Phillip Island MotoGP Test – Day 3
The Repsol Honda pairing of Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa finished on top of the timesheets at the Phillip Island circuit today, setting the fastest lap times of the three-day MotoGP test. Demonstrating the continued progress of the new RC212V, both factory Honda riders were able to improve their pace on race tires, before taking the opportunity to try a flying lap on Michelin qualifying tires towards the end of the day.
World Champion Nicky Hayden was pleased with the day’s work as he put in a massive 101 laps on the prototype 800cc machine that will be campaigned for the first time at the season opener in Qatar on March 10. Finding a positive combination of chassis geometry, tires and suspension settings, the 25-year-old American was able to set consistently quick lap times and bring his best on race tires down to 1m 30.45s. Then, with the qualifier fitted, Hayden once again demonstrated the pace that took him to pole position here in September’s Australian Grand Prix by putting in a lap of 1m 29.52s – the fastest time of anyone over the three-day test.
Dani Pedrosa also went quickly today as his team ran through an extensive test schedule aimed at further improving his bike’s set-up and maximizing the potential from the new V4 engine. During a day spent gathering valuable data and testing many Michelin tire options, the 2006 MotoGP Rookie of the Year set an impressive lap time of 1m 30.07s on race tires. This was well inside the race lap record for the 4.448km (2.764 miles) Australian circuit set in 2005 by Marco Melandri on the 990cc Honda RC211V. On his single flying lap on qualifying rubber, Pedrosa then recorded a lap of 1m 29.72s to finish just behind Hayden.
The Repsol Honda Team will complete two further three-day tests at the Losail circuit in Qatar (13-16 Feb) and the Jerez circuit in Spain (23-25 Feb) before the opening race of what promises to be another gripping MotoGP season.
Nicky Hayden Best lap time: 1m 29.52s – 101 laps
“The last day here was definitely the most positive of this test and also of the year so far. We found a few settings on the bike that I liked and made some good progress. I also did a longer run and the times were pretty consistent in the 1m 30s bracket on race tires, which is positive too. It’s not like we can call the dogs off yet though because we’ve still got some work to do! We were fastest today on the qualifier and I really think that’s down to Michelin’s qualifying tire working really well here. Also, a certain somebody wasn’t at this test, so just because we’re quickest today doesn’t mean we can relax. I want to say thanks to my team because I’m really happy with how well we’re working together. Plus I’ve got a new Showa suspension technician and that’s already going well too. Now we’ll head to the next two tests and see where we stand then.”
Dani Pedrosa Best lap time: 1m 29.72s – 86 laps
“We did a lot of work today on the engine and tires, which is just what we planned from yesterday. I’m happy about the results and we improved a lot at this track over the course of the test which is important. We tested some aspects of the engine performance today and found some settings that have given us a good direction to work in. And we did quite of lot of tire testing with Michelin that helped us too. The lap times on both race tires and qualifying tires were pretty good, so we have to keep on working at the next two tests to be ready for the season.”
Unofficial lap times:
1 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 29.52s 101 laps
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 29.72s 86
3 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 30.15s
4 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 30.20s
5 Alex Hofmann D’Antin Ducati 1m 30.21s
6 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki 1m 30.32s
7 Alex Barros D’Antin Ducati 1m 30.43s
8 Carlos Checa LCR Honda 1m 30.46s
9 Toni Elias Gresini Honda 1m 30.56s
10 Marco Melandri Gresini Honda 1m 30.80s
11 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki 1m 30.84s
12 Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda 1m 30.98s
13 Kenny Roberts Jr Team Roberts Honda 1m 31.15s
Phillip Island record laps:
2006 Pole position : Nicky Hayden 1m 29.020s
2006 Race Fastest Lap : Valentino Rossi 1m 30.917s
Lap Record : Marco Melandri (2005) 1m 30.332s