After ‘the most positive day so far'
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 laptimes 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 tyres, before taking the opportunity to try a flying lap on Michelin qualifying tyres 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, tyres and suspension settings, the 25-year-old American was able to set consistently quick laptimes and bring his best on race tyres 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 maximising the potential from the new V4 engine. During a day spent gathering valuable data and testing many Michelin tyre options, the 2006 MotoGP Rookie of the Year set an impressive laptime of 1m 30.07s on race tyres.
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 laptime: 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 tyres, 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 tyre 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 laptime: 1m 29.72s - 86 laps
"We did a lot of work today on the engine and tyres, 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 tyre testing with Michelin that helped us too. The laptimes on both race tyres and qualifying tyres were pretty good, so we have to keep on working at the next two tests to be ready for the season."