Hayden and Repsol Honda end Phillip Island MotoGP test second fastest on final day

2008-02-01 04:17
The final day of the three-day MotoGP test was held in near perfect conditions with bright sunshine and track ambient temperatures of 22 degrees and track temperature at 35. The Honda RC212V riders ended the final day with much to be pleased with, not only with good lap times the teams have learned a lot about the machinery they will campaign in the fast approaching season that opens at Qatar on March 9.

American Nicky Hayden ended the final day with second fastest time overall today on his Repsol Honda factory team RCV. But the former MotoGP World Champion knows there is still a lot of work to do before the first GP. Hayden spent the final day fine tuning the chassis of the RCV and testing a range of race tyres for Michelin feeding the French manufacturer with vital data for the three remaining test before the season begins in earnest.

Andrea Dovizioso continued his impressive pre-season testing with the JiR Scot Honda and ended the test in very positive mood. The team focused their attention on tyre testing for Michelin and put in several short and long runs testing various tyre combinations in order for Dovizioso to understand how the RCV responds and behaves on different types of tyres and varying degrees of wear. The team leave for home in high spirits eager to get to their next planned test at Jerez later this month.

The Gresini Racing duo of Alex De Angelis and Shinya Nakano now head for Sepang, Malaysia where the aim to build on the successful test here in Australia. Both men have worked very hard with their technicians and have good base settings to work from as their consistently fast lap times indicate.

The two men dedicated the entire day to testing tyres for Bridgestone. De Angelis put in 91 laps of testing, the longest and hardest day of testing he has ever experienced but he goes on to Sepang in confident mood feeling much more at home aboard the big 800cc four-stroke after a career spent on lightweight two-stroke machines.

Team mate Nakano ran race simulation tyre tests for Bridgestone today and found time to test new qualifying rubber brought to the test by the Japanese manufacturer.

LCR Honda rider Randy De Puniet and his technicians had a frustrating final day. The team worked on the electronic management system of the RCV and then moved on to suspension and tyre testing chasing traction. De Puniet was impressed with the improvement feeling more at home on the machine and faster but the improved feeling was not reflected in lap times De Puniet shaving just two-tenths of a second off his previous best lap time.

Honda rider lap times and quotes.

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 1m 29.734s - 102 laps. "We ended up not too bad but it'd be nicer to be faster on race tyres. To be honest, it's been a frustrating couple of days here. We got into the 31s about the fourth exit from the pits on the first day and really we haven't been able to go any faster since then, except with the qualifiers, which were good. We've chased our tail a bit and I haven't really found a batch of race tyres I like. I struggled a lot when I was here for last year's race, but I did find something I liked. I didn't have that option this week, so I can't say I'm completely happy with the combination of bike, rider and tyres. We tried the pneumatic-valve engine and the conventional spec engine in the new chassis at this test. We did a lot of tyre testing with Michelin using the conventional engine. The chassis did some good stuff but not enough through this fast stuff here. We left Sepang last week in a positive way and it's still early days, there's a lot of work still to be done. Now we go back to Sepang for two days, we've got a few days off and then keep trying to chip away at it.

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: 1m 29.780s - 90 laps. "This day has been very useful to give proper evaluation of all the materials we have for our technical package. Today we did a lot of work with Michelin, testing many, many different tyre and compound options. I'm very satisfied with my relationship with them. They have reacted so fast to my feedback, so I feel our relationship will grow together. With racing tyres my pace is pretty good, but in qualifying set-up with the softer tyres I'm still suffering a little vibration, which occurs when entering a corner under engine braking. This is complicating my efforts to get a fast time on qualifying tyres. In general the feeling with the bike is fantastic, but at the next test at Jerez we will work a lot to reduce the rear-wheel hop we are getting under braking. This will be our main target. Overall, we want to be more competitive as the level of competition is very high and I want to be out front with the leaders."

Alex De Angelis, Gresini Honda: 1m 30.438s - 91 laps ."Today I made many laps on my bike and even simulated a race: it was a tough session and one of the longest in my entire career, but in the end I managed to slightly improve my lap time from yesterday, which is positive. This shows we are competitive and I believe that, with Bridgestone helping us, we will soon be able to do better. I am aware there is a still lot of work to do, but I have proved to be a top rider already and this is a great satisfaction for me!"

Shinya Nakano, Gresini Honda: 1m 30.728s - 89 laps. "Also today we have worked hard on different bike set-ups. The RC212V Honda bike is a very competitive machine and I believe we will be able to achieve good results during this year's championship. We concentrated on race simulation but tested qualifying tyres as well; we now expect to receive new material from Bridgestone and are confident in their total support."

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 1m 30.978s - 115 laps. "It was a hard day for me as I made 115 laps and tested many things. We continued our suspension set-up development on race tyres in combination with Michelin. Honestly my pace on those tyres is pretty fast and compared with yesterday my lap times have been more consistent today. However I still struggle on qualifiers as I miss rear grip. I know I can be faster on qualifiers so we will focus on it at Jerez de la Frontera in a few weeks. In Spain we will receive also the 2008 engine and I am looking forward to riding there."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: Dani missed the Phillip Island test due to an injured right hand. No date has yet been fixed for his return to the track.

Source: Repsol Honda

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