction to work in
and at Jerez will fine tune the RCV ready to race in three-weeks.

Team Roberts took a step forward on the final day
at Qatar. Team rider Kenny Roberts Jnr had been
hampered by front end problems that caused major
tyre wear. Working on weight transfer and
suspension modifications the team have almost
eradicated the problem and go into the Jerez test
confident they will complete their pre-season testing schedule,

Honda rider quotes and lap times.

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 1m 57.269s - 97 laps.
"After yesterday I just needed to come in and do
some laps to try to get the feeling back, so
today I got comfortable and didn't get too
carried away chasing lap times. I've been trying
to get some more feeling from the front - that's
what we're working towards. I'd have liked to
have gone a bit faster today but we're still
positive and we'll go back to work in Jerez and
make some improvements. Things started out so
good on the first morning here - since then it's
been a tough couple of days. Sometimes this is a
hard a game and you've got to adjust to it - I go
away from here healthy and hopefully we'll go to
the next test and get some things sorted out with
me and the bike. I want to thank my team because
yesterday was pretty hard on those guys and they were really cool about it."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda - 1m 55.471s - 87 laps
"On the final day we didn't test too much on the
bike. We took the best settings from yesterday
and the day before and put in a good number of
laps to get a better feeling for how the tyres
will behave during the race. I also did a race
simulation and put on qualifying tyres at the end
of the day. Definitely this was as a test for
myself more than for the bike and that's good. It
was really important to get a good feeling here
because the first race of the season will be held
here and now I hope that when we come back the
conditions are similar and we can take advantage
of this test. But it wasn't only us that had a
good test: also Yamaha and Suzuki are fast,
Ducati as well. We will continue to see how the
tyres work and that's why we cannot relax. We
wanted to see the performance of the bike at the
end of the race and we've got some information
about this which is important. Now we have to keep improving".

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 1m.56.980s - 62
laps."The team is doing a great job. I like the
bike, I have a good feeling when I'm riding. I
feel very comfortable with chassis and
suspensions. Now we have to work on the engine to
make a further step forward. We continued tyres
testing with Bridgestone and we found some
interesting solutions that can be good in
preparation for the race. In the afternoon I
tried also a qualifying tyre to gather some data
and prepare for the season. I couldn't use the
qualifying tyre at his best, while my race pace
was quite good. I trust a lot our partners so I'm confident".

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 1m.57.246s - 71 laps.
"We are struggling a bit because at this moment
we cannot find a good compromise in the package
Honda - Bridgestone, we still haven't found the
tyre that it's good for my riding style and my
characteristics. I'm confident because we are
working hard with the Bridgestone technicians. We
will get probably some new stuff to test in Jerez
for the next IRTA test session, this would be very important for us ".

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 1m 56.980s -
73 laps. "During these three days on the Losail
track, I did the best I could and rode hard. I'm
happy about the level of feeling I'm now getting
from the front tyre, as this was our target
during this test and we've achieved that. Every
test I make with the new bike, I'm able to make a
further step forward and I hope to move ahead
again next week during the IRTA test. This is
vital if I'm to be in the best shape for the
first race of the season here in Qatar in 2007."

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 1m 57.497s. - 83 laps.
"I know that today's result is not so positive
compared to Pedrosa's best lap time but I feel
pretty satisfied about these days' work. Honestly
we still have to improve on qualifying tyres but
the pace we got on this machine makes me very
confident for the beginning of the season. Since
the first test in Sepang last November we have
been working very hard to find the right
direction to go and I can easily say the things
are going in the right way. Today I rode also a
race simulation and the feeling with the bike is
getting better day after day. Now we move to
Jerez for the last test session before the
season's kick off and we will use those days to fix up the last things".

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: 1m 57.408s "There was
quite a lot of wind and we struggled at times
with the work we were trying to do on the bike.
We had been tearing up a lot of front tyre in the
corners so we worked on weight transfer and the
suspension and it was a lot better today. We
tested some tyres for Michelin and we ended the
day running a race simulation on the race tyres
we got the most out of on Tuesdays good laps. The
time wasn't too bad lap times could have been a
couple of tenths faster but the sun was going
down and it was difficult to se where the edge of
the track was. One thing for sure, we are closer
to the front at this stage last year. We'll be OK in Jerez."

MotoGP Official Test: Qatar. Day 3 Official Times

1. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda - 1m 55.471s
2. John Hopkins, Suzuki - 1m 55.825s
3. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha - 1m 55.954s
4. Alex Hofmann, Pramac d'Antin - 1m 56.315s
5. Colin Edwards, Yamaha - 1m 56.371s.
6. Randy de Puniet, Kawasaki - 1m 56.753s.
7. Loris Capirossi, Ducati - 1m 56.807s.
8. Casey Stoner, Ducati - 1m 56.834s.
9. Alex Barros, Pramac d'Antin - 1m 56.950s.
10. Marco Melandri, Honda Gresini - 1m 56.980s.
11. Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda - 1m 56.980s.
12. Makoto Tamada, Dunlop Yamaha Tech3 - 1m 57.232s.
13. Toni Elias, Honda Gresini - 1m 57.246s.
14. Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda - 1m 57.269s.
15. Chris Vermeulen, Suzuki - 1m 57.365s.
16. Kenny Roberts, Team Roberts - 1m 57.408s.
17. Carlos Checa, Honda LCR - 1m 57.497s.
18. Sylvain Guintoli, Dunlop Yamaha Tech3 - 1m 58.379s.
19. Shinichi Ito, Ducati TTT - 1'58.974
20. Andrew Pitt, Ilmor GP - 2'00.455
21. Olivier Jacque, Kawasaki Racing - 2'02.081
22. Jeremy McWilliams, Ilmor GP - 2'02.612

Source: Honda Pro Image

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