Hiura, Kent and Ruiz fastest in cold and sometimes wet test2010-04-16 13:05
Three days of testing in Valencia prior to the start of the 4th Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season gave the teenagers plenty to think about with a variety of cold and wet conditions. By the end of a cold but dry Thursday Japanese 15 year old Daijiro Hiura was fastest ahead of 16 year old Briton Danny Kent and Spaniard Daniel Ruiz who turned 18 on the final day.
Hiura was on the pace all through the test. "It's been a good three days for me. I was happy on the bike right from the start. I was particularly happy with Tuesday because I got a good feeling for riding in the wet. Last year it was taking me too long to get up to speed in the rain so I am a lot happier after the way Tuesday went. Then for the last day today we hardened up the suspension a bit front and rear and I think we've got a good setting. I'm really looking forward to Jerez, it's a track I enjoy and I think I am ready for it."
Kent was not to upset to be second, 0.35 behind. He was quick in every session and that was his intention. "That was what I was looking for, I wanted to be consistently fast. That was my goal for each session and it will be my goal for the season, consistency. That is what was missing last year. I knew that Daijiro was likely to put in a quick lap in that last session, it's what he did at last year's test."
Ruiz was enjoying his birthday and 0.52 slower than Hiura. "The race simulation at the end of today was fun. I thought that Daijiro was going to get away, I made a bit of a mistake on the first lap but then I settled in and went quite well, I could keep up OK. We've done some good work on the bike through the test, changed the compression damping on the rear and the sliding that I had early on is gone so I think it is working well now. Jerez is my favourite track of the season so I can't wait for the first race."
Heading into his second Rookies season 14 year old South African Brad Binder was 4th fastest and quite clear about what was making his life easier. "I've grown since last year, I was only 37kg last year, now I'm 50 so I am not carrying any weight penalty and that makes it so much easier for me to ride the bike. I am enjoying it more and really looking forward to the first race."
Of the newcomers, French 15 year old Alan Techer was the quickest and 7th fastest overall. "I had the chance to spend a day on a KTM before I came here so I had an idea what to expect, it is quite different to the other bikes I have ridden but after 3 days I am very happy with it. We changed the rear suspension slightly on day one but apart from that I have just been riding it and enjoying it. I am very happy and looking forward to the first race, Jerez is a new track for me so I have to learn but I'm happy with the bike already so that's a great start."
Another quick newcomer was 13 year old German Florian Alt, 9th overall. "It's been so much fun but even harder than I expected. We worked a bit on the bike and now I am happy with it and looking forward very much to the first race in Jerez. I have never been there and I know that it will be tough to get into the top 15 but that is what I am aiming for."
Antonio Chiari, the 14 year old Brazilian, also a newcomer, was right on the pace in 11th and happy with the three days. 'I've been here before but only on a PreGP bike and it is very different. We changed the rear suspension a bit early in the test but really the bike is great, it is me that has to improve. That is what I am thinking about looking forward to Jerez, another track I have ridden on with the PreGP bike, I have to work on my preparation."
The test opened on Monday with a dry track though the clouds were already threatening. Kent dominated the first day and the Briton ended the four sessions 6 tenths faster than Japan's Daijiro Hiura with South African Brad Binder 3rd ahead of Spaniard Daniel Ruiz.
The cold track and fresh breeze didn't catch out many with Mathew Scholtz and Jake Gagne being the only crashers. South African Scholtz escaped with an injured finger in his right hand and could ride in the final session but Gagne was sitting it out with a bandage on his right ankle.
Though not broken, Gagne's ankle, which had been jammed between the rear wheel and swing arm and bent both when he fall, was swollen so badly that he could not ride again during the test. The fact that it was not broken is testament to the protection provided by the Alpinestars boots that all the Rookies wear.
A cold and wet second day of testing on Tuesday saw no improvement in times of course but Daijiro Hiura headed the timing sheets at the end of 3 Sessions. The Japanese was 3 hundredths faster than Britain's Danny Kent with South African Mathew Scholtz a further 1.6 seconds adrift in 3rd.
Australia's Josh Hook was 4th fastest ahead of Spain's Daniel Ruiz and Italy's Alejandro Pardo. Quickest of the first year Rookies in the very tricky conditions was fellow Italian Niccolo Antonelli in 7th and 2 places behind was Tomas Vavrous in 9th even though the Czech had a small crash during the day without serious damage to himself or the bike. He headed a group of other newcomers, Alan Techer, Xavier Pinsach and Deni Cudic.
The conditions were treacherous but there were few fallers; though Austrian Cudic managed 2 falls in one lap early in the day. German Phillip Öttl also slid off but there were no injuries.
After the rest day on Wednesday the track was dry for Thursday and again there were few fallers, James Flitcroft, Alejandro Pardo and Taylor Mackenzie being amongst the exceptions but with no injuries.
Racing starts at the Grand Prix in Jerez on May 1st and 2nd and the blow by blow story can be folowed on Twitter once practice gets under way on April 30th.
Overall best times from 3 days
1. Daijiro Hiura (JPN) 1minute 43.903 seconds
2. Danny Kent (GBR) +0.348
3. Daniel Ruiz (ESP) + 0.517
4. Brad Binder (RSA) +0.692
5. Xavier Figueras (ESP) +1.305
6. Harry Stafford (GBR) +1.424
7. Alan Techer (FRA) +1.546
8. Mathew Scholtz (RSA) +1.626
9. Florian Alt (GER) +1.700
10. Alejandro Pardo (ITA) +1.999
Source: KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG
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