alvaro bautista motogp sepang testing

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi returned to work today as the second Sepang test of the 2014 MotoGP pre-season schedule got underway in Malaysia. The riders were able to further test developments from the first Sepang session a few weeks ago along with some work on the new Bridgestone tyres. Unfortunately the Sepang circuit was much dirtier than the first test following some four-wheeled activity on the track, making it difficult for the riders to replicate their form from the previous visit. Lorenzo ended the first day in fifth position, 0.310 seconds from first and less than satisfied with the new rubber. The Mallorcan will return to the track tomorrow determined to find a way to make the 2014 tyres work effectively with the YZR-M1. Following from a very successful first test, Rossi was hard at work today, putting in an impressive number of laps whilst working on improving the balance of his M1. The Italian led the session briefly earlier on, slipping to seventh overall, 0.5 seconds from the front as he too explored set up options with the 2014 tyre choices.

Dani, who suffered from some jet-lag, sat out for the majority of the morning whilst the track was at it’s worst, but then had a busy schedule in the afternoon completing a total of 47 laps, recording his fastest time on lap 46 with 2’01.160. Having made his final chassis choice for the season, Dani and his team will spend the remainder of the test working on engine mappings and general set up work. 2013 World Champion, Marc Marquez, will take no part in this test as he was forced to stay home due to an injury sustained in training last week in Spain.

Pol Espargaro began his third testing programme today, as he gained experience with the Yamaha YZR- M1, which he will contest his first season of MotoGP with. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion, closely working with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, built on the positive progress already made at the preceding test. Espargaro tested the new seamless shift gearbox today, which the young Spaniard responded very positively to. He amassed over 57 laps on the first day of testing, and finished the session in a superb 3rd position with a time of 2:00.999, and only 0.151 of a second behind leading Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista.

Young British rider Bradley Smith, who is entering his second full time season in the premier class, sampled a new seamless gearbox for the Yamaha YZR-M1, in preparation for the 2014 MotoGP season. This was a new feature for the British rider, who seemed overly satisfied with the outcome. The Oxfordshire rider followed on with completing over 54 laps, and finished today’s session in 8th position, with a best lap time of 2:01.644.

Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow took to the track on their Desmosedici GP14 machines to try out the updates brought to Malaysia for these tests and continue development work on the bikes. After evaluating a number of different set-ups in his 47 laps on the track, Dovizioso found a comfortable feeling towards the end of the day. The Italian rider was then able to record his quickest time of 2m01.029s just a few minutes before the end, concluding today’s session with an encouraging fourth place. His team-mate Cal Crutchlow completed a total of 48 laps and his gap from Dovizioso was more than one second at the end of the day. The British rider however had a technical problem that did not allow him to take advantage of the new rear tyre he had just fitted. The priority of the Ducati Team in this test is in any case to continue with the development of the GP14, and today’s results, especially Dovizioso’s improvement on a track that is not performing as well as three weeks ago, helped to confirm that the Italian team is working in the right direction. Track time was also shared by Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro, who was able to try out some new components and electronics solutions. The best time of the Italian rider was not particularly significant as he was not aiming for quick laps, and he focused on his scheduled work programme.

Bautista, who spent the day working on suspension solutions with Showa, topped the classification with a personal best of 2’00”848, already close to his best lap time with which he finished the first Malaysian test, despite track conditions not as favorable as they were earlier in February. His team-mate, Scott Redding, worked on suspension and on chassis geometry, clocking an encouraging 2’03”553, that improves what the British rookie obtained in the first test day in early February, despite worst track conditions.

Alvaro Bautista

“It’s been a very positive first day of testing! We worked very well on the rear end, an area that earlier this month gave us some problems, getting excellent results: Showa has developed a new shock absorber somewhat different compared to the one we used so far, which is suitable for our needs. In addition to the good lap times, even though the track was worst than the first test, I am especially pleased because my feeling with the new Bridgestone tyres has improved so much and now I feel comfortable when riding. We are on the right path: tomorrow morning we will continue to work hard, focusing also on the front end, while in the afternoon if we get the chance we would like to try a first long run”.

Scott Redding

“Today we worked pretty well, especially at the beginning of the day, trying some suspension solutions and varying bike position; however, it seems that we are stuck on these lap times: at the moment we are not able to find something that allows us make a significant step forward, therefore our lap times are always the same. We must take into consideration that today the track was not in the best conditions, so it’s good that Hayden went fast anyway: this makes us confident. We are convinced that we can close the gap to Nicky, but we need to find a solution to improve. Tomorrow we will continue to work, especially with regard to braking, while on the electronics side we have already reached a quite good setting”.

Dani Pedrosa

“Today was not the best day for testing ‒the track was dirtier than ever and there was no grip. It was difficult to find a good feeling with the bike, which we only really got at the end of the day. I also had a few problems with jet-lag and I haven’t been able to sleep much over the last few days, so I’m not feeling perfect physically. As I say, at the end of the day we managed to go a little better. We’ll see if I can sleep better tonight and we will continue working hard tomorrow.”

Jorge Lorenzo

The new rear tyres, both the soft and the hard, are not working properly on our M1. We tried many things but for the moment we haven’t found any solutions. Tomorrow we are going to try something different with the electronics that worked last year to try to improve a little bit because we are not so good today. The tyres don’t give me any confidence in the corner entry, in the middle of the corner and on acceleration. It seems Bridgestone will not be providing different tyres this year so we have to adapt to the situation.”

Valentino Rossi

“The track is not fantastic. Especially if you compare it to the first test where it was very good. A lot of cars have used the track and there is some oil in some places, the track is very dirty so it is more difficult to get to a good lap time. In the end we were coming better though. We worked a lot on all aspects; we tried to find a right balance, concentrating on the braking. Especially we tried to make the best setting for the new tyres because in the first test we used old tyres from 2013 that were good for the M1. We have a problem with the 2014 ones so we have to concentrate to take the maximum benefit from them but already at the end of today it was not so bad.”

Pol Espargaro

“This morning the track was not in the best condition, so we weren’t able to start straight away. Near the end of the day the track improved and we managed to get quite a good time. However, we didn’t get things wrong, even though I don’t think the factory teams pushed to the limit and Marc is also not here, but it’s still nice to finish the first day in third position. I want to say thank you to Yamaha as today was the first day we could use the new seamless gearbox, and the feeling is just amazing. We have a bit more power in every gear and it helps you in many different areas, for example, in the middle of the corner or with the anti-wheelie, it takes a lot of work away from the rider. Altogether it has been a really good day today and the feeling with the bike was just great.”

Bradley Smith

“Today was the first day of using the seamless shift gear box. I am really thankful for Yamaha, because it was really beneficial for us. It is a very nice system to use, and I think the biggest advantage of the gearbox with be on old tyres in the second half of the race. We have continued working on ideas from the first test, and have found a great front setting which will probably be our base setting for the season. We still need to work a little more with the electronics, and the rear grip. The Bridgestone tyres seem to be better than last time, even though the track conditions were not so great. We also changed the geometry of the bike which consistently works better with the tyres. Tech3 are doing a brilliant job, and I am pleased with the results. I think the track conditions will improve and on day 3 we’ll try a race simulation. “

Andrea Dovizioso

“We started the day when the grip on the track was not particularly good. We did some laps in the morning, but then worked better in the afternoon when the track improved. The first day was positive, because with what we tested we were able to improve the bike, both in the electronics and in set-up. Today we didn’t have much new stuff to try, just different set-ups that seemed to work well. I had a really good feeling towards the end of the day, when I put on a good tyre on my final exit and managed to set a good time. Even though the times are not to be considered a reference point, I’m still pretty pleased with the improvement we made today.”

Cal Crutchlow

“I’m not as pleased as Dovi, that’s for sure, but we had a technical issue at the end of the day, and I was unable to capitalize on having a new rear tyre, unlike everyone else. If I had taken off one second like Dovi, I would have been very happy but at the moment we have a lot more issues than that. We’re struggling to find a setting at the moment but we did confirm a few things from the last test. Tomorrow we really need to work on finding some rear grip because the track is worse than last time; the front doesn’t feel too bad, but we need some more time to understand the bike in these different conditions. I’m not too worried, because we know we should be going faster with the new tyre.”

MotoGP Sepang Test 2 – Day 1 timings

  • 1. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 2’00.848
  • 2. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2’00.900
  • 3. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 2’00.999
  • 4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 2’01.029
  • 5. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing 2’01.158
  • 6. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 2’01.160
  • 7. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha Factory Racing 2’01.349
  • 8. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP 2’01.491
  • 9. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 2’01.644
  • 10. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar 2’02.227
  • 11. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team 2’02.319
  • 12. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing 2’02.334
  • 13. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar 2’02.709
  • 14. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2’02.743
  • 15. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing 2’02.823
  • 16. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 2’02.975
  • 17. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Suzuki Test Team 2’03.341
  • 18. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 2’03.553
  • 19. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati Test Team 2’03.991
  • 20. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (JPN) Yamaha Factory Test Team 2’04.165
  • 21. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing 2’04.885
  • 22. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 2’05.638
  • 23. Nobuatsu Aoki (JPN) Suzuki Test Team 2’07.302