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Honda Dominates Final Testing Before MotoGP Series Opens Next Weekend

On the final day of testing at Qatar before next weekend’s opening-round, Honda-mounted riders took four of the top five quickest laps. Only Yamaha’s Ben Spies broke up the Honda juggernaut, by posting the third quickest lap. Spies, however, was more than half a second off the pace set by Honda’s star riders, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, with Stoner being quickest overall.

Ducati continues to struggle, although Randy de Puniet surprised everyone by posting a time quicker than both Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. Hayden and Rossi were well down the list, and both of them had small crashes (without injury) on the final day of testing.

16 Comments

  1. gm2 says:

    Pedro won’t lose his ride. He’s Spanish, Repsol is Spanish, Dorna is Spanish. he might have to retire b/c of injury tho. he’s tough as nails, but he’s teeny tiny. it’s been a rough few years. he also might just opt to go elsewhere; enough is enough. and he’s not gonna win this year.

    yes, house and ben know what they are doing. and so does massimo. however let’s not forget that after the last wsbk race of 2008 ben got on nori’s R1, changed nothing, and went faster than nori did the day before in the race. on a track ben had never seen before. at which point bayliss tipped him as the man to beat in 2009…

    stoner was fast/this fast in 2006 also. he put the LCR on pole in the first race. it’s just that people only remember the latter half of the season’s crashiness. ..where he was supposedly ‘sabotaged’.

    Desmosedici an underdog bike? more like the other 800s finally caught up + Ducati invented their front end gremlins. limiting the electronics isn’t going to happen, either.

    Sic = 90’s.. hahaha, yes! love watching him bully his way around the track. Dovi is scared. besides, ben broke him last year at aragon. bye bye dovi.

  2. bo_nos says:

    1. Stoner
    2. Spies
    3. Lorenzo
    4. Pedrosa
    5. Rossi

  3. Mickey says:

    Ok Ze…I’ll play…..My predicitions:

    1. Dani Pedrosa
    2. Jorge Lorenzo
    3. Casey Stoner
    4. Valentino Rossi
    5. Ben Spies
    6. Andea Divisioso
    7. Marco Simoncelli

    Thought process: Only Pedrosa and Lorenzo and Divisioso are returning on familiar motorcycles. The little pissant Pedrosa is a hell of a starter, and once out front is hard to catch and pass. He has been in the running the last couple of years but plagued with mechanical probs and injuries. This year the bike is working well and he’s pretty healthy. May just be able to take his first World Championship. Still, no one but the Spaniards will like him. Lorenzo could actually repeat, as he’s blinding fast and smooth, doesn’t break down and doesn’t crash, and I actually called for him to repeat earlier, but now I’m thinking he will come up short. I may be wrong.

    Stoner, Val, and Spies are all on unfamiliar motorcycles. Stoner has been going really fast in pre-season, hasn’t crashed and appears to have healed from his mystery illness. Val on the other hand has not been having such a good preseason, is still not healed from a shoulder injury, and just needs more time on an undeveloped motorcycle to ride his best. Still he’s Val and could do better than 4th, but much to Tank’s chagrin will not win the championship. Spies is young, fast and learning, and has had a good pre season, but being on an unfamiliar bike and with this group of riders will do no better than 5th for the season. He will see a podium or two though.

    Divisioso is back on a familiar bike, has been running fast, crashes too much to be a true front runner, but he’s learning. I pencil him in at 6th. Simoncelli is another up & commer. I have been talking about him and Divisioso for 2 seasons now. If he can get a decent start and doesn’t crash much he can run really well. I peg him to finish 7th for the season.

    I don’t expect a lot from Nicky. 8th or 9 th maybe. He’s a really good rider, but not a GREAT rider. Bautista, the Rizla Suzuki rider will have another mediocre year. DNF’s and crashes should see him finish the season in 9th or 10th.Capirosi on a Ducati might swap places with Bautista for the 10th or 11th spot.Colin Edwards is a joke and just filling a spot on the starting grid figure he’ll finish 12th out of the 17 riders.

    I don’t even remember the names of the other 3 riders. Ayomama and a couple more I think. Ayomama will be a decent rider in 4 or 5 years.But 4 or 5 really good riders will have to retire in order for him to move up much in the near future.

    Ok boys. whatcha got?

    • monsterduc1000 says:

      Umm, Spies is not on an unfamiliar bike, he is on an upgraded version of his previous bike. He went from a non-factory Yamaha to a Factory Yamaha. Better bits and pieces make this bike better than his last one, not different.

  4. tim says:

    It’s destined to be a boring year, unless Yamaha and Ducati, by some miracle, find a lot more power. Stoner is tough, especially when paired with a bike that can outrun everyone on the straights. That was his formula his championship year.

    I’m looking forward to 2012 when they go back to bigger motors, and more power than the riders have the skill to use, then we will again find out who the best rider in the world really is, rather than which team is the best. From what I saw last year, Lorenzo may well be that guy, with a slight advantage over Rossi, Spies and Stoner. Prior to last year it was clearly Rossi, but it is hard to tell if age is getting him, or if it was just the injury. I’m not ready to count him out just yet.

    • Scott in the UK says:

      Its always been who has had the best team Tim, no change there since 1949…The fact that Rossi has had the Master Jerry Burgess in his camp for such a long time is a key factor. Just trace JBs riders back and its a hell of a sucess rate…..

  5. Ze says:

    “Predictions anyone? :)”

    my 2 cents:
    Spies to compete equally to Lorenzo.
    Valentino to alternate brilliant and bad preformances.
    Stoner to continue falling.
    Pedrosa to win the season being very regular.

  6. Norm G. says:

    already gave the over-reaching prediction (and the technical reasons why) in a prior thread. so far they’ve all been borne out. honda’s tx advantage is a deal breaker. how much more of a deal breaker then is epic disaster…? albeit, for completely different reasons now, it’s all “ice-skating up hill” for leading protagonists yamaha and ducati. from a gracious fan perspective, we should color ourselves “lucky” if come november we’re able to look back and say we’ve even HAD a 2011 motogp season…? gonna go out on limb (yet another) and call there will be no motegi come october. perhaps no motegi or japanese rounds for the foreseeable future since we stopped running suzuka (#74). :(

  7. yamasarus says:

    Latebraking,
    You nailed it!

  8. Latebraking says:

    For entertainment and prompting discussion only……

    I predict it’s going to be a great year to be a fan & observer of MotoGP!

    I think the odds favor Stoner if he stays healthy. I also think you will see urgent movement of hands and arms in the Ducati box as Rossi gets frustrated by the Desmo. Hayden will be in his chair, smilin’ as he looks off into the distance and thinks to himself “Welcome to my world….” But unlike before, Ducati will have to make changes, since the bike and rider(s) will not be at the front, winning races & a championship, or crashing inexplicably out of a race lead.

    Spies will continually pace, and outpace Lorenzo. Quiet, steady and ruthless, he will rise to #1 in the Yamaha camp – and win a race or three. More Christmas and birthday cards to Mladin.

    Pedrosa will shadow Stoner, waiting for the mistake that likely will not come, and so he will again fail to bring the championship to Honda. He will, however, be part of the pack infighting that will take place among the rest of the Honda riders.

    Dovi will continue to search for consistency to couple with his speed.

    Simoncelli will have everyone looking over their shoulder, to see where he is. He’s a 90s-style GP rider, unafraid to swap paint and push you off line. Very raw and dirty, and bound to ruffle a few feathers, the inevitable on track interactions will see a couple or three riders reaching for their box of kleenex… Bound to be very entertaining to watch who wilts, and gives it back to ‘Super Sic’

    Colin Edwards will always be lurking, but probably not at the front, unless he gets a really good front end setup, then you’ll probably see his 2002 WSB style again….

    Bautista is likely to end up seeing Dr. Costa a time or two, as he tries to will the Suzuki into competitive finishing spots. Hopkins will likely ride a couple GPs while Alvaro counts ceiling tiles in a hospital room somewhere

    Aoyama, if he brings his testing speed to the race season, will be in the hunt to take advantage of others’ misfortune, but I doubt he’s strong enough to ‘take’ anything from the leaders of the field.

    Satellite Ducatis will be fickle and elusive to their riders, much like their factory counterparts – brilliant at one track, a soup sandwich at the next…. DePuniet & Barbera will be kicking their helmets across the pit box from time to time…..

    Crutchlow will be keen not to ‘pull a Toseland’….

    Not saying all this “will happen” just that some of it has possibilities….

    Have fun picking all this apart :~))

    • Stinky says:

      I obviously don’t follow GP racing as well as I should. Pretty hard to argue with studied arguments. I think Pedrosa will lose his ride after this year. He’s arrogant enough to try and stifle Stoner. He’s not up to alien status, if you’re gonna be in the second tier you’d better take lessons from Edwards, be a fan fave so the company will look beyond short term. If enough people go down he could step in.
      I believe Edwards has really helped Spies. He should be sending out 2 sets of cards. I’d like to see Ben come alive but I don’t think he or Lorenzo are experienced enough to develop equipment and they don’t have Burgess.
      My best wishes to Rossi and Hayden. I hope Burgess gets a lot of say in the Duc. I’d really like to see Rossi go out on top with an underdog bike. I’d like to see Hayden keep him honest but I don’t see much happening there until they get the big bike and limit the electronics.

      • Dirck Edge says:

        The Ben Spies/Tom Houseworth combo is extremely good at bike set-up. Extremely good. That WSB championship on the new R1 had alot to do with remarkable set-up skills, not just Ben’s riding.

    • Rick Hermanns says:

      What’s to pick apart??? Both Stoner & Honda have been World Champs…..seperately. Combined they will be hard to beat. The Honda is a great machine and Stoner is a great rider. The first test session told you all you need to know. Stoner was GONE! The Duc is the Duc…..even Stoner hurt himself trying to tame it. Vale is weakened and will tread lightly. Spies will continue to improve as he learns the new bike & tracks. Pedrosa and Lorenzo are on bike they know and will be fast. How fast? Stoner was gone! The rest are………..the rest. Should be fun to watch.

  9. Brinskee says:

    Predictions anyone? :)