With conditions just as good as they had been on Tuesday, it was Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa who led the way for much of the first half of the day. The World Champion then smashed through the two-minute barrier shortly before his lunch break, after which there were substantially less changes in lap times. It remains to be seen as to whether Marquez can better Casey Stoner’s 2012 pre-season time of 1’59.607, also registered on a Repsol Honda motorcycle.
With Repsol Honda first and second, Stefan Bradl was third for LCR Honda MotoGP (three thousandths down on Pedrosa) with Valentino Rossi fourth for Yamaha Factory Racing. Aleix Espargaro again displayed the promise of the new Open FTR-Yamaha combination, as his Forward machine was barely two tenths down on the nearest Factory Honda, with Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo sixth; the former double title winner was attempting to improve handling issues, encountered on Day 1 as a result of setup changes made in a bid to improve fuel consumption, as for 2014 the Factory Option bikes are limited by a further litre of fuel to just 20 across a race distance.
Bradley Smith spearheaded the Monster Yamaha Tech3 charge, with Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone in eighth position; on the leading Ducati, the Italian was some seven tenths of a second quicker than he had been on Tuesday. Alvaro Bautista was ninth for GO&FUN Honda Gresini, but his day was not without its problems; at 11:30, the Spaniard suffered a technical problem and thus took a shortcut back to the pit lane. The top ten was completed by Smith’s team-mate Pol Espargaro, while brother Aleix’s team-mate Colin Edwards was the only rider to not improve his lap time today, but his best effort from Day 1 still leaves the American 15th on the combined timesheet.
Ducati Team bikes were locked together once again, this time filling positions 11 to 13 with Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and test rider Michele Pirro, with their quickest lap time some 1.3 seconds quicker than it had been 24 hours earlier. In the Honda RCV1000R ranks, the quickest rider was again Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden as the 2006 World Champion managed to circulate 1.1 seconds faster than he had on Day 1. As ever, the true pace of all bikes is difficult to gauge as fuel loads and other such details remain highly secretive. However, more clues may be available on Thursday as a selection of riders aim for race simulations; such long-run pace often serves as a better indicator, although this is only the first of four Official pre-season tests set to be staged prior to the season-opening Grand Prix in Qatar on 23 March.
The Suzuki Test Team ended the day 20th with Randy de Puniet – 3.1 seconds behind Marquez but eight tenths of a second faster than the Frenchman’s own best lap of Tuesday – as they continued their journey ahead of a MotoGP™ return in 2015. Elsewhere, premier class rookies Scott Redding, Broc Parkes and Mike di Meglio continued adapting to their respective Honda RCV1000R, PBM and Avintia bikes for the corresponding Gresini, Paul Bird Motorsport and Avintia Racing teams.
Thursday will mark the third and final day of this week’s Sepang Official MotoGP™ Test, with identical running times of 10am-6pm local time (GMT +8).
Moto GP 2014 – Sepang Test 1 – Day Two – Results
Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’59.926
Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 2’00.336
Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 2’00.339
Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory YAMAHA 2’00.464
Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 2’00.547
Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA 2’00.573
Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 2’00.603
Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing DUCATI 2’00.855
Alvaro Bautista ESP Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 2’00.897
Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 2’01.061
Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 2’01.146
Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team DUCATI 2’01.396
Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Team DUCATI 2’02.177
Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 2’02.287
Colin Edwards USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 2’02.545
Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing DUCATI 2’02.675
Kosuke Akiyoshi JPN HRC Test Team HONDA 2’02.692
Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 2’02.825
Katsuyuki Nakasuga JPN Yamaha Factory Test Team YAMAHA 2’02.970
Randy De Puniet FRA Suzuki Test Team SUZUKI 2’03.064
Scott Redding GBR Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 2’03.117
Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART & PBM 2’03.528
Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 2’04.551
Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 2’04.619
Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing HONDA 2’05.261
Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 2’05.355
Honda riders dominated day two of the three-day MotoGP test session at Sepang, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) at the front of the pack.
Marquez was fastest yesterday and upped his pace today to lap the high-speed Malaysian circuit under the two-minute barrier. Pedrosa was also very much in the groove, closing to within four tenths of a second of his team-mate.
Both riders completed more than 60 laps in debilitating 36 degree heat and 46 per cent humidity. Marquez focused on chassis geometry and compared two different chassis, allowing him to offer vital feedback to his engineers. The reigning MotoGP World Champion also managed to improve stability while braking into corners and was happy with the performance of Bridgestone’s new hard option rear slick.
Pedrosa tried Bridgestone’s new soft option slick, using the tyre to set his fastest time and lead the way for much of the morning. He will switch his attention to the hard rear tomorrow. Like Marquez, the former 250 and 125 World Champion also tried two different chassis today, though he has yet to make up his mind which way to go.
Bradl was an even bigger improver, going almost a second faster than yesterday to move from fifth position to third, a mere three thousandths of a second behind Pedrosa – further proof that the latest satellite RC213V has a potential very similar to that of the factory machines. The former Moto2 World Champion worked hard at fine-tuning front suspension set-up to allow him to brake later and get into corners faster.
Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) improved his best time by almost three tenths, bettering his qualifying pace at last October’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Today the Spaniard solved a front-brake issue, evaluated Bridgestone’s latest tyres and also gained useful data while testing two new Showa rear shocks.
Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) worked hard in his second full day on Honda’s RCV1000R production racer. He lowered his lap times by more than a second as he got to grips with the bike and moved from 17th position to 14th. Much of his improved pace came from working on electronics and engine-braking performance. The RCV1000R is entered in MotoGP’s new Open class, for non-factory machines. These bikes must run Dorna-provided electronics software and are allowed to carry more fuel and take advantage of a larger annual engine allocation.
Hayden’s team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was three tenths faster than yesterday, steadily building his pace after running into some issues during the early part of the day. Improvements to the bike’s traction control set-up, some chassis work and a new Bridgestone helped him find more confidence and speed during the afternoon.
Honda’s only MotoGP rookie Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) continued his apprenticeship, steadily reducing his lap times as he learned the best racing lines. Sepang is a particularly wide track, so cornering lines vary more between classes here than they do at most tracks. At the end of the day the Briton was more than a second faster than he had been yesterday and was therefore happy with progress.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Honda RCV1000R) was 25th today, still struggling with an old shoulder injury.
Following tomorrow’s final day of testing, teams leave their equipment at Sepang, where the second preseason test takes places on February 26/27/28.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1st, 1m 59.926s – “We continued with our work schedule today, with a focus on trying out parts. We carried out various tests, including a chassis comparison, and found some positive points and some negative. As for the set-up, we have improved stability under braking, which is something that I have been finding a little difficult, but in the end we have found a good compromise. I hope that tomorrow we can continue in the same way, because we are consistent and fast, which is important.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda): 2nd, 2m 00.336 – “Today we’ve been trying out the new chassis and comparing it to the previous version, but tomorrow we shall continue working with both because it isn’t clear which is best. I felt good with both of them, but I have to put in more laps in order to be able to make a clear decision. We also tried out the new Bridgestone tyres, using the soft tyre today and leaving the hard compound for tomorrow. We have been going pretty well here, but the season takes place at many different tracks and you have to prepare for each one of them.”
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda): 3rd, 2m 00.339 – “Today I am very happy: it’s good to be back up in the pack with Marc and Dani. We improved our lap time by one second and, thanks to adjustments in the front, I’ve gained more confidence under braking. We knew that our potential on this bike was higher and today we have been consistent and fast. I hope that we can continue in the same way tomorrow: we plan to work on race distance to finish this three-day test session with a good base for the future.”
Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 9th, 2m 00.897 – “Today was a very productive day, even if I could not run for most of the morning due to an issue with the brakes, which we only solved in the afternoon. I tried a couple of new Showa shock absorbers for the rear suspension: one of these, in particular, seems to work well with the new tyre that Bridgestone brought for this test, so we will continue to work in this direction. Despite the time lost during the morning, we are happy. Moreover, I did my best time in the afternoon, certainly not in the best conditions, with the track very hot and when I was already a bit tired. Tomorrow I am convinced that we can improve, both in terms of feeling with the bike and in lap times.”
Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda): 14th, 2m 02.287 – “I am happy because we have improved our lap time quite significantly from yesterday, although the pace in general has been quicker. Once again we focused our work on electronics and engine braking, which gave us a bit more in corner entry. You could say I’m still adapting myself because I have spent a long time on a completely different kind of bike. Now I have to readjust my riding style, the way I’m braking and entering the corner. We are happy with the progress we made today but the gap to the top is still too big, so we have to keep pushing to improve. We still have a lot of things to test from a chassis point of view as well as the electronics and also I need to fully adapt to this Honda.”
Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda): 18th, 2m 02.825s – “At the start of the day the feeling with the bike wasn’t what we were hoping for and we had to play around with a few things to improve it. In the end it turned out to be an issue with the tyres because as soon as we changed them I felt more comfortable. From that point, which was around midday, we started to build our rhythm and turned our focus to the electronic traction control system. It hasn’t been easy to start with because we are only just getting to know the new system and today we tried something different to yesterday. Finally we did some work on chassis set-up and made some slight improvements to yesterday and then right at the end of the day Bridgestone gave us a new tyre to test, which gave me even more confidence.”
Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 21st, 2m 03.117s – “Today was a little better than yesterday: I could put in a lot of laps and we are slowly closing the gap to the other Honda ‘production racers’. We worked hard on the braking and now I feel more comfortable on the bike. The track conditions and temperatures change a lot during the day and this is making me struggle a little bit, but generally speaking I am satisfied with how my apprenticeship is progressing. From the riding point of view, I’m learning how to brake into corners and how to get the bike turned on exit. Tomorrow we will try to further improve.”
The Yamaha Factory Racing riders were back on track today in Sepang for the second test day of the three days that mark the start of 2014 activity. Riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo continued to work through a number of different test items for the Yamaha engineers as well as some tyre testing for Bridgestone.
Rossi also took some time to work on bike set-up to improve performance and was able to improve on his time of yesterday, completing day two in fourth position, just over 0.5 seconds from the front.
Teammate Lorenzo had a better second day, making some improvements to the electronic setting of his YZR-M1 to provide further corner stability and overall lap time. Lorenzo wrapped up the second day in sixth position, just over 0.6 seconds from the front.
Valentino Rossi – 4th / 2’00.464 / 61 laps – “Today is another positive day, we worked a lot and I rode 60 laps. We tried a lot of things including new tyres and old tyres, to try to make a comparison. We worked on the settings of the bike and tried some other stuff, some things were good and some did not work as we expected. Anyway I’m happy because I improved my lap time from yesterday and I’m in fourth position and not far from the front. It was a tough second day after yesterday. Our work is in progress, we took some good data and tomorrow we have to do something else.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 6th / 2’00.573 / 49 laps – “So today, apart from the position which is not ideal, I think we made one step forward. Changing something in the electronics we improved the behaviour of the bike in the corners and it is now more like last year. I can keep a more constant pace and be a little faster for one lap. We need to keep working as our rivals are strong at this moment but today I’m more happy than yesterday.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager – “The second day of testing is done and the feeling compared to yesterday with the bike is a lot better and there is more confidence. We still have a lot of work to do but we tried many things today. We gained a lot of data of course. We need to improve but so far we are satisfied with the work we have done. We need to be faster and I think it’s possible. We do need to test though, which is what we are doing!”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director – “We were able to almost finish the program for today, we got some good confirmations about the fuel consumption which was our main objective of this important test so I can say we are fairly satisfied. We then started working on Bridgestone’s program and we got some good information from that too. Tomorrow will be the day where we can take profit from our data!”
Successful Second Day for Monster Yamaha Tech3 at Sepang
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team made firm progress on day two of the first official MotoGP test at the Sepang International circuit. Both Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith lowered their lap times considerably on the second day of testing as they prepare for the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
The Malysian weather once again provided perfect conditions for the testing, with the session running uninterrupted until 6pm local time in Kuala Lumpur.
Bradley Smith completed another positive day of testing which was focused on the evaluation of different electronic and suspension settings. Before running his first shortened race simulation of 15 laps to collect useful data in preparation for the forthcoming season. Smith improved his lap times from the previous day, and was quicker by 1.2 seconds. With getting 66 laps under his belt he established himself as most hardworking permanent MotoGP rider on track today and his application saw the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider just three hundredths of a second and right behind the Factory Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo. He finished the session with a best time of 2.00,603 min, in 7th place and just over 6 tenths behind the leader, Marc Marquez.
2013 Moto2 World Champion, Pol Espargaro continued to explore set up and electronic configurations with his new Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team. Making strides forward in terms of gaining confidence and understanding the bike, Espargaro displayed another impressive performance on the 2014 Monster Yamaha Tech3 YZR-M1 MotoGP bike today. The young Spaniard improved, and lowered his lap time by 0.6 of a second after clocking up 48 laps around the 5.543km track in Malaysia. He completed the session in 10th position, with a best time of 2.01,061 min.
Bradley Smith – 7th / 2’00.603 / 66 laps – “In general, it was a positive day. I rode 66 laps, what made me finish on the podium if you consider all the riders and I am really pleased with our performance. I analyzed a lot of the new electronic ideas, the Bridgestone tyres, and the new suspension settings, all were very positive. I also did a kind of race simulation. This was 15 laps just to try and understand the fuel consumption, and also to understand the physical point of view and where I need to improve my preparation. All in all we made a good step, especially compared to yesterday. I lowered my lap time by 1.2 seconds and moved up to 7th position, which was only 6 tenths behind Marc Marquez, which is obviously still a bit, but considering how close we are to Jorge and Valentino, I am happy with the work we have done.”
Pol Espargaro – 10th / 2’01.061 / 48 laps – “I’m really satisfied with the work we did today. Already this morning when the track conditions were at its best and I felt physically strong I managed to lower my lap time quite a lot. Later when we tried a few modifications I realised that my rhythm had improved. Yesterday I was lapping with low 2.02’s and just a few 2.01’s, today I did 2.01’s comfortably with a best of 2.01,0 this morning. But what is really important to me is that beside the lap time I feel really comfortable on the bike. I’m just struggling a bit with things like the steadily changing track conditions because of the heat. Also the fact that you can’t be always out on track as it’s physically demanding does not make things easier for a rookie. Moreover the circuit is really wide so it is quite tricky at the beginning to find the perfect line. However, we did another step in the right direction, we did not crash and I’m already excited to be back on the bike tomorrow morning.”
The second day of pre-season IRTA testing at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia saw progress being made by both Ducati Team riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. Today, lapping exclusively with their new Desmosedici GP14 machines, both the Italian and his British team-mate were able to lower their best time by over one second from yesterday, when they got to grips with the new bike for the first time.
After most of Tuesday had been spent running in the bike, today both men completed almost 50 laps each on the GP14, and they were able to notice some improvement in corner entry.
Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro, who is also contributing a lot to the GP14’s development in these early stages, expressed positive comments on the bike and the direction being followed.
Tomorrow will be the third and final day of these first 2014 season tests.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 11th (2m01.146s) – “I am pleased with the progress we made, I didn’t expect to get such a good feeling from this first test of the year. We were able to improve in corner entry, and gain a bit more mid-corner speed. We accelerate a bit more strongly because the bike tends to wheelie less and so we can use more power. We managed to get closer to the frontrunners in our lap times, and in our overall pace as well, but there’s still a lot of work to do. The improvements we’ve made in these first two days are quite positive.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 12th (2m01.396s) – “I think I’m one of those riders who has made the biggest improvement in lap times today. Yesterday I was a bit rusty on the bike and didn’t feel too comfortable but that was only me. We tested the GP14 all day today and went through some settings we never had time to try yesterday. The result was positive, so that’s a step in the right direction. With the new bike you come into the corner better, which is a positive Ducati have been looking for. Overall I’d say I’m quite satisfied, but we’re still some way off the front guys.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 13th (2m02.177s) – “Today we worked on several different areas, engine braking for example, and we did some tests to verify the fuel consumption; unfortunately, I ran out of fuel at one point along the circuit! Seeing as the bike is new, we’re trying to understand everything about it and it’s down to me to try out all the new bits we’ve brought here. I’m pleased, even though I know there’s still a lot of work to do and we need more time, but at least we have clear ideas on what to do.”
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