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Mar 25, 2013

Crutchlow Fastest As MotoGP Testing Ends At Jerez

MotoGP World Championship: Cal Crutchlow (35) testing his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 racebike at Jerez.
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Jerez, Spain
March 25, 2013
Best Overall Test Times (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Yamaha YZR-M1), 1:39.511
2. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha YZR-M1), 1:39.525
3. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Yamaha YZR-M1), 1:39.540
4. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda RC213V), 1:39.630
5. Stefan Bradl, Germany (Honda RC213V), 1:39.975
6. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda RC213V), 1:40.130
7. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati GP13), 1:40.322
8. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Ducati GP13), 1:40.331
9. Nicky Hayden, USA (Ducati GP13), 1:40.370
10. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Honda RC213V), 1:40.686
11. Michele Pirro, Italy (Ducati GP13), 1:40.881*
12. Randy De Puniet, France (ART-Aprilia), 1:40.971
13. Bradley Smith, UK (Yamaha YZR-M1), 1:41.134
14. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (ART-Aprilia), 1:41.218
15. Hector Barbera, Spain (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:41.376
16. Claudio Corti, Italy (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:41.443
17. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Suter-BMW), 1:41.529
18. Ben Spies, USA (Ducati GP13), 1:41.702
19. Hiroshi Aoyama, Japan (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:41.772
20. Lukas Pesek, Czech Republic (Suter-BMW), 1:41.791
21. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (ART-Aprilia), 1:41.864
22. Yonny Hernandez, Colombia (ART-Aprilia), 1:42.050
23. Bryan Staring, Australia (FTR-Honda), 1:42.107
24. Colin Edwards, USA (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:42.154
25. Michael Laverty, UK (PBM-Aprilia), 1:42.470
*test rider

More, from a press release issued by Power Electronics Aspar Team:


Aleix Espargaró less than three tenths behind his team-mate and twelfth overall

The final day of preseason MotoGP testing took place at Jerez today, where intermittent rain showers eventually made way for a drying track and afforded a small window of opportunity for the teams to finalise their preparations at the very end of the day. Cal Crutchlow set the fastest time of the day and the test overall, followed by Valentino Rossi and Stefan Bradl, with less than two weeks now remaining until the start of the season.

POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider Randy De Puniet left the test in jovial mood after making some key improvements despite only spending an hour and a half on track. The Frenchman was able to iron out some problems he has had in the previous two days of the test and significantly improved the performance of his bike under braking, allowing him to set the fastest time of all the CRT riders present. Aleix Espargaró was the second fastest CRT, three tenths off the best lap set by his team-mate, and both riders are now looking forward excitedly to the first race of the new campaign in Qatar.

10th Randy De Puniet 1.40.971 (24 laps): "I am really happy because the test finished in the best possible way. We had to wait until 4:30 this afternoon before we could ride but it was worth the wait. The track wasn't completely dry when I went out so I didn't want to take too many risks but we made some slight adjustments to the front suspension and made some interesting conclusions. I was three tenths off my best lap from last year without pushing, which is a really good sign considering the conditions. We also managed to iron out the problems we had yesterday so we leave Jerez in very high spirits."

12th Aleix Espargaró 1.41.218 (39 laps): "We did about fifteen laps on the wet track this morning and I had a fantastic feeling with the bike. We did some tests with the electronics and the bike responded perfectly, so I was really happy with that. In the afternoon we only did an hour and a quarter on track and there were some damp patches out there so it was difficult to get a feeling, At least we were able to continue testing the electronics and try to eliminate the rebound I was experiencing in certain parts of the track but we didn't completely manage to do that. We will keep working on it in Qatar but for now we can leave Jerez feeling happy that we have discovered a lot of options for our bike and look forward with optimism to the first race."

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Winter testing comes to an end in Jerez

Once again the weather disrupted testing today in Jerez, with the track finally drying up and becoming clean only at the end of the day for just an hour and a half.

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez went out on a drying track early in the day to gain more experience in these conditions on the RC213V, but then had a lengthy wait as he and his team waited for conditions to improve. He finally went out for the last hour and recorded the 5th fastest time of the day with 1'40.130 set on lap 23 lap of 34, improving on his best lap of yesterday by six tenths. Marc continued to learn the racing line on this track with a MotoGP machine and worked some more on the electronics.

Dani Pedrosa arrived at the track early this morning but chose not to ride. There was nothing more for him to test and he felt some more neck pain - which he first had at the Austin test, so he decide to head home and rest before the first race, now just under two weeks away.

After a long winter testing period, the season is now ready to begin. The Qatar GP first practice session will begin at 19h55 local time on the 4th April, with the race taking place on Sunday 7th April at 22h00.

Marc Marquez 5th 1'40.130
"It was dry and sunny this morning then at around 10.30 it began to rain quite heavily. We put in a some laps to understand a few things in these conditions as we had some problems in the wet on the first day, so this was helpful as we found some answers. Everybody was waiting for the track to dry out and although it was a little cold, the last hour was good. It was useful to test some things and I feel much better than yesterday, we made some improvements, especially in our consistency and with electronics. Now I will try to relax and prepare myself for Qatar, this has been a positive winter testing - much better than I expected!"

Dani Pedrosa Did not test
"This morning was sunny but by the time we got to the track the clouds had started to arrive. I was discussing the programme for the day with my team and it started to rain. We decided that we had nothing new to test in these conditions - even if it started to dry up this afternoon, and we are happy with the machine. On top of that, I felt the pain in my neck again yesterday and would prefer to rest it in time for Qatar. We've done a lot of testing this winter and now we are ready to go racing, I can't wait to start the season!"

More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow moved atop the timesheets as MotoGP™ pre-season testing drew to a close in Jerez on Monday. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider led the way from Yamaha Factory Racing duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

The third and final day brought yet more rain, although a dryer period in the second half allowed for some much desired laps on Slicks. Crutchlow was quickest before being demoted, but returned to the top in the closing stages; his best effort of 1’39.511 was the fastest of the three days in Spain, with Rossi just 14 thousandths of a second slower. In fact, no more than 29 thousandths covered the top three runners.

“We did some decent lap times and in the end we ran quite consistently, I was pleased,” Crutchlow commented. “I feel good. It’s disappointing to manage no more than 70 dry laps over three days, but to be at this pace is good and I think everybody is in a similar boat.

“I think it is very difficult to beat the Hondas of Dani (Pedrosa) 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.”

At Factory Yamaha Racing, the pair of MotoGP World Champions worked with an updated chassis – in contrast with Crutchlow who has had few new components to test over the pre-season period. Breaking into the top three on the final day was LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who finishes fifth overall, although the German was one of several riders to hit trouble over the course of the test with a crash on Sunday afternoon. Álvaro Bautista was another and on Monday the GO&FUN Honda Gresini man was unable to ride at all, following a crash and consequent hand and knee injuries the previous evening.

Fourth overall was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa, who – happy with his bike and witnessing more rain on Monday morning – soon decided to end his test early. The two Repsol bikes sandwiched Bradl who was striving to fine-tune an optimum dry weather setup, with 2013 newcomer Marc Márquez sixth from Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team’s Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and aforementioned Bautista completed the top ten from Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, assessing an assortment of new parts.

Randy de Puniet had ended Sunday somewhat annoyed, having already encountered numerous problems before crashing and suffering burns. On a more positive note, the French Power Electronics Aspar rider does finish the test as the leading CRT runner and two places ahead of teammate and reigning class champion Aleix Espargaró. Between the pair of ARTs is the second Tech 3 bike of English rookie Bradley Smith, who aims to dial out riding errors during his maiden MotoGP campaign.

Héctor Barberá led the Avintia Blusens charge from 15th spot, but it was a rather frustrating test as new FTR parts arrived at the circuit late due to the ongoing snow-caused travel chaos in the United Kingdom. 16th was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti from Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, evaluating his 2013 chassis for the first time. Out of position on the final timesheet is Ben Spies, who – still recovering from his crash in last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix – finishes in 18th position for Ignite Pramac Racing Team and did not run at all on the final day.

Avintia’s Hiroshi Aoyama racked up plenty of wet weather running (his first on the FTR) en route to 19th position, ahead of Czech rookie Lukáš Pešek’s Ioda and Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, who has converted from a prototype to a CRT chassis for the 2013 season. This week’s 25-bike field is completed by PBM’s Yonny Hernández, Gresini’s Bryan Staring, Forward’s Colin Edwards – who today focused on electronics work – and Michael Laverty. The former British Superbike rider continued to dial in the own-built PBM bike, but on Monday saw his agenda briefly interrupted by having to pull over with a locked up rear brake.

At the end of this year’s pre-season period the pack is separated by 2.9 seconds, which compared to last year’s margin brings the pack over a second closer together. The top ten is also more bunched up, with the 2012 gap of 1.3 seconds having now been reduced to 1.1.

The 2013 MotoGP™ season will begin under lights, with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar. The first track action starts on Thursday 4th April.

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Crutchlow in command at Jerez MotoGP™ test

Circuito de Jerez, Monday 25 March 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear: (CRT) Extra-soft, Soft. (Non-CRT): Soft, Medium
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Hard
Weather: Sat: Wet/Dry. Sun: Wet/Dry Mon: Wet/Dry. Ambient 14-22°C; Track 13-32°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow capped off an impressive pre-season by topping the timesheet at Jerez during a late flurry of activity on the final day of testing.

On a damp but rapidly drying track, Crutchlow posted a time of 1’39.511 on the combination of the medium front and soft rear slicks to edge out Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi into second overall by just fourteenth-thousandths of a second. On the other Yamaha Factory Racing M1, Jorge Lorenzo’s best lap of 1’39.540 secured Yamaha the top three fastest times at the test. The highest placed CRT rider at Jerez was Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet whose time of 1’40.971 was 1.460 seconds off the pace and twelfth quickest overall.

A total of twenty-five riders took part in the Jerez test, with a wide range of weather conditions allowing teams to work on bike settings for wet and dry conditions. Rain fell on each day of the test and track temperatures varied from a low of 13°C at the start of testing on Saturday to a peak of 32°C at 1400 on the second day of the test.

Sunday and Monday afternoon presented a track that was mainly dry but with damp patches with riders opting for the softer slick compounds during these periods for maximum grip and warm-up performance in the challenging conditions. For the Jerez test, Bridgestone supplied the hard compound wet tyre, but long runs in wet conditions revealed that the abrasive surface of the Jerez circuit caused excessive wear for some riders. In response, Bridgestone has changed its production schedule to ensure each rider will have two extra-hard compound rear wet tyres delivered for the Jerez race weekend that commences on May 3rd.

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The weather conditions at Jerez were quite variable with lots of rain, but from our perspective this test gave us a lot of valuable data. The long periods of wet weather allowed us to gather a lot of data on wet tyre performance at this circuit, and our analysis and rider feedback indicated that at this track with the 1000cc bikes, a wet tyre with more durability is required. Consequently, we will provide each rider with two extra-hard rear wet tyres in their allocation for the Jerez race. Although the rain did stop on the last two days of the test, the state of track surface wasn’t ideal, so it was positive to see that riders were able to lap within the circuit record in the cool and damp conditions.

“Overall, I am pleased with what we achieved during our pre-season test programme and I’d like to thank all the riders and teams for their cooperation over the past couple of months. I am looking forward to the first race at Qatar and to what promises to be an exciting season.”

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Jerez, 25 March: the final day of the three day MotoGP test at Jerez began with the same wet conditions as yesterday morning and all MotoGP riders were out on slick tyres around 4pm when the Spanish track began to dry out. LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl got down to serious testing and development work aboard his Honda RC213V posting the third fastest lap time of the day with 1’39.975 (5th overall through the course of the test).

Stefan: “Today we just had one and half hour of acceptable track conditions after this morning rain showers. We confirmed our bike set-up from yesterday, which made me more confident with the front tyre and we made a further step forward. Then for the remaining laps, we tested a new set of tyres to improve our lap time and we had a good result despite some traffic in the last part of the session. Although we had here tricky conditions in the last 3 days, I think we are ready for the first race in Qatar which is a race track that I like”.

More, from a press release issued by Honda:

Final day of three day test.


The MotoGP teams and riders completed their winter testing at Jerez today and return to base to await the opening grand prix of the 2013 season, Qatar on April 7. The three day rain ravaged Jerez test left many riders unable to finalize the test programme they had set for the three days and will have to play catch-up in race practice at Qatar.

Fortunately for the majority of the Honda riders at Jerez they had enough dry track time to confirm or update the advances made in development at previous winter test sessions. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, did not take part in todays test the Spaniard was satisfied with the performance of his RC213V and had little to gain from testing on a wet day in Spain.

Stefan Bradl was the fastest Honda RC213V rider on the final day of the test breaking the 1m 40s barrier his LCR Honda posting a 1m 39.975s lap time on lap 20 of the 26 he completed. His time was just 0.464s behind fastest of the day Cal Crutchlow Tech3 Yamaha. Bradl spent the limited dry track time confirming machine set up decided upon yesterday before testing new tyres.

Marc Marquez spent his day trying to improve his riding lines at Jerez aboard a 1000cc machine and testing when the track was dry and was rewarded with fifth place on the final time sheet of the day. He felt it was a productive if short session as he was more consistent than he had been yesterday while trying to improve his line around the circuit.

GO&Fun Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista was another to sit out the final day of testing and will have much work to do in free practice at Lodsail. Bautista also suffered a twisted knee in his crash of yesterday that fractured two fingers of his left hand.

Bryan Staring was not too pleased to see more rain at Jerez today and found it difficult to motivate himself to test but he put in 41 laps while testing the general set up of the track on his Go&Fun Honda Gresini CRT machine. He set his fastest lap of the day at 1m 43.525s on lap 31. But Staring was not chasing a fast lap time his primary aim is to establish the best possible base line settings for his machine that will allow the team to build on and improve overall performance in every department.

Honda rider quotes.
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda: 3rd. 1m 39.975s.
"Today we just had 1 and half hour of acceptable track conditions after this morning rain showers. We confirmed our bike set-up from yesterday, which made me more confident with the front tyre and we made a further step forward. Then for the remaining laps, we tested a new set of tyres to improve our lap time and we had a good result despite some traffic in the last part of the session. Although we had here tricky conditions in the last 3 days, I think we are ready for the first race in Qatar which is a race track that I like".

Marc Marquerz, Repsol Honda: 5th. 1m 40.130s "It was dry and sunny this morning then at around 10.30 it began to rain quite heavily. We put in a some laps to understand a few things in these conditions as we had some problems in the wet on the first day, so this was helpful as we found some answers. Everybody was waiting for the track to dry out and although it was a little cold, the last hour was good. It was useful to test some things and I feel much better than yesterday, we made some improvements, especially in our consistency and with electronics. Now I will try to relax and prepare myself for Qatar, this has been a positive winter testing - much better than I expected!"

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: Did not test.
"This morning was sunny but by the time we got to the track the clouds had started to arrive. I was discussing the programme for the day with my team and it started to rain. We decided that we had nothing new to test in these conditions - even if it started to dry up this afternoon, and we are happy with the machine. On top of that, I felt the pain in my neck again yesterday and would prefer to rest it in time for Qatar. We've done a lot of testing this winter and now we are ready to go racing, I can't wait to start the season!"

Bryan Staring, Go&Fun Honda Gresini: 20th. 1m 43.525s.
" I am not particularly happy today. In the morning the rain affected our work and after remaining idle for several hours at the box I got off the track for the race simulation particularly unmotivated. Also there were parts of the track with patches of moisture that I conveyed tranquility and thinking of little more than a week will begin my adventure in MotoGP World Championship did not want to make mistakes. So now my thoughts turned to Qatar for a "first" world for me particularly stimulating. "

Alvaro Bautista, Go&Fun Honda Gresini: Did not test.

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Final Pre-Season Testing Concludes Successfully for Yamaha in Jerez

Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 25th March 2013

A final day of complicated weather conditions restricting track action has signaled 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 / 1.39.735 / 30 laps
“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.”

Jorge Lorenzo
4th / 1.40.105 / 42 laps
“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 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!”

Wilco Zeelenberg
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
Team Director
“Today we could ride for one and a half hours, in the afternoon. 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 we finished Jerez Test with Yamaha in the top three which means the package is really good. We are looking forward to Qatar and we are ready to fight.”

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

Rainy pre season testing ends at Jerez with positive results
A very rainy pre season testing ends at Jerez for NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti and their FTR-Kawasaki bike. The initial difficulties encountered in Malaysia due to the late arrival of some material and the weather conditions have been clearly overcome as shown by the clear evolution from the first two tests at Sepang to this last test.

The inconsistency of the weather has allowed American and Italian riders the chance to work on both wet and dry settings of their CRT over these last three days. The team has also mainly focused on the electronics in order to be ready for the first race of the season. It has even allowed both riders to narrow the gap between them and the top CRTs during the course of this last day of testing.

The constant progress of the FTR-Kawasaki bikes makes the team look forward to the first race of the season. The first race of the season will take place in less than two weeks at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on April 7th.

Colin Edwards – 1´42.254
“All done with pre season testing and overall feeling happy. As far as the bike is concerned the bike, the chassis is fantastic. We have done a lot of work in a short amount of time to figure out a good balance. What worked in Malaysia we had to change a little bit here, Jerez always seems to be a bit particular on bike setting. In terms of the engine, we’ve come off from our first test, got a better unit and the exhaust as well, so we have added a little power. We have been mainly playing with electronics, really trying to figure out traction control and yesterday we ultimately found something that we can always improves but right now its comfortable, its consistent and comfortable and that’s what we have been lacking a little bit of. I’m happy, I’m ready to go to the first race.”

Claudio Corti – 1´41.443
“Today our lap times have improved even if the track conditions were not ideal, we still have a lot of work ahead of us and this is just the beginning. We have improved considerably since the Sepang test but we need to continue working on the development and we have several ideas in mind, we are working on the right direction. We still have to figure out a few things like the electronics and tires, which I haven’t been able to take to test to the limit. The FTR- Kawasaki package is strong even if we do lose a bit of time exiting the curved, but we have to keep in mind that we are not a factory team, we are a private team. We have to work and not let our guard down. The Aprilias are not as far ahead of us as we thought they would. Our job now is to keep our heads down and open gas.”

Sergio Verbena – MotoGP Technical Director
“We are happy with the results we have obtained in these last three days of testing even if the weather has not allowed us to test in the best possible conditions. In terms of the chassis for Colin we started of with the one that we ended the last Sepang test and we have added a few modifications and he seems to be very comfortable with this setting and feel confident for this first race of the season. Claudio is very is very fast on the single lap time, even if he still has to find the right setting for this FTR chassis. He has had a bit of trouble with the braking point and grip that we are currently working on. The feeling with the electronics is pretty good and I would like to thank 2D, specially Dirk Debus for this collaboration. We go to Qatar with a good base. Claudio has proven to be fast on a one fast lap and Colin shows good constant pace. We have positive expectations for this first.”

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

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 1.39.511 – 30 laps:
“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 13th 1.41.134 – 56 laps:
“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.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Ducati Team concludes pre-season testing in Jerez

With the 2013 MotoGP championship fast approaching, the Ducati Team completed its final day of pre-season testing today at the IRTA-organized test held at Southern Spain’s Circuito de Jerez.

As had been the case yesterday and on Saturday, the planned work programme for Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden had to be altered due to uncooperative weather conditions, as morning rainfall left the track damp until after lunch. Even in the afternoon, conditions were less favourable than they had been for yesterday’s dry portion, but Dovizioso and Hayden made the best of the situation. During the last hour and a half before the track closed, both riders tried a number of setup options on their Desmosedici GP13 machines, with the Italian again using the fairing that he had tried for the first time yesterday. Andrea rode 30 laps today and was eighth on the day but seventh in the combined times, 0.811 seconds off the pace of leader Cal Crutchlow. Nicky turned 42 laps today and ended ninth fastest on combined times.

The Ducati Team now heads home to prepare for the opening MotoGP round, which will take place on 7 April in Doha, Qatar.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) 7th, 1:40.322 (Day 2)
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time today, so it wasn’t possible to learn anything regarding the race pace. Still, I didn’t expect to leave Jerez just eight tenths from the leader. I’m surprised and pleased at the same time, as this helps us to realize that we’re not so far from the others when we have a fresh tyre. The weather didn’t allow us to do a race simulation, so we’re not sure what to expect when the tyres are worn. These three days were important for me and for the development, even if we weren’t able to do a great lap time. We should be able to fight for a decent grid position in Qatar, and that’s important, but we’re not sure about the race.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th, 1:40.370 (Day 3)
“We started winter testing in Malaysia with a bigger gap than we had hoped, but since then I feel like we’ve worked well and recovered some of the gap, although part of that is down to this track being shorter. The test team is doing a good job with us, and I achieved my goal for this test, which was to be inside a second from the leader. Yesterday I didn’t feel like I was riding so well, but I went better this afternoon when it finally dried out. There wasn’t much time, but the team did a good job. My suspension guy had a few ideas, and they seemed promising; it’s a good sign that I was a second faster than yesterday on a patchy track. There’s still a lot of work to do, but everyone’s really motivated for Qatar.”

Paolo Ciabatti (Ducati MotoGP Project Leader)
“Unfortunately, the bad weather affected every test that we took part in this year, and once again here at Jerez we weren’t able to complete all the work we had planned. Still, we go home somewhat satisfied because we were able to significantly reduce the gap to the top, although we’re aware that we have more hard work to do in order to make further improvements to our performance.”

Ducati Corse development rider Michele Pirro turned 44 laps on the day, his best time of 1:40.881 putting him ninth on the day’s timesheets, 11th in the combined times.

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

Final 2013 IRTA-organized test session affected by bad weather.

This final testing session started off wet with heavy rainfall followed by short sunny periods and a series of showers not strong enough to soak the circuit but not spaced out enough to allow the asphalt to dry.

The team and the riders did not consider it relevant to test during the limited amount of time available in the early morning of this last day of testing before the season gets underway under floodlights in Qatar on April 7th. Very few changes would have been crucial for the data collected during the previous days.

The track conditions improved almost one hour and thirty minutes before the end of the pre-season testing session allowing Andrea Iannone to jump on his Desmosedici clocking a time of 1.40.840 on lap 18, which placed him in 6th place first of Ducati’s riders.

Ben instead preferred to preserve his shoulder without taking risks which could compromise the full recovery in order to get to the first race of the season in the best physical condition possible.

Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
"I am satisfied with the work we are doing. I think that in this circuit our bike can be competitive. I felt much better than in the Sepang test and I found out a few different solutions compared to the first 2012 test. Anyway my goal is to learn more and more and to be as fast as possible."

More, from a press release issued by Avintia Blusens Racing:

Héctor Barberá sets the third best time among the CRTs in the final pre-season test

Hiroshi Aoyama completes the day with good feelings and fully recovered from his hand injury

Jerez de la Frontera, 25 March 2013.The 2013 pre-season ended today when the MotoGP riders ran out of time in the last practice session at Jerez. The bad weather and the rain were the main protagonists for the three days, greatly limiting the final work of all the teams before leaving for Qatar. Only yesterday -and today in the last minutes- they were able to ride in dry conditions. Despite this, the Avintia Blusens team got information and good results due to the work carried out on the chassis and the electronics, and Héctor Barberá was among the best CRTs in the final pre-season test, after being always on top and leading the timesheet in dry conditions yesterday. There is no doubt that this will be a morale boost for the whole team and for the rider himself to face the season-opening race in Qatar.

On the other hand, Hiroshi Aoyama was focussed on riding under the rain to get the touch and the wanted pace in wet conditions, and afterwards he worked on finding the suitable electronics setting to be able to ride at ease. In the final part of the last practice session, Hiroshi improved his lap times, being near of the fastest ones of the category and checking that his hand injury was completely forgotten and that he will be at full fitness for the first race of the season.

8 – Héctor Barberá (15th, 1’41.376): "It is always nice to finish a test with positive feelings and being fast. We are aware that in Qatar things will be difficult, but in this Jerez test we have been again very close to the best CRT times after these three days. Yesterday, on the first day in dry conditions, we were the fastest and in wet we have also been competitive. The truth is that I have felt at ease and every time we understand more each other in the team. They have done a fantastic job and I am sure that we will be able to make a good season."

7 – Hiroshi Aoyama (19th, 1’41.772): "We have not been lucky with the weather but it has been fine with me to ride in wet because I have been able to try several solutions. In dry conditions we have worked a lot with the electronics and I am encouraged because, at the end, I have been able to ride more at ease than I had done so far, but I still hope to improve in Qatar. The team is working better every day and I think that when the moment of truth arrives, we can do it very well. I am encouraged for the first race and I am happy because I hardly have discomfort in the hand."

Raúl Romero (MotoGP Team Manager): "They have been very positive days. I am proud of the team because both technicians and riders are doing a great job this pre-season. In this last test we have try solutions and we have improved, but we still have an improvement margin. I can not hide my joy: yesterday we were the fastest CRT bike and we have been third, few tenths slower than the fastest ones, in the overall of these three days. Maybe today we would have been able to improve further but we have used the end of the stint -when the track was dry- to make several tests. In any case, I am happy and convinced that in Qatar we will fight for the CRT ‘podium’."