A 1m59.963 lap by Jorge Lorenzo is the fastest set thus far over two days at the Sepang 1 test, giving the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider the boasting rights at the end of another hot workout for the premier class riders.
The day commenced with cooler, cloudy conditions with the pace increasing in the morning compared with the times from Wednesday’s opening day of action. But intense heat and humidity meant during the middle of the day meant the action slowed for a couple of hours before a late flurry of activity in the final two hours of the afternoon.
With the Yamaha factory team evaluating new components and electronics settings in order to improve tyre life Lorenzo and his teammate Valentino Rossi continued to work hard on Thursday. Lorenzo improved by over half a second from his Wednesday best, but Rossi was marginally slower than on day one and finished sixth.
Jorge Lorenzo – 1st / 1’59.963 / laps – “1m59 is a good lap time. The other riders couldn’t do it because the track seems to be a bit more slippery and bumpy and that makes it more difficult to achieve good lap times. Our bike improved a lot over this last year and I feel ready both physically and mentally. All together, we’re in a good shape. In the first four hours in the morning I was quite comfortably riding 2’00’s. In the afternoon it seemed that the track condition was a bit worse and I couldn’t ride as many fast laps. The goal for tomorrow is to repeat the pace that I had today and maybe do even better.”
Valentino Rossi – 6th / 2’00.676 / laps – “Today was more difficult for us. In the morning we had chattering of the bike in the corner, because we tried something different. The braking was not so bad, but the bike was very difficult to ride. There were hard vibrations with a high frequency. The morning was the right moment to ride good lap times. The conditions were right to push, but I couldn’t ride at 100 per cent. In the afternoon we modified the bike and we fixed the problem with front vibrations. My pace was not so bad but it was also nothing special. I’m not very happy with what we tried today. We have to continue tomorrow, try something else and continue in a good way.”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso took just twenty minutes of the morning session to place himself at the top the standings, setting an excellent time of 2’00.015 on a soft tyre, two-tenths of a second quicker than the one set by Marc Marquez (Honda) at the end of day 1. The only rider to get under the two-minute mark today before the lunch break, was Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), but the track temperature increased in the afternoon, thus ruling out any major improvements and the leading positions remained unchanged. Dovizioso had to settle for an excellent second place, just 52 thousandths of a second behind his Spanish rival.
Good progress was also recorded by Andrea Iannone. The Italian in fact lowered his yesterday’s time by a full second, setting his best lap in 2’00.391 on a hard compound tyre late in the afternoon. This allowed Iannone to conclude the second day in fifth place and sixth in the combined times of the first two days.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2’00”015 (2nd) – “I am very happy with the pace I did today because we were interested in doing a long-run: we did 15 laps in these extremely hot conditions, and it was important to do some constant laps, which is normally a bit our limit. We lapped pretty well, and this shows that the guys back in the factory have been working well in recent months. I’m happy with this morning’s time but not 100% because I wanted to see a time of 1’59 on the dash! I was counting on it, it was an aim of mine here but I just missed out. Hopefully it won’t rain tonight so we can find the track still fast tomorrow.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 2’00”391 (6th) – “I am quite happy with the way the test went today and in the end we managed to improve a lot our performance from yesterday. In addition, I managed to find more feeling with the bike in turn-in, and now under braking I feel a lot safer and I can push harder. Some of the components of the GP14.3 have for sure helped us in this and it’s a very important aspect in view of the race. Tomorrow is the third and final day of testing and we can do some more modifications, because I want to improve even more.”
MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez finished the day third on the timesheets, working with two bikes and refining the set-up of his RC213V. He was unhurt in a late crash.
Marc Marquez – 3rd 2’00.146 (67 LAPS) – “Today I focused on just one bike – the one I liked most from yesterday – and put in a lot of laps. In the morning we tested setups for the bike geometry and some different suspension settings. In the afternoon we worked a lot on the electronics, which is a slower process and requires more time and more laps. We have gathered a lot of information but tomorrow we still have to keep doing more testing, after analysing the data on the computer. I am pleased because we have continued to improve and we remained fast, even when the track was warmer.”
On the other side of the Repsol Honda garage Dani Pedrosa is still working with three versions of the RC213V whilst Marquez has narrowed his selection down to two prototypes to test with. Pedrosa ended the day fourth.
Dani Pedrosa – 4th 2’00.260 (52 LAPS) – “After testing the three available versions of the bike that Honda brought here yesterday, we chose which of them we would continue working with and today we used two identical versions. This allowed us to work more on the setup, trying to adapt the new bike’s suspension and electronics a little better. It has been positive, since we have been taking small steps in the right direction and from Valencia we have continued to make progress. I think we still have to improve some aspects, but we have another day in which to continue testing. Hopefully tomorrow we can put in more laps because we have been lucky these past two days; it has not rained at all and we have been able to make the most of the time available.”
Meanwhile Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Pol Espargaro crashed unhurt at Turn 9 towards the end of day two in Sepang, following a light crash on day one. The Spaniard ended up seventh on the timesheet after working on two chassis variations.
Pol Espargaro – 7th / 2’00.959/ 57 laps – “Today was a bit more challenging than yesterday as we were testing chassis plus new parts and there is no clear result on which one I prefer yet, but we are making good progress so I am happy. I tried to improve my lap this afternoon, but I wasn’t able to, as it’s not the best time to attempt a hot lap due to the track conditions. Anyway, I am not focused on making super fast times for the moment because I would rather concentrate on the bike setup and my riding style, which are progressing positively. I had a small crash this afternoon which was fortunately not damaging to me at all, nor to the bike too much, so I am happy to walk away from that unscathed. Nevertheless, tomorrow is another day and we have a lot more work to undertake which we need to do in the morning due to the temperature in the afternoon, but I look forward to getting back out on track after a good rest tonight.”
CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow is working on rear stability on corner entry and eliminating chattering, tweaking weight distribution and engine braking with the RC213V. He was eighth best, 1.095s behind Lorenzo.
Bradley Smith – 9th / 2’01.098 / 51 laps – “Overall, I am pleased with the progress we have made on day two in Malaysia and I am happy to be back in the groove whilst working on some areas that I can evaluate here in Sepang. I’m at about 85% fitness due to my injured right ankle which I hurt in training, however I still managed to complete 103 laps over today and yesterday. I can’t move around on the bike as much as I would like to due to the injury and right hand corners are a bit tricky, but I will heal and these are only small details and issues, which can be ironed out later. I’m evaluating the two different chassis at the moment and today I rode both and completed a similar distance. My lap times were close on either chassis, which is a very good sign, so I am certainly happy about what we achieved. Yet, now we need to continue working in order to decide which one has more potential for the upcoming season. There’s still some work to do, but we are moving forward.”
NGM Forward Racing’s Stefan Bradl finished in 11th place again as the top Open rider. Bradl continued to work his settings and understanding the new Open electronics package, though he is still using a 2013 Yamaha engine. A new engine will be delivered before the first race of the year.
Stefan Bradl – 11th / 2’01.484 / 49 laps – “Today I worked on the lap time. Yesterday we were fast but I needed to find the right consistency and to get closer to the limit. The feeling is positive, I managed to push hard and I was able to set some fast laps even with the old tyres. I’m glad we worked well on the electronics and I tried some new setting for the chassis. Tomorrow we will try to make the most of the day.”
Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Team’s Scott Redding also pushed hard on the RC213V factory prototype, finishing the day 14th.
On the second day in Malaysia, Spaniard Alvaro Bautista led the way for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, ending up in 17th place. He has decided to discard the current 2015 frame design, judging it to be too rigid and not performing well with the electronics. He prefers the 2014 version which he also rode in November with the evolving pneumatic valve engine.
Romano Albesiano,Aprilia Racing Manager, had this to say about the first two days of testing at Sepang: “The initial results of these tests are certainly positive. I won’t dwell too much on the times because that’s not our goal at the moment, but the sensations are encouraging.
“These two days are in line with a sport season that we are taking on one year ahead of schedule and one that we are well aware will be focused on development and refinement of a competitive prototype.
“Considering the fact that the new RS-GP is taking its first steps, Alvaro’s performance is definitely a positive sign. Even his comments on the feel of the ride are very encouraging as he did not indicate any real weakness in the project. So the new bike has plenty of room for optimisation and improvement.
“Alvaro is proving himself to be a fast rider and, just as we expected, he has a positive attitude that is conducive to the work we need to do in the garage. Marco is continuing his apprenticeship and objectively he is struggling a bit more than we expected. But we know Marco and his approach well, so we are doing everything we can to put him at ease in this new technical situation.”
The team has quite a tight schedule considering the début of the Aprilia RS-GP, the bike which will be participating in the 2015 MotoGP season. It is a new project that will need time and laps to be refined and to reach its full potential. Marco Melandri and Alvaro Bautista took to the track on both the previous and the new bike, gathering essential data for development and conducting comparison tests between the two models.
Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro is also focusing on chassis development and he was able to improve his best lap from Wednesday by around a second to finish tenth on the Thursday timesheet overall.
Aleix Espargaro 10th:“I’m happy with the improvements made since yesterday as we closed half-a-second closer to the fast guys compared to the lap-times yesterday; which gives me great confidence that we are working in the right direction. We have a good set-up with the geometry of the bike and I’m getting more-used to being faster and more competitive with my new bike, so we are very happy and really looking forward tomorrow. We still need to work more with TC and rear-grip as these are the main issues right now, but I think that the time we did today was quite competitive.”
Talented MotoGP rookie Maverick Viñales, meanwhile, is lapping as much as possible and working on understanding how to ride a MotoGP bike to its limits on used tyres. He finished 15th fastest, improving his time by well over a second and getting 56 more laps under his belt.
Maverick Vinales 15th:“Today I attempted to try several different lines and also tried different riding styles to try to find which is the best and at the end of the session, I made a good lap, so I’m quite satisfied with the job done today. It’s rather important for me now to improve the lap times, and even step-by-step, I can feel that we are going in the right direction. I’m sure that I can improve a lot more if I have more laps and gain more experience; so I’m really keen to do as many laps as possible. We will try to make one long run tomorrow, but the primary plan is just like today; go step-by-step and target the best lap-time at the end of the day.”
Drive M7 Aspar riders continued to work on the setups of their respective chassis at the Sepang circuit today. Whilst Nicky Hayden praised the performance of his new engine, today he experienced difficulty with his chassis and suffered from chatter issues. He also focused on adapting to new electronics and the American improved his best time from day 1 by four tenths of a second almost immediately.
Across the garage, DRIVE M7 rider Eugene Laverty continued working to adapt to an entirely new class. The Northern Irishman focused on putting in laps, in order to feel more comfortable onboard his Honda and improve its lean angle. On day 2 Laverty also lowered his best time from yesterday, but is aware that he must continue working to accelerate his adaptation.
19th Nicky Hayden 2.02.228 (46 laps): “The engine of this bike is definitely a step forward from last year. I haven’t ridden alongside another rider to compare, but the performance of this engine is very positive. I still haven’t been able to ride as fast as I want with it. I am having trouble getting comfortable with the chassis when pushing hard. Today we have taken a big step forward from the first day, but it is still not enough; we must continue working. We are looking at the reasons but it’s quite hard to turn the bike, and there has been some front end chatter. Today we improved the response of the electronics, but it’s all so new that we still have a lot of work ahead. We want to be cautious for now, but we hope that this bike has great potential.”
24th Eugene Laverty 2.03.129 (45 laps): “Today we continued to work on my riding position, to make me feel more comfortable when riding. We are testing the chassis to improve the lean angle. One of the aspects which we have improved is stability under braking, so now I can stop the bike more easily and I have greater sensitivity with the front fork. As for the rear, we still have to keep working to find some more grip. The tyres we used before had a very low temperature and skidded a lot, whilst those we are using now have a higher temperature. That means I can slow the bike down when sliding. I do not mind sliding if the bike still turns, but sometimes if you slide too much you lose time.”
Loris Baz piloted his Forward Yamaha to the 21st quickest time on day two.
Loris Baz – 21st / 2’02.842 / 44 laps – “Today we did a good job. We are moving forward step by step. The feeling is also getting better. The lap time is good. I thought I could improve slightly again in the afternoon but the track was slippery. Overall we have done a good job. Let’s focus on tomorrow”.
CWM-LCR Honda rider Jack Miller remained positive after a more challenging second day of the February tests at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Miller, who has moved up to the premier class after finishing second in last year’s Moto3 championship, endured a crash at turn five in the morning session as he continues his adaptation to the bigger bike he is on this season.
However, he was able to get back out on his new Open category RC213V-RS and managed to put in a solid stint of 57 laps with a quickest time of 2’03.083 putting him 23rd on the timesheets, ahead of Eugene Laverty and Alex De Angelis.
The Queenslander acknowledged he was still getting to grips with his new machinery, but is hopeful of making further progress on Thursday and putting down his fastest lap of the week.
Jack Miller #43 (23rd, 2’03.083, 57 laps)– “So, it wasn’t such a bad day for us, we are learning step by step about the MotoGP bike. We missed this morning because I had a small crash with the old tyres and after that it shook my confidence a little bit. By the end of the day we started to become a bit more comfortable with the bike and we were working on long distance again, working to conserve the tyres.
“Tomorrow morning we will look to push for a good lap time in the early hours before the temperatures rise too much. All in all we’re sort of happy today, I’m still not where I want to be but we are improving step by step.”
MotoGP 2015 Sepang MotoGP Test 1 – Day Two Results
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’59.963
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