Less than 48 hours after the conclusion of the 2010 season preparations for 2011 began with the first of two days of the Official MotoGP Test at Valencia on Tuesday.
Assuming top spot on the timesheet at the Ricardo Tormo circuit as he had done on the podium on Sunday was factory Yamaha rider and 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who led the 17-strong field of riders with a best time of 1:32.012 from 48 laps on his M1 machine – a little over two-tenths of a second off Casey Stoner’s pole position time from the weekend.
“Today has been a great day, we tried a new chassis for 2011 and while it doesn’t seem better it’s not worse,” Lorenzo said. “The most improved thing has been the Öhlins suspension, which gave me more confidence especially mid-corner.
“The new engine seems to make the bike wheelie less too. Tomorrow we will concentrate on confirming everything and understanding whether every new part is an improvement or not, and go over everything.”
Stoner was one of the enthusiastically awaited debutants of the test as he rode the factory Repsol Honda machine for the first time, clocking in with the second fastest time of the day at +0.763s on Lorenzo’s time. He was just a tenth outside his own FP3 time from the weekend.
Stoner was comparing a new 2011 chassis against that of the 2010 one used by his new team-mate Dani Pedrosa as he completed 44 laps, and the Spaniard was just over a tenth of a second further back in fourth position as he worked on the same aspects as Stoner with HRC’s aim being the selection of a direction to take for their 2011 frame.
Pedrosa, who completed 35 laps, had limited track time due to an electronic issue and is also still recovering from his broken collarbone.
Sandwiched between the Honda riders and in third position was Ben Spies who started work in earnest as a factory Yamaha rider. The American set an almost identical time to Stoner and completed a similar number of laps on his M1.
In fifth and sixth were another two Honda riders in San Carlo Honda Gresini man Marco Simoncelli, who was 0.007s behind Pedrosa, and factory rider Andrea Dovizioso as the pair assisted with the chassis work being undertaken by HRC, the former trying a new suspension.
Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Rizla Suzuki rider Álvaro Bautista registered top-eight times, and were followed in the top ten by Ducati duo Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi.
The Italian’s debut on the Desmosedici GP11 caused great excitement and he was one of the first riders on track just after midday.
By the close of play the 31-year-old had completed 56 laps as he set about tackling the task of helping his new team decide between a screamer and a big bang engine for 2011 whilst also riding with a new fairing on the machine.
Other riders debuting with new teams were Randy de Puniet with Pramac Racing and Hiroshi Aoyama with San Carlo Honda Gresini, whilst Cal Crutchlow continued his adaptation to the M1 of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team having gained a first taste in a private test in Japan at the end of October.
The 25 year-old Brit had a non-consequential crash at turn six when on new tyres in the afternoon.
Back on a Ducati for the first time since 2007 was Loris Capirossi as he rode the Pramac machine used by Mika Kallio in 2010, putting in 71 laps, with Héctor Barberá making some slight adjustments to the Paginas Amarillas Aspar machine’s electronics.
2010 Moto2 World Champion Toni Elías (LCR Honda) and Valencia Moto2 race winner Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing – Ducati) also benefitted from solid lap totals.
Day One Test Time – Valencia, Spain
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:32.012
2. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1:32.775
3. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:32.878
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:32.912
5. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:32.919
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:33.190
7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:33.513
8. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1:33.558
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:33.716
10. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1:33.882
11. Randy De Puniet (Ducati) 1:33.914
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1:33.953
13. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:34.110
14. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:34.314
15. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1:34.631
16. Toni Elias (Honda) 1:35.058
17. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1:35.076