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Weather affects opening day of IRTA test at Jerez
Day one of three at the final pre-season MotoGP test of the year got off to a wet and chilly start in Jerez de la Frontera, with off-and-on rainfall limiting the amount of useful track time for the MotoGP teams and riders.
Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso arrived in Spain with their Desmosedici GP13 configurations essentially the same as what they had tried in Sepang, Malaysia, at the end of last month, and they aimed to confirm their findings on the much different Circuito de Jerez while also testing various updates to electronics and setup.
Dovizioso made exits throughout the day to augment his still-limited wet time aboard the Desmosedici GP13. Hayden sat out the morning hours, but he too ventured out on the damp asphalt following the lunch break, partly to test his right wrist following a small procedure he had performed on it earlier this month.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th, 1:49.643 (20 laps)
"Of course the rain was a big factor, especially this morning, but I was able to get on the track this afternoon. I wanted to check a few things with the electronics and get some track time here on the bike that has the revised weight distribution. I didn't want to do many exits today because we only have four sets of rain tyres for the three days, and this track uses them up quickly. We made a few small changes, and each time the feeling was a little better. My wrist was a bit stiff when I first went out, but I had no numbness or pain, at least in the wet. Hopefully we'll get some dry track time over the next two days, because we'd also like to work on a setup for the race when we come back here in May."
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) 10th, 1:50.266 (22 laps)
"I went out this morning in order to get a better feeling in the rain, and there was really a lot of it at first. I wasn't worried about the lap times because it was my first time in the wet with the GP13. We only have four sets of rain tyres to try in three days, so we couldn't do all the testing we wanted or even try and go for a quick time. Because I rode this morning, I only had one tyre for this afternoon, and when the conditions were faster, I did my best time with a used tyre. Anyway, today's times aren't really a reference. We also did some tests to improve with the electronics, but unfortunately today we couldn't do a real evaluation because of the weather conditions."
Also on hand for the test is Ducati Corse's development team, with Michele Pirro gathering data on the "laboratory" version of the GP13. The Italian turned 48 laps over the course of the day, his 1:49.292 time putting him fifth on the time sheets.
Lorenzo Leads The Way as Final Pre-Season Test Begins at Jerez
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo kicked off day one of three of the final pre-season test of 2013 at the front, leading the MotoGP field by over a second in the time sheets. Following a successful team launch yesterday, today's first day of action was a disappointing affair for the MotoGP riders with black clouds, heavy rains and a waterlogged track hampering testing efforts. Despite the adverse weather Lorenzo managed to achieve 33 laps whilst working on the wet set up of his YZR-M1, achieving a competitive set up fairly quickly.
Valentino Rossi's first day in the official 2013 colours of the Factory team were similar to Lorenzo's, the Italian working on his wet set up. Rossi was able to find a good pace but ended the session needing to reduce rear tyre wear in the wet to last race distance at a fats pace.
Jorge Lorenzo, 1st; Best lap time 1'47.423 - 39 Laps
"We stayed on the track the whole day in the wet conditions and it was good to see how the bike performed. We improved a little bit but then the rear tyre dropped so we have to calm the bike down a little bit in the acceleration. We are quite good in the wet here in Jerez. It's the first time we are in these conditions so its important to understand what our levels. It's important to be competitive in this situation. We proved when the track was drying up that we could keep the performance of the rear tyre over distance, it doesn't matter how fast you are in one lap, if you cant keep the level over the whole race you cannot win."
Valentino Rossi, 6th; Best lap time 1'49.443 - 36 Laps
"The conditions today were very bad so we had to work on the wet. The feeling with the bike was not so bad but we had some problems with the life of the tyre, after some laps we started to spin a lot. It will be hard in a wet race to do 27 laps in a row. We also have an issue with the quantity of wet tyres as we have only two today, we have four in total so we keep two for tomorrow but we hope tomorrow will be dry!"
Wet start for the first day of Jerez test session.
Final official 2013 pre-season test held in Jerez de la Frontera marked by bad weather.
Heavy rain ruins the first part of the day, a brief weather improvement in the early afternoon allows Andrea Iannone to complete 27 laps with a best time of 1:48.948 and 18 laps for Ben Spies recording his fastest on lap 18th.
Positive first of three-day for Andrea (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team) with his 4th place in the rank, and also for Ben Spies (Ignite Pramac Racing Team) who is getting acquainted with the bike after last year crash in Sepang.
Andrea Iannone Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
"I think we did a good job today, I have been able to try a little things to understand the electronics with these weather conditions, and also the differences between MotoGP and my old category. The bike and the tires have a lot of grip that I did not expect. I have a great feeling with the team and I am very happy. Today is just the first of three days and we hope in a dry track tomorrow in order to try more stuff on it."
Ben Spies Ignite Pramac Racing Team
First time for me on the bike in the rain and first time in the rain since I crashed but I just want to get back into it. Today was the first of three days and we didnt want to do anything too crazy, tomorrow more or less we will have rain again so I will have more time with these weather conditions and we do need it to get used to the bike. I stopped a little early also because the track was starting to dry and it was kind of in between rain and dry. I think we did a good job today and we will see what the weather does tomorrow.
Cold and wet start to final MotoGP test in Jerez
Wet, windy and cold weather dominated the opening day of the final MotoGP pre-season test session at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain today, the adverse conditions resulting in Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith completing less than 35 laps between them.
The forecast heavy rain started to fall shortly after the pit lane opened at 10am and it wasn't until more than five hours later when the worst of the rain had stopped that Crutchlow decided to venture out on his YZR-M1 machine.
The British rider quickly adapted to the tricky conditions and within five laps he had stormed into the top three with a lap of 1.49.963. He completed a further 14 laps evaluating Bridgestone's hard compound rear rain tyre and was able to improve his pace to a 1.49.692 to finish in eighth position.
With four sets of rain tyres available per rider and with further rain forecast, Crutchlow only used one set today to ensure he has plenty of new rubber to work on the rain set-up of his YZR-M1 machine tomorrow.
Eager to get in more vital dry track time ahead of his MotoGP debut in Qatar next month, the treacherous conditions were the worst imaginable for rookie Smith.
Smith did complete 14 laps in the wet today to gain some knowledge of the grip offered by Bridgestone's hard compound rear tyre, but like Crutchlow his strategy was to use only one set today, keeping a further three in anticipation of further wet weather tomorrow. Smith ended today with a best lap of 1.52.047 to finish 16th on the timesheets.
Cal Crutchlow 8th 1.49.692 - 19 laps:
"It's a shame about the weather today and I didn't decide to go out until the middle of the afternoon for a few laps. I ended up only doing 19 laps because I wanted to use only one set of tyres to keep some back for tomorrow when it looks like it will be raining again. The set I used today wore quite quickly but on the 800s we used a lot more lean angle and on the 1000 you have a lot more power going through the tyre and it is wearing faster. A lot of those in front of me put in a second set of tyres to go faster and I am sure if I'd done the same I'd have been much higher up. I was third after only five laps but I am not worried about the lap time. I tried a new setting for the rain that didn't work so we went back to last year's setting and I had a good fe eling again. We will see what the weather brings for tomorrow but I am hoping we can get a bit of time in the dry before we pack up for the first race in Qatar."
Bradley Smith 16th 1.52.047 - 14 laps:
"When you need as much dry track time as possible to build up experience, the last thing I wanted to see was conditions like today. Of course it is still good to get some time in the rain because that is also good experience for me but I only did two runs this afternoon. I was able to understand the bike quite quickly but the plan was always to use just one set of tyres today and keep the rest for tomorrow. With the tyres we have kept back for tomorrow it will mean I can have a lot of time on track to understand more about riding in the wet. I didn't try and push too hard and I was quite cautious because the last thing I want to be doing is crashing. But I could understand the maximum lean grip, even with so much horsepower, was incredible. Tomorrow we will wait and see what happens with the weather but rain or sh ine I'll be out on track trying to learn as much as possible because it is the experience on the bike that I am lacking."