After the good conditions the Moto2 and Moto3 teams had at Jerez the MotoGP boys must have had high hopes for a productive test when they arrived at the circuit, instead they had an incredibly wet test, with few laps being done and a lot of time to fill while waiting for the track to dry out to get some valuable work done and some actual testing, some teams had parts to try while Yamaha had a whole chassis to put through it’s paces!
On Top – Crutchlow at the Jerez test
Image: Tech3 Yamaha Facebook, editorial use only
Surprisingly after the Honda dominance of the previous tests, especially Marquez and Pedrosa’s performance at the private Austin test it was British satellite team rider Cal Crutchlow who finished with the fastest overall time of 1m 39.511 set on the final day aboard his Tech3 Yamaha.
Crutchlow was seemingly able to concentrate on pace when the weather allowed after stating on Twitter “I don’t have any new parts to test at all !” after the official MotoGP website suggested he did.
Despite clocking less than 70 dry laps over the course of the test the Englishman was quick to point out that everyone else was in the same boat and that he was pleased with his consistant “decent lap times”. He also remains concerned about the pace of the Honda bikes, telling MotoGP.com:
“I think it is very difficult to beat the Hondas of Dani and Marc (Márquez) at the moment. I think their package is stronger. We know Dani is obviously very confident because he went home today – so he is happy with the bike! We are still working very hard with the Yamaha, but it’s going to be a big battle in Qatar.”
Dani Pedrosa finished overall fourth while electing not to ride on the final day at Jerez, reasoning a return of the neck pain he has been suffering and having no new parts to test were enough to skip day three. Pramac Ducati rider Ben Spies and Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista also did not ride. Pedrosa’s Honda team-mate rookie rider Marc Marquez finished the test sixth fastest and was fifth on the final day.
Fans around the globe breathed a sigh of relief when on day two Valentino Rossi went quickest, his lap of 1m39.525 remaining the second fastest time after being narrowly beaten by Crutchlow, he was also the second fastest rider on day two.
Rossi had been testing the new chassis on day three and though he felt the test was a success he was not as confident with the new chassis and both he and Jorge Lorenzo will use the old one for the opening races:
“I’m so happy because at the end of today’s session we had some quite good conditions to make some laps in the dry and especially because for us it was very important to try the new chassis. The feeling is generally ok; I was able to be competitive in difficult conditions and I 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 one I used yesterday and test this one again during the season. I am happy about the test; I was competitive all three days so I am looking forward to going to Qatar.”
Lorenzo and Rossi in action at the final pre-season test at Jerez
Photo: Yamaha Factory Team Facebook, editorial use only.
Reigning world champion Lorenzo completed the top three fastest times at the Jerez test with his day two time of 1m 39.540 just tenths behind his team-mate Rossi, making an all-Yamaha top three. He was fourth on the final day and was pleased overall after the difficult times the team had faced at the Austin test:
“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 let’s 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, it’s so important to start in a good way and get some points!”
Displacing the Spaniard from the final day’s top three was Stefan Bradl, who felt he had finally fixed the issues he had been experiencing with the front end of the LCR Honda, which had lead to a series of crashes for the German.
“We have found the right direction to get my front feeling back. Basically we were playing with setup, finding some more grip and confidence in the front which is very important for me because I had a crash yesterday. Finally we found something good and the lap time is not so bad.”
Bradl finished the test fifth overall, with only the top five riders dipping under the 1m 40 benchmark and Marquez narrowly outside he looks in a strong position, despite being the sole rider at his team, to take his first podium MotoGp finish this season.
Below are the final placing for the final test before the season begins in Qatar in April:
1. Cal Crutchlow Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 39.511s (day 3)
2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 1m 39.525s (day 2)
3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 1m 39.540s (day 2)
4. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 39.630s (day 2)
5. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 39.975s (day 3)
6. Marc Marquez Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 40.130s (day 3)
7. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 40.322s (day 2)
8. Andrea Iannone Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 40.331s (day 3)
9. Nicky Hayden Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 40.370s (day 3)
10. Alvaro Bautista Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 40.686s (day 2)
11. Michele Pirro Ducati Test Rider (GP13) 1m 40.881s (day 3)
12. Randy De Puniet Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 40.971s (day 3)
13. Bradley Smith Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 41.134s (day 3)
14. Aleix Espargaro Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 41.218s (day 3)
15. Hector Barbera Avintia (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.376s (day 2)
16. Claudio Corti Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.443s (day 3)
17. Danilo Petrucci IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 41.529s (day 2)
18. Ben Spies Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 41.702s (day 2)
19. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.772s (day 3)
20. Lukas Pesek IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 41.791s (day 3)
21. Karel Abraham Cardion AB (ART CRT) 1m 41.864s (day 3)
22. Yonny Hernandez Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 1m 42.050s (day 2)
23. Bryan Staring Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 1m 42.107s (day 2)
24. Colin Edwards Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 42.154s (day 2)
25. Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM CRT)* 1m 42.470s (day 3)
* Control ECU.