Dani Pedrosa ended the second day of February’s second Sepang test at the top of the pile, with track conditions somewhat better than on Wednesday.
In the continued absence of his injured World Champion teammate Marc Marquez, who will not return to testing before the season opener at Qatar, Pedrosa shoulders the responsibility in finalising Repsol Honda’s preparations for the 2014 season. He stepped up to the plate late on Thursday with a 2’00.039s best effort as the track cooled in the early evening.
Pedrosa had struggled with jet lag on arrival in Malaysia but the best time of the week so far put him ahead of Aleix Espargaro who impressed again with his sheer pace to end the day 0.281s off the top – having led for much of the afternoon.
Like many of the riders Espargaro’s focus switched to race simulation in the afternoon and those longer runs will continue on Friday before the test concludes.
Wednesday’s top man Alvaro Bautista was third, finishing with a 2’00.500s best time as he again made good use of his new Showa rear shock.
Fourth on the timesheet was Valentino Rossi (+0.566s) who appears to be more comfortable with the new 2014 Bridgestone compounds than his Yamaha Factory Racing colleague Jorge Lorenzo (+1.010s) who was ninth. Lorenzo’s issue is with edge grip which affects corner speed, previously a strong point and something he will look to improve before Qatar.
Andrea Dovizioso repeated his impressive recent pace in fifth (0.748s) with the GP14 showing real signs of improvement.
Down the timesheet in 19th Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro put in the laps with Magneti Marelli software as the Ducati ‘Open’ decision gets closer. Dovizioso’s colleague Cal Crutchlow made a late jump to seventh and was less than 0.2s behind the Italian knowing that his teammate is his immediate benchmark – whilst Andrea Iannone was 11th on the Pramac Racing Ducati (1.134s).
Stefan Bradl put in a solid and consistent run for LCR Honda, following another long run he did on Wednesday. His best time was half a second better today and he finished sixth.
The new seamless gearbox was well received by Monster Yamaha Tech 3 pair Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith on Wednesday – and a second day of ultra-smooth upshifts for those two saw them finish eighth and tenth respectively. The younger Espargaro was the only top ten rider not to improve on his day one time.
A 40th birthday celebration for Colin Edwards saw him make an improvement of more than 0.7s as he focused on improving cornering technique on his new ‘Open’ class NGM Mobile Forward Racing Yamaha.
The ‘Sepang2’ test concludes on Friday, before Ducati Team, Repsol Honda and Yamaha Factory Racing head to Phillip Island for a three day test starting on Monday.
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo have completed the second of the three days of testing today that mark the second official test of the 2014 MotoGP pre-season schedule.
The riders were again out at the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia, putting their 2014 YZR-M1 machines to the test as they continue to look for the optimum set up using the new 2014 Bridgestone tyres.
Valentino Rossi was able to improve on his time of yesterday, taking nearly seven tenths of a second off to move up to fourth place in the overall timesheets for the day.
Jorge Lorenzo continues to find the 2014 tyres challenging in the hunt for the perfect set up. The Mallorcan was unable to make a big step forward today and completed the second day in ninth, just over a second from the front man Dani Pedrosa.
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith carried on with their testing programmes in positive fashion today. Both riders lapped confidently with their Yamaha YZR-M1’s, as preparations for the MotoGP World Championship season opening race at the Losail Circuit proceeded.
With traction improving and the dirt gradually clearing from the track, the two riders sought comfort and confidence in the set ups of their Yamaha YZR- M1 MotoGP bikes, as opposed to posting quick lap times today.
The weather was once again very humid and hot at the iconic Malaysian circuit, which is located nearly 50 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur.
2013 Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro furthered his encouraging pre-season testing by completing 47 laps around the 5.543 km track, whilst continuing to learn his new MotoGP machine. Having sampled the seamless shift gearbox yesterday, and with a positive feeling for the Yamaha YZR-M1, the young Spaniard pushed on. Espargaro made as much use of the testing time as possible, and increased his experience and knowledge with his Monster Yamaha Tech3 team. He finished today’s session in 8th position with a best lap time of 2:01.027.
Young British rider Bradley Smith completed another solid day today with undertaking an abundance of laps and continuing with his testing programme. Having spent the preceding test day accustoming himself with the newly acquired seamless shift gearbox, today he continued to refine set up options on the Yamaha YZR-M1. Smith worked on the feeling of the bike with a full fuel load, and some front end and rear end settings. Once satisfied with the progress, the British rider expertly completed 60 laps in today’s session alone and finished the session in 10th place with a best time of 2:01.098.
It was another positive day for the NGM Forward Racing Team with Aleix Espargaró finishing second (2’00.320), only 0.281 behind Dani Pedrosa, the fastest rider today, after having been on top of the time sheets for almost the whole test session.
On board of his Forward Yamaha FTR, Aleix could improve his lap times already during the morning session, then in the afternoon he continued working on the set up of the first and second machine. Despite the torrid temperatures that obliged the riders to stay in the garage in the early hours of the afternoon, the Spaniard succeeded to lower his lap times, closing with a very positive 2’00.320.
It was a positive day also for his team mate Colin Edwards, who celebrated his 40th anniversary. In total Colin completed 45 laps, 2’01.996 was his best time.
Valentino Rossi – 4th / 2’00.605 / 60 Laps – “The main issue for this test is to try and improve our M1 with the new 2014 tyre. We tried some things but at the end of the day we are not very happy. I am in fourth place, the lap time is quite good but we are half a second behind the other guys. We are suffering with this tyre; our bike becomes difficult to manage. Tomorrow we will try again but we have not so many options. Every track has a different story but we are quite worried because it looks like we are in trouble with this tyre. We hope that in other tracks we will have less problems but here in Sepang, especially compared to the first test, it is more difficult.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 9th / 2’01.049 / 57 Laps – “Today I am very disappointed, especially in the tyre behaviour. Nothing has changed compared to yesterday. I still don’t have the confidence to ride as I want to. Tomorrow is another day, we still have eight hours to find the right way so we will work hard and hopefully by the end of tomorrow we will have solutions.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager – “A very difficult second day. We are still trying to give Jorge the confidence he needs to go faster. The lack of grip that he is experiencing is not helping so we are dong everything we can to help solve that issue.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director – “We are having some difficulties that we were not expecting that we are working hard to try and solve. We are trying to fit this new tyre to our bike but it’s not looking so simple. We are consistently collecting information but the grip we are looking for is still missing. Here in Sepang the circuit doesn’t also offer the grip that we are used to which isn’t helping the situation. For sure we will continue to work as hard as possible to make it better and find a different setting to give us what is missing at the moment. It won’t be easy but I am still confident we can find it. At the moment Vale is suffering a bit less in these conditions due to his riding style. Jorge is having much more difficulties. Jorge is quite often more aggressive on the throttle and this is not helping in these conditions with the tyres.”
Pol Espargaro – 8th / 2’01.027 / 47 laps – “Today was the day I have struggled the most since riding the Yamaha, and unfortunately it was the first time I did not improve my lap time. Plus the track did not improve a lot from yesterday. In the morning it took me a bit of time to find the rhythm. I had a small crash this afternoon, but it was nothing serious and I am not hurt. However, we lost a lot of track time because of this. After that, we changed a few details on the bike to improve the handling, but when I tried to improve my time this afternoon, I did not feel comfortable. However, all the Yamaha’s struggled a little bit so I am not too worried.”
Bradley Smith – 10th / 2’01.098 / 60 laps – “It was another positive day, we tested many things and tried to learn as much as possible. We worked on the front end and found a few small details, before moving to the back of the bike. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a rear setting which worked without affecting something else, but it’s about trying to find the right compromise. I am really pleased that I did many 2.01 lap times. I felt confident and the bike is feeling good on the full fuel load, which is what we always targeted on improving. Track conditions today weren’t too bad, I know there is more potential but unless I make it happen, it won’t make any difference to the lap times. I’m still a bit off from where I would like to be. Looking at the factory riders, I would like to reduce the gap to them and become more consistent. I am really pleased with the work we have been doing. The team have worked extremely hard, so I want to say a big thanks to them. Hopefully, we can do a race simulation tomorrow and see how much we have improved since the first test.”
Aleix Espargaro – 2nd / 2’00.320 / 41 laps – “Today we worked on the set up of the two machines and I’m very confident because last year I never succeeded to have the same confidence on both bikes. Here in less than 2 days I have found a good feeling and I’m very satisfied. In the afternoon I tested the new Magneti Marelli software, which is a step forward especially when the tyres start to drop. I hope we can do a long run tomorrow and check how the bike work on the race distance.”
Colin Edwards – 13th / 2’01.996 / 45 laps – “I’m satisfied of the work done today. I could improve my feeling with the front and I could make the bike turn better, but there is still a lot of work to do. I think I need to adapt my riding style to the new bike and also to get closer to the style used nowadays by the youngest riders in order to enter and exit the corners as I like. Anyway in the middle of today’s test session I could do my best lap time and I want to thank the team for the great job.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) moved to the top of the lap times during the middle day of the three-day Sepang 2 test session. Also on fine form in the tropical heat was Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) who was third quickest after leading the way yesterday.
Former 250 and 125 World Champion Pedrosa, who suffered yesterday due to lack of sleep brought on by jetlag, was in flying form this afternoon. After dedicating himself to working on engine maps and front-end set-up, he upped his pace to ride the fastest lap at the end of the day as track temperatures cooled somewhat. Tomorrow he will focus on rear set-up and race runs.
Pedrosa’s team-mate and reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) is absent from these tests after breaking his right fibula bone during a training accident last week. The youngster will also miss next week’s Phillip Island test and won’t be allowed to ride at the subsequent non-factory tests at Qatar. The next time he will ride his Repsol Honda RC213V will be in FP1 at the Qatar GP on March 20.
Bautista continued the excellent work he began yesterday, further honing the set-up of his RCV213V, which uses Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, unlike the other factory RCVs that run Öhlins and Brembo. The Spaniard ran an impressive race-distance run in the afternoon, improving his best lap time at the same time.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) ended day two an excellent sixth fastest, taking advantage of the slightly improved track condition to focus on evaluating the hard-compound Bridgestone rear and improving braking stability.
Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) had another busy day, working mostly on suspension settings and general set-up. Like most riders, he will bid to do a full-race run tomorrow.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) ended the day three places behind his team-mate and just behind Andrea Iannone, riding a factory specification Ducati. The former 250 World Champion was unable to ride the way he wants to, due to the slippery track surface, but he nonetheless did useful work on suspension set-up to improve machine balance and stability.
MotoGP rookie Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) also had a promising day. The Briton tried different suspension settings and also adjusted his riding position on his RCV1000R. Tomorrow he will aim to improve braking performance.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Honda RCV1000R) had another difficult outing, still troubled by the shoulder injury he sustained last year, despite undergoing intensive physiotherapy over the last few weeks.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda): 1st, 2m 00.039s – “Things went well this afternoon, even though this morning we were still having some issues and I wasn’t able to ride comfortably. I had to stop early in order to make some big changes to the bike, and when we restarted after lunch I felt more comfortable and put in better laps. We focused on the front end and were able to find a good set-up. Tomorrow we will focus on making progress with the rear, because we have to get the new tyre working better and increase grip. If all goes well, then perhaps tomorrow we will be able to do a race simulation.”
Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 3rd, 2m 00.500s – “Today we completed a good race simulation: having done it in the afternoon, the track was not in the best condition, but all in all we are pleased with how it went. We have gathered important data and we have seen an improvement with regard to the durability of the rear tyre. Compared to what happened in last year’s race, especially thanks to the new Showa rear suspension items, the bike moves less when the tyre starts to wear out. The front tyre instead starts to slip a little bit after about 15 laps, and this leads to lose the ideal line, therefore we will work to improve this aspect. At the end of the day I also set a very good lap time, the best ever for me on this track, but I’m especially happy for the good work we were able to do. Tomorrow we will continue to work on chassis set-up and refining the electronics, but we are definitely in a good shape.”
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda): 6th, 2m 00.902s – “Today the track conditions were somewhat better than yesterday but still not comparable with Sepang first test session. It’s tough riding the bike with this heat; however today we kept working on the race-long performance and we are quite happy about our pace. Throughout the day we made several adjustments trying to improve braking stability and, at the end of the day, we gained some good results. Tomorrow we will put all these things together and we will go for a faster lap time”.
Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda): 14th, 2m 02.008s – “The track is still pretty dirty but the conditions today were slightly better than yesterday when it was particularly slippery, especially in turn one. It was still really hot but we were able to get plenty of work done, mainly on the suspension and general set-up. We also worked a bit on the gearbox although at the moment there is not much for us to try in this area and it is quite time-consuming work. The feeling today was pretty good, we improved the lap times and hopefully we can continue to do that tomorrow through a combination of improving the bike and also my riding. We have a couple of things still to try tomorrow as part of a long run.”
Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 17th, 2m 02.652s – “I’m happy with today’s outcome: we worked a lot on braking stability and now the situation is better than yesterday, therefore I was able to improve my lap times. Tomorrow we will continue to work in this direction, trying other chassis geometry solutions and I hope we can make a further step ahead. In the last day we will also try to refine the electronics.”
Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda): 18th, 2m 02.786s – “We continued adjusting the suspension today and managed to improve the feeling quite a lot. This wasn’t really reflected in the lap time but we are satisfied with the work we did today. The track conditions were still quite bad but we managed to get a lot of work done and now we have a lot of data to go through and see where we can improve. Maybe we are losing too much time in the fast corners because I don’t have the confidence to get on the gas so tomorrow we will need to try and put that right. At the moment though we are concentrating on getting the bike turning better so we can pick up the corner speed.”
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Honda RCV1000R): 22nd, 2m 05.188s – “The situation with my shoulder isn’t so good. At least now I can tuck in the arm on the straights, whereas I couldn’t even do that before. The problems are in braking, cornering, exits and changing direction – not so much the pain but a real lack of strength.”
The second day of IRTA testing at Sepang was once again characterized by excellent weather conditions that allowed the two Ducati Team riders to make the most of the time available during the day. Both Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow were able to continue important development work with their Desmosedici GP14 bikes.
Dovizioso began the second day well, immediately recording – on his eighth lap of the morning – a best time of 2m00.787s, a result that took him up to third in the provisional standings. In the afternoon he was not able to improve his time, but in any case he was satisfied with a fifth place overall in the combined two-day standings.
Crutchlow on the other hand is continuing his learning phase with the GP14, and even though he has not yet managed to find the right feeling with the bike, in the afternoon he improved by almost half-a-second to finish the day seventh overall.
Once again solid support was provided by Ducati’s official test-rider Michele Pirro to the development programme on the Test Team’s Desmosedici GP14.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th (2m00.787s) – “Today was again positive, the track is not as quick as the Sepang 1 tests so the times are a reference only to a certain point, but it’s always important to make comparisons with the others. We can say that we closed the gap to the front-runners and I am very pleased with the improvement over these two days. We’re refining the set-up of the bike, at this moment there isn’t much new material to try but we’ve managed to find something interesting. I really didn’t expect that and it’s a positive thing to experience this sensation. Today we also tried out the ECU with the Open software, there are a few different controls with it and it obviously doesn’t work as well as our Factory software, but tomorrow we’ll do some more tests.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 7th (2m00.952s) – “We made some progress this afternoon as well, we were on similar settings to yesterday. I never felt comfortable until lunchtime really, then we started to make some changes to the bike and it felt a lot better at the end of the day. Things are coming better, again me and Dovi have gone quicker, me quicker than at the last test, even though the track conditions are not so good. We’re making progress, but we’ve still got a lot to do.”
The Suzuki MotoGP Test Team continued its 2014 test programme on day two of the Sepang test in Malaysia today, finding better speed from the new engine and also better stability.
Test rider Randy De Puniet knocked 1.2-seconds off his best lap yesterday with a best time of 2:02.139 on his penultimate 59th lap of the 5,543km Sepang International Circuit.
The Suzuki MotoGP Test Team will continue to evaluate the new engine, electronic ignition and also a new chassis on the final day tomorrow.
Randy De Puniet: “We continued to test the new engine specification and we found a better power delivery and more top speed, so it was positive.
“We were better than first test but we have to improve some more on power delivery, making it less aggressive. Our lap time is improved and we hope to make further steps tomorrow. The team is still working to improve the tyre grip on the edge but I felt a better stability in braking.
“I’m confident that we can further improve tomorrow as we have some more new settings to try to improve the engine and chassis.”
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