British MotoGP™ stars Cal Crutchlow and James Ellison start the vital final test of the season at Jerez in Spain tomorrow (Friday) in preparation for the opening grand prix of the 2012 season in Qatar.
Crutchlow, the Isle of Man-based Midlander, was the MotoGP™ Rookie of the season last year and has been very impressive in the two pre-season tests at Sepang in Malaysia this year. Riding the 1000 cc Monster Tech 3 Yamaha the 26 year old was fifth fastest in the second Malaysia test and faces the three day test at the Jerez circuit with renewed confidence before embarking on his second MotoGP season at the first grand prix under the floodlights at the Losail International circuit in Qatar on April 8.
Cumbrian-based James Ellison makes a welcome return to the MotoGP™ World Championship riding the Paul Bird Motorsport ART machine. It’s a crucial three days for Ellison as the team prepare for their first MotoGP season after bad weather hampered their testing. It will be the first time that Ellison comes up against the factory bikes of the likes of Stoner, Lorenzo and Rossi.
World Champion Casey Stoner will be keeping up the pressure on his rivals at Jerez after leading the way in the opening two tests. The Australian riding the Repsol Honda has enjoyed riding the 1000 cc RC213V Honda and he dominated both tests in Sepang although there were signs that the defence of his title may be harder than the winning last year.
His team-mate Dani Pedrosa will continue to win races and could be a big threat if he remains fit. The factory YZR-M1 Yamahas of former World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies have been right on the pace, while both Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso in the Tech 3 Yamaha team have been impressive.
The question that everybody is asking – what about Valentino Rossi and Ducati? The three days at Jerez should give a clear indication what to expect. Despite drastic changes to the frame of the GP12 machine both the nine times World Champion Rossi and the 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden struggled in Sepang. The next three days in Southern Spain are crucial for the Italian factory if they are going to challenge the might of Honda and Yamaha.
The current Moto2™ World Champion Stefan Bradl continues his MotoGP™ learning curve with LCR while Alvaro Bautista will enjoy three days of track time on the San Carlo Gresini Honda.
The test will also provide an insight to just how big the time difference will be between the factory machines and the new CRT status machines. Heading the CRT machines will be the experienced Colin Edwards on the NGM Mobile Forward Racing BMW Suter machine. It will also be interesting to check out the performance of Frenchman Randy De Puniet on the Power Electronics Aspar Aprilia after some impressive testing times.
To catch up with all the latest times and news from the Jerez MotoGP test go to The tests run from 10.00 – 18.00 local times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The young British stars in the new Moto3™ and Moto2™ classes look to have a great 2012 season ahead after three impressive days of testing in Jerez earlier this week.
Wiltshire teenager Danny Kent has looked in superb form during testing for the new Moto3 class. Riding the Red Bull KTM Ajo machine he was second fastest despite a high speed crash on the final day in Jerez. That first podium finish or even grand prix victory is a real possibility for Kent in only his second full season of grand prix racing.
Kent-based Danny Webb was not so lucky when he crashed his Indian Mahindra machine and damaged an old shoulder injury. He finished 21st fastest.
Grand Prix ‘veterans’ Bradley Smith and Scott Redding did not have perfect testing experiences before the opening Moto2™ race in Qatar. Despite not feeling 100% well Redding was seventh on the Marc VDS machine while Smith, despite a high speed crash on Wednesday, was 14th on the Tech 3 Mistral machine. Gino Rea was another faller on Wednesday and finally finished 21st riding the Moriwaki Gresini machine as he prepares for his first grand prix season.