Crutchlow sets the pace at Brno MotoGP test
27 August 2012
Fresh from his first MotoGP podium, Cal Crutchlow returned to the Brno circuit on Monday to set the fastest time during an official test.
All the Yamaha and Honda teams were present for the one-day outing, but Ducati has chosen to test at Misano on Tuesday and Wednesday instead, while some of the privateer CRTs were also absent.
Crutchlow led a Tech 3 Yamaha one-two by edging 0.117s ahead of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso on the 43rd of his 47 test laps. Dovizioso only rode for 31 laps and was ahead when he called it a day at lunchtime.
Crutchlow's best lap time of 1m 56.461s was 0.187s behind the best of Sunday's race laps, set by Factory Yamaha world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.
Lorenzo was third fastest at the test (+0.238s) having spent some of his 54 laps trying out an early version of the 2013 YZR-M1.
The Spaniard, beaten at the final turn by Dani Pedrosa in Sunday's grand prix, set his best time on the 2012 machine and did not feel that the black-liveried prototype - which was fitted with the current engine - offered any improvements over his current package.
However Yamaha team manager Wilco Zeelenberg stated that there will be more upgrades to test next week in Aragon.
Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa, now just 13 points from Lorenzo in the championship, was the top non-Yamaha in fourth place at the test, a mere 0.004s from Lorenzo after 45 laps.
Much of the Monday attention was focused on Pedrosa's new team-mate, World Superbike star Jonathan Rea, who is set to stand-in for the injured Casey Stoner at the next two rounds.
25-year-old Ulsterman Rea, whose previous MotoGP experience was limited to a private test on an 800cc Honda at Sepang in 2010, completed 61 laps of the Czech Republic circuit.
Having ended the morning session over five seconds off the front, Rea's best time, set on his penultimate lap, was 3.145s from Crutchlow.
The ten-time WSBK race winner for Ten Kate Honda said that the Bridgestone tyres were the toughest thing to adapt to. Rea will join the Aragon test next week, prior to what looks like being a MotoGP race debut at Misano from September 14-16.
Between Pedrosa and eighth-placed Rea on the timesheets were Stefan Bradl (Honda LCR), Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda) and Ben Spies (Factory Yamaha).
Bradl was testing new front suspension and rear shocks, while Bautista was working on his Showa suspension – the Spaniard being the only manufacturer rider not on Ohlins. Spies, who did not try the new M1, only rode for 15 laps, the best of which was one-second from Crutchlow.
Former Moto2 title runner-up Julián Simón had his first outing on a MotoGP bike, using the second Avintia FTR-Kawasaki of Yonny Hernandez, but was lucky to walk away from a heavy fall just before the lunch break.
Fellow former 125cc champion and present Moto2 rider Mike Di Meglio, riding Iván Silva's Avintia machine, also got his first taste of the premier-class, sighting that the carbon brakes were the most challenging change.
Hernandez himself put in some work, testing a new Öhlins front fork, and finished the day in ninth (+3.282s). Silva went out briefly in the morning to reduce his bike's chatter issues, ending the test in 10th (+4.206s).
San Carlo's Michele Pirro was two-tenths slower on his FTR-Honda.
Safety Officer and ex-grand prix racer Loris Capirossi made his MotoGP return on Monday, having been given the chance to try numerous different bikes.
The Italian, who retired from MotoGP at the end of last season, was initially out on track with Bautista's RC213V, after which he tried CRT bikes from Gresini (FTR-Honda), Forward Racing (Suter-BMW) and Avintia (FTR-Kawasaki).
Capirossi stated that he was extremely happy with his first-ever ride of a Honda four-stroke, and commented that he was impressed with the high level of the CRTs and the developments Bridgestone have made with tyres since last year.
Forward Racing's usual rider, Colin Edwards, finally got to try an Aprilia CRT on Monday, in the form of Mattia Pasini's Speed Master machine.
But if Edwards, critical of the team's Suter-BMW this season, was hoping for an instant performance boost he was to be disappointed - finishing the day 13th and last, 6.6s from Crutchlow after 29 laps.
Nevertheless, Edwards confirmed that he will be talking to Forward team boss Giovanni Cuzari about potentially switching to the ART for the next race in Misano.
The Aragon test will take place from September 4-5.