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New Bike, Same Old Stoner Dominates Sepang Test

Despite a bad back that kept him on the sidelines on the first of three days of testing at Sepang, and a bad chatter problem echoed by teammate Dani Pedrosa, defending champion Casey Stoner (Honda) thoroughly dominated the competition at Sepang by setting a new (unofficial) lap record under the fastest ever race lap, fastest ever pole lap and fastest ever recorded two-wheel lap at the circuit.

Roughly six-tenths of a second back from Stoner was Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, followed by Pedrosa and then American Ben Spies (Yamaha).  None of these riders could reach the same “time zone” as Stoner, relatively speaking, but the test indicates that Yamaha and Honda may again slug it out each weekend in 2012.  That is unless they are joined by Ducati.

Ducati’s Valentino Rossi ended up 5th quickest, and relatively close to all of the front runners (save Stoner).  More importantly, Ducati’s lap times fell quickly enough over the course of the three-day test that the development potential of the new bike seems confirmed.

Oh yes, and the CRT bikes were slow . . . very slow in comparison to the factory machines.  So far back, in fact, that it is difficult to see them becoming competitive any time soon.

13 Comments

  1. Z2 says:

    Yeah…just keep telling yourself that.

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  2. vince says:

    Dear Z2: Rossi is happy. He bike allows him to enter corners as he likes; it also responds to changes in setup in a predictable fashion;of course they are slower than the main competition; Rossi said the throttle resopone is way too aggressive (can be tamed with software /electronics) and rear grip is too low ( can be improved with chassis tuning and electronics). They have a lot of work to do but you have to admit Ducati did a good job considering how little time they had. And if he can get to within 0.5 to 0.7 of qualifying , he can win races. He’s done it before.

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  3. Pete says:

    Where are all the ‘experts’ that said Stoner wouldn’t be able to ride the Thous as well as the 800′s???

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  4. Z2 says:

    Wonder is Rossi still “loves his bike”…

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  5. craigj says:

    CRT = claiming rule teams. Teams using modified stock engines and custom frames.

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  6. Gary says:

    What is “CRT?”

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  7. bikerrandy says:

    The first “practice” of the year and some are already deciding who’s going to be a winner??? The bikes aren’t even ready to race yet.

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  8. Gutterslob says:

    Cal Crutchlow deserves special mention. He’s been pretty handy on the satellite M1 thus far.

    Money’s on Stoner win Qatar in Qatar, though. Even if he wasn’t fastest in the Sepang test, Losail has been pretty much his track to lose for the past few years. Hope Yamaha and Ducati gathered some useful data to give them a shot at the Hondas this season.

    Unlike past seasons, Yamaha don’t seem to be down on power (at least according to Spies from what he observed on Sepang’s straights). In fact, all the factory bikes seem to have an abundance of power. Just a matter of putting it down. Lets hope it’ll give us at least half a season of real riding before the electronics catch up and ruin things again.

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