Jerez MotoGP Test 23-25 March 2012

”It needs to fold like fine origami...”

(Technical commentator Neil Spalding on the challenge Ducati faces in getting the geometry of the bike right.)

We were delighted that the pre-season test has returned to Jerez after several years. As the last test before they start playing for keeps, the atmosphere is always super-charged.  And, of course, this being southern Spain, we don’t need too much of an excuse to come soak up a few days of sunshine and sherry!

Just 6 of us made it to our VIP tour, but this meant more experience and attention for all! As usual we were guests of team Honda Gresini, but we were also welcomed in by friends at LCR Honda, Cardion AB Ducati and Tech3 Yamaha.

With track/serv

Scott (l) and Cormac

ice road access, not to mention garage and paddock; we had a rare opportunity to see the bikes up close and in action.  No one appreciated this more than our two photographer customers Scott and Cormac, and many of the stunning bike photos are from them!  See also their respective galleries - they will be more than happy to prepare prints of anything you take a fancy to!

Friday the teams and riders got underway in good conditions - albeit a bit windy.  Some of the new CRT entries were essentially seeing their bikes for the first time. For example, Michele Pirro - riding for our partner Honda Gresini, had only taken the bike out once before at Imo

Fausto Gresini personally helps tweak Pirro’s Honda

la on a shake-down; they had a real challenge to get up to speed in the 3 days (which turned out to be effectively just 2)

Friday evening we were
privileged to have dinner with tech guru Neil Spalding. As usual, a hot topic of conversation was the prognosis of the development of Ducati and of course Rossi. In his usual lucid style, Neil spelled out the key challenges facing the Ducati - in simple terms it suffers from a geometry which doesn’t permit sufficient flex in cornering. To fix this properly may need a recasting of the engine, which  needless to say is a pretty big hurdle. Obviously there is no simple solution - with minds like Rossi crew chief Jeremy Burgess, Ducati racing manager Filippo Preziosi (whom we saw a lot of this weekend!) and the whole team; not to mention ‘the Doctor’; pondering the issue we live in hope...

Saturday was a bit lost day for all - the weather was rainy and gloomy; too wet to test the dry setup safely, but not wet enough to test the wet setup.  ‘Fortunately’ towards the end of the day it rained heavily, so some laps were had but for many was a wasted day. However there was ONE benefit to the wet riding - we got to see the new tail lights! (“in 30 years we have never needed tail lights... “ grumbled one veteran mechanic!)  See Cormac’s photo of Stefan Bradl in the rain, the red eye glaring back at us!

With only a grand total of 9 laps by all riders prior to our follow-up lunch with Neil; there wasn’t a lot to talk about regarding the current testing that we hadn’t already covered - speculation turned to what events would change in 2013 and beyond (Estoril and one of the Spanish rounds - possibly Catalunya - are in jeopardy).

Sunday was a perfect day - this is what we had all come for! Ideal weather, all the bikes on the track, everyone working furiously to make up for lost time on the last full pre-season testing day! We started the morning with a visit to the Cardion AB garage - we were joking that they should be happy to have posted the 2nd fastest time on Saturday - a bit fictitious of course!

The rest of the day went by in a blur - a great opportunity to walk the track, photograph bikes; admire riding styles.  We have to say, Casey Stoner looks like a master - he is so fluid through the lines, very frugal with his weight shifting: he and the bike are poetry in motion. He of course had to have the final word, posting the fastest time in the closing minutes of the day! (Photo: CM)

Will close with one of the discussions with Neil Spalding:  a hot topic was the entry of the CRT bikes. Clearly this year will see a 2-race tournament, and lots of speculation abounds about who will ‘win’ the CRT half. Strategically, is this the way to go? Neil thinks yes.  The longer objective - agreeing with the view Colin Edwards expressed to us in Sepang - is that we need to get to a series where “...six manufacturers are swapping paint at the lead...” and then this will become the most exciting sport on the planet.

Too true Neil, too true.  And we need to start somewhere. 2012 is going to be a fantastic year!

We hope to see you here!

You can’t get any closer to the bikes and riders than at the official Tests.  We will go to the tests following the MotoGP events, provisionally following Estoril, Mugello, Brno and Valencia. (Note: ALL post-GP tests sold out last year)


The final pre-season motogp test 2012

Alvaro Bautista in full flow... We will see a lot of him this year through our partner MotoGP Team Gresini. (SS)


Photos marked

SS: Scott Schweitzer, customer (& pro photographer!)

See his gallery of photos.

CM: Cormac Meenan, customer (& pro photographer!)

(See his gallery of photos and on Twitter @CormacGP)

GH: Gordon Howell, PPT guide

Guest commentator: Neil Spalding

Special thanks to team San Carlo Honda Gresini for organising the access, and all the members of the MotoGP paddock for sharing their time and passion with us!

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Event Videos

We got to be the first to see the gorgeous new livery of the Ducatis in action!