Simoncelli rides 1000cc Honda
Marco Simoncelli made his 1000cc MotoGP debut during a private test at Motegi on Monday.
The test, one day after the Japanese Grand Prix, was made possible by Simoncelli's recent contract extension with HRC, which will see the Italian remain at Gresini Honda, with full factory backing, for 2012.
Simoncelli joined MotoGP with Gresini in 2010 and had thus only experienced the present breed of 800cc machines, which replaced 990cc engines in 2007.
"The big day finally arrived and I was able to test the bike I will be riding in Team San Carlo Honda Gresini colours next year. It was a fantastic experience to get out on the RC213V and I would like thank HRC for the opportunity," said Simoncelli.
No precise lap times were released, but Simoncelli said his lap times were similar to the RC212V. Simoncelli set the fifth fastest lap on his way to fourth place, after a ride-through penalty, in Sunday race.
"I completed 50 laps and quickly felt confident with the new bike, setting similar lap times to the RC212V. At the end of the day I gave my feedback and suggestions, which I hope will be important to development of the bike from here," he said.
"Now I am taking some days off on the island of Boracay in the Philippines before the next race at Phillip Island."
Simoncelli is the seventh MotoGP rider to test a 2012 factory 1000cc bike, after Casey Stoner (Honda), Dani Pedrosa (Honda), Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), Ben Spies (Yamaha), Valentino Rossi (Ducati) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati).
Honda now has three of its eight rider/days of in-season 1000cc testing with MotoGP riders remaining, compared with one for Ducati and four for Yamaha. Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista is yet to test.
The next round of the MotoGP World Championship will be held in Australia on October 18.