Valentino Rossi concluded his 2014 pre-season MotoGP preparations with a speedy long run at Phillip Island on Wednesday.
The Italian, who had averaged a lap time of 1m 30.289s (including one lap under 1m 30s) over the same 13-lap distance on day two, lowered his average to a 1m 30.098s
on the final day.
That is the quickest average lap time of a long run seen this week. Most impressive was that eight of the 13 laps were under 1m 30s, with the best (on lap 10) a 1m 29.616s.
"I'm very happy about today," Rossi, tied at the top with Dani Pedrosa during last week's Sepang test, told the official MotoGP website. "First of all because the conditions were similar to the race in October. Colder. So we can understand better.
"All today I've been happy with my speed, performance and especially my simulation.
"I did a half-race [distance] in the afternoon with a very good lap time. So I think that, like in Malaysia, this test is also very positive. It will be very hard from Qatar but I think we can be competitive."
The full Australian Grand Prix race distance is 27 laps. Factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo got closest to that with an uninterrupted 24-lap run on Wednesday, averaging 1m 30.505s and declaring himself “quite happy”.
Dani Pedrosa (Honda) was second to Rossi in terms of average long-run lap time, setting a 1m 30.161s over twelve Wednesday laps. Pedrosa had planned to do 20-laps, as on day two, but stopped due to neck ache.
Ducati's Cal Crutchlow averaged 1m 30.340s during a 17-lap Wednesday run, confirming the strong race pace shown during day two.
The Englishman was forced to halt his run sooner than expected, due to a major front tyre issue, but was pleased with the consistency of his lap times up to that point. Crutchlow had not used that particular rear tyre before starting the long run, and believes it was “not his best tyre”.
Fellow Open class team-mate Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) did not do a long run.
A summary of the final day long-run average lap times can be seen below:
Yamaha 1m 30.019s
(13 successive fast laps) 8*
Honda 1m 30.161s
(12 laps) 3*
Ducati 1m 30.340s
(17 laps) 1*
Yamaha 1m 30.505s
(24 laps) 0*
* Number of sub-1min 30s laps during the run.
Lorenzo - who struggled with tyre issues last week at Sepang - set the fastest lap on each of the three days, peaking with a 1m 29.068s while using a “new standard tyre” during the final half hour of testing.
Pedrosa's best lap of the week was 0.313s slower, with Dovizioso +0.319s, Rossi +0.448s and Crutchlow +0.508s.
The main priority of the Phillip Island test was to evaluate rear tyres for Bridgestone, following last October's endurance problems on the new asphalt. A large initial tyre selection was narrowed down to the favoured options for the final day.
Honda's world champion Marc Marquez was not testing due to a recent leg fracture on a dirt bike.
The MotoGP teams not present at Phillip Island this week will test at Losail later this week. The official Yamaha, Ducati and Honda teams will not be on track again until opening practice for the Qatar Grand Prix on March 20.