Jerez WSBK And Ducati MotoGP Test Day 4 Times: Hayden Posts Fastest Ducati Lap Of The Year

The penultimate day of combined testing for the MotoGP and World Superbike teams at Jerez brought good news for Ducati, in both series. Nicky Hayden ended the day as fastest, posting the fastest timed lap set by a Ducati this year at Jerez, just a hair outside the 1:39 bracket at 1:40.090. That is nearly half a second quicker than the time he posted during qualifying back in April, despite cold conditions which made it difficult to get the Bridgestone tires up to temperature. Hayden was the fastest man of the day (using the chassis raced at the end of the 2012 season, not the evolution brought to the track for testing), three quarters of a second quicker than Marco Melandri on the BMW Italia WSBK machine. Melandri picked up the pace quickly at the test, closing in on the times set by Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes, both of whom have now flown home, Aprilia and Kawasaki having completed their test programs.

Andrea Iannone provided more good news for Ducati, the young Italian posting a very impressive lap of 1:40.989, which would have been good enough for 6th on the grid for the race in April. Iannone is showing signs of being exactly what Ducati had hoped for, a young man who can be fast because he has no expectations of how a MotoGP machine should behave. Iannone's problem has previously always been consistency; if he can fix that, he can be extremely competitive once the 2013 season gets under way.

Good news also for Ducati in WSBK, with Carlos Checa making massive steps forward on the brand new Panigale. On just his third run out on Ducati's new sports bike flagship, Checa has closed the gap to the WSBK front runners to around a second, with still plenty of work to be done on the bike. There were fears that the bike would not be capable of being competitive, with familiar complaints of a lack of front end feel from the truncated aluminium subframe-style chassis. So far, Checa is showing those fears to be unfounded.

The test finishes on Friday, but it will do so without Nicky Hayden, who has already flown home. Ducati are pinning their hopes on Andrea Dovizioso recovering sufficiently from the neck injury he inflicted on himself at the Monza Rally Show last weekend to be able to ride on the last day of testing. So far, the Italian has only posted a couple of laps on Wednesday, before abandoning the effort due to the pain. He did not ride at all on Thursday, and is hoping to be recovered enough to lap some more on the final day of the test.

Times at Jerez, courtesy of

Pos No. Rider Bike Series Time Diff Previous
1 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati MotoGP 1:40.090    
2 33 Marco Melandri BMW WSBK 1:40.826 0.736 0.736
3 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati MotoGP 1:40.989 0.899 0.163
4 51 Michele Pirro Ducati MotoGP 1:41.265 1.175 0.276
5 7 Carlos Checa Ducati WSBK 1:41.840 1.750 0.575
6 7 Hiroshi Aoyama FTR Kawasaki MotoGP 1:41.975 1.885 0.135
7 8 Hector Barbera FTR Kawasaki MotoGP 1:42.507 2.417 0.532
8 19 Chaz Davies BMW WSBK 1:42.716 2.626 0.209
9 86 Ayrton Badovini Ducati WSBK 1:44.529 4.439 1.813

Andrea Dovizioso did not ride due to a continuing neck problem.

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Nicky's time would have put him in 3rd, just ahead of... Nicky Hayden. Still .5 better than his qualifying time this year, and instead of being .9 and 1.0 from Pedrosa and Lorenzo he'd have been .4 and .5. But, you have to wonder if he didn't just put in a flyer just to show everyone who's boss. Doesn't sound like too much progress is being made, other than maybe Nicky pulling a fast lap. At least Checa managed to get closer to the top WSBK time.

>>Iannone is showing signs of being exactly what Ducati had hoped for, a young man who can be fast because he has no expectations of how a MotoGP machine should behave.

Funny how Rossi says something and it becomes fact regardless of how preposterous it seems. People are fast on MotoGP bikes because they are fast riders not because they don't know any better. Iannone has always been hot and cold sort of like Melandri and he was nearly 1 sec off of Nicky so its not even that fast a time. Its not even his first time on the Duc. If he does end up improving his consistency surely it will not be because he didn't know any better.


Chris, you are being literal for the sake of it. The point is Iannone has no history on large, powerful & heavy race bikes - MotoGP or WSBK - so he comes with the possibility of an open mind regarding the process adapting his skills to the Ducati. Whether or not that truism does justice to Iannone is a moot point. However it does not imply that Iannone is ignorant or that ignorance is bliss when it comes to riding a MotoGP bike.

Nearly one second off the pace of the most experienced factory rider on the same equipment is a fast time, just two weeks ago MM was lauded as the second coming for getting within a second of his most experienced teammate on the same equipment.

To many the return of Rossi to Yamaha is the interest for next season. For me the graduation of the first of the Moto2 generation is of greater interest. For Moto2 to be more that a one engine/one tyre sideshow class it needs its star graduates - MM, Ianonne, Bradl et al to burst through & outperform the likes of Spies, Bautista consistently over the year. Time will tell.

>The point is Iannone has no history on large, powerful & heavy race bikes

He's tested the Ducati a couple of times before.

>so he comes with the possibility of an open mind regarding the process adapting his skills to the Ducati.

Just like every other rider coming from a lower GP class? Nobody is saying Bradley Smith will do well on the Yamaha because he has no experience with a big bike so has an open mind. The idea that Japanese GP bike experience taints the pool for Ducati riders is not new. This Ducati meme is only in place because Rossi could not come to grips with it so if a super experienced multiple championship-winning rider can't do it than maybe it will take someone with no experience. Its a mistaken conclusion as the only person to go fast on the Duc was one of the most talented riders ever, not one of the least experienced. In other words the problem is the bike not the riders.

>>Nearly one second off the pace...............lauded as the second coming for getting within a second of his most experienced teammate on the same equipment.

Not by me. That last second is the hardest to get and time will tell if he can take the step.


"He's tested the Ducati a couple of times before."

Hayden (a favourite of mine for his true grit & an ability to mangle English in a way all the non anglo euro's cannot match) has had how may years on Ducati's? Plus how many on Honda's? Plus how many on superbikes? To be a second off Haydens time having less days on the bike than fingers on my hand should be applauded. Same situation with MM & Pedrosa.

"The idea that Japanese GP bike experience taints the pool for Ducati riders is not new"

Thats ridiculous and bordering on offensive. It could be argued the proof in the pudding will be Dovi's performance in 2013, encumbered as he is with twice the stain of the Japanese, from both Honda & Yamaha.

I never said it was just Iannone that has come to MotoGP bikes as an open book. MM & Smith fit that tag, as did Bradl last year. The year before it was Cal Crutchlow. It wasn't until Cal's second year on the Yamaha before he was competitive & he like Spies had the advantage of racing powerful, heavy bikes in WSBK for a season. If Smith, MM, or Ianonne end up taking the game to their team-mates in the first year then crack open the champers. Thats why the rookie award is worth something.

BTW the whole Rossi/Ducati discussion is so last season.... time to let go now.

"Hayden (a favourite of mine for his true grit & an ability to mangle English in a way all the non anglo euro's cannot match)..."

Ha! Loved that. My wife and I like Hayden too, and we think he can totally look like a euro stud (I'm comfortable enough in my manhood to say that) but when he opens his mouth there's no doubt where he was born. It's actually become enduring to us.

Belittling Nicky for his English is rather petty. Don't you think?

And when you, yourself, don't know the difference between "less" and "fewer,"
and when you don't know how to form the contraction of "that is,"
it really is poor form to pick on Nicky's English.

You seem to know a thing or two about GP. I don't care whom you support.
But don't be an arse.

''Belittling Nicky for his English is rather petty. Don't you think?''

Read scottwiebes' post above... he understands. It's about finding joy in the irony.

"And when you, yourself, don't know the difference between "less" and "fewer,"

From Wikisource Library - Elements of Style/Misuse. Less refers to quantity, fewer to number. Having LESS days on the bike than fingers on my hand. Having FEWER than four days.

Mia culpa on "Thats". Now let us discuss the grammar in a sentence that begins with "And when you, yourself,".

I read earlier on gpone that he was amazed at the front end feel of this bike. This, among other things, was a major issue for VR and Nicky both (as well as being complaints of Troy, Loris, et al).

I just read on Gpone that Nicky is on his way back to the us. Dovi has something wrong with his neck and looks like he won't ride tomorrow. I don't understand how they wouldn't have Nicky stay an extra day to test? I hope they have a lot more things to try tomorrow. I read he did his time with the old frame too. Sounds like they are going backward instead of forward.

I have to agree with Chris on this though. Just cuz Iannone has never ridden a fast, heavy (really, GP bikes are heavy?) bike doesn't mean he doesn't know what a fast bike should feel like. He knows. He knows how a bike should stop, go and turn, just like any rider of his level. He'll know when the Ducati isn't doing what he wants it to. He'll reach his limit and everyone on Hondas and Yamahas will pass him by. Ducati have tried everybody on that thing - 250 champs, Superbike champs, MotoGP champs, and only one guy could ride the bike fast, and then only on occasion. Right now they have one guy who can tell them if the bike is getting better, worse, or not changing. You'd think that guy would be the most valuable, but they will willing to let him go. Yet they keep searching for the rider that can make it work. It's the epitome of having your head in the sand.

If you all recall one of the greatest years at GP was Casey winning on the Ducati. Only three teams were running Bridgestone tyres that year until Rossi complained enough. Ever since then its been a tyre for all teams. This hasn't worked for the Ducati ever since. And Rossi was a paycheck taker on a Ducati not a rider.

I totally agreed on this point. I am Rossi fan and will always be.

A lot of media comparing Rossi and Stoner in Ducati. It is not apple to apple comparison. Stoner won championship with Bridgestone while we know that era Michelin suffers quite a lot. As soon as Rossi changed to Bridgestone, Ducati is beaten. The number of win kept declining. And never won the championship again. That is how much tyre can affect on Bike performance.

It is true Stoner performed better than Rossi while in Ducati. The number of win he got while other bike already with Bridgestone, is more than the number of win that Rossi achieved. But again. Stoner still had a lot to prove while he was in Ducati. He is the underdog. That could be the reason why he has Bin It or Win It mentality. It was OK if he crash or not winning. It is understandable.

But that would be different story for the Italian. Too much expectation from the spectators. Too much pressure. He has nothing to prove. 9 world title. The opposite to Stoner. It could probably the reason why Ducati not performing well. When it is needed to be ridden like there is no tomorrow. But what we need to underline here is the opinion from Hayden that the Ducati has improved much. I can take that as true fact. That happen after Ducati start to listen more to team 46 opinion. Coincidence? I would not have a clue. Rossi might seem miss the train in Ducati. But his departure is needed to shake Ducati management to be more serious. The story would be same old story should he decided to stay longer in Ducati. He has to move.

Rossi era probably already pass. Probably. Only God knows. Time will tell in next season.

Biaggi beat Melandri who is a lot younger than him at age of 41!!!

But that post is just plain incorrect. When Rossi tested the bike Stoner came second on at Valencia just a couple of weeks later he was extremely slow. 5 races later he was still extremely slow, nowhere near the times Stoner set on the same bike. Despite cliaming Stoner didn't push the Ducati hard enough.

Like mentioned on top.....Stoner has more to prove than Rossi. Also he is younger. More risk taker at that time. There are many reason why Stoner more succesfull than any rider with Ducati. Could be his riding style. Only God and rider knows.

1 race (at Valencia) can not be used to judge how good the bike is. But I would say the MotoGP championship standing is. Stoner was 4th in standing. And 4th also in year 2009. So we can take the arm-pump out of equation. Also note than Rossi was out many race in 2010 but still make Stoner 4th.

The bike is just not steerable. As said on previous posting. As soon as all bike use bridgestone. It clearly shows which bike suffering most with steering.

Iannone now has several days of testing on the Duc. I think improvements from him are going to come in smaller increments during the rest of testing. (All bets are off when someone waves a green flag in front of that lunatic, though!)

GPOne reports that Laverty's fast time was set on a pair of Superpole tires. Checking back through a couple of qualifying sessions this season shows that most of the front runners would drop their times on average about 0.6 seconds from Q1 to Q2, while they were (I would assume) still on race rubber but getting faster as they dialed in the machines for the track that weekend.

Then, in Q3, when the qualifying rubber went on, the times would drop a big chunk, often well over a full second and sometimes way more. At Nurburgring, Mad Max went from a 1:55.2 to a 1:53.8 in the final Superpole session, and Laverty went from a 1:55.7 to a 1:54.1. At Aragon, Sykes went from a 1:58.0 to a 1:56.5 from Q2 to Q3. (As an aside, Sykes frequently would drop more time than anyone else from Q2 to Q3. Interesting; not sure what it says.)

So it seems safe to assume that at the end of three days of testing, the WSBK teams had accomplished their test programs and knew what to do with the bike if their riders wanted to throw down a fast lap just to see what the number would be. And GPOne says that is exactly what the Aprilia team wanted to do.

I would believe that it would be safe to say that, based on 2012 qualifying sessions, qualifying tires were worth 0.8 - 1.1 seconds, conservatively, on Laverty's flyer.

p.s. By the way, mad props to any rider who can wrap their head around the idea that their qualifiers are good for another second - and go out and ride like that for one lap!

You don't win anything for testing and the Rossi hate continues on this site, bang, bang, bang.

With no RCV's or M1's present the times are irrelevant. Ducati may be making up some ground but if you think Honda or Yamaha won't you are rolling yourselves.

BrickTop, even if only two people criticize (or dislike for all I care) Rossi you grab the opportunity to discredit a website with thousands of visitors. You are usually the first to use the words 'Rossi' and 'hate' in one sentence. It's a self fulfilling prophecy, and you know it.

25th March 2012. 3rd day of the MotoGP test.

Rossi: 1'39.733
Hayden: 1'39.919

Hayden is slower than he was before the bike had turned a wheel in anger and after a season of development..if you can call it that.

Seems to me that some of the GP journo's are getting their knickers in a twist trying defend the so called pinnacle of the sport.

Wednesday.. a ZX10 and Aprilia RSV4 outpaced a full blown factory prototype on race tyres. Same track, same conditions and circulating at the same time.. Get used to it.

It just goes to show what a crock of shite the MSMA is, and how their economy trial rules and limited engines have finally come home to roost and kicked them squarely in the knackers.

Conditions in QP for the Jerez GP meant that most top riders ran faster in the race, with a full fuel tank and electronics switched to max fuel saving mode.

Spurious claims. Sensationalism at it's best. Most expect better from this site.

What you need to be asking, rather than spin bullshit that paints GP in a better light, is how much have Ducati spent to make a bike that goes slower than a production Kawasaki?

Can't bite the hand that feeds though, eh?

"Production" bikes? Have you had a chance to actually look at a WSBK machine?

What is funny to me is that when last year's WSBK machines (or even parts from them) wind up in National-level racing series, the shrieks begin immediately that they're NOT production pieces. SWAN Yamaha in BSB was slagged on all through 2012 for using "cheater" WSBK frames and airboxes. The AMA just made Yamaha's U.S. SBK team change its bodywork and confiscated a frame for x-ray and metallurgical testing, convinced that it wasn't using a production frame, but one that came from - guess where? - WSBK. (p.s. At least in the U.S., the frames on the R1s definitely start as production pieces, and extensive investigations so far have shown no evidence of rules violations).

There is a very good reason that the WSBK machines are so close to the MotoGP machines in terms of lap times and top speeds. They are very close to the MotoGP bikes in terms of sophistication and development. A front-running WSBK machine is very nearly a MotoGP bike. It takes rain and an act of Guintoli to even get a mere factory production racer onto the top step of the podium.

Don't let the headlight stickers fool you. Try this - spend a little time talking with a WSBK engine guy about the oil pump. Ask how many motors they've blown up on the dyno trying to see which oil pump configuration makes the most horsepower under WSBK conditions.

Production, my ass.

p.s. Based on the comments by Stoner and Rossi, I'd say that Ducati's development budget might be less than the budget of Aprilia or BMW in WSBK. GPOne has reported BMW's annual Superbike budget in the past, and I'd bet that Tech III has wet dreams about that kind of money.

..and I'm guessing you don't, Superbikes are tuned versions of bikes you and I can buy.

There is a big difference between a homologated sportsbike and a factory built prototype bristling with race specific hard and software, that even the teams can't buy.

There is a big difference in seasonal budget too, forget the development costs.

It is rumoured HRC spent 150 million for 2011.

The point is..when you have a homologated production race bike lapping faster than works prototype exotica, what's the point of spending all that money?
The racing is a processional snoozefest nine times out of ten and cannot match Superbike for entertainment.

For GP, read MSMA/Honda and it stinks.

The point is ... if you're running at the front in WSBK, you're not racing a "tuned version" of anything. It's a prototype in everything but name. And it's pretty much a MotoGP prototype in cost. Ask the riders who have ridden the factory and then the satellite version of the same bike in WSBK. They'll tell you it's not even the same machine. "You and I could buy?" Come on. Go ahead and try to buy the software that runs the electronics package on Sykes' ZX-10R. Seriously, go try to buy exactly the same oil pump that Sykes' team runs on its ZX-10Rs. Team Pedercini runs a "tuned version" of a ZX-10R that you or I could buy. And Team Pedercini's results reflect that.

Let's make it really simple: Try to get the same engine that Sofuoglu had in Supersport last year. Hint: You have to give these people a call: Be prepared to write them a six-figure check. Just for engines. In Supersport.

I get what you're saying, I really do. Would the racing really be any worse if the grid was filled with CRT machines that cost a quarter or less of what a full prototype cost? Not really. Is it amazing that a Superbike is as fast as it is today? Absolutely!

But let's be clear in what we're comparing when we look at the testing times here. The factory-backed Aprilia RSV4 Factory was designed to be a race machine from the beginning and is supported by an ongoing factory race program that costs tens of millions of dollars. Sure, it may meet a rulebook definition of "production" bike. But there's nothing production about the machine that Max took to the title last year. By the time you build a "production" machine into a WSBK race winner, it's way more "prototype" than "production."

Superbikes are tuned versions of bikes you and I can buy

What stock components remain?

Engine casings
Cylinder head
Throttle bodies, air box, fuel pump

Basically all of those components are heavily modified with the exception of the fuel pump assembly. If you want to see tuned versions of the stock machines, you have to watch AMA SBK. They have the same stock components as WSBK plus connecting rods, pistons, valves, gearboxes and primary drive, fork externals, fuel tank, and swingarm. Can't think of any others off the top of my head.

WSBK is entertaining b/c all of the manufacturers start with roughly the same bin of parts and the same materials/dimensions restrictions. They all build prototype motorcycles, and then the sanctioning body gives them the same horsepower and the same tires.

what's the point of spending all that money?

There isn't much of a point. That's why HRC threatened to leave GP if Dorna used horsepower limits in MotoGP. Honda can prototype in WSBK for less money, and they can tweak the homologation rules (FIM-controlled) to make WSBK less equal.

This wasn't supposed to happen, but the Flamminis wrote an SBK rulebook for modifications that can only be classified as 'typically Italian' (read: speed-lust w/o moderation). Now that Dorna control the WSBK rulebook, they will probably try to garnish the rulebook with common sense (not as easy as it sounds).

First off, I find no issue with the article at all. Explaining the ins and outs of how and why a fast lap were achieved is seemingly lost on some. Besides, a test on the first day, is not the same as a test on it's last day. There are plenty of comparisons being done and a fast lap is not the goal. That's normally for the last day...and even then it's just testing how the bike reacts to the softer tire.

Tires are huge in respect to the fast lap times set by WSBK. If they're running super pole tires as reported ( I don't know, I wasn't there) then how can that even be compared to a MotoGP bike running race tires? Bridgestones, which are notorious for requiring strict adherence to a warm up procedure compared to a Pirelli soft compount "Q" tire which MotoGP no longer uses is pointless. Put them both on the same tire if you want that. Even then, MotoGP bikes are designed around the Bridgestones while the "production" bikes are not. Either way you get apples to watermelons comparisons.

There is then the engine factor. How many engines does a WSBK go through in a season? Rumor had it that Max used 56 or 57 engines last season. If you had even half that many, you could tune them to the last breadth of their life expectancy limits. Not so with engines that need to last 3 races or more. This is not an indictment of either series, but to say conclusively that WSBK bikes are faster would be fooling yourself and no one else.

>Rumor had it that Max used 56 or 57 engines last season

Wow, CE first had that number at 39. You are both way off. There's a good article in Cyclenews a few weeks ago that addresses this question: He does a good job of debunking the 'WSB is turning into GP and needs to be slowed down' misinformation line that is being spread around and generally accepted as fact.


Nice link. I really liked the comment that while a WSBK bike was always "based on real showroom products, WSBK has never been a global production racing series, not even at the beginning."

The difference, of course, is in the definition of "production." Only in Bizarro-land would a Honda RC30 be considered a "production" bike!

He's also correct in that it is only the liberalization of electronics regulations that kept Honda and Kawasaki in the game at all.

re: p.s. By the way, mad props to any rider who can wrap their head around the idea that their qualifiers are good for another second - and go out and ride like that for one lap!

Never understood how they do that.