A final day of complicated weather conditions restricting track action has signalled the end of pre-season testing for the MotoGP Championship at the Jerez De La Frontera Circuit in Spain. Despite reduced track time because of the conditions, both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo leave Jerez satisfied with the YZR-M1 package and feeling competitive as the first race of the 2013 season approaches. Having climbed dramatically to the top of the timesheets yesterday for the first time in two years and sent a clear message that a new chapter had begun for him, Rossi put in another impressive ride this afternoon to leave the test second fastest in the combined times.
Reigning World Champion Lorenzo had kicked off the Jerez test as the fastest man before spending the next two days working on honing his skill at delivering unbeatable pace over distance. He leaves as the third fastest rider, less than two tenths of a second from his teammate in second and making it a Yamaha one, two, three in the combined times.
Valentino Rossi – 2nd, 32 laps, Time – 1’39.735
“I’m so happy at the end of today to have some quite good conditions to make some laps in the dry, because for us it was very important to try the different chassis. The feeling is generally ok; I was competitive in difficult conditions and also made good lap times with the used tyre. The new chassis has some good and bad points but I think I will start the season with the chassis from yesterday and test this one again during the season. I am happy about the test; I was competitive so I think we can be competitive for the first race in Qatar also.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 4th, 34 laps, Time -1’40.105
“We didn’t think we would practice so much today because the weather was so bad but finally we had two hours to practice and improve some things on the bike. I made a long run that I think was positive to understand the behaviour of the bike with old tyres. We are not the fastest but I think we are very consistent. It’s been a positive test for us to gain some motivation after Austin; that was a difficult three days. It shows that every track is a different world so lets see what happens in Qatar. There can be a lot of sand on the track there so we’ll see how it is. Like every year you feel a little nervous at the beginning, its so important to start in a good way and get some points!”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It’s the last day of testing, finally in the last two hours we were able to go out and do what we came for and test the bike and new material we had available. The situation wasn’t perfect, there were still some damp patches but I think we have the information we need to be able to start in Qatar with the right stuff. We didn’t complete so many laps over the last three days but we are quite satisfied with the results. One of Jorge’s strong points is consistency, yesterday he struggled to be able to find a constant pace but today he had that back and was good. We didn’t pay too much attention to one hot lap, but looking at him I think he’s ready for Qatar.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Today we are feeling the passion and fortunately we could ride for one and a half hours. We couldn’t get all the information we were looking for, but the results we got are enough to decide which path we will take to start the season in Qatar in ten days time. The winter tests are now done, we have done a good job and we can start the season in the best way. We achieved most of our targets and I think we finished Jerez with Yamaha top three leading the practices which means the package is really good. We are looking forward to Qatar and we are ready to fight.”
Crutchlow ends pre-season campaign in style at Jerez
The 2013 MotoGP World Championship pre-season ended in stunning style for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow, who topped the timesheets on a weather-hit final day at the Jerez track in Spain. The 27-year-old surged to the top of the timesheets on a greasy but dry track in the closing stages of a day that saw less than two hours of track time available following early morning rain. Crutchlow powered his YZR-M1 machine to a brilliant time of 1.39.511 in the final hour to better Valentino Rossi’s best lap that the Italian set on the second day by just 0.014s. Crutchlow’s impressive performance today provided him with the perfect confidence boost ahead of the first race in Qatar on April 7, where he will be looking for a strong start to his third season in the MotoGP World Championship.
This morning’s rain and the short window to test on a dry track this afternoon gave Bradley Smith another opportunity to build up his experience on Bridgestone’s wet and slick tyres. Smith completed 25 laps in the wet and then spent a large part of the day waiting for the surface to dry to further work on his riding style and YZR-M1 settings on a dry track. He completed an additional 31-laps on slick rubber and after setting a best time of 1.41.398 in the dry yesterday, he was able to improve his pace to a 1.41.134. That encouraging pace moved him one place up the rankings from 12th to 11th and on the combined leaderboard h e finished 13th. After a positive pre-season Smith is confident that he can be fighting for a top 10 finish on his much anticipated MotoGP debut at the Losail International Circuit in Doha.
Cal Crutchlow, 1st, 30 laps, Time – 1’39.511
“It is obviously very satisfying to finish the test with the fastest time because it shows what a really good job I did and what a great job my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did too. It is a shame we didn’t get the chance to get in a lot more dry laps but I have been very fast and consistent and that gives me a lot of confidence for when we return to Jerez for the third race. This morning’s rain meant the track wasn’t in a great condition in the last two hours and I felt I could have definitely gone faster if there was more grip available. But it is the same for everybody and we came out on top, so that’s positive. Each time I tried to improve my pace at the end I came across some traffic, so I’ve no doubt I could have gone faster. It has been a positive pre-season and I think I have shown I have made another big improvement for this year. This result gives me a lot of confidence going to Qatar but my goal will be to finish in the top six and get some early momentum like I did last season. It is going to be a very exciting season and now I can’t wait to get to Qatar.”
Bradley Smith, 11th, 56 laps, Time – 1’41.134
“The really important aspect of today was that I did eventually get some dry time on track. I was reasonably happy with my performance in the wet because it is all about building my experience of the bike and tyres in those conditions. But I was really happy the track dried because I badly need seat time and the weather has definitely not helped my preparations. I’m still searching for a base setting but we have it clear the direction we need to move in with the bike and that’s to move away from what Andrea Dovizioso used and make the bike more like how Cal has his. I’m gradually getting more comfortable and at this test I’ve followed Cal, Jorge and Valentino to get a really understanding of how the Yamaha needs to be ridden. Now I’m really looking forward to going to Qatar. I’d have preferred to have done a few more dry laps in testing but I am confident and optimistic that I can start the season with a strong result.”
Jerez Test Times, Day Three
1. Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 39.511s (Lap 22/30)
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 1m 39.735s (24/32)
3. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 39.975s (20/26)
4. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 1m 40.105s (22/42)
5. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 40.130s (23/34)
6. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 40.331s (24/25)
7. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 40.370s (41/42)
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 40.516s (29/30)
9. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Rider (GP13) 1m 40.881s (40/44)
10. Randy De Puniet FRA Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 40.971s (21/24)
11. Bradley Smith GBR Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 41.134s (56/56)
12. Aleix Espargaro ESP Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 41.218s (38/39)
13. Claudio Corti ITA Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.443s (42/44)
14. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.772s (40/41)
15. Lukas Pesek CZE IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 41.791s (49/49)
16. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB (ART CRT) 1m 41.864s (29/36)
17. Yonny Hernandez COL Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 1m 42.363s (20/25)
18. Danilo Petrucci ITA IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 42.428s (17/18)
19. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM CRT)* 1m 42.470s (28/36)
20. Bryan Staring AUS Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 1m 43.525s (31/41)
21. Colin Edwards USA Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 56.281s (14/14)
22. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 56.897s (2/5)
* Control ECU.