Melandri and Gresini Honda hold sway on day two of Jerez MotoGP test

2007-02-24 04:22
Marco Melandri continued his impressive
pre-season form aboard the Gresini Honda RC212V
setting fastest lap time for the second
consecutive day at the final MotoGP test before
the season opens at Doha, Qatar on March.

In bright sunny weather, with much improved track
conditions, Italian Melandri slashed over two
seconds off his best time of yesterday ending the
session ahead of former MotoGP world champion
Valentino Rossi with Repsol Honda factory rider Dani Pedrosa third.

Time sheet topper Melandri set consistently fast
lap times all ay as he worked his way through a
strenuous Bridgestone tyre test in preparation
for the race here on March 25. Once he had found
a good base line set up for race tyres Marco put
in a set of Bridgestone qualifying tyres to
record his fastest lap of the day at 1m 40.383s.
Melandri had a low side crash at themed afternoon
point but escaped with just a bruised arm. The
RC212V was not so lucky sustaining serious damage
that the mechanics worked hard to have the RC212V
ready for the 40 minute timed 'Shoot out' that
will determine which MotoGP wins the sports car on offer for fastest lap.

Dani Pedrosa was again close to top spot on the
time sheets. The Spaniard, a former three-time
world champion in the smaller capacity classes,
worked mainly on chassis settings before moving
on to testing rear tyres for Michelin

Despite only taking to the track at around 13.00.
MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden put in 91 hard
laps of the 4.423 km Jerez track ending the day
as the most improved lap time of all on the grid.
The Champion's ay as even better than the times
indicate and he set his lap times on race tyres
in preparation or the GP in one months time.

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda, was in scintillating
form all day while testing the range of
Bridgestone tyres designed to help him get the
best out of his RCV. Testing the tyres in
combination with a variety of front and rear
suspension settings Elias' best lap was 2.7s
faster than his best of yesterday.

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda, spent his day chasing
the base set up so important for the grand prix
at Jerez on March 25. The Spaniard and his
technicians worked hard while chasing a better
overall balance on theRC212V. Once satisfied with
the base set up Checa moved on to tyre testing.

Shinya Nakano decided to run with only race
settings and tyres and not try for a quick lap on
qualifiers. For the Konica Minolta Honda team it
was much more important to try race tyres and
settings that will be relevant to the grand prix
at Jerez in a month's time than go for that one
quick lap. The team also worked on the suspension
settings as they worked their way through a range
of Michelin tyres. Despite improving his lap time
by over two seconds Nakano was disappointed to end the day in 12th position.

The KR212V in the hands of Kenny Roberts Jnr made
considerable progress today. Riding the Honda
powered Team Roberts rolling chassis Roberts was
able to lower his lap time of yesterday by the
huge margin of four seconds. This, in part, due
to the team technicians overcoming the
difficulties caused by the damaged in transit
triple clamp problems of yesterday. The team
concentrated the day on improving front-end grip.

Honda rider quotes and lap times.

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 1m 41.259s - 91 laps.
"We made a lot of improvements today and, even
though we had fog this morning, when it cleared
up we still got in a pretty full day. I know
we're still quite a long way from the top of the
timesheets and our position doesn't look stellar
but I was a lot closer today. We made a good
amount of progress and I think I'm a lot better
off than it looks because I stayed on race tyres
- I didn't try a qualifier. I enjoyed riding my
bike today and working with the team - and that's
important. We'll come back in here tomorrow,
finish things off and get ready for the opening race."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 1m 40.581s - 76 laps
"Today we tested mainly chassis things with a
view to improving the race set-up. We had some
options to try and we found some positive results
so I'm happy with that because we improved our
basic set-up. Also we tested some rear Michelins
tyres - maybe two or three - to narrow down our
options for the race. Because of the late start
we didn't do a long run today. Tomorrow will be
an unusual day with the qualifying session in the
middle of the test so we have to find the moment
to make a longer run if we can."

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 1m 40.383s - 64
lap. "Today we did a good job, testing different
things in preparation of the race. We tested many
race tyres finding interesting solution and only
in the end we tested two qualifying tyres because
in Qatar it will be very important to start from
the first rows. I'm happy with this result but I
think that we will need to be faster if we want
to get the car! I'm joking. I think we still need
to improve because I think that tomorrow everybody will go faster".

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 1m 40.952s - 84 laps.
"We tested many tyres that Bridgestone brought me
and we did an important step forward both with
race and qualifying tyres. We also worked on the
suspension to adapt the set up with the new
tyres. I hope that tomorrow I can improve also my race pace".

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 1m 43.206s - 83
laps. "Today's conditions were pretty good and I
completed 83 laps working on race set-up. I am
quite satisfied about the improvements we had in
the chassis set-up and the test of the tyres
gathered us important information for the future.
Anyway I still need more balance on the bike both
in the front and in the rear but this is not a
big problem. Honestly our main objective now is
to improve the engine power because I could go
faster than this. I raced on Honda machines in
the past and my pace was pretty good so I hope
that HRC can support me in the best way shorter".

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 1m 43.817s -
76 laps. "We tried some different rear tyres
today and some tyres were an improvement and I
was quite happy with front tyre performance also.
We finally found a good front and rear tyre
combination, this wasn't with the front tyre I
liked in Qatar, but it felt good. I'm not happy
with my final position of 12th, but I understand
that the other guys were using qualifying tyres.
We didn't use them, as we wanted to check race
settings, which is more important. I was happy to
be so far up the order until just before the end,
we are hoping to maybe do a long run tomorrow,
but it depends on the weather and track
conditions. I think we're approaching the limit
with the front-end of the bike now as I'm pushing
that much harder than before so we'll make some
adjustments there I think. I'm still getting used
to the corner speed of the 800cc bike, which is
faster than the old 990cc machine."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: 1m 45.937s - 82 laps
We were looking for more front end grip and have
been working on the trail and suspension, stuff
like to get it better. We got it pretty close
with both the front and rear working but we now
have more work to do on the rear end. So we had a
better day and go into the final day looking to
get a good set up and feeling ready or the race next month."

Source: Honda Pro Image

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