The 2011 MotoGP season still has seven rounds to go, but testing on the new 2012 race bikes is beginning to ramp up, with the two major factory teams putting their new 1000cc prototype bikes through the wringer at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic.
While most riders get to relax a little on the Monday after race day, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Ben Spies and many others were still at the race track, testing the new 1000cc machinery that will replace the current 800cc bikes currently being raced.
Two prototypes that adhere to the 1000cc rules have already broken cover, in the form of the 2012 Ducati Desmosedici GP12 and 2012 Honda RC213V, but until now we haven't seen the new 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1, a 1000cc beast that could see a few R1 riders feel a pang of pride.
Team Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies both threw a leg over the sexy black 1000cc race bike, and posted surprisingly quick times on the 2012 YZR-M1, both of them very positive about the bike's debut.
While Lorenzo was second fastest during the test and Spies was third fastest, it was Casey Stoner who topped the time sheets on the 2012 Honda MotoGP race, the Australian posting a 1:56.168 on the new RC213V.
Lorenzo was only just off the pace however, with a 1:56.253 (just eight hundredths of a second slower) which is a very promising start for the new Yamaha race bike, particularly as the Honda has already undergone official testing in the past, at Jerez.
Spies managed a 1:56.306, about one tenth of a second off the pace set by Stoner.
Yamaha also tested several new parts for its current 800cc race bike, with new fairing, chassis and engine parts, which could give the Yammy team the edge it needs to peg back the Repsol Hondas at Indianapolis at the end of August.
Another interesting sighting at the Brno test was the Suter 2012 prototype bike in its fourth test, and also the only CRT (or Claiming Rule Team) to make use of an official test day. The bike is powered by a BMW S 1000 RR engine and with Mika Kallio at the reins, it made big gains at Brno with a lap time of 2:00.144 - just under four seconds slower than Stoner's benchmark.
While this is still a fair way off the fastest guys, the Suter crew has made solid progress and will provide Claiming Rule Teams with plenty of optimism for the 2012 season.
The Ducati Team kept its 1000cc GP12 bike under wraps, instead working on its GP11.1 bike. Valentino Rossi put in a lot of work (74 laps!) in order to try several different setups, testing various riding positions..
MotoGP Brno test time sheet (laps)
Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team 1000cc 1:56.168 - (57)
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 1000cc 1:56.253 +0.085 (28)
Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 1000cc 1:56.306 +0.138 (24)
Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 1:57.184 +1.016 (15)
Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1000cc 1:57.264 +1.096 (37)
Nicky Hayden Ducati Team 1:57.533 +1.365 (78)
Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:57.591 +1.423 (74)
Toni Elias LCR Honda MotoGP 1:57.903 +1.735 (56)
Valentino Rossi Ducati Team 1:58.266 +2.098 (74)
Loris Capirossi Pramac Racing Team 1:58.387 +2.219 (66)
Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:58.492 +2.324 (44)
Mika Kallio Marc Vds Racing Team 1000cc 2:00.144 +3.976 (81)
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