Valentino Rossi Back To The Top

Cycle News Staff | March 24, 2013

The second day of the final pre-season test of the MotoGP off-season saw the return of Valentino Rossi to the top of the timesheets at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain, the Italian legend showing that he may well be a factor in this year’s title chase.

Again less than ideal weather conditions meant that dry track time was at a premium at Jerez, but the afternoon did produce a dry racetrack before more rain came to put a stop the proceedings.

But before the rain came Rossi, the nine-time World Champion besting his Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo by .015 of a second to lead the session.

“Today’s test session was very positive for us,” Rossi said in a team release after setting a best of 1:39.525. “I’m so happy, especially because we used a different style of setting. It is very important for us to understand this setting, which can help and effect my riding style to ride the bike in a better way and stay more constant, especially with good lap times on old tires.

“To make the first position with a time of 39.5 [1:39.5] is good and also being as fast as Jorge [Lorenzo]. Me and my team are very happy with the pace and I think we will try to continue to work on this way.”

Lorenzo, who was fastest in yesterday’s wet session, was second to his teammate with a 1:39.540. Lorenzo’s best-ever lap of Jerez was a 1:38.189 in 2008.

“The track was dry but not in perfect conditions today, there was not so much grip and we had some problems in some corners, where the bike was not very stable,” Lorenzo said. “In general it was a very positive test. We worked on suspension and electronics today and we saw that compared to Austin the Yamaha’s were much more competitive. There are three Yamaha’s in the top three and that is good for the motivation of the brand. The track is not in the best condition, it’s dry but it’s not perfect because of the rain. I think we have to focus on getting more stability on acceleration and get more comfortable with the race pace.”

The third Yamaha Lorenzo spoke off belonged to Monster Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, the Brit ending up with the third quickest time on the second of three days of testing. Crutchlow’s best was just .049 off Rossi and .034 from Lorenzo.

The first non-Yamaha was the Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard’s 1:39.630 only .105 behind Rossi as the top five were separated by .797.

Fifth went to Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso over the Go & Fun Honda Gresini of Alvaro Bautista, the Spaniard having suffered a crash during the session and suffering two broken fingers.

Repsol Honda’s sensational rookie Marc Marquez was seventh in today’s dry session, just ahead of LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Energy T.I Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone.

Nicky Hayden rounded out the top 10 on his factory Ducati.

The two Texans – Ben Spies and Colin Edwards – ended the day 18th and 22nd, respectively.

Jerez Test Day 2

1.              Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:39.525

2.              Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:39.540

3.              Cal Cruchlow (Yamaha) 1:39.574

4.              Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:39.630

5.              Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:40.322

6.              Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1:40.686

7.              Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:40.714

8.              Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1:40.783

9.              Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1:41.088

10.           Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:41.325

18. Ben Spies (Ducati) 1:41.702

22. Colin Edwards (FTR/Kawasaki)