2011 Motegi MotoGP FP2 Result: Pedrosa Leads Honda Clean Sweep

Dani Pedrosa leads a horde of Hondas after the first day of practice at Honda's home track of Motegi, the Repsol Honda man topping the timesheets for the second session of free practice for the MotoGP class. Pedrosa heads up a Repsol clean sweep, the Spaniard just edging his Australian teammate Casey Stoner, and his Italian soon-to-be-ex-teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Remarkably, all three Repsol bikes ended the session faster than the circuit lap record, set by Stoner back in 2008 on the Ducati. Marco Simoncelli makes it four Hondas in the top four, the San Carlo Gresini man taking 4th nearly four tenths behind Pedrosa.

Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest of the non-Hondas, the factory Yamaha rider half a second off the pace of Pedrosa, while Nicky Hayden consolidated his strong showing in the morning with the 6th fastest time in FP2, putting his Marlboro Ducati within six tenths of Pedrosa's RC212V. Another Honda in 7th, this time the satellite-spec San Carlo Gresini bike of Hiroshi Aoyama, the Japanese rider determined to post a strong result at his home Grand Prix. Valentino Rossi - still using the extended aluminium monocoque chassis debuted at Aragon, the full twin spar tested at Jerez requiring different engine mountings and therefore yet another engine - posted the 8th fastest time, 1.2 seconds off Pedrosa and a fraction closer to the front than he has been in recent races. Hector Barbera put the Mapfre Aspar Ducati into 9th spot, finishing just ahead of Colin Edwards on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'46.790    
2 27 Casey STONER HONDA 1'46.844 0.054 0.054
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'46.952 0.162 0.108
4 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'47.188 0.398 0.236
5 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'47.310 0.520 0.122
6 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'47.381 0.591 0.071
7 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'47.785 0.995 0.404
8 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'47.975 1.185 0.190
9 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'48.055 1.265 0.080
10 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'48.076 1.286 0.021
11 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'48.097 1.307 0.021
12 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 1'48.374 1.584 0.277
13 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'48.379 1.589 0.005
14 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'48.567 1.777 0.188
15 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'48.743 1.953 0.176
16 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'49.305 2.515 0.562
17 64 Kousuke AKIYOSHI HONDA 1'49.464 2.674 0.159
18 72 Shinichi ITO HONDA 1'49.673 2.883 0.209
19 6 Damian CUDLIN DUCATI 1'51.349 4.559 1.676


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Doesn't a time sheet with more bikes look so beautiful?

Has using the 8 days of next years testing trying to get a 3 year old 800 chassis design to work been the best use of that time.. probably not.
Well done to Honda again on building an incredible bike this year.. Even the rcv211v that Rossi rode and had all the top riders on wasn't as dominant, imagine if the current one had Jorge and Rossi on as well, there'd be 6 in the top 6 every weekend with the possible exception of Assen(eh Ben?)
They are the bench mark for Ducati is more ways than one as they can see how much competitive Casey is on the honda as well. They are a very very long way off.
No doubt Ducati can build a competitive bike still and they have a good team once they do that but I don't think we will see a competitive cf frameless bike in the next 5 years the knowledge isn't there yet and vanity will only get you so far..

Has using the 8 days of next years testing trying to get a 3 year old 800 chassis design to work been the best use of that time.. probably not.

That's not what has happened.

Remember, they started with what was going to be next year's chassis, then it became this year's v2 chassis... and found not to work that well. At the last test they tried the 3rd different chassis, the 2nd having already become 2011 v3. At no stage did they test a 1000 motor in an 800 frame... but some of the 1000 frames became 800 frames afterwards.

Sorry Graham, not clear enough, I was talking about the frameless design not the actual one for the 800 engine... The same complaints remain that Casey voiced back then and it's the same layout of course now with ally spars but they have the same problems....perhaps the cf isn't the or only problem.
What I was trying to get across was that they have had two years knowing there is something amiss with the bike, and instead of using the extra 8 days to build something they fully understand and can make work within their current knowledge base and build from there they have continued to fly blind with the original layout knowing they don't fully understand it and that the solution may not exist even though an alternative one does(every other manufacturer is making a better fist of it..,) . From a non engineer it looks like a desperation attempt to save something that hasn't worked well enough, rather than a good look at the regs then a concerted assault on the championship ..

What impresses me most about this season is that anyone who is even slightly off their game... is DOWN the order on the timesheets. Not having a go at anyone but just pointing out how tight it's getting at the top. Missing a bit of acceleration? Don't feel 100% this week? Didn't quite get the set up right? bang, down the order you go.... Maybe the races aren't quite as exciting as we'd all wish but the lead up to every race day is guaranteed to be filled with intrigue.

The track is fast, the tyres are better.
There's a chance of rain for the morning session on Sat.
If it clears in time for QP, I think the track record will be under threat.

It will be interesting to see if Sic can beat Dovi and justify his factory ride for next season. Currently looking doubtful.

Dovi has always been strong at Motegi though - I believe he placed 4th in his rookie year on a satelite Honda. So it would be very interesting indeed if Sic could beat him here.

Anyone that doesn't think the Honda is the dominant bike this year only need to look at these results. 4 out of the top 5 places the factory Honda are. A one mfr. podium is one thing but 4 out of 5 in the race is a big f u to the other mfr's. That bike is incredible, reminds me of the 211v.

It's just practice. And Motegi, like Le Mans, suits the Hondas. Lorenzo on a Yamaha is still second in the championship. Also, Honda has two aliens, and two other very good riders on factory bikes. Yamaha has just one alien and one other very good rider on the factory bikes. There is no front running Ducati. This mathematically swings the odds in Honda's favor.

This year's Honda is a good bike, but no-where near as dominant as the first RC211V.

....Does manage to turn the Ducati into a race winning motorbike he will now have that glow around his name whenever written and a chime played whenever his name is mentioned because his duty this year is to totally revamp the Ducati like he did with so many bikes before ; most recently being the yamaha of course. Now if next year the Ducati turns out to be a flop, what will become of Rossi. Will anyone ever want to race for Ducati other than the c string guys that just want to be in gp racing, will Rossi go back to Yamaha if there is a spot open and try and get the rest of the records he needs to be on top of Agostini, or will he just bow out of gp racing and go to wsbk???
Cmon Ducati

It should be pretty obvious that riders don't do bike development. All they do is give feedback. If the manufacturer has the money, manpower and engineering skill to make the machine go fast they do.

Ducati (as Yamaha did in the past) is jumping through hoops this year because they finally have a rider that the whole world knows is ultra competent. They should have given up on the frameless design long ago.

What bike did Rossi ever revamp? None that I know of. Certainly not the Honda NSR500, which he inherited. The Honda RC211V was a new design. The 2004 Yamaha M1 was a new Furusawa design, initially nothing to do with Rossi. Of course Rossi worked with Furusawa to develop the bike, but it wasn't a revamp. Rossi is a great rider, but a lot of myths have built up around his development abilities. By all accounts he provides exceptional feedback, but that is only part of the process. Even Rossi himself has said repeatedly this year that engineers design bikes and parts, and he is not an engineer. Unfortunately the engineers don't get the credit they deserve when a bike performs well, but get blamed when things go wrong. And if people want to give credit to Rossi for developing the 2004 Yamaha, what about the 2006 Yamaha, which suffered a lot of problems? I have never heard anyone criticizing Rossi for the problems in 2006. If he gets credit when the bike works well, surely he should be criticized when the bike performs badly.

In 2006 the bike was chunking motors and Michelins.

Development by a rider is mostly handling and power delivery. Rossi did develop the 211v and the M1's. Notice how other riders were quite fast on those machines? You can thank Vale for that.

It gets tiresome the constant pushing down of Valentino.

Valentino is a great rider, one of the greatest of all time. His development skills shouldn't be a point of argument.

Stoner is also a great rider and is developing into one of the best of all time.

This rider worship/hatred is tiresome.

What is tiresome is unjustified offensive comments accusing posters of rider hatred. Some people seem to think that Rossi is beyond criticism, and if someone is critical they are accused of Rossi hatred. Rossi is a great rider but his exploits have reached mythical proportions not supported by facts. A myth is something loosely based on facts that has over time grown out of proportion to reality. And to suggest that Rossi ought not be criticized is absurd. He has his failing like we all do.

The RC211V and M1 were fast because their basic design was right. Design is what engineers do, not riders. Rider input helps to refine the basic design so that the bike achieves its full potential. But if the RC211V and M1 were fast because of Rossi's input, should we now thank Rossi for making Hayden and others slow on the Ducati? Not that simple is it? Reality is that a great bike requires a sound design, otherwise all the rider input in the world will achieve very little.

The difference between Yamaha's success in the first race of 2004 and Ducati's failure in the first race of 2011 is fundamentally design, and very little to do with Rossi's development skills.

I too am confused where Rossi's reputation for "fixing bikes" came from. I always remember his nickname coming from his precision as a rider, like the scalpel hand of a surgeon. But even Spalders has been saying (on Eurosport) that "he's The Doctor because he fixes bikes". No idea where this came from.

Honestly I have never heard that reputation, only now from who is trying to attack him.

He has a reputation in being good providing feedback to engineers and to carry the enthusiasm (along with the economics) to get things going. He tends to work on fixing problems rather than moan about ... but not fixing bikes.

The "doctor" has nothing to do with that. In Italy when you pass university you are "doctor" (medicine of course but every other course as well). You can be a doctor in politics, in law, in math and so on. So he was nicknamed the doctor as a recognition for being best in class. Again nothing to do with fixing bikes (or ankles for that matter).

I always thought Rossi was a great development rider and that's what gave him the edge to become such a successful rider(2nd all time and not racing full factory bikes against home made ones). Certainly comments from all those that work and have worked with him over the last 15 years seem to substantiate that. Agree on the ducati thing though if a bike is fundamentally crap then the final tweaking that separates the great from the good makes no difference.. Perhaps if you shared your criticism around a bit and didn't save it all for the most successful rider out there it would come across more genuine...

No criticism of Rossi at all. Criticism of the ridiculous claims made by some of Rossi's one-eyed fans. Rossi did not "completely revamp numerous bikes" as the poster claimed. He did not revamp the NSR500. The RC211V was fast straight out of the box. The 2004 Yamaha was a new design, not a revamp of the 2003 Yamaha. The 2006 and 2007 Yamahas were relative failures despite Rossi's development (revamping?) skills.

I happen to think that Rossi is very likely the best developer out there. But he is a rider, not an engineer, or a mechanic. Rossi gets too much credit, when much of the credit often belongs to the design engineers. Rossi has had good materials to work with, at least it seems until this year. This year at Ducati demonstrates the limitations of a rider as compared to a design engineer. And the limitations of Rossi as a rider (or Rossi's style as a rider) compared to Stoner as a rider.