Jorge Lorenzo heads Aragon test

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Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo topped the MotoGP test timesheets at the Motorland Aragon track in Spain today on a day that Honda’s new 2014 RC213V made its European track debut in dry conditions.

The factory Yamaha rider clocked a best time of 1.48.076 to finish 0.358s ahead of Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez with a pace that was a fraction away from being a second under Casey Stoner’s 2011 lap record.

Today’s performance was a morale-boosting effort for Lorenzo, who has always struggled to compete with the superior acceleration performance of the Honda at the Motorland Aragon track.

Yamaha had no new parts to test today but settings he’d used to head the timesheets at Monday’s Catalunya test also carried over to the Motorland Aragon track, with the Spaniard happy with rear stability.

He told MCN: “I felt great from the beginning today. I was very constant and it wasn’t hard to be in the 48s. I saw the possibility to make a low 48 and I put in new tyres and I rode like in qualifying. The lap time was better than I expected but the important thing is the pace and to be able to stay in the 48s is a good pace for the race.

Compared to the last few years here I have been more competitive. The rear tyre drops a lot less than normal and we gain some stability with the rear. We still lose some tenths on the long straight because of the Honda acceleration but we are quite good and I am happy for that.”

Marquez was second quickest on the current 2013 Honda RC213V machine.

He set a best time of 1.48.434 but didn’t complete a single lap on the new 2014 RC213V prototype, which was available today.

Honda were due to test yesterday but the whole day was washed out by rain, so reigning Moto2 world champion Marquez will stay at the Motorland Aragon to make his debut on the new bike tomorrow (Thursday).

HRC technical staff say the new bike is a complete revamp of the current model and world championship leader Dani Pedrosa did complete nine laps on the new prototype.

His best time of 1.49.770 compared to a quickest of 1.48.928 on his current RC213V and Pedrosa said he had not spent enough time evaluating the new bike to ask Honda to try the new frame in Assen next weekend.

Valentino Rossi was fourth fastest and just shy of a second off Lorenzo’s pace but the Italian was all smiles after making big progress with finding more feeling and confidence with the front-end of his YZR-M1 machine.

Front fork modifications helped Rossi set a best time of 1.49.007 and he was adamant he could have easily got into the 1.48s. But when he went for a time attack on soft tyres rain drops had started to fall and he had to abort.

German rider Stefan Bradl completed the most laps on the new 2014 Honda today. He managed a best lap of 1.49.553 in a 14-lap stint this afternoon. That was almost 0.5s faster than he’d managed on his current 2013 LCR Honda RC213V.

But the former Moto2 world champion admitted he could not feel any difference between the current and new bike and he had set his best time of the test while riding the ’14 spec machine on fresh tyres.

After the high of Monday’s test in Barcelona when Randy de Puniet finished only 0.7s behind Lorenzo on Suzuki’s first public test of its new 1000cc machine, it was harder going today.

Engine braking set-up issues and a lack of edge grip meant the Frenchman set a best time of 1.50.860 to finish just over 2.7s off the fastest pace.

Suzuki will also be testing tomorrow.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt