Dorna press release:
The MotoGP premier class riders will take over from their 250cc and 125cc counterparts at the Official MotoGP test in Jerez on Saturday, with the highlight of the two day practice being Sunday’s BMW M Award ‘qualifying shootout’, at 2.05pm local time.
The likes of Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden and Jorge Lorenzo will all be making the final adjustments to their 2009 bikes, ready for the first race of the year on 12th April at Qatar.
Meanwhile, on Friday Marco Simoncelli and Álvaro Bautista were again the protagonists of a head-to.head battle on the final day of 250cc testing at the track, just as they were at last year’s Spanish 250cc round in Jerez.
The 2008 World Champion and runner-up chose the last session of the test to practice for qualifying, and took times into the 1’42 range for the first time in an entertaining duel.
The victor of the shootout was Metis Gilera rider Simoncelli, who received a rapturous applause upon his return to the garage after recording an amazing 1’42.477 lap, two-tenths of a second ahead of his Mapfre Aspar rival. The two had knowingly put on new tyres in search of a psychological advantage before the season’s start.
A surprise third place on the week’s overall timesheet also came in the ultimate session, as Jules Cluzel dug deep for a 1’43.078 lap despite trailing the leaders over the course of the three-day test. The Matteoni Racing rider performed just eight laps in the last run-out.
Spanish rider Héctor Barberá did not appear for the last opportunity to lower his times, sitting out the session after a morning crash. The Pepe World rider took a knock to his knee and hand in the fall, but will be ready for action at next week’s Qatar test. His earlier hot lap was enough to place him fourth on the timesheets for the week.
Alex Debon and Hiroshi Aoyama worked their way up the timesheets with some consistently speedy times on Friday, and they too left their quickest laps until last. Both have had limited testing time, with Debon having only confirmed his ride with the Aeropuerto-Castello Blusens team last month. They rounded off the top six, ahead of category newcomer Mike di Meglio, veteran Roberto Locatelli, Lukas Pesek and Gabor Talmacsi.
The dominant force in the 125cc class was Julián Simón, who ended the three days of on-track action for the category with the fastest time to his name. The Spaniard recorded a hot lap of 1’47.318 that took him to the top of the combined timesheet, leaving him in high spirits ahead of the final test of the preseason in Qatar.
He was closely followed by fellow Bancaja Aspar rider Bradley Smith, less than a tenth of a second down on the timesheet. The highly successful Aspar team have drafted both riders into the fold as they aim to reclaim the 125cc title in 2009.
The highest placing racewinner from 2008 at the test was Andrea Iannone, joined by Sandro Cortese and the aforementioned Bancaja Aspar riders in a closely packed top four. Other riders making an impact on the combined lap charts were Red Bull KTM’s Marc Marquez, Iannone’s Ongetta Team ISPA teammate Takaaki Nakagami, Nico Terol, Pol Espargaró, Efren Vazquez and Stefan Bradl.
Espargaro had a morning crash that affected his progress, whilst Bradl was riding injured after a hard collision with the Jerez gravel on Thursday.
A final test in Qatar on April 6th-7th will give the 125cc stars a chance to complete their preparations for the upcoming campaign.