Rider’s reflect on opening day of Sepang MotoGP Test

Dani Pedrosa – P1

“Of course it’s good to start the testing with the fastest time, so we’re happy with that. We had some rain in the morning and therefore the chance to do a few laps on rain tyres, and we felt good from the beginning. In the afternoon, when the track dried, the asphalt kept improving lap by lap, and that was positive for the many changes we had to try. We have three bikes here, and they have the same setup but different engines. Basically, we worked on the engine package, trying to collect as much information as possible and to get a feeling with each different specification; that’s one of the main areas we have as a target for this test. There are still points we need to work on in order to understand more. We also need more laps on used tyres, as we didn’t get any long runs in today. Of course we’re still in the early stages but so far the feeling is good.”

Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa

Andrea Dovizioso – P2

“I’m very satisfied with the first day of testing and the feeling with the Desmosedici GP18: the new bike gives me some good sensations, especially when I come off the brakes and turn it into the corner. It’s still too early to give a definitive opinion, but I’m happy with how we have begun this test. Let’s hope that the weather in the next couple of days allows us to carry out the work schedule and the back-to-back tests we have planned.”

Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

Jorge Lorenzo – P3

“The feeling with the new bike was good right from the start and the first test of 2018 began positively. The GP18 is much closer to my riding style and it turns better on the gas in mid-corner. We set a really great time on what is the first day of testing on a particular circuit like Sepang, and to see four Ducatis in the top 5 is another positive sign for sure. I have the feeling we are on the right path, even though of course we still have to improve several aspects.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo

Danilo Petrucci – P4

“I have to say that I am very happy to have started like this. There is always a little pressure on the first day and after two months without riding a MotoGP bike this is a very good result. I like the new bike very much, it’s instinctive and I can push more in many parts of the circuit. There isn’t a point where the bike is much better or worse but it makes everything much easier. The engine is very fluid and this allows me to follow my instinct”.

Danilo Petrucci
Danilo Petrucci

Jack Miller – P5

“We have worked hard on the race pace, also thinking about the details, step by step. We also tried different tyres and felt comfortable with all the solutions. The pace with the medium tyre was already very positive then at the end of the session I managed to improve further with the soft rubber. The feeling is really positive. Even if it is only the first day of testing, I can say that I am very satisfied with the bike”.

Jack Miller
Jack Miller

Valentino Rossi – P6

“I’m happy, because in November we did a good job. We got a better understanding, after the confusion we had during the 2017 season. Today’s chassis is a new chassis, it’s an evolution that’s based on the 2016 bike. When I ride with this chassis I feel better: my riding is more natural, I feel the front of the bike better, and when I push I have a good speed. After, we also concentrated on other areas. We tried two different engines to improve the acceleration and they are not so bad, also the top speed is quite good. We need to work on the electronics, especially to save the rear tyre, but the first impression is positive.”

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Marc Marquez – P7

“I think today was a busy day for everybody because when you get back on your bike after the winter, you need to find the rhythm again and get used to riding at a demanding track—especially here. That said, I’m quite happy with how we started because we were working on three different bikes with different engines, one from last year and two with different specifications, and therefore it was quite an intense day. We had to adjust many, many things, which is quite normal, but so far it seems the new engine is better. Of course we have two more days to improve the setup and keep working on the engine, electronics, aerodynamics, and so on. It was just the first day and the feeling and rhythm were positive already!”

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

Johann Zarco – P8

“It was a good opening day. We started the day in wet conditions and my feeling was positive in these conditions. I began the day slowly and got re-used to the speed step by step. Compared to the race here in the wet, my feeling was positive and I felt competitive, plus I had a really good control of the bike. Later on, we had nearly ideal conditions, there were not many patches on the track. From last year, I feel a great potential with the used tyre. We don’t have a big drop, which is fantastic news to prepare the entire season. Now we need a better performance with the new tyre to get into the 59’s. Therefore, we just need to understand a few more things, but take it easy.”

Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco

Cal Crutchlow – P9

“Today was a good day. We are really pleased with the work that Honda has done over the winter and we have to thank them for that. The LCR Honda CASTROL Team worked very well as a unit too, it’s nice to be back amongst them and working together again after the off-season. It’s been a positive day because I was fast throughout, and we will come back and try tomorrow to see if we can improve the lap-time, but overall I’m very happy.”

Alex Rins – P11

“Well the truth is that the first day has been very positive, and so has trying the new bike. We could see how things are going so far, and we found positive parts and negative parts to work on and fine tune the bike. In the morning it was a bit wet but the feeling was good, and later on it was even better. One of the principal issues we faced last year was corner entry, but that already feels much better. There have also been improvements in the chassis. Physically I feel good, apart from the heat! Tomorrow we will continue to work with the new bike.”

Alex Rins
Alex Rins

Taka Nakagami – P12

“It’s been a great first day for me – the first time I’ve ridden a MotoGP bike at Sepang. It was really tough conditions out there, but we managed to put in a lot of laps in the dry and build up the understanding with my mechanics about how to get the most out of the MotoGP bike. We’ve made some really good progress – every outing we are making improvements and I had a good feeling on the bike. At the end of the day we tried to use the softer rear tyre for the first time for me, and the lap time was quite competitive. Overall, the good thing is that I have a really good feeling with the bike and I am starting to understand the Michelin tyres a bit more. That is our target, which means it has been a good first day. Let’s see how things go tomorrow.”

Maverick Viñales
Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales – P13

“I’ve been working really hard, especially when the temperature was higher, trying to reproduce a race day. I’m quite happy, we’ve improved a lot since this morning and I think we have a good package. Especially after tomorrow and the day after, I think we’ll leave with a really good bike, so I’m quite happy and enthusiastic about that. Anyway, we need to keep working and need to stay on the pace. I feel good on the bike and that’s the most important thing. At the moment I didn’t try any different chassis, I focused on electronics and many different settings, so let’s see tomorrow. As I said, I think after the next few days we’re going to leave with a good package and make the right steps. I want to make laps and understand everything.”

Maverick Viñales
Maverick Viñales

Aleix Espargaro’ – P14

“Today was like the first day of school. The first two hours were demanding after such a long time of not riding a MotoGP bike, but step by step I regained the feeling. The first approach with the new bike was definitely positive. Especially in terms of the frame, the 2018 RS-GP lets me go into corners better and it reflects what I asked the Aprilia engineers for. We still have a lot of margin for improvement. The bike is at 75% and we will get to 100% for the Qatar tests. Tomorrow we will continue working on the 2018 bike, whereas on the third day we’ll do some comparative testing to have clear ideas on development from here until the first race.”

Aleix Espargaro'
Aleix Espargaro’

Tito Rabat – P15

“I’m very happy to start the season and I felt very good on the bike. We worked all day with the medium rear tyre compound and at the end of the day we mounted the soft one and the feeling improved a lot. The problem is that we don’t have enough tyres and we’ll have to manage it fairly well in the next two days. It was a pity that I crashed when we started to go fast because this stopped me from improving further. But a lap time of 2’00 after the long winter break without riding the bike is pretty good and I’m very happy. The crash was silly, since I simply went too fast in that corner. But for tomorrow, I’m calm because I’ve seen that I can go fast and I feel very good with the bike”.

Tito Rabat
Tito Rabat

Andrea Iannone – P16

“We didn’t have a lot of time and it was very difficult to understand where the positive feelings and the not so positive feelings are. Tomorrow we have another chance and it’s possible that it will be completely different – we could be first or last! Today everything is new so when you start without a reference it becomes very important to understand the bike and the situation, and especially with the weather the track was difficult. Suzuki worked well during the winter and there are some new feelings, but it’s difficult to compare the ’17 and ’18 bikes at the moment. The priority for us is to continue this improvement. Riders try a bit harder during the tests and this means that crashes can happen, but luckily I’m OK.”

Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone

Franco Morbidelli – P18

“It was a good day, as we got to test in many different conditions and that gave us the chance to learn a lot. When the track dried in the afternoon we did some work on basic set up and saw some improvement, but this is MotoGP and the level is so high that we still have a lot of work to do because we need to improve a lot more. It’s good to be back on the bike after the break and today was a chance to recalibrate the brain. Now, tomorrow, we need to continue looking for the improvements that will allow us to close a little the gap to the top of the timesheet.”

Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli

Álvaro Bautista – P19

“The day started with rain, so we took a few laps, mainly to gather sensations after the break. Then, as the day has improved, we have been able to continue running some dry laps. It was just a shame that we couldn’t work for the whole afternoon because of a crash. Until then, I had been riding with the same tyre, so I could not put a new one in like the others so we have have fallen back a little on the timesheets. Luckily, I was just knocked about a little so tomorrow I can get back on track and continue with the work.”

Álvaro Bautista
Álvaro Bautista

Sylvain Guintoli – P20

“Today we had new parts and new strategies to assess, we did many laps on used tyres and it was interesting. We also tried a new chassis, and it was a good and productive day.”

Sylvain Guintoli
Sylvain Guintoli

Scott Redding – P21

“This morning in the wet with the 2017 bike I found a rather good feeling straight away and we continued to improve on every outing, reaching a good level of feeling. The first approach with the 2018 RS-GP was just a taste. We simply moved the settings from the old bike to the new one. I felt the potential, but it is a very different bike, so we will need to work to adapt it to my needs. We’ll focus on this over the next two days, both in terms of the position in the saddle and the settings.”

Scott Redding
Scott Redding

Yonny Hernandez – P23

“This morning we had some difficult weather conditions, but later in the afternoon it was completely dry. I just wanted to try to understand the bike, the team, how the tyres work. In the end, we improved with every outing and overall, I’m quite satisfied with our work today. For sure, it’s not the position I wish to be in, but for the opening day, it’s ok, as I haven’t sat on a MotoGP bike for two years. I just tried to build my rhythm, do some laps, to understand the bike to get to know everything. In the beginning, I used the soft tyre and we improved a little bit. For tomorrow I hope we can progress even more and I can lap faster.”

Yonny Hernandez
Yonny Hernandez

Karel Abraham – P24

“It was a very difficult day because the morning was completely wet and even though we managed a couple of laps as it was drying out, it took until 2pm before we could really start. I had a couple of problems with the bike, mainly with the gearbox, and I had to stop while the guys took the gearbox apart. That took about an hour and a half, so we only had around 45 minutes left to work. I managed two exits, the first I still wasn’t happy with the bike but the second one was much better, and when we put some new tyres in then the last three laps were pretty good. Now I can’t wait to get back on the bike and see how we can improve it further because in those three laps we found 1.5 seconds, which is pretty crazy.”

Karel Abraham
Karel Abraham

Xavier Simeon – P26

“I felt quite good today, but it’s true that I found it difficult to get used to the bike again on a track that is very different from Valencia and Jerez. Overall, I think we made a good step. We have been working all day with the same tyres and we just put a new set an hour and a half before the end, but although I haven’t been able to improve the pace, my feeling was good. All in all, today went a lot better than I expected. Tomorrow I hope to start from the base we have established today and improve a little more. Ten minutes from the end, when we had stopped, everyone else improved their times, but we have not reached that point yet. The important thing at the moment is to understand everything, to progress and not to make any mistakes. After so many years in Moto2 I have to change a lot of things, but with every additional lap on this bike, I feel more comfortable. I’m also happy because I worked very hard this winter to get back into shape after my shoulder injury and today the shoulder has not caused me any problem at all”.

Xavier Simeon
Xavier Simeon

Tom Lüthi – P27

“After missing the tests in Valencia and Jerez I was excited to finally get the chance to ride the MotoGP bike today, even if the first run was a little difficult because of the conditions. Early rain meant my first experience of the Honda RC213V was in the wet, which meant it wasn’t so easy to get a feeling with the bike. But then it dried up and we could start to work with the bike. I think it’s important that we keep the line; try to understand the bike, try to understand the tyres then figure out how to get the best from both to improve the lap time. Today was good, but there are still many things to learn.”

Tom Lüthi
Tom Lüthi

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“The first day is done, and we are pleased with the start we’ve made. The first test in Sepang is always important, because you want to set the tone right for the rest of the season. I knew Vale and Maverick were extremely curious to see how their 2018 YZR-M1s would perform, compared to what they tried during the tests in Valencia and Sepang at the end of last year. We were able to get in a lot of laps and had a positive day. The main focus today was to confirm our findings from November. Vale and Maverick mainly worked on the electronics and also tried two engine specifications with good feedback. Our first impression of the tyre wear has been positive too. It’s very encouraging to see both riders feel comfortable on the bike already. We are looking forward to keep on working over the next two days and make further steps, if the weather allows it.”

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“Let’s say we had different feelings from the two riders today, Alex could be quite constant on lap times and thanks to this we collected good information, which I think will be useful, and we have to continue with that tomorrow. Andrea, unfortunately, was struggling all day and was not so comfortable on hard braking. We got some idea from that and we will try to work on tomorrow and see if there are some improvements setting wise. Andrea had two crashes because he always wants to try hard, despite the problems, but luckily there were no consequences. On the first day it’s important for the riders to get back on their bikes and back on the track, so let’s continue to work tomorrow.”

Romano Albesiano – Aprilia Racing Manager

“The new bike that made its début today was confirmation for Aleix of the good points that our tester Baiocco highlighted, as the lap time improvement demonstrates. There are positive aspects both going into and coming out of turns. This is a good starting point on a first day that was a rather introductory phase. We will have a change to analyse our performance over the coming days, where everyone will be pushing harder, but the first approach was definitely promising.”


Sepang MotoGP Test 2018

Day One Test Results

  1. PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:59.427
  2. DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0.343
  3. LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati 0.375
  4. PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 0.696
  5. MILLER Jack 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 0.751
  6. ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.806
  7. MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.863
  8. ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 0.994
  9. CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda Castrol Honda 1.095
  10. ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.141
  11. RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1.200
  12. NAKAGAMI Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda 1.237
  13. VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1.287
  14. ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1.439
  15. RABAT Tito 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1.485
  16. IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1.600
  17. SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.672
  18. MORBIDELLI Franco 21 ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1.734
  19. BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Angel Nieto Team Ducati 2.301
  20. GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA Suzuki Test Team Suzuki 2.437
  21. REDDING Scott 45 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 2.535
  22. TEST 3 Yamaha 33 JPN Yamaha Test Team Yamaha 2.617
  23. HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2.626
  24. ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Angel Nieto Team Ducati 2.661
  25. TEST 2 Yamaha 32 JPN Yamaha Test Team Yamaha 3.100
  26. SIMEON Xavier 10 BEL Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 3.519
  27. LUTHI Tom 12 SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 4.305
  28. TEST 1 Yamaha 31 JPN Yamaha Test Team Yamaha 4.359
  29. PIRRO Michele 51 ITA Ducati Test Team Ducati 5.340
  30. KALLIO Mika 36 FIN KTM Test Team KTM 6.505