MotoGP: 2008 Jerez test results

Rossi still the fastest

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Nov. 27, 2008
The MotoGP winter testing session in Jerez, Spain ended with predictable results. The Nov. 26-27 test on the Spanish circuit saw riders testing new bikes, and some getting their first taste of the spec Bridgestone tires, but when the lap times were posted, the names at the top of the leader board were very familiar.

Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi of Fiat Yamaha came on top in a rain-shortened second day of testing with a time of 1:39.429 on the new 2009 M1 prototype. Rossi’s fastest time came on his 52nd of 54 laps. That was good enough to beat Dani Pedrosa who recorded a lap time of 1:39.447 on his Repsol Honda RC212V. Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo had the third fastest time at 1:40.448.

Rossi, Pedrosa and Lorenzo finished in the top four in the 2008 season standings in the same order. Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner was the runner-up in the 2008 Championship but he did not take part in the Jerez test as he recovers from wrist surgery.

“The track was a bit drier today and so we were able to improve even more and do a great job. We worked a lot on the new bike and tried some different parts to yesterday, including for the engine and we were quite fast,” says Rossi. “It seems we’re going in the right direction with this new bike and I am happy about this.”

Rossi raced the 2008 on Bridgestone tires so he was riding on familiar rubber during the tests. His teammate Lorenzo however, was a Michelin rider, so he had to adapt to both a new machine and new tires.

“It seems we had a small advantage with this bike and I was able to improve my time, so I am happy about this. This ‘new’ bike is also more stable under acceleration, with less wheelie and the throttle is a bit easier to handle so these are important improvements,” says Lorenzo. “The final conclusion of these two days is very positive I think, although we know there is still a lot of margin to improve, both in the bike and in my riding style and of course we need to keep working to better understand the new tires.”

The Honda Gresini pair of Toni Elias and Alex De Angelis had the fourth and fifth fastest lap times, respectively. For Elias, the test session marked his return to the Honda satellite team after racing the 2008 season with Alice Ducati. Following the test, Elias will undergo surgery to remove a screw from the leg he injured in a 2007 crash.

Matching De Angelis’ time of 1:40.486 was a former Honda rider, Nicky Hayden. The Kentucky Kid continues his adjustment to the Ducati Marlboro team and the new Desmosedici GP9.

Nicky Hayden sends his Thanksgiving wishes to everyone in the U.S.A.“We’ve made a big improvement today. It was important to have back-to-back days with similar conditions because at Valencia we only had one dry day and we weren’t able to check that the changes we made to the bike overnight had worked. Today my feeling with the bike was much better from the first run and it is important that we’ve taken over a second and a half off my best time from yesterday,” says Hayden. “We are still a second off the top guys and I know the last second is the most difficult to find but at the same time we’re less than a tenth off third fastest and the team is working well, I feel more and more comfortable with the bike and tires and I can head home with a clear mind.”

Though he could not ride, Stoner was on hand to support Hayden.

“I was pleased that Casey wanted to be here at the test,” says Hayden. “It has been useful to speak with him and (Ducati technical director Filippo Preziosi) and it shows how tight the team is and how well everybody wants to do next season.

“I just want to finish by saying ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ to everybody in America!”

Also testing the Desmosedici GP9 was the new Alice Ducati duo of Mika Kallio and Niccolo Canepa.

“It has been a good start for us,” says Kallio. “Yesterday I was a bit worried because this track was a bit too difficult with this bike, but instead today we have worked really well and we made it to achieve a good result. Of course lap times don’t count so much right now, but it gives us good hopes for the next season.”

Formerly a test rider for Ducati, Canepa took advantage of the testing session to try out a modified thumb-operated rear brake control on his GP9. With a larger build than most of his competitors, Canepa told that his feet were too large to comfortably control the rear brakes with conventional controls.

“Today we have concentrated to find a good rhythm and I had to get used to the new rear brake positioned on the handlebar,” says Canepa. “Everything’s going in the right direction.”

MotoGP’s testing ban comes into effect Dec. 1. The next opportunity for riders to test their machines will come in February at the Sepang, Malaysia.

2008 MotoGP Official Jerez test results
Pos. Rider Team Time
1st Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha 1:39.429
2nd Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 1:39.447
3rd Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha 1:40.426
4th Toni Elias San Carlo Honda Gressini 1:40.448
5th Alex De Angelis San Carlo Honda Gressini 1:40.486
6th Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro 1:40.486
7th Mika Kallio Alice Ducati 1:40.564
8th Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1:40.604
9th Sete Gibernau ONDE 2000 Ducati 1:40.856
10th Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda 1:40.966
11th Niccolo Canepa Alce Ducati 1:41.077
12th James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 1:41.740
13th Vittoriano Guareschi Ducati Marlboro 1:42.906
14th Yuki Takahashi JiR Team Honda 1:42.918