2012 Jerez CRT Private Test Day 2 - De Puniet Fastest Again On A Day Of Crashes

Testing continued for the MotoGP CRT machines at Jerez on Tuesday under blue skies and balmy temperatures, but despite ideal conditions, the track offered much less grip than it did on Monday. The tricky conditions saw a number of crashes during the day, with Aleix Espargaro going down twice, Danilo Petrucci crashing once and Karel Abraham crashing the satellite Ducati he was testing, stating afterwards that he thought there could be oil on the track.

Despite the conditions, work continued on developing the machines at the track, with almost everyone spending the day working on electronics strategies. Randy de Puniet spent working on both traction control out of and engine braking into the corners, saying afterwards that the Aspar team had found some improvements, and was working on getting more grip. The pace of improvement was solid, De Puniet told the official MotoGP.com website, the Frenchman saying he felt much more comfortable on the bike now, having found a good riding position, and this was allowing De Puniet to post much more consistent lap times. The one area of concern was the tires, he added, saying that the 2012 tires appeared to be producing more chatter than the 2011 tires, a phenomenon which the MotoGP prototypes had also noticed. At the end of the day, De Puniet had cut some seven tenths off his fastest time from Monday, finishing over a second ahead of Speed Master's Mattia Pasini, with Aleix Espargaro, Danilo Petrucci and James Ellison all some distance behind. 

De Puniet's Aspar teammate Aleix Espargaro spent more time on the bike on Tuesday, after flu-like symptoms, saw him break off testing early on Monday. After sleeping for twelve hours, a much-improved Espargaro resumed work on Tuesday, though problems with concentration meant that the Spaniard crashed twice during the day. Espargaro's biggest problem is a lack of grip in the fast corners, he said at the end of the day. The bike does not want to turn, leaving him running wide in the fast corners, though the Aprilia ART is fine in the slower turns.

No such problems for Mattia Pasini, who had a much more productive day at the track on the Speed Master bike. Pasini took 1.3 seconds off his time from Monday, spending time working on adapting his riding style to the MotoGP machine and to the electronics. The team had spent Monday ironing out the problems inherent in a new machine, Pasini said, and that had meant he could concentrate on riding and working on the bike. 

Newcomer James Ellison and his PBM team spent the day doing what Pasini had done on Monday, running through the new bike and getting everything set up to his liking. He was still learning his way around the machine, and trying to understand what the machine was capable of. So far, he had not got anywhere near the limit of the Bridgestone tires, he said, and he and the team were working their way methodically through the process of getting to know the Aprilia ART machine. It felt like a real race bike, he said, despite the fact that the bike was still using the standard steel brakes, rather than the carbon brakes the other teams were using, which PBM will only receive at Aragon in two weeks' time. His aim, he said, was to leave the test with the bike still in one piece.

That was an aim shared by Danilo Petrucci, but one which the IODA Racing rider failed to achieve. The Italian crashed heavily during the day, with his crash perhaps related to an earlier crash by Karel Abraham, Petrucci speculated. That crash had left the steel-trellis-framed IODA chassis in bad shape, leaving Petrucci to continue with the standard ART bike he had used on Monday. New Bridgestones could also have been a contributory factor, Petrucci conceded, admitting that he could have been caught out by new tires which had not yet fully reached their temperature. The IODA team was uncertain whether they would be able to repair the bike in time for the final day of testing, as the chassis is so new that the team has a severe lack of spares.

The same fate could also plague the Ducati team, Karel Abraham told MotoGP.com, as the Cardion AB rider had managed to completely destroy the satellite bike which the Ducati test team had brought along to Jerez. The cause of the crash was mysterious - a patch of oil on the track could have been to blame, Abraham said, but the crash saw the bike catch fire, destroying the front end of the bike and damaging the chassis. Up until he had crashed the bike, the test had been going very well, Abraham said; he had a good feeling with the bike and had spent a lot of time testing electronics. But Abraham's crash not only brought proceedings to a halt for the Czech rider, but could also endanger Hector Barbera's participation in the test, as the Pramac rider was due on Wednesday to ride the bike which Abraham had destroyed today.

Ducati test rider Franco Battaini, meanwhile had spent almost all day working on electronics. The Italian had performed numerous test starts in pit lane throughout the day, clearly working on launch control strategies for the Ducati.

With no times made available for the Ducatis, it is hard to tell how close the Aprilias are getting to factory prototype machines. De Puniet's 1'40.9 is a second slower than the fastest time he posted at the circuit during the Spanish Grand Prix back in April of last year. The team will have to find at least another second to start to get in among the satellite bikes, and with another test at Aragon before the IRTA test at Jerez at the end of March, there is still room to find some improvement. But the bikes clearly have some way to go before they become competitive.

Unofficial times supplied by the teams to MotoGP.com:

Pos Rider Bike Time Diff Previous
1 Randy De Puniet ART 1:40.9    
2 Mattia Pasini ART 1:42.0 1.1 1.1
3 Aleix Espargaró ART 1:42.6 1.7 0.6
4 Danilo Petrucci IODA 1:43.3 2.4 0.7
5 James Ellison ART 1:44.4 3.5 1.1

Jerez MotoGP race lap record: 2010, Dani Pedrosa - 1:39.731
Fastest lap at previous CRT test at Jerez at the end of November: Randy de Puniet, 1:41.5

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That is a stunning result, sure the prototype 1000s will be faster than the 800s but I'm very happy to see the rate of improvement of the CRTs. Even more hope for a great season to come.

I do wish they'd restrict the electronics mumbo jumbo, a standard ECU that rewards rider input and allows those with best throttle/braking control to succeed is all we want. It'd also reduce the cost of competing enormously, leading to a larger more competitive field.

Youre happy to see 'them' improve? Whose 'them'. The fastest rider is slower then his first ride on the thing in Nov, no less on supposedly better tires and with carbon/carbon brakes? I think its and embarrasment. Secondly, see the next riders over 1/10th of second slower per corner almost.

Dorna and Carmen E have screwed the pooch here. Should of set a standard for the whole class. This segregated class will make for lopsided and dangerous racing. Can't wait to see how many people Stoner punch on track and verbally crucify for being so slow..

Wow, that was harsh. These "privateers" are trying to develop machines that will compete with the factory specials in just a few months. Cut them some slack donniedarko. Everyone knows the old formula was completely unsustainable, but to expect some guys in a garage in Leeds or Amsterdam to come up with a bike that will compete with the might of Honda, Yamaha and Ducati right away is dillusional at best.

And why the moaning about dangerous conditions. The 125 and 250 riders seemed to be able to deal with lapping slower riders so why won't Mr. Stoner? Maybe he'll have to recall his own days in those classes. If anything it will add a bit of drama to what have become exceedingly boring processional races.

Oh wait a minute, that's what Carmelo Expeleta is trying to do...

The article states that Randy was .6 sec faster this time than in November, a nice improvement by any standard.

I agree about the segregated class though, that isn't racing to me

News alert: MotoGP has been segregated ever since they went to the 4 strokes. The factory bikes have always been a step above the leased bikes. Why anyone would pay $3 million to "borrow" a bike that was incapable of winning is beyond me.

The CRTs will mature and get better with time.

6 bikes or 26 bikes on the grid? It really is that simple. Where do you see MotoGP in 5 years? 6 pint sized jockeys on computer controlled devices circulating with instruction coming directly to the device via blue tooth?

No, this process is the first step in a plan to make it more 'enter-able' by modestly funded teams. Dorna etc have competing interests, the factories and their stars vs the need to keep grid sizes entertaining, without back markers you have wait over a minute for the riders to come around again (awful stuff).

At Phillip Island this year the number of finishers was too few. My wife spent most of the 3 days we were at Phillip Island on her I-pad, but when the race started (we were opposite stoner's pit) she made the comment "there's nobody in this one?". She was making a direct comparison with Moto2.

By any measure Moto2 on race day is storming success, the powers that be are simply moving MotoGP in a similar direction.

My tone came off wrong but stand by what I said. Also last report I read said he wasn't as fast. So it seems .6 seconds faster is an improvement when they have unlimited testing, and many new parts. Come on guys.

When riders will be getting lapped TWICE potentially with bikes going over 320km an hour thats dangerous. More so especially when the CRT teams are throwing in riders that are barely proven in lower formulas not even in the Dorna series. Yikes.

If Dorna and the MSMA said ALL teams require spec ECU's et al then I would have less to speak to. I am eager to see how BSB goes with no TC for the next few years, as maybe that shows a path to possibility. Those bike are putting out 210+rwhp. But trying to equalize teams by throwing in the CRT conundrum is reasonable on paper but will be a quick study in how you can't race equipment that isn't the same. Either make the whole class CRT or not.

Honda is already doing one with Gresini so I see in a season or two maybe. The series I wouldnt be surprised to see all CRT. Ducati has a Desmodici road legal. Love to see in a CRT bike :)

I'm sad to see the factory bikes have such small numbers but to fill a grid at any means possible like this, yet really have a race between 6 bikes or whatever it is in a grid with 17+ bikes is not what I want to see. I speak with my wallet and my MotoGP subscription is dormant this year

Im not trying to be keyboard expert here. These are the facts as I see it... and with a second full test and RDP going .6 faster is impressive when the factory squads are doing radically more of that, its kind of painful to see

Like the new GUI on the site David!

Stoner lapped riders at Silverstone 2011. At Phillip Island he was miles in front and pulling away lap after lap, Jorge was the only rider to bring a race to him for most of last season, do we lose the rest of the field because they are slower than these two great riders? Of cause not, the officials are just trying to make the races more of a spectacle, moto2 was fabulous at the track last year (Marquez's run through the field actually got the wife's nose out of the I-pad), more power to Dorna etc for trying to provide that spectacle in the premier class.

Is iODA testing an ART bike in addition to their trellis frame bike? I was under the impression that IODA went with the trellis bike because they wanted to do a completely independent bike without any factory assistance from aprillia. In fact I read somewhere that even the engine they will use is not factory spec but updated by themselves and other vendors to a WSBK spec comparable engine.

If that is the case I suspect they might not be using an ART but a WSBK spec aprillia prepared by themselves or someone else other than the factory itself...

Wait til honda unveils their CRT bike , a little input from Stoner and Gang and it will probably be a rocketship , although Id rather see a yamaha CRT sort of a TZ350 for the modern age

If the times given are accurate then Randy is only 1 second off his qualifying time from last years GP. And only 2 seconds off the front row! As long as some steady improvements are made and I am sure they will be, we may see some of the crts fighting with satellite bikes this year sooner than what many hear seem to think. He is already faster than Elias was in qualifying.

"Testing continued for the MotoGP CRT machines at Jerez on Tuesday under blue skies and balmy temperatures, but despite ideal conditions, the track offered much less grip than it did on Monday."

Why were the track conditions worse? The weather was better and there was a layer of rubber down.

Maybe the track conditions were actually better and therefore riders pushed their bikes further, only to discover that they still had a lot to learn about the setup?

I keep saying this, and I'm going to keep on saying it, CRT will come good. It has to, wether you think DORNA or MSMA have got it wrong, the fact remains that they've sunk a fortune into this project. And for it NOT to work is unthinkable for them.

I am actually surprised by the fact that RdP is only 1 second off, everyone seems to be forgetting that these bikes are BRAND new. And as someone's already said, these are NOT full factory teams (although the Aspar squad are pretty close). There's no way you can right off the CRT bikes until they've had a good crack of the whip. And to say they're going to be dangerous is, in my opinion, doing all the riders in the paddock a great dis-service.

If when the first FP opens in Qatar and there's bikes getting in the way of each other, then, yes, something will be done. I for one cannot see it happening any more than it is now.

I'm interested to see that the CRT bikes are getting as much chatter as the prototypes though. Was thinking that Bridgestone would be looking at making the tyres a little more pliable..

Re "I'm interested to see that the CRT bikes are getting as much chatter as the prototypes though. Was thinking that Bridgestone would be looking at making the tyres a little more pliable.." I believe they heat up quicker this year, implying the carcass is a little softer? (help me out here David)

I think the CRT times are very encouraging. 1,40 slower, with no experience virtually. By the end of the year the gap will be much narrower, that's what I think.
I really expected the difference between CRT and proper MotoGP bikes to be closer to 4 secs.
So maybe Ezpeletta's gamble (taken out of necessity, by all means) will eventually pay off.

I think the CRT times are very encouraging. 1,40 slower, with no experience virtually. By the end of the year the gap will be much narrower, that's what I think.
I really expected the difference between CRT and proper MotoGP bikes to be closer to 4 secs.
So maybe Ezpeletta's gamble (taken out of necessity, by all means) will eventually pay off.

Stoner mentioned during the first Sepang test that they need the same performance from LESS fuel, he was hinting that although fast the new prototype was thirsty, how do you save fuel? Generally you slow down...

The CRT camps have no such issue, the extra 3 litres they have contains an awful lot of energy, you can see a situation emerging where the prototypes are stormingly quick in qualifying only to be slowed by fuel constraints during the race.

If the CRTs are already 2 seconds a lap off the 800s front row at Jerez, then there will be some seriously concerned back marking prototype teams. The 1000 prototype will be quicker than the 800 but the fuel limit will restrict their race times. I'd be interested to see Valentino's quickest race lap time from last year and compare that to RdP's current times. Given the CRT will improve and has fuel to burn.

If Vale and Hayden finish behind a CRT bike, what then?

From the MotoGP website

"His pace set today was less than one second off the track lap record set by Pedrosa in 2010 (1’39.731), and with room for improvement still present..."

RdP was less than a second off the lap record... and will have an 3 extra litres during the race....???

CRT mockers be warned, they will be closer than you think, engineers know how to calculate rules that brings performance from varied machines to a comparable result. The easiest way to do it? Place limits on the energy available in the first place.

I will place one caveat on all of this, and that is that the CR teams are doing their own timing, a notoriously unreliable source.

The truth will be told when true circuit times are available from prototypes and CRTs at the same track on the same day. If the CRTs are within a second or two and have an extra 3 litres for the race, it will be fun!

Still slower then Satellite bikes. A pack of backmarkers, and what we are seeing is the one WSBK/GP hybrid doing well with a resonably good satellite rider, the others languish. The Factory bikes have yet to really get into testing, once they get to speed the gap will be just as great. Make all the bikes on similiar playing field or it will be the same conversation till its done.