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Feb 26, 2014

Bautista Fastest On First Day Of Second MotoGP Test At Sepang

Alvaro Bautista (19). Photo courtesy of Dorna/motogp.com.

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Sepang, Malaysia

February 26, 2014

Best Day One Test Times (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Honda RC213V), 2:00.848

2. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (FTR-Yamaha), 2:00.900, Open

3. Pol Espargaro, Spain (Yamaha YZR-M1), 2:00.999

4. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati GP14), 2:01.029

5. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Yamaha YZR-M1), 2:01.158

6. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda RC213V), 2:01.160

7. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha YZR-M1), 2:01.349

8. Stefan Bradl, Germany (Honda RC213V), 2:01.491

9. Bradley Smith, UK (Yamaha YZR-M1), 2:01.644

10. Nicky Hayden, USA (Honda RCV1000R), 2:02.227, Open

11. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Ducati GP14), 2:02.319

12. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Ducati GP14), 2:02.334

13. Hiroshi Aoyama, Japan (Honda RCV1000R), 2:02.709, Open, crash

14. Colin Edwards, USA (FTR-Yamaha), 2:02.743, Open

15. Yonny Hernandez, Colombia (Ducati GP13), 2:02.823, Open

16. Hector Barbera, Spain (FTR-Kawasaki), 2:02.975, Open

17. Randy De Puniet, France (Suzuki), 2:03.341, Test Rider

18. Scott Redding, UK (Honda RCV1000R), 2:03.553, Open

19. Michele Pirro, Italy (Ducati GP14), 2:03.991, Test Rider

20. Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Japan (Yamaha YZR-M1), 2:04.165, Test Rider

21. Mike Di Meglio, France (FTR-Kawasaki), 2:04.885, Open

22. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Honda RCV1000R), 2:05.638, Open

23. Nobuatsu Aoki, Japan (Suzuki), 2:07.302, Test Rider


More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Pedrosa back on track in Sepang

It was a slow start on the first day of the second Malaysian test. The riders gradually took to the track, which was slippery from car racing over the weekend, and as the surface improved so did the times. 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.

TEAM QUOTES

Dani Pedrosa

6th - 2’01.160

"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”



More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Factory Racing:

Sepang (Malaysia), 26th February 2014

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.

Jorge Lorenzo

5th / 2'01.158 / 56 laps

“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

7th / 2'01.349 / 65 laps

“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.”

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

“It has been a long day’s work and we were able to put together a lot of information. We are still focused on making the new tyre work properly on our bike and we found something interesting compared to the last test that needs to be adjusted. I think we are in the right direction to fix this problem. We have two more days so we expect by the end of the last day we will provide a good performance.”

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

“The first day is done, we tested a lot of material today to improve our package. The track conditions were not that good so I think we will improve step by step and we will reconfirm tomorrow. There was quite some oil on the track so the circumstances were quite difficult to compare stuff. This upsets the riders a bit as you need to compare things to the last test and it was difficult to be precise. We still have a lot to do over the next two days!”



More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

A very good start for the NGM Forward Racing Team at Sepang

The first day of the second MotoGP test session at Sepang circuit in preparation of the 2014 season saw Aleix Espargaró scoring the second fastest lap time with 2’00.900, only 52 thousandths of a second behind Alvaro Bautista, the fastest rider today.

Cautious during the morning, when the track was quiet dirt, the Spaniard of the NGM Forward Racing Team improved his pace in the afternoon. In total Aleix completed 31 laps and for a good part of the afternoon session Aleix was on top of the time sheet.

It was a good start also for Colin Edwards, who was the fastest Open on track this morning. Colin worked on the bike set up, completing 47 laps, scoring a positive lap time of 2’.02.743

The test will continue tomorrow and will finish on Friday.

Colin Edwards

“The track was very dirty this morning and I couldn’t push as I wanted. This afternoon the track conditions were better but I couldn’t find a good feeling and I was not so comfortable entering the corners. We tested several solutions, but I couldn’t improve my lap time. We will continue working later today to find something to make a step forward tomorrow.”

Aleix Espargaro

“I’m happy of today’s result. It was important to work on the set up of the second bike and we did it. During the morning session I did only few laps because I couldn’t push as I wanted. We worked also on the electronics and things improved in the afternoon. This is just the first day, tomorrow we will continue working on the second bike.”



More, from a press release issued by Drive M7 Aspar:

DRIVE M7 ASPAR RIDERS RETURN TO SEPANG FOR SECOND PRESEASON TEST

Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama start three-day session with improved pace compared to first day of previous test

Just two weeks after saying goodbye to the Sepang circuit following the first test of 2014 the riders were back at the Malaysian track today for the second preseason session. In terms of the weather the conditions were very similar to last time but the track surface is much more dirty, which perhaps explains why the pace was around six tenths slower. The fastest rider of the day was Alvaro Bautista (2'00.848) whilst three of the title favourites - Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi -were in fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively. Notably absent from this test is Marc Marquez, who recently broke his leg in a training accident.

Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama had a busy day yesterday at the presentation of the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team and they were glad to be back to the business of improving their lap times today, resplendent in the striking new green and silver colours of the team. Both riders spent today working on setting up their Honda machines but their pace is already quicker than it was after first day of the first test, despite the unfavourable track conditions. After clocking 55 and 59 laps respectively the American and the Japanese were satisfied with their progress, both riders setting their best lap times towards the end of the session.

10th Nicky Hayden 2.02.227 (55 laps): “The gap to the top is reducing so that is positive. This morning we lost a little bit of time due to some technical problems which gave us a little more work than we expected. The bike is basically the same as the one we had here for the first test. We have worked on the set up, especially on the front fork to try and improve the stability of the bike under braking. We made some slight improvements. In the afternoon we had to solve an electronic issue which was costing us time in corner entry we spent most of the afternoon just solving this set back. Tomorrow morning we will continue to work on it and then we have some set up things to try. We still need to get more power out of the bike but the chassis surprises me more each day."

13th Hiroshi Aoyama 2.02.709 (59 laps): “The track conditions on the first day of the second test here at Sepang were quite precarious because the surfaces as very dirty. I was hoping that the grip would improve in the afternoon but it didn't. Anyway, that didn't stop us from working on the setup of the bike. Today we focused mainly on suspension and we have found some solutions which have made the bike more stable and more balanced. This helped the lap times come more easily. We can say that we have found a pretty positive base but we still need to find more stability from the front and tomorrow we will continue working to try and improve."



More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:

BRADL RESUMES TESTING PROGRAMME AT SLIPPERY SEPANG

Sepang, 26 Feb: today the MotoGP grid resume their programmes from the earlier test at the start of February with three further days of action at Sepang race track. World Champion Marc Marquez will be absent, having broken his right fibula, and immediately after Sepang, the riders of Repsol Honda, Yamaha Factory and Ducati Team will travel directly to Phillip Island for their next test before the rest of the teams, including LCR Honda, will regroup for the Qatar test that same week.

Stefan Bradl climbed aboard his 2014 bike early in the afternoon to build his confidence lapping the Malaysian circuit 50 times (8th overall – 2’01.491) but the dirty and slippery conditions of track surface, due to recent bad weather, slightly affected his performance on day one.

Stefan: “Today the track condition was not very favourable and we took the track in the early afternoon waiting for the grip conditions to improve. After the first outing here two weeks ago, we gathered important data so today we worked again on the base set-up to have a clearer idea about the overall package. We mainly focused on the tyre wear to improve the traction in the corner exit and, on the hard compound, we set a good pace. I am not worried about the eight position today because our focus was the bike set-up and not the fastest lap”.



More, from a press release issued by Scott Redding's publicist:

Positive first day at Sepang for Scott

The opening day of the second Sepang test was a positive one for Scott Redding, although the progress made with Honda’s all-new RCV1000R wasn’t reflected in his lap times.

The 21-year-old Briton successfully tested a number of different suspension options this morning, as well as changes to the balance of the bike, which brought some improvement and saw Redding running inside the top 15 on the timesheet.

Despite the progress, Redding was unable to significantly improve his lap time over the course of the day, partly as a result of less than ideal track conditions, but he remains confident of further improvements tomorrow.

Scott Redding // 2’03.553 // 51 Laps

“Today we worked pretty well, especially this morning when we tested different suspension options and tried changing the balance of the bike. Unfortunately, however, it seems we are stuck on these lap times; we just can’t seem to find what it is we need to make a significant step forward. We can take some confidence in the fact that Nicky Hayden was fast today, despite less than ideal track conditions, so we can see what the bike is capable of. We are convinced we can close the gap to Nicky, but we need to find some improvement with the bike if we are to make that next step. With the electronics we’ve already found quite a good setting, so tomorrow we will focus once again on improving braking performance.”



More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Day 1 of IRTA test at Sepang for Ducati Team

With less than one month to go before the opening round of the MotoGP World Championship in Qatar, a second IRTA test session for the Ducati Team has been getting underway today, again at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, where the first test of the 2014 season took place at the start of February. 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.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 4th (2m01.029s)

“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 (Ducati Team #35) – 11th (2m02.319s)

“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.”



More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Bautista on top in Sepang and Marquez to miss Phillip Island Test

The first day of MotoGP™ testing on the second preseason visit to the Sepang International Circuit saw GO&FUN Honda Gresini man Alvaro Bautista register the quickest lap time, with track conditions not as favourable as they were earlier in February.

Bautista’s best lap time of 2’00.848 was 1.3s slower than the marker set down by World Champion Marc Marquez in the previous Sepang test. Of course Marquez is absent from this Malaysian outing due to a leg injury sustained in training last week.

The track surface at Sepang has been described variously as dirty, slippery and lacking in grip compared to the 4th-6th February session due to recent weather conditions.

Nonetheless the riders and teams carried out crucial development and data gathering exercises on Wednesday in the tropical heat, with pace man Bautista working heavily with the rear of his GO&FUN Honda Gresini bike. He aims to dial in the new hard rear Bridgestone tyre to his package – examining shock, swingarm and linkage configuration this week.

Another solid day of work from Aleix Espargaro left him in second, just 0.052s from his compatriot Bautista, having featured at the top for several spells late in the day. Espargaro and his fellow riders on ‘Open’ class machines have a softer specification rear tyre available, so having demonstrated his sheer pace and the potential of his Forward Yamaha over shorter runs the challenge for the rider from Barcelona is now to prepare for racing.

Tyre durability and engine performance over race distance will be crucial to converting fast times in testing into World Championship points once the season starts.

Espargaro’s brother Pol also impressed, slotting the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike up into third with a late best time 0.15s off Bautista’s pace. The younger Espargaro worked with on electronics, tried different a wheel size and tested small engine parts. His teammate Bradley Smith was ninth.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso was again the fastest representative of the Italian factory on track, concluding the afternoon in fourth, undertaking development work on the GP14 from the base setting put in place at Sepang 1.

Dovizioso and incoming colleague Cal Crutchlow - 11th today - are working on overall set-up and engine characteristics at the test, whilst Ducati are set to define whether they will run ‘Open’ class or ‘MSMA’ entries in 2014 before they depart from Malaysia.

Double MotoGP™ title winner Jorge Lorenzo ended the day fifth, with the Yamaha Factory Racing team focusing on refining set-up for the new harder rear tyre option. The team believe that the 20 litre fuel limit for ‘MSMA’ entries this year will not cause them fuel consumption issues, as has been speculated, though they need to verify those findings in this test after some positive results last time out.

Dani Pedrosa had a somewhat anonymous visit to Sepang last time and he has added responsibility this week as the only Repsol Honda rider present. He was sixth on day one, with his main task at this test being confirmation of which chassis works best for him, with RC213V evolution well underway for 2014.

Valentino Rossi was second overall at ‘Sepang1’ but he ended Wednesday in seventh spot, continuing his preparations for his 15th season in the premier class. He was 0.5s off the pace at the end of the day, with 65 laps undertaken.

LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl completed the day in eighth place, working on braking stability by modifying suspension, geometry and electronics. The German rider has some small parts from HRC to test in the absence of fellow Honda man Marquez.

Andrea Iannone was ninth on the Pramac Ducati, whilst in 15th spot Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez carried out additional crucial data gathering with the new Magneti Marelli software.

It was a mixed day for the DRIVE M7 Aspar team, with the key point for their riders being new suspension settings, as this is the first time they have properly tested the softer option rear tyre for the ‘Open’ class. Nicky Hayden was tenth and Hiroshi Aoyama was ‘unlucky’ 13th as he suffered a light crash early in the day.

Team Suzuki MotoGP are again present at this test, with Randy de Puniet and Nobuatsu Aoki in attendance. De Puniet carried out a considerable 73 lap workload on Wednesday for the manufacturer who have an eye on returning to MotoGP racing in 2015.

After a check-up on Wednesday afternoon with Dr. Mir in Barcelona, it was advised that Marquez takes this opportunity to rest, rather than risk further injury, in order to prepare for the Qatar GP, which will begin in just three weeks.

"I’m obviously disappointed that I’m not in Sepang at the moment and to miss Phillip Island is also unfortunate, but we believe it is the best decision," declared Marquez. "After my meeting today with Dr. Mir, although he was happy with the general situation of my leg after only seven days since the accident, he advised against taking unnecessary risk. So I will take time to rest and get myself as fit as possible to return to Qatar for the first race in the best shape possible."


More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

SUZUKI CONTINUES DEVELOPMENT IN SEPANG

The Suzuki MotoGP Team continued its 2014 testing and development programme in the opening day of its second three-day test at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today.

Test rider Randy De Puniet completed 73 laps of the 5,543km circuit evaluating the new Magneti Marelli electronic ignition; which has been improved and further developed at Suzuki’s Ryuyo design and test facility in Japan following the opening test at Sepang earlier this month.

The team also tested a new-specification engine, which has improved torque and throttle-to-rear-tyre performance, and will work on top-speed tomorrow along with evaluating a new chassis; which the team aims to fully-test on the final day.

Randy De Puniet:

“We have many things to test here in Sepang and we started today working solely with the new electronic system. We had some improvements compared to the previous test and looks like we have found a good direction now. The system is not yet completed but you can already ride the bike and is an improved direction. We reduced the gap a little and we can continue to work on it.

“Furthermore, we tested a new specification engine, which I found delivered more torque and we have a better connection between the throttle and rear tyre and the turning has also improved. We also hope to improve the top speed but we will test this more tomorrow. We also have to continue to work in the next few days to improve the edge-grip of tyre”

Davide Brivio:

“It was a positive day today as we can see several new things that have started to work. The Suzuki engineers worked very hard over the past two weeks since the first test to update our software and Randy immediately felt some benefit. But we also have some new parts as well.

“We have already slightly improved the first test lap time and now we have two more days to continue to work on the electronic, the engine and also a new frame which we will probably test on the final day. I hope we can continue our development the same way also in the next two days.”



More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Super start for Tech3’s Smith and Espargaro at Sepang 2

Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro completed another very strong first day of testing at the second MotoGP test, at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today. Testing was limited at the beginning of the day due to dirty track conditions, which meant that lap times were initially slower. As the day progressed, the circuit cleaned and the riders produced quicker laps.

With two further days of testing to come, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team and riders proceeded with their preparations for the impending start of the season. With the first race on the 23rd March at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, less than a month away, both Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro tested various aspects of the Yamaha YZF-M1 MotoGP bike, predominantly the new seamless gearbox, and aimed to make as much use of the testing time as possible.

The weather itself was hot and humid, with Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Smith and Espargaro waiting until the afternoon for the track to cool, to set quicker lap times on the 5.543km Sepang International Circuit, located 50kms south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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.

The Sepang test continues tomorrow between 10am and 6pm (local time – GMT +8) at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.

Pol Espargaro - 3rd - 2:00.999:

“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 - 8th - 2:01.644:

“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. “