Following the usual break for lunch in the middle of the day, the final of the eight hours saw track temperatures drop which allowed riders to push for quicker lap times. This duly saw Marquez post 2’00.286, half a second up on Rossi as both the Italian and Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa jumped ahead of Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha in the final minutes of the day. The top six was completed by GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.
At Repsol Honda, this year’s RC213V features a larger air intake in an attempt to increase top speeds and improve throttle response on the exit of corners, with Marquez posting the leading effort fresh from historically claiming the title in Valencia last year. In the Yamaha garage, Rossi continued to develop his working relationship with new Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera, who first worked alongside the nine-time World Champion for the post-race test after the final Grand Prix of 2013.
Much attention was on Ducati Team, with talk continuing to circulate that the outfit could elect to race under the new Open regulations this year; this would allow up to 24 litres of fuel as opposed to the 20 of the Factory Options, as well as working on engines during the season and not being limited by the new engine freeze. Also this season, all bikes in the field are running the spec ECU hardware for the first time; however Factory Options are free to use their own software, whereas Opens must adapt the spec software as supplied by Dorna Sports and Magneti Marelli.
The leading Open representative on this occasion was Forward’s Aleix Espargaro (seventh position), with Factory Option riders Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3 team-mates) helping to complete the top ten. Colin Edwards (Forward) overcame early technical difficulties to finish 11th quickest, as Ducati Team filled spots 12 to 14 with Andrea Dovizioso, test rider Michele Pirro and Cal Crutchlow. The leading Honda RCV1000R customer bike was that of 2006 title winner Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) in 17th place.
At Paul Bird Motorsport, Michael Laverty (25th position) suffered a frustrating start to proceedings, plagued first by brake problems and then by an engine failure. All teams were present with the exception of IodaRacing, which plans to make its 2014 track debut at the second Sepang test which is to run at the end of the month
Testing continues at the Sepang International Circuit over the next two days, again running between 10am and 6pm local time (GMT +8).
MotoGP 2014 – Sepang Test 1 – Day 1 – Name / Nat / Team / Make / Best Tm / Lap / Laps / Diff / Gap
Marc MARQUEZ / SPA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 2:00.286 / 52 / 62 / /
Valentino ROSSI / ITA / Yamaha Factory Racing / YAMAHA / 2:00.804 / 58 / 61 / 0.518 / 0.518
Mike DI MEGLIO / FRA / Avintia Racing / AVINTIA / 2:05.825 / 50 / 51 / 5.539 / 0.903
Broc PARKES / AUS / Paul Bird Motorport / PBM / 2:05.889 / 32 / 40 / 5.603 / 0.064
Michael LAVERTY / GBR / Paul Bird Motorsport / PBM / 2:06.070 / 14 / 14 / 5.784 / 0.181
Karel ABRAHAM / CZE / Cardion AB Motoracing / HONDA / 2:06.755 / 21 / 41 / 6.469 / 0.685
MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) started 2014 as he finished last season – at the front of the pack on the first day of preseason testing at Sepang, Malaysia. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) also made a fast start, with third quickest time of the day.
It was a busy day at Sepang, with 26 riders testing their 2014 machinery, including the four men who will race Honda’s all-new RCV1000R production racer.
Marquez was in typically impressive form. His best lap was more than a second inside his own lap record, established at last October’s Malaysian GP, and less than three tenths outside his own pole position record, also from last October. The Spaniard set his fastest time towards the end of the day, when track temperatures had dropped slightly. After starting out with his 2013 machine he switched to his 2014 RC213V, which is a logical development of last year’s bike that won the riders’, constructors’ and teams’ world titles. The only easily visible difference between the two machines is a larger air scoop in the fairing nose, designed to improve top speed and offer better throttle response on corner exits.
It was on this bike that Marquez went fastest, after some careful set-up work on engine mapping, the clutch and Bridgestone’s new rear slick. His closest opponent was seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who was 0.518 seconds down.
Pedrosa also worked hard, completing more laps than anyone else. He too got on well with the 2014 RC213V, focusing his efforts on fine-tuning the rear shock and rear brake, the clutch and engine mapping. The former 125 and 250 World Champion moved ahead of former MotoGP champ Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) during the final stages of the day. His best lap was half a second faster than his best lap in last October’s Malaysian Grand Prix and only two tenths off his best qualifying lap at that event.
Honda satellite rider Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) ended the day full of confidence after going fifth fastest, less than a second off Marquez’s pace. The Spaniard quickly found a good rhythm and got to grips with his 2014 machine.
Sixth was fellow Honda satellite rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V), making it four RC213Vs in the top six, suggesting that the Honda Racing Corporation’s winter of toil will pay dividends in 2014. Like his fellow RC213V riders, Bautista got back into the groove on his 2013 machine, then switched to his new bike, enabling him to make direct comparisons.
Today was a historic day for Honda, with the company commencing its 2014 testing programme with the new RCV1000R, a limited-edition production machine designed to give non-factory riders a better chance of competing closer to the front of the MotoGP pack. Following some promising test outings last year with former World Champion Casey Stoner on board, the RCV1000R was fully in the hands of its four 2014 riders for the first time today.
Team-mates Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) were the best-placed RCV1000R riders in 17th and 18th positions. Hayden – who won the 2006 MotoGP title on a Honda RC211V – and former 250 World Champion Aoyama are happy with progress so far, though they know they have some work to do to get this brand-new machine working at peak performance for the season-opening Grand Prix in Qatar on March 23.
Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) is Honda’s only MotoGP rookie this year, graduating from the Moto2 class. The youngster is still hurting from a wrist injury suffered at the end of last season but was delighted with his first full day on the RCV1000R. Tomorrow the Briton will focus on electronics set-up and braking performance.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Honda RCV1000R) was 26th quickest, struggling with the shoulder injury that forced him to make an early end to his 2013 season.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1st, 2m 00.286s – “I’m happy with how this first day went and to have achieved my goal of regaining my feeling on the bike. Of course, at the start I was a little stiff, but gradually I was able to pick up the pace. Today I tested the new rear tyre from Bridgestone and it felt similar to last year. Tomorrow we will continue with our plan: testing out the set-up and beginning to draw conclusions from our findings. We put in a lot of laps today and I’m sure that tomorrow I will feel it; even though we train in the gym over the winter, here you work your muscles in a different way.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda): 3rd, 2m 00.906s – “It was a very long, hard day. We put in a lot of laps and despite us being fresh as it’s the first day, I’m sure that tomorrow I’ll be feeling it! It was fun, as I had not been on the bike for a long time and was curious to see how I would feel after my operation last year. In general things went well and we focused on trying out rear brakes, clutch and engine mapping. Tomorrow we will work on the chassis and the new tyres. The bike seems very similar to last year’s model; we still need more time to work on things, but it appears as if there are no huge differences required in terms of riding style.”
Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 5th, 2m 01.240s – “It’s been a very positive first day of testing! It was nice to be back on a MotoGP bike after nearly three months of winter break. In the first laps I had to regain confidence with the bike, re-activate the mechanisms and find the right references, but to be honest it took me not too long, because I immediately found myself at ease with the new RC213V. Today I focused basically on regaining the right rhythm, without working on bike set-up. Tomorrow we will begin to work on the suspension together with Showa, who have brought some new parts, and also on the Nissin brakes, testing different kind of brakes to improve the braking. Speaking about the new RC213V, I loved it: I think the package of chassis, engine and suspension is already very good, an excellent base on which to work ahead of the first race.”
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda): 6th, 2m 01.320s – “I always feel very excited to jump back on my bike after the winter break. The result of this first day is quite positive: I like the 2014 machine and we gained a lot of data to adjust the bike and to come up with the speed. The sixth place is not impressive but we focused in every single aspect of this new bike to improve in some areas like traction control and braking stability. We have found the base set-up and now we start to fine-tune the bike to get a better pace.”
Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda): 17th, 2m 03.319 – “We’d like to be quicker and closer to the front but it’s early days yet. The guys are working hard and we have improved the electronics a lot since Valencia – we’ve smoothed out a few flat spots which has helped a lot, but we still need to improve the acceleration – that’s our focus. Tomorrow we’ve also got some stuff to try on the chassis.”
Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 21st, 2m 04.431 – “This first day of testing was good, I was really happy to ride again at full strength, without physical problems, although it was hard for me to ride all day because of the weather conditions. The bike was working well, I like riding it, but we need to improve on the electronic and braking. Tomorrow we will focus on chassis set-up, in order to make the bike turn better.”
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Honda RCV1000R): 26th, 2m 06.755s – “It is simple: the shoulder still remains a problem. I’m very disappointed, because during working out and even in motocross training it was fine, but now the injury reappears. Honestly, it hurts like hell, especially in extreme positions and under strain. Those 40 laps that I made were on limit that I could manage. So I go back to the Clinica Mobile and pray that it will get better during the night. I cannot do more now. But it is clear I will end up at doctors after this testing session. It’s a shame because the new Honda RCV1000R bike is perfect and we could do a lot of work today. I’m disappointed.”
After a long winter wait the Yamaha Factory Racing riders were finally back on track today for the first official ride of the 2014 season at the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia. The first day of the three-day IRTA test gave riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi a chance to blow off the cobwebs and stretch their muscles on a bike again as they worked through a number of test items for the 2014 YZR-M1.
Rossi, the first Factory rider to venture out on track, was also the first to find a quicker pace on his M1, slotting quickly into the top three and leading briefly before the lunch break. As the afternoon session continued the Italian was joined by his teammate Lorenzo who moved up into second, just 0.3 off front man Marc Marquez. A flurry of fast laps towards the end of the session re-shuffled the pack a little, Rossi ending the day in second, 0.518 from the top and Lorenzo in fourth, 0.796 seconds from first.
The Yamaha Factory riders were enjoying their 2014 bikes in full livery, featuring recently announced sponsors Eurasian Bank, Fiat Professional and SuisseGas.
The bikes also had a special sticker stating ‘Yamaha Lends a Hand to Yolanda Victims’ to promote Yamaha’s campaign to support victims of the typhoon in the Philippines.
The day’s testing was followed by a special press conference hosted by Yamaha Motor, introducing Yamaha’s Global 2014 Racing Program. The event was also attended by Takaaki Kimura, Senior Managing Executive Officer and Representative Director of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
Valentino Rossi – 2nd / 2’00.804 / 61 laps – “I’m happy about the first day, it’s a good start. I feel good and I’m in a good shape. I’m happy because we’ve been very fast and always stayed in the top three positions. We worked a lot on the bike and on the new stuff to try and improve my problems. We already found something. I’m happy because I feel good with the bike and was able to go into the 2’00 minute mark, that was my target. It’s a positive day.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 4th / 2’01.082 / 47 laps – “As always it’s difficult to come back again in a good shape after the Winter, some months without training changes you a lot so the first day is always tough! The bike has changed quite a bit compared to last year. The new regulation of 20 litres fuel allowance makes us change quite a lot of electronics so the bike is not working exactly how I would like. I know we will find a solution in the next two days.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager – “The first day is done, we tried many things, some positive and some things also to solve. For sure it’s important to start the first day without crashing so we are happy that Jorge got back into his rhythm. Tomorrow we have to solve some problems as it’s not completely where we want to be. This is of course testing and we are going in the right direction.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director – “It has been a good first day, we were able to complete the schedule. We are for sure looking for some adjustments but we were able to get a lot of information and good results. We will study the data now and tomorrow we will proceed with our test schedule.”
After a two-month winter break, the 2014 season got underway for the Ducati Team today with the first of three days of IRTA testing at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. Following a restructuring during the winter months with the arrival of Luigi Dall’Igna as Ducati Corse General Manager and British rider Cal Crutchlow alongside Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso, the Bologna-based manufacturer now has to archive a disappointing 2013 season and look to the future with confidence and renewed commitment.
In this pre-season test, the first of three scheduled for Sepang and Phillip Island in the months of February and March, the Italian team’s work will revolve around back-to-back comparison tests between the Desmosedici GP14 and the GP13; visually the new model presents revised aerodynamics, both in the front and rear fairings, in addition to improved rider ergonomics and more possibilities for chassis adjustment, as well as several new electronic solutions.
Dovizioso and Crutchlow spent the first day of activity comparing the two bikes and working on general set-up. In particular Dovizioso, entering his second season on the Desmosedici, continued to try the two versions, while the British rider, who stepped aboard the GP13 for the first time at Valencia last November, opted to continue his learning curve in the afternoon solely with the new bike.
The Ducati Test Team was also out on track with Michele Pirro, once again back in his role as test-rider. During the year however the young Italian will also have the chance to take part in at least four rounds of the world championship as a ‘wild-card’.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 12th (2m02.497s) – “Today was a bit of a strange day, the first day of testing in Malaysia should not be taken with too much importance because you have to find the right feeling again after months of inactivity. We had a different bike to test, but we were not able to do a lot of laps and test everything we had scheduled. Luckily we’ve got another couple of days here in Malaysia so it won’t be too much of a problem. It was the right decision to start with the 2013 bike to resume where we left off last season, then we immediately switched to the new bike to see the difference, but unfortunately I only managed 27 laps today. I feel sure that things will go a lot better tomorrow.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 14th (2m02.860s) – “First and foremost, it was good to be able to get back onto a bike after two and a half months off. We rode the GP13 in the morning and the GP14 in the afternoon, and it’s clear we have some work to do because the bikes are not too dissimilar at all. Most of the changes are cosmetic, but the feeling of the bikes is similar. The GP14 enters the corner a bit better, which is what we were looking for. We only used two sets of tyres all day so now it’s about building confidence to go faster with this bike. We also had a lot of electronics stuff to try so I never did too many runs in the afternoon. Ducati are definitely working hard and I’m excited about that.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 13th (2m02.552s) – “Today we tried to continue the work we started in the two days here last week, when unfortunately I crashed on day 2, so today I had to get the feeling with the bike back again, focussing on some new components. All things considered it was quite a positive day, my lap time wasn’t bad but we have to improve and I’m confident we’re going in the right direction, but we need more time. Our rivals are in a better shape than we are, and for us it’s the first time we’ve put the bike on the track.”
The Suzuki MotoGP Test Team completed the opening day of the official MotoGP Tests at Sepang in Malaysia today satisfied with the progress made with its new Magneti Marelli electronic ignition.
Test riders Randy De Puniet and Nobuatsu Aoki switched to the new MotoGP system after a few initial runs on the 5,543km circuit with its former ignition system then spent the entire day evaluating and making further adjustments for optimum performance.
De Puniet completed 75 laps during the session as the team worked tirelessly to find the best settings, recording his fastest time of 2:03.893ms on his 47th lap.
The team has two further days of testing in which it hopes to further develop the new ignition system.
Said Suzuki MotoGP Test Team Manager Davide Brivio: “It was a very important day because, after few runs on our usual electronic system, we then switched to the new Magneti Marelli system. Suzuki is busy redesigning the all-new software and today was a kind of first real shakedown for us.
“We are quiet satisfied to have already found a good level of performance and we have spent some time on making adjustments. All our staff needs to get experience on this new system and we have to learn how to quickly adjust and use its potential.
So, as a first day, it was positive for us and we will continue over the next two days on our set-up and development. But in this Sepang test session, the electronic system development is our priority”
Drive M7 Aspar Report
Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama complete over fifty laps apiece on new Honda RCV1000R at first 2014 shakedown
After the end of the winter testing ban the MotoGP riders were finally able to get back out on track today and face off for the first time in 2014 at Sepang, for the first day of preseason tests. With full-time and test riders present there were no fewer than 26 riders on track between 10am and 6pm. Marc Márquez clocked the fastest lap with a 2’00.286, with Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa his closest pursuers but both over half a second behind the reigning World Champion in typically hot and humid conditions at the Malaysian track.
DRIVE M7 Aspar Team kicked off the three-day Sepang session with great excitement as they looked to assess the improvements made to the new Honda RCV1000R since testing it for the first time at Valencia last November. With a new team title sponsor also on board in energy drink brand DRIVE M7 there was fresh look to the machines that Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama rode for 56 and 51 laps respectively, with both saving their best until virtually last. Both riders gave positive feedback on the handling of the chassis as they also made good steps with power delivery from the Japanese engine.
17th Nicky Hayden 2.03.319 (56 laps): “To say it’s only the first day the pace here is very fast. I was happy to get back on the bike today and even though we have a lot of work ahead I can say that the electronics package is improved from what we used at Valencia, certainly in terms of the power delivery. We have to work on acceleration out of the slow corners but I really like the way this bike handles. The chassis is really stable over the bumps here. After testing a bunch of stuff we got the lap time down at the end of the day but we know this is a completely new project and we have to work hard. We are a long way off the pace at the top, partly because this is such a long track and the difference is more exaggerated. But we will try to chip away and reduce the gap. Tomorrow we will work on finding a bit more grip in corner entry and a few other basic things to try and adapt more to the bike.”
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