Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi shared the top of the timesheet at the second MotoGP pre-season group test at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, after the two riders set an identical lap time of 1’59.999. Both Pedrosa and Rossi set their best lap time using the combination of the medium compound slicks front and rear on the final day of testing. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso finished third overall with a personal best lap time of 2:00.067, ensuring three different manufacturers were represented in the top three. In a carbon copy of the first Sepang test, Aleix Espargaro was once again the quickest open-class rider, placing fourth overall on the NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR-Yamaha with a best lap of 2’00.101. The gap in lap time from the quickest to slowest rider at the second Sepang test was 6.483 seconds.
Weather conditions for the test were similar to the first Sepang test; very hot and dry, although the grip level of the tarmac was at a lower level when compared to the previous test in February. The peak track temperature recorded over the three days was 60°C; 3 degrees warmer than the highest measurement at the previous Sepang test. All front and rear slick compound choices were utilised by riders over the three days, with only the 2014 specification tyres being made available to riders at this test. Whilst still struggling to find a perfect solution to the new Bridgestone tyres, Jorge Lorenzo was able to find a change to make some improvement to set up today. The Mallorcan was still less than satisfied overall with the grip levels on offer from the 2014 rubber. Lorenzo was able to step a little closer to the front than yesterday, wrapping up in seventh, just over 0.6 of a second from his teammate in first.
Alvaro Bautista spent the last day of testing focusing on different details about suspension, brakes and electronics. The Spaniard finished the day with the sixth best time, 2’00”506, obtained in the morning but also replicated in the latter part of the day, with very high temperatures on track, proving that there’s still room for improvement.
Scott Redding concluded his first two MotoGP testing sessions constantly improving his lap times. The 2013 Moto2 runner-up got to grips with the Honda RCV1000R adopting a smoother riding style, working especially on stability under braking and refining the electronics. The young British rider lowered his lap time from yesterday by 0.4 of a second, with a best time of 2’02”228 after clocking up 50 laps around the Sepang track.
Bradley Smith ended the test with an overall feeling of satisfaction regarding his performances over the past three days, as he prepares for his second season in MotoGP. Having spent a large quantity of time on refining the front and rear sections of the Yamaha YZR-M1, as well as accustoming himself to the seamless shift gearbox and the new Bridgestone tyres, Smith was content with the developments made. He completed a full race simulation today, which was successfully undertaken and confirmed that all of the changes made during this test were in the right direction. Undertaking a colossal 185 laps over all three days, the young British rider finished the second Sepang test with a best time of 2:00.804 in 9th place.
Young Spanish rider Pol Espargaro finished the session feeling pleased, having spent the past three days learning and mastering his new MotoGP bike. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion, completed over 158 laps around the 5.543 kilometre track, over the three days. He optimised the available time and tested ceaselessly to continue to gain as much knowledge of his new Yamaha YZR-M1 and Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team as possible. The learning curve was steep and despite a small crash yesterday, Espargaro leaves the Sepang test feeling positive. Having gelled seamlessly with the new gearbox, the young Spaniard set the 3rd fastest time on the opening day, before finishing in 10th overall, with an ultimate lap time of 2:00.999.
The Ducati riders completed a massive amount of work, aimed at optimizing the development of their GP14 machines, with both men showing a constant improvement; on today’s final day in particular, Dovizioso and Crutchlow also lapped with the DORNA/Magneti Marelli electronic software and ECU provided for the new Open option.
In the evening, the Ducati Team announced that it will be taking part in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship with the two riders on GP14 bikes in Open configuration.
Dovizioso was particularly satisfied with the lap time he set today, the best the Italian has ever recorded on this track, which took him to just one-tenth away from the fastest riders in the test, Rossi and Pedrosa, while Crutchlow also showed considerable progress over the three days, in which he was able to further get to grips with the bike he will be racing in his first season in Ducati. Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro carried out a totally different work programme over the three days and his aim was not to push for any really quick lap times.
DRIVE M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama both picked up their pace on the final day, the Japanese rider clocking his best time of the entire six days here (2.02.070), although the American was unable to match his fastest effort from the first session, when the conditions were more favourable. Despite the tortuous heat both riders managed to improve the consistency of their lap times and are looking forward to making more progress in the next test.
Suzuki Test rider Randy De Puniet completed a total of 188 laps of the 5,543km circuit during the three days, shaving almost two-seconds off his initial best time and finishing the final day with a lap of 2:01.430; which put him 12th in the overall standings. During the test, the Suzuki MotoGP team worked on new electronic ignition settings, tested a new engine and also appraised a new frame today.
“First of all I am very happy because I am in first position and I did a good lap. I was one of the only ones in the 1’59s which is positive, especially because with the 2014 tyres in the first test we tried a time attack and I was more than one second slower than today. This test we have always been at the top and fighting for the first position so it’s positive. We still have some problems when it’s very hot over long distance with the new tyres, so we still have to work, but we made a good step from the first test. The next test in Philip Island will be very important to understand if also there we improved a lot like here because I am more than one second faster than the second test of last year so we have been working well.”
“Today we worked on engine mapping to improve cornering, but the most important thing that we were able to do is a race simulation. We also tried to improve our fast lap time attacks as well. We progressed a lot -although there is still room for improvement. Now we are off to Phillip Island to test out the new tyres.”
“These six days of testing in Malaysia have been very hard because we faced very difficult conditions, but we are really happy because we have improved so much throughout the two testing sessions, reaching a good feeling with the bike. After the great work done in the first two days, today we could focus on some details with regard to the Showa front fork, as well as the Nissin brakes . In addition, we have refined the electronic controls . At the end of the day I managed to repeat the lap times obtained in the morning, when the track was cooler: it means that we are working in the right direction, and that there is still room for improvement . Moreover, even though the new rear shock already goes very well, enabling us to maintain a good pace for several consecutive laps, even when the tyre starts to wear out, we have not yet explored all the possible settings . Therefore in the next test in Qatar we will continue to work on this aspect, also trying to improve our qualifying performance”.
“I am very happy with how these three days of testing went! The situation has improved a lot since the first test earlier this month; we found a good direction to work on the bike and now I also feel much more confident when riding. Initially I was very aggressive, but now I’m trying to adopt a softer and smoother riding style, and this is helping me a lot also to work on the bike set-up. Today we have also seen progress under braking, where, however, we need to work on consistency, and also in terms of electronics. We are confident ahead of the next test in Qatar: we will start from the data collected here in Malaysia and we’ll see how it goes, considering that we will face a completely different track and conditions”.
“We tried a lot of different solutions today, especially with the rear of the bike and tried to work the new Bridgestone tyres as much as possible. I found a setting that I was much happier with, which made the bike smoother, and let me ride the Yamaha how it should be. We definitely made the step with rear tyre performance, which allowed me to be much more consistent, compared to the last Sepang test and last year’s race. I did a race simulation, and am pleased as it was during a really hot part of the day, so not perfect in terms of track conditions. At the end of the day, after 70 laps I also did my best time. There are many positives, and I come away from here quite happy. It appears as though the track was slower this time than the previous test, but we are close to my lap time from then. All in all, it has been a somewhat difficult three days, but I am really pleased with the final result.“
“It has not been an easy day today. Probably the most difficult one we have had so far. I didn’t feel too well, on one hand maybe because of the crash from yesterday, or on the other hand because it’s really demanding doing several days and so many laps in such hot and humid conditions. However, even if I’m not too enthusiastic about my performance today, I am still just one second from the top of the timesheets which makes me feel much better. Again, we tried different setup solutions, as I still have many things to learn about this bike. I’m really looking forward to trying the bike on a different circuit, in Qatar next week. This will extend my knowledge further, and will permit us to be able to evaluate the information which we collected during this test in a better way. But honestly, all these comments are not as important when you get news like we received today from our Moto2 rider, who is in hospital in France. My thoughts are with him and I hope he recovers quickly.”
“I’m very happy with how we progressed in these three days of testing. We started where we left here in Sepang 1 and I could work on the second bike and on the race distance. I’m very satisfied with the data gathered during the long run. We were competitive and now I look forward to confirm my feeling in Qatar, where we will do another test session before the opening race of the season”.
“We continued working on the bike set up to improve the feeling with the bike in the corners. We tried several solutions but I still don’t have the right confidence to push as I am used to. We also worked on the electronics with positive results and we focused on the tank to check the fuel consumption as we would like to take advantage of the possibility to use all the 24 liters that the Open class has at disposal. We gathered important data and I’d like to thank my team for the work done during these three days”.
“We found a better solution today to improve our situation and adapt these tyres at this track. The tyres are much harder in the sidewalls. At this track, with this tarmac that is very slippery, it’s not the same as Phillip Island or Mugello for example, it’s impossible for us to be competitive. This tyre is much worse for Yamaha and better for Honda. Our bike is competitive, at a similar level to the competitors but with the tyre we have problems. We tried a simulation today and it was worse and worse every lap. In the edge there is a problem with no grip but also when you pick up the bike it spins. You can improve the feeling a little to get more grip but when the tyre starts to drop the problems get worse and worse.”
“We have worked really hard over the last three days here and we have gathered a lot of information that has given us a better understanding of the bike, although we still haven’t made the major step we are looking for. We still don’t know why we’re struggling so much to get the bike stopped into the corners so we need to work more with the electronics. It has been a strange day and we lost some time making alterations to the set-up to adapt to the heat. We know our potential is much higher than we have been able to show here so we can be optimistic and go to Qatar next week ready to put some more hard work in. It will be interesting to see how the bike performs at a different track but we have a lot to do there to make sure we are ready for the first race.”
“I am really pleased: we go away from Sepang having confirmed all the improvements we made three weeks ago. I managed to do a really good lap time, the best I’ve ever done on this track, and I did it in track conditions that were worse than in Sepang 1. This means that we went much better this time around! We also did a long-run of 14 laps and I was also satisfied with that. At this moment we are probably not in a position to fight for the top places, because we are not always able to lap with this pace, but we really improved a lot in these tests.”
“Obviously for me the situation in these tests at Sepang was different to what I’ve been used to in the past, so I think Dovi managed to benefit more from the three days because he’s on a familiar machine. But that’s the way it goes and I’m generally pretty satisfied with the results we’ve achieved here. I’ve been consistently able to go as fast as Dovi with used tyres, but not at the start, because I’m unable to push hard right away and get enough grip into the tyres. This is something we will have to improve for qualifying and the races. Overall we’ve made good progress, testing a lot of stuff here, which was the main thing, and starting to understand what the bike does with different set-ups. Now it’ll be good to go to another circuit and try something else.”
“We had a little setback today and had to put everything on hold at around midday but in the end we fixed it and got back out on track. Our objective today was to continue working on the set-up and we managed to improve the feeling by the end of the day. As well as improving the feeling we also improved the lap times but we still have plenty to test next week in Qatar. We need to have a meeting and work out how we can improve the suspension but in general the feeling is that the bike is good and has plenty of room for improvement – it just needs more laps.”
MotoGP Sepang test 2 day 3 timings
- 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha Factory Racing 1’59.999
- 2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’59.999
- 3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 2’00.067
- 4. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2’00.101
- 5. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP 2’00.164
- 6. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 2’00.506
- 7. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing 2’00.619
- 8. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team 2’00.790
- 9. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 2’00.804
- 10. Pol EspargarÃ² (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 2’01.032
- 11. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing 2’01.198
- 12. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Team Suzuki MotoGP 2’01.430
- 13. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing 2’01.497
- 14. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2’01.748
- 15. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar 2’01.924
- 16. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati Test Team 2’02.029
- 17. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar 2’02.070
- 18. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 2’02.228
- 19. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 2’02.341
- 20. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (JPN) Yamaha Factory Test Team 2’03.115
- 21. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing 2’03.499
- 22. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 2’04.304
- 23. Nobuatsu Aoki (JPN) Team Suzuki MotoGP 2’06.482