Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo ended the first day of testing at Sepang on top of the time sheets with a 2:01.6, just ahead of Dani Pedrosa who was 0.346 slower than his Spanish buddy. This is J-Lo’s first proper ride since losing a bit of his finger at Phillip Island last season. Times are slow, considering Casey Stoner managed a 1:59 last year, but overnight rain may have some significance. Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow put in a storming effort for third place, just half a second behind Lorenzo and a smidgen in front of Factory Yammy pilot, Ben Spies.
Valentino Rossi debuted the ‘90% all-new’ Ducati and was instantly quick, ending the day 0.7 seconds off the top spot in fifth place. Still lots of work to do, but VR46 seems happier on the bike. Casey Stoner, meanwhile, didn’t even manage to get out on the circuit after straining his back while warming up in the box. He’s resting now and will hopefully have a ride tomorrow. No doubt Casey will lap a second quicker than anyone else after his first session.
The new-for-2012 CRT bikes were led by Colin Edwards on his Forward Racing Suter, but still 6.5 seconds off the pace. Colin and the team did have some difficulties though. The other CRT bikes of Ivan Silva and Jordi Torres were a disastrous nine seconds behind Whoregay. That’s getting lapped within 12 laps territory. Shocking. Then again, these small teams are doing all their testing and development in the public eye, and are years behind the factories.
Moto2 champ, Stefan Bradl made a decent big-bike debut, finishing 11th and two seconds adrift. Nicky Hayden, still struggling for fitness after badgering himself in the off-season, was 0.5s ahead of Bradl and a tenth off Alvaro Bautista onboard the Gresini Honda.
That was exciting. More tomorrow