News 29 Mar 2009


Please note that this post will be updated as more press releases arrive.

Dorna press release:

Preparing well for Sunday’s BMW M Award session, Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest rider on the first day of the Official MotoGP Test at Jerez.

As Saturday’s action concluded in Andalusia, the Spaniard topped the timesheet with a 1’39.791s hot lap, putting him 0.070s ahead of his team-mate Valentino Rossi, who was the second fastest participant in the session.

At a circuit where he started in pole position in just his second MotoGP race last year, Lorenzo registered his best time on the 97th turn of a marathon 99 lap workout, setting himself up nicely for the BMW M Award showdown, in which he is sure to face stiff competition from Rossi and Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner.

Behind the factory Yamaha pair at the head of the field, Stoner was third fastest on Saturday, the Australian lapping within 0.115s of Lorenzo. Stoner’s compatriot Chris Vermeulen was fourth, the Rizla Suzuki man continuing his good preseason form with a best effort 0.781s down on Lorenzo’s pace.

The experienced pair of Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) ended up fifth and sixth respectively, both within a second of frontrunner Lorenzo.

Completing the top ten were Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) and Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini). De Angelis suffered a crash in the afternoon, despite conditions improving as the day proceeded after a wet start, but he was unhurt.

James Toseland was eleventh fastest, the Englishman looking much more comfortable on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 machine after an inconsistent preseason so far.

Hayate Racing’s Marco Melandri will be pleased to have lapped twelfth fastest, even though he was 1.369s down on Lorenzo’s best time. The Italian was not lapping in podium pace but discovered a relatively competitive rhythm with the Ninja ZX-RR.

Meanwhile, although returning veteran Sete Gibernau was 16th overall and nearly two seconds down on the lap charts, he was positive at the end of the day having managed to complete 39 laps despite his ongoing shoulder problem.

Sunday’s BMW M Award 45-minute showdown session –with a brand new sports car up for grabs- commences at 2.05pm local time.

Test Times
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1’39.791
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1’39.861
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1’39.906
4. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’40.572
5. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’40.579
6. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’40.650
7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda 1’40.821
8. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’40.900
9. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1’40.987
10. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’41.049
11. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’41.122
12. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team 1’41.160
13. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1’41.168
14. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Racing 1’41.226
15. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team 1’41.362
16. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Grupo Francisco Hernando 1’41.737
17. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing 1’41.851

Jerez: Record Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2008, 1’40.116

Jerez: Best Lap
J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1’38.189

Fiat Yamaha press release:

The traditional season curtain-raiser in Jerez looked in danger of being declared a washout this morning, but the sun eventually came out and allowed Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi to put in a brilliant afternoon’s work, finishing first and second respectively. The day’s results bode well for tomorrow’s ‘qualifying’ shoot-out, which will see the fastest rider take home a new car. With all riders now on Bridgestone tyres and qualifying tyres resigned to history, the session will have a slightly different feel to previous years and promises to be an entertaining show.

Lorenzo began work quite early, braving a damp track to get some laps in before lunch. Once the track came dry this afternoon he immediately found his rhythm and went on to clock consistently fast laps throughout, finishing well under lap record with a time of 1’39.791.

2008 World Champion Rossi took it easy this morning, preferring to wait until the track had dried out before getting started. He finished the day just 0.070 behind his team-mate and a tenth of a second ahead of Stoner in third, and is confident of putting up a good fight in tomorrow’s qualifying competition with a few small refinements planned for tomorrow morning.

Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 1st Time: 1’39.791 Laps: 99
“I am very satisfied because I have improved through every hour of the day today. In the beginning it was quite difficult because there was rain this morning and the track was wet, but after lunch I was able to improve and was fastest for most of the afternoon and able to put in a great performance. I rode many laps – the same amount as my new number in fact – and I was able to confirm the good feeling that I had on the last day in Qatar, when I was second. We still need to keep working, this is just the beginning, but I think we’re going in the right way. Tomorrow I want to make one more step, but I am not thinking about winning the car. With regards to the Bridgestone tyres, I think the front is very different and you are able to go faster into the corners. I hope the sun shines again tomorrow!”

Valentino Rossi – Position: 2nd Time: 1’39.861 Laps: 65
“It’s been a good day. Unfortunately this morning it rained but in the end it didn’t matter so much because the grip was good this afternoon with the new asphalt and we were able to do some important work. I had a good feeling with my M1 in November and it was the same today and I was able to do a lot of laps in a good rhythm. In the end we used the softer of the two Bridgestone tyres to try to improve the time and I was able to do a 39, but I was fast with the harder tyre as well. We tried a lot of different things on the bike and I am feeling confident and happy; already today we’ve got through half our workload so hopefully tomorrow morning the weather can be good so we can get through the other half and then be free to focus on winning the car in the afternoon. There are one or two places on the track where I’m not at 100%, but we will try to fix that in the morning.”

Daniele Romagnoli – Team Manager
“We had a good test here in November and also Malaysia and Qatar were good, so today it seemed that the trend is continuing. We are now at a very important stage because this is the last test of the season, because of the new rules, so tomorrow is going to be crucial! Today the team did a great job to refine the set-up and give Jorge the confidence he needed to be fast. Tomorrow will be an exciting day because it is almost like a qualifying session, with a prize, and we hope to finish in the same way as today! Of course at the same time we will continue to work on our bike to ensure that we’re completely ready for the first race.”

Davide Brivio – Team manager

“A good day, especially since it rained this morning. Luckily the circuit came dry and we were able to get through all the jobs we had scheduled. All the Yamahas seems to be going very well and this is a sign that our engineers have done a very good job; it is very encouraging. Tomorrow we have some small adjustments and tests to do, and then we will try for the award. I think it will be quite a special session because it’s the first time without qualifying tyres and therefore it will be a real rehearsal for the season. We’re looking forward to it!”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 press release:

Colin Edwards and James Toseland ended the first day of the penultimate MotoGP winter test session in Jerez with the fifth and 11th fastest times respectively.

After a delay caused by heavy early morning rain, Edwards and Toseland were able to complete 140 crucial development laps together on their Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machines under sunny skies this afternoon.

Texan Edwards continued his impressive winter testing form by setting the fifth quickest time as three Yamahas finished in the top five. His best time of 1.40.579 was just 0.007s off fourth position as he gained vital data on Bridgestone tyres on the new Jerez track surface.

British rider Toseland had a positive day too, ending 11th on the timesheets. He set a best time of 1.41.122 to finish just 0.073s outside of the top ten, though on his best day yet on the new 2009 YZR-M1, he was consistently running inside the top ten until the closing stages.

Today’s session also gave MotoGP fans the first chance to see Toseland and Edwards riding in the new eye-catching Monster Yamaha Tech 3 livery, which was unveiled on the eve of the Jerez test.

Colin Edwards 5th – 1.40.579
“Today was a good day once the track dried out and I’m happy with my times. I’m not taking any risks so close to the first race, so to be challenging up in the top six is a bonus and I was feeling good out there. I’ve got to say that Yamaha has done a great job with the new chassis. You can enter the corner so hard and so fast and I don’t think I’ve found the full potential of the Bridgestone front tyre yet. I’m a front-end guy so the combination of the new chassis and the Bridgestone front tyre is really helping me and I’m really confident with the package. It also felt good to be out there today in the new Monster Yamaha Tech 3 livery. I like it and I’m sure the fans will do as well.”

James Toseland 11th – 1.41.122

“I felt much better today and the old confidence was coming back. I was back in the top ten for most of the day and I’m back within a second of the guys running at the front. That’s encouraging because I’ve been much further back than that in the previous tests after the big crash I had in Sepang. It is nice to know that the competitive times are coming back again. I did over 80 laps today as well and that was the time on the bike I needed. The development rear tyre Bridgestone is really good and there’s a lot more I can get out of that, so that’s another positive from today. It was also good to be out riding the new Monster Yamaha Tech 3 colours. I’m sure we are going to have a good season together and the bike looks unbelievable.”

Rizla Suzuki press release:

Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen continued with his strong run of pre-season form during the first day of the Official IRTA Test at Jerez in Spain
Most of the morning was lost to a heavy downpour, but as soon as the track began to dry Vermeulen put in consistently quick laps to move up the leader-board. He posted a fastest time of 1’40.572 during his 70 laps, and using the information gained from the two previous tests this year he recorded a time over half-of-a-second quicker than his fastest lap during last year’s Grand Prix at Jerez.

Loris Capirossi also had a good day as he recorded the sixth fastest time from his 64 laps. He too benefitted from the improvements to the ever-evolving GSV-R, as he posted a time of 1’40.650. The Suzuki Factory has made a number of changes to the 2009 Suzuki GSV-R for the final test, which again seemed to suit both Capirossi and Vermeulen over the 4,423m long Spanish circuit.

Today also saw the first view of the 2009 Suzuki GSV-R prototype MotoGP machine in the now familiar Rizla Blue. The latest incarnation of Suzuki’s premier racing machine broke cover during an early morning presentation to waiting journalists, with Vermeulen and Capirossi on-hand in their new leathers to pose for photographs.

Tomorrow will see the final day of testing in readiness for the new season and the added attraction of a 45-minute televised timed session in the afternoon will give all riders some competitive action, as they battle it out to win a brand-new car for the fastest time.

Chris Vermeulen:

“It’s been good to come back to a track like Jerez because it is very different to Malaysia and Qatar where we have already tested this year. We didn’t come to the test here last year – like the other teams did – and for us to get mostly a dry day today was very important and it has proved that the new bike has definitely taken a step forward at all kinds of circuits. We’ve have been consistently fast more than we were last year and the bike feels a lot easier to ride. We had a good day today and tried a lot of parts and found a good base setting for this track. We still have a bit of work to do to catch the front guys – who did some very fast times today. My guys will look at today’s data and hopefully make the necessary improvements to make sure I can challenge for that new car in the afternoon!”

Loris Capirossi:

“It has been a positive day today and we spent a lot of time working on detailed settings. Stuart is a great Crew Chief and we tried so many things today to get the best feel, and I only used two sets of tyres all day to find the best settings for the bike on old tyres. We tried many things to find the best solution for tomorrow and I think that we are close and can concentrate just on lap-times tomorrow. I am happy with the progress and the bike is still as competitive as it was in the first test and we are pleased with where we are at the moment.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“Given that the weather was so bad when we arrived at the circuit this morning we have been very happy to have achieved as much work as we have and we are pleased to have run quite competitively with both riders. It has been a day of checking and confirming the changes and the developments that have been made at the other circuits, and whilst we weren’t quite as quick as we were at Sepang at the end of January, the potential still looks very promising. The gap to the front three riders doesn’t look so big on paper but at Jerez it’s quite a lot to find. We will be looking to get the most out of the bike overnight so that the riders have the confidence to move their own performance levels to the maximum tomorrow.”

Honda press release:

Factory Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso was Honda’s top performer at Jerez today, the Italian seventh fastest overall, 1.030 seconds behind pace-setter Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). Lorenzo was 0.3235 seconds inside the track record established by Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa during last year’s Jerez GP race.

This weekend’s two-day Jerez test is MotoGP’s first European outing of 2009 and also the final test session before the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix on April 10/11/12. It is thus a vital two days for all riders and teams, especially considering this winter’s reduced offseason testing programme, so this morning’s heavy rainfall wasn’t exactly welcome. But conditions dried up around lunchtime, allowing Honda’s six MotoGP riders to make useful progress at the technically challenging Spanish circuit, all of them setting their best times at the very end of the day. Ambient temperature reached 16 degrees, track temperature 20 degrees.

Dovizioso had a busy day, with a good number of upgrade parts to put through their paces. The 23 year-old Italian, looking forward to his first MotoGP race on a factory bike next month, announced that he was happy with improvements made to the overall balance of his factory RC212V. Dovizioso and his crew also worked at enhancing feel from the rear tyre to further improve corner-exit performance.

San Carlo Honda Gresini pairing Alex de Angelis and Toni Elias were just a fraction of a second slower than Dovizioso. De Angelis was satisfied with his day’s work, improving both turning and traction performance to establish a good base for tomorrow’s final day of testing. The San Marino rider did suffer a tumble, but only after he had run wide onto the still-wet trackside grass.

Elias is delighted with the engine performance of his RC212V V4 engine, but is still looking to improve rear-end performance. The Spaniard’s spectacular riding style doesn’t put a lot of heat into the rear tyre, so he is working at adapting machine set-up to increase the load to the rear end.

Frenchman Randy de Puniet continued to move forward with his LCR RC212V, testing tyres and focusing on getting maximum performance out of a harder compound Bridgestone. Like Dovizioso, de Puniet used a different brand of tyre last season so has had to work hard to adapt his riding style and machine settings to suit the Japanese tyres. Tomorrow de Puniet will shift his focus towards engine mapping and a long-distance tyre test.

Yuki Takahashi continued climbing his MotoGP learning curve today. The former 250 GP winner is Honda’s sole MotoGP rookie this year, and the Japanese is still focusing on learning his machine, rather than chasing fast lap times. Takahashi started testing at lunch time, once the rain had gone, focusing on front-end set-up of his RC212V. When testing ended at 6pm he declared himself very happy with the progress made. Tomorrow he will focus his attention on the rear end, working to further improve corner-exit performance.

Japanese star Kousuke Akiyoshi is at Jerez this weekend, riding as substitute for Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa who is still recuperating from the left wrist and knee injuries he sustained during testing at Losail, Qatar, earlier this month. Former Suzuka Eight Hours winner Akiyoshi (34) is helping the team continue their preseason testing work, evaluating various parts and set-up options which will help Pedrosa on his return. Pedrosa’s target is to return to action at Losail in two weeks’ time.

Highlight of tomorrow is the 45 minute official ‘qualifying’ session, televised throughout the world, during which riders compete to set the fastest one-off lap time to win a high-performance sports car.

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda Team: 1m 40.821s, on lap 74 of 74
“Despite the rain this morning the track dried quite quickly so we could make good use of the day. That’s good because Honda has brought a lot of new material here and we’ve got a lot of things to test. In general the package has improved and we’ve made progress on both the engine and chassis side. Obviously we want to take another step to make sure we’re fully competitive at the first race, so we’re planning to have another good day tomorrow.”

Alex de Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 1m 40.900s, on lap 75 of 75
“At the start of the day we had a few problems finding traction and also getting the bike turned in tight corners. The team made some modifications and the bike felt better, so I was pushing to improve my lap times when I crashed. Basically I just ran a little wide on the exit of the corner, touched the grass at the side of the track, which was still wet from this morning, so I lost the front and couldn’t keep it upright. Luckily I was unhurt and I was determined to get back because things had just started to improve for us. The guys did a great job to set up my other bike quickly and I was able to get back on the pace. Now we have a great base to work from tomorrow.”

Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 1m 41.049s, on lap 80 of 80
“I’m not completely satisfied with today because we haven’t improved as much as I would have liked. We’re over a second off the fastest guys and I want to be much closer. We have a great engine – it is really, really good – but we have to make the chassis work much better. We’re struggling to get enough heat into the rear tyre to gain the traction we need and it is something we have been working on all preseason. The new tyre restrictions haven’t helped us out with this, but it is down to us to adapt. We only have one day of testing left before the start of the season so we want to try and make the most of every available minute tomorrow.”

Randy de Puniet LCR Honda MotoGP: 1m 41.168s, on 77 of 77
“It was a good day and we did a good job, even if the position is not so brilliant. However this is our first outing in Europe and we had to put kilometres on the clock to clear up some points. I am pretty sure we can improve our lap time tomorrow because today I lapped with a hard compound rear tyre. Honestly our target is different: we expect to qualify between the 6th and 10th position. We have got a good level and I am aware that Stoner, Rossi and Lorenzo are very fast but the following positions are still open. I am getting used to these tyres and think we will keep on working on engine mapping in tomorrow’s last day of testing. We also kept one tyre to test and will do a race simulation after the BMW competition.”

Yuki Takahashi, Scot Racing Team Honda: 1m 41.362s, on lap 73 of 73
“The weather was not so good at the start of the day, so we stayed in the pit until almost one o’clock. I wasn’t so happy about that but the weather got better and we were able to start testing. I am very happy with what we did today. I still need understand this bike, it’s my first year in MotoGP, so I want to ride many laps and try many things. Today we tried many things with the front end – suspension, weight distribution and so on. I think we found a good setting for the future. Tomorrow we want to focus on testing different things with the rear end. The priority is to continue getting better, step by step.”

Kousuke Akiyoshi, Repsol Honda Team: 1m 42.286s, on lap 69 of 69
“This was quite a good first day. Though it rained in the morning, we managed to do some work on wet settings, which was useful. It’s my third time on this machine and there is still a lot of power to get used to! When the circuit dried we were able to begin working on a range of engine and chassis settings and the progress was pretty good, taking one step at a time. I’m quite happy with my lap time from today, and we’ll be looking to improve that further tomorrow.”

Ducati Marlboro Team press release:

Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden made the most of changeable weather in the south of Spain today to complete some important set-up work on their Desmosedici GP9 machines. With less than two weeks remaining before the opening practice session of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar there was anxiety amidst a soaking wet paddock this morning, with torrential rain having drenched the track.

Thankfully the strong Spanish sun emerged before lunchtime to produce acceptable conditions for a worthwhile test in the afternoon, when Stoner consistently featured at the top of the timesheets despite struggling to get maximum potential out of the GP9 at what has proven to be a demanding track for Ducati in recent seasons. Hayden continues to make progress in his adaptation to the bike and Bridgestone tyres but will be looking to make the most of his final day of preseason testing, which takes place here tomorrow.

The climax to the test comes at 2pm tomorrow afternoon, when Stoner will look to repeat his feat from last year by setting the fastest time in a 45-minute televised ‘qualifying’ session and take home a brand new car as his prize.

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)  3rd fastest  – 1’39.906

“Jerez has been our weak point for the last couple of seasons and for some reason our bike just doesn’t like it here. There used to be a lot of bumps that unsettled it but to be fair a lot of them were ironed out when they re-laid the surface and now it’s hard to put my finger on the problem. I think every Ducati rider is in the same boat – Jerez is like our kryptonite! So basically we’re not working on general set-up because we know the data we get here will be useless everywhere else – the target is to work on finding something that will help us get around this circuit and limit the damage when the race comes around. As far as my wrist is concerned, the hard-braking left-handers are tricky but other than that it is okay and I have no concerns about going race distance.”

NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th fastest –  1’40.987

“We were lucky today because it looked like the weather was going to be a disaster. This morning we decided to go out and do some laps anyway just to check the performance of the wet tyres on a damp track because we won’t have any intermediates this year. When it dried out in the afternoon we found that the bike had improved in some areas but there are other things we really need to work on. We’ll speak to Filippo Preziosi this evening, analyse the data and try to do much better tomorrow because it would be nice to be pushing near the front before we go to Qatar.”