Bautista tops test as Rossi returns to Yamaha
13 November 2012 – Álvaro Bautista led the way as the 2013 MotoGP season was officially launched with winter testing in Valencia on Tuesday. Valentino Rossi was back on a Yamaha, but in the afternoon the team announced that it was switching to Aragón because of bad weather conditions. At Honda, Moto2 Champion Marc Márquez made his debut.
Since the regulations were changed earlier this year, a new ‘season’ now officially begins when the final race of the previous campaign ends. The circus remained at the Ricardo Tormo venue where Dani Pedrosa had taken the win two days earlier.
Bautista, now riding a black Gresini bike thanks to new title sponsor Go & Fun energy drink, topped the timesheet with his leading lap time of 1:35.936. The track was cold and the skies were dark, very much as they had been on race day. At Tech 3 Yamaha, Cal Crutchlow was joined by British compatriot and newcomer Bradley Smith who first lent his bike to MotoGP veteran Loris Capirossi.
Rossi completed a shakedown run, but then returned to the pits and it was already raining when he re-emerged. At Aspar, newly-crowned and inaugural CRT Champion Aleix Espargaró continued work on a new chassis as Márquez accustomed himself alongside Pedrosa at Repsol Honda. The day was a quiet one and another rookie, Andrea Iannone, also kept his running to a minimum.
“I have this fantastic bike here but unfortunately the weather isn't very good!” said Márquez, who replaces double World Champion Casey Stoner. “It's better to be patient and wait, as it's important to test the bike in the best conditions possible. I spent some time with the team this morning and I learnt many things, but I still have a lot to learn…I’m really excited to get started but we agree that it's best to test the bike in the dry for the first time - I just hope the weather will improve tomorrow!”
There were new chassis across the pit lane, with Karel Abraham now on a CRT bike for the first time and Claudio Corti trialing both a Suter and a FTR for Forward Racing, having competed on Sunday with the Avintia Blusens outfit. Third in the classification was Andrea Dovizioso, now riding with Nicky Hayden at Ducati.
Shortly after four o’clock, Yamaha confirmed the rumour that it would be driving to MotorLand Aragón where it hopes to enjoy better conditions on Wednesday.