MotoGP Gets Nine Days Of Preseason Testing For 2012, Returns To Jerez

After much debate about the amount and costs of testing for the MotoGP class, IRTA and the MSMA have agreed to loosen the reins a little for 2012. Preseason testing for the 2012 MotoGP testing will be increased by 1 day, from the 8 days the teams had in 2011 to 9 days next season. To help contain costs and make better use of the available time, the night tests at Qatar which preceded the season opener in previous years has been dropped in favor of the Jerez circuit in the south of Spain.

The two three-day tests at Sepang will stay on the schedule, with the MotoGP class heading to Malaysia for three days of testing from January 31st through February 2nd, then returning again a month later for another three days on February 28th and 29th and March the 1st. The reason for flying halfway round the world for testing is simple: In February, the Sepang circuit is almost guaranteed to have excellent weather, while all the northern hemisphere tracks are trapped in the throes of winter. The class then heads to Jerez for three more days of testing from March 23rd through March 25th, the climate in Andalucia offering a better chance of good weather as spring approaches.

The test at Jerez takes the place of the night test at Qatar, which had been a regular slot in previous years. But the riders did not like the night test, with conditions so early in the year often treacherous as the night progressed. Both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden expressed their dislike of the night test, pointing out that they never really got more than a couple of hours testing each day, as dew would start to appear at around 10pm, making the track very slippery and causing the riders to crash without any warning. The data was only ever usable for the Qatar race, and so a test at a track like Jerez during daylight hours will provide the teams with much more usuable feedback.

The nine days of testing in 2012 comes in addition to the two days of testing at Valencia after the final race of the year, and also in addition to the eight extra days of testing agreed by the factories ahead of the 2012 season.

Below is the testing schedule for the MotoGP classes, and the combined Moto2 and Moto3 testing schedule:

MotoGP class        
Sepang I   Jan 31st , Feb 1st & 2nd
Sepang II   Feb 28th & 29th, March 1st
Jerez   March 23rd, 24th & 25th
Moto2 and Moto3 classes
Valencia   February 8th, 9th & 10th
Jerez   February 16th, 17th & 18th
Jerez   March 19th, 20th, 21st


Back to top


are better than nothing. Hopefully they'll get some more track time through the season as well.

Ducati better enter 2012 knowing exactly what they'll ride and exactly how and where they'll develop it.

"After much debate about the amount and costs of testing for the MotoGP class....."
probably should read
After much whinging Rossi gets his way again.....

An extra day really doesn't seem like that big a deal to me at all, almost bordering on useless in my very-amateur opinion.

From the riders that say (Rossi included) that it makes no sense to pay riders their salaries to have them sit around on chairs while companies can test as much as they want with non-factory riders (who they then have to bankroll separately from the ALREADY paid riders) then where exactly are they saving any money with the testing rule? So, it'd make more sense to just let companies test however much they want, but perhaps restrict them to certain tracks.

[I'm sure I'm wrong on a few if-not-all points here, and I eagerly await the much more intelligent explanations as to why!]

...the sports biggest attraction happy somehow ;)

Joking aside, it will benefit all teams, not only Ducati. If it does however contribute to having closer racing next year then surely that's a good thing?

The riders/teams have been complaining since it was introduced.

Ducati's innovative* approach to the extra 8 days available to test the 2012 machines just helped to highlight the issue.

* I say 'innovative' as only an idiot wouldn't do everything they can within the rules to try and get competitive/an edge on the opposition. This is racing after all.

One day extra and Qatar switched for Jerez is a good deal!
If Ducati benefits from this anyhow, so will all other teams.
All in all, this schedule seems allright and it gives more space to develop.
Referent tracks makes more referent data.

I can see a certain logic with reduced testing. If the goal is to keep factories like Suzuki on-board, then reducing the amount of testing required to be competitive makes some sense - in the old days (with better funding) teams would hire circuits and ship test teams around the world to hammer out endless sessions to test every concievable part. That's a lot of expense and pollution in an age when we're supposed to be watching the pennies and reducing carbon footprints.

Maybe there is scope for ex-GP riders to become factory tester, a la F1. What are the cahnces that Capirossi is employed by Ducati as a teat rider to put big miles on the 2012 bike to help (his chum) Rossi in sorting it's problems? Could Edwards be re-employed by Yamaha as a factory test rider to do the same, possibly based out of the new Texan GP circuit? Bayliss...... seems to be immune to such offers now. This sort of thing seems to be a reasonable way of partly getting round the testing limitations and a good pension top-up for aging stars!

Keep in mind the relativity. Let's say X mfr is having issues with their bike. Limited testing with their factory riders prevents them from proper testing, diagnosing, and fixing their design to eliminate the issue. This leads worse results/finishing positions which leads to less sales on the showroom floor. So it really doesn't save any money. It saves money for mfr's who have nailed their designed while the mfr's who haven't, suffer for it.

My point is that the lack of testing doesn't save any $ for the factory one way or other. It can very easily be argued either way.

It is meant to save money for the teams, and that is what really matters.

There are already very few teams in MotoGP, 4 factory teams (9 riders), 2 satellite Honda (3 riders), 2 satellite Ducati (3 riders), 1 satellite Yamaha (2 riders). The aim of different measures is to help the teams to save money.
With unlimited testing the gap between factory teams and satellite teams (that even now can't afford to go to all testing sessions, like Tech3) would be even bigger than now, and the price to pay to be competitive would go up as well.

These changes were implemented in an effort to limit the expenses for satellite teams who are the ones that need most help since they are running a very tight ship.
Dorna doesn't really care about how much Ducati spends on 4 private tests a month, but they are trying to keep the satellite teams involved or we'll end with a 4 (3?) teams championship.

Motogp bikes are more expensive than ever, hondas new gear box is around 600 to 700,000 euros not realistic for a sat team... Surely the best way to keep costs down for the satellite teams is to make it as efficient and cost effective as possible for the manufacturers to design and build their bikes, as the sats are in effect hand me downs. They are never going to get a level playing field.. Works in f1 because the rich teams can afford multi million euro simulators that accurately mimic a car/driver on track.. Having riders who are not fast enough making guesses at what may work whilst ultra expensive factory riders twiddle their thumbs just makes no sense to me.. If they can turn around upgrades quicker then they can be passed onto the sat teams more quickly and could actually benefit the sat teams..

Engine limits were in theory meant to reduce costs to keep the smaller (or less interested/committed, given Kawasaki and Suzuki are both many many times larger than Ducati) manufacturers in the sport.
What happened? Suzuki found they had a defective part in the cylinder head, rather than being able to modify the design they had to race those engines till they blew up, then lose face in asking for a dispensation. Meanwhile the strongest (Honda/Yam) had their designs perfected already and breezed through with no problems.
As David said, the laws of unintended consequences. The fewer rules the better I reckon.

It should be remembered that as with the majority of rules in the 800cc era, the testing limitation was imposed by the factories (via MSMA) not DORNA. At any time in the last 5 years the testing rules could have been ammended or removed by a unanimous vote of the factories through the MSMA. It seems it has never been an issue within the factories until this year.