Dani Pedrosa fastest RC212V rider at successful Jerez MotoGP test for Honda

2007-02-25 10:42
MotoGP pre-season testing was brought to a close
at the 4.423km Jerez circuit, Spain today as the
grand prix teams completed their final three-day
winter test session in preparation for the
gruelling 18-round world championship series that
opens at Doha, Qatar on March 10 - the first ever
race under the new 800cc capacity regulations.

The next time they meet the fruits of their
labours will be tested to the full in one of the
most eagerly awaited contests for several years.
Winter testing has produced no clear indication
of which man or machine starts the season as
favourite to win the most coveted title in motorcycle racing.

Honda teams and riders completed the winter
test programme with solid performances from all
RC212V powered machines with Repsol Honda factory
team rider Dani Pedrosa setting second fastest
time of the day, just 0.133s behind Valentino
Rossi. Pedrosa's team mate, MotoGP World Champion
Nicky Hayden ended the test as fourth fastest man on the 20-rider grid.

Pedrosa and Hayden both spent the majority of the
final day fine tuning their chassis and
suspension settings before under going extensive
tyre testing for Michelin. The two men running
fast consistent race simulations prior to setting
up their RCVs to run with qualifying tyres in the
40-minute televised shoot out.

Pedrosa came to Jerez determined to better his
best lap time set at Jerez in November and did
just that by an impressive 1.4s. The young
Spaniard pushed his tyres to the limit and he
leaves for Qatar in positive frame of mind.

Hayden, who missed the same test due to under
going corrective surgery, had limited time on
qualifying tyres this winter preferring to devote
his time to working on race rubber and
consequently had no marker to aim at ending the
day one second off Pedrosa's best time.

Gresini Honda rider Marco Melandri had set
fastest lap times on the opening two-days of the
test but failed to make a big impression on
qualifying tyres today. The Italian performed
consistently well on race tyres all winter and
ran a race simulation today with encouraging
results but feels he needs to take a big step forward on qualifying rubber.

Toni Elias, on the second Gresini RC212V, was the
most improved Honda rider at the Jerez test. In
previous tests the diminutive Spaniard had been
off the pace but his faith in tyre supplier
Bridgestone was rewarded with a range of tyres
more suited to his style. Elias feels he is
making progress in his development of the RC212V.

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda, was
disappointed with his performance today having
failed to put together a perfect lap on
qualifying tyres. He found the balance of the
machine was not ideal and he suffered from
front-end chatter. However, the popular Japanese
rider was pleased with the performance of the RCV on race rubber.

Seasoned campaigner Carlos Checa enjoyed a
productive three-days at Jerez. The LCR Honda
rider and chief mechanic Ramon Forcada have
adopted a step-by-step strategy over the winter
and Spaniard Checa is close to race ready. He has
good race pace and is improving his performances
on qualifying tyres. Checa feels the front end
needs more fine-tuning but in general he leaves
for Qatar with the feeling the team are on course for a good season.

Team Roberts leave Jerez in great shape as they
head for Qatar and the opening GP of the season.
The team technicians have developed the Honda
powered KR212V to a very competitive standard
during the series of arduous winter tests. The
prototype KR212V covered 4,500 km over the winter
and the Jerez test saw the team technicians
establish a close to optimum machine balance that
has eradicated the niggling front-end grip
problems that rider Kenny Roberts Jnr identified
as his only real concern. This was achieved by
modifying the trail and suspension settings, without losing rear end grip.

At Jerez Kenny Jnr tested Michelin qualifying
tyres for the first time with the latest version
of the Team Roberts chassis and the results have
confirmed the chassis - engine combination can
run a full race distance at a fast consistent
pace and perform equally well on qualifying rubber.


Honda rider quotes and lap times.

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 1m 39.556s - 101
laps. "It was definitely fun to get out there
again with the boys with something on the line -
the timed session gave it a bit of an edge today
and was a little bit of a tease before the first
race. The position is not too bad but my time is
quite a long way from the front. I haven't spent
much time on qualifying tyres at the winter tests
so it was good to get that time here and put in a
few quick laps. Some of the other riders really
put in some hot laps today so credit to them. The
conditions towards the end of the session were
dodgy because there was a fine mist of rain
falling which made it interesting - and riding on
qualifiers is always exciting enough anyway. I
feel like perhaps we're still missing a little
something to get the speed I want but I'm excited
to go racing - I'm really looking forward to it."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 1m 38.527s - 97 laps.
"I'm very happy with the 40-minute timed session
because I really didn't expect to be this fast. I
improved the lap time on qualifying tyres by a
lot from the last time I rode here. This was the
goal for the session and I did it, so I'm happy.
It's been a really good test for me because we
will only have limited time in which to test
tyres this season. It was a good competition with
Valentino today but I was not focused on his
times, I just wanted to put these tyres on the
limit and concentrate on myself, which is what I
did. It's been a valuable three days, we have
made progress with the set-up of the bike for the
race and also qualifying, so I'm hoping we're
ready for the first round at Qatar."

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 1m 40.396s - 88
laps "It was a difficult day but this 3 day
testing session very important to collect data
and understand many things about the bike. This
afternoon I also made a race simulation and we
improved the race rhythm. We need to make a step
forward with the qualifying tyre but I'm
confident that the Bridgestone technicians will
do their best. I'm confident because I trust a lot my team and our partners".

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 1m 40.202s - 85 laps.
"We are struggling a bit because we need to
adjust the bike to the new tyres so we need to
work a lot on suspension and chassis. All in all,
I'm confident because the Bridgestone technicians
are working very hard and the team is doing a great job".

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 1m 40.100s - 85 laps.
"Today we mainly worked on tyres testing with
Michelin. We got some improvements in the front
end but it's not fixed yet. My pace on race tyres
is pretty good but I still struggle on
qualifiers. Anyway I feel satisfied because this
time I upped my pace on qualifiers compared to
the rest of the winter tests and this is
positive. Now we must find a solution for the
engine because I need more power especially on
fast tracks such as Qatar, Istanbul and Shanghai.
Honestly we did a great job during the winter to
adapt to this new machine but I could go faster
and hope that HRC can help me somehow".

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 1m 40.242s -
83 laps. "I'm quite disappointed about my
performance on qualifying tyres, but I could
never put a perfect lap together. Also with
qualifying tyres fitted the balance of the bike
wasn't so good with a return of some chatter at
the front-end of the bike. Thankfully in the
afternoon we concentrated once more on race tyres
and settings. With two tyres to test I did two
series of 10 consistent laps and we learned a lot
from that, so I'm quite happy and confident about
our performance come the race here at the end of next month."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: 1m 40.083s - 84 laps.
"When we were satisfied with the chassis
performance we basically spent the day tyre
testing. I ran qualifying tyres for the first
time and I'm happy with the results. We also put
in a long run on development tyres and that was
good too. Testing has been good for us and we are
a long way ahead of where we were at this stage
last year but you can have too much testing - now
its time to go racing and we're ready. I'm really looking forward to Qatar."

Official lap times for 40-minute shoot out.
Qualifying Practice Classification
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing) - 1'38.394
2. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) - 1'38.527
3. Colin Edwards (Yamaha Factory Racing) - 1'39.300
4. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) - 1'39.55
5. Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 1'39.832
6. Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 1'39.873
7. Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 1'39.887
8. Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'40.043
9. Kenny Roberts Jr. (Team Roberts) - 1'40.083
10. Carlos Checa (Honda LCR) - 1'40.100
11. Toni Elias (Honda Gresini) - 1'40.202
12. Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda) - 1'40.242
13. Makoto Tamada (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3) - 1'40.307
14. Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini) - 1'40.396
15. Olivier Jacque (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 1'40.551
16. Alex Hofmann (Pramac d'Antin) - 1'40.681
17. Alex Barros (Pramac d'Antin) - 1'41.038
18. Kousuke Akiyoshi (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'41.805
19. Sylvain Guintoli (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3) - 1'42.215
20. Vittoriano Guareschi (Ducati Marlboro Team - Test) - 1'43.008

Source: Honda Pro Image

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