MotoGP: Bastianini Under Lap Record As Sepang Test Concludes (Updated)

MotoGP: Bastianini Under Lap Record As Sepang Test Concludes (Updated)

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

Editorial Notes: The all-time lap record at Sepang International Circuit is 1:58.303 set by Fabio Quartararo in 2019, the last time MotoGP raced at Sepang. Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales turned identical best lap times, 1:58.261, on Sunday, but Rins was listed higher because he did his lap time before Vinales.

 

FIM MotoGP World Championship Test

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

February 6, 2022

Day Two Lap Times (all on Michelin tires):

  1. Enea Bastianini, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.131
  2. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 1:58.157
  3. Jorge Martin, Spain (Ducati), 1:58.243
  4. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 1:58.261
  5. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Aprilia), 1:58.261
  6. Francesco Bagnaia, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.265
  7. Fabio Quartararo, France (Yamaha), 1:58.313
  8. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:58.332
  9. Johann Zarco, France (Ducati), 1:58.413
  10. Pol Espargaro, Spain (Honda), 1:58.420
  11. Luca Marini, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.430
  12. Joan Mir, Spain (Suzuki), 1:58.529
  13. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), 1:58.607
  14. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), 1:58.645
  15. Miguel Oliveira, Portugal (KTM), 1:58.701
  16. Marco Bezzecchi, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.710
  17. Alex Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:58.800
  18. Brad Binder, South Africa (KTM), 1:59.016
  19. Raul Fernandez, Spain (KTM), 1:59.180
  20. Fabio Di Giannantonio, Italy (Ducati), 1:59.197
  21. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Yamaha), 1:59.262*
  22. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Yamaha), 1:59.284
  23. Remy Gardner, Australia (KTM), 1:59.348
  24. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Yamaha), 1:59.365
  25. Darryn Binder, South Africa (Yamaha), 1:59.857
  26. Sylvain Guintoli, France (Suzuki), 1:59.996*
  27. Takuya Tsuda, Japan (Suzuki), 2:05.678*

*=test rider

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

#SepangTest: Bastianini hits back with fastest ever lap of Sepang

The ‘Beast’ bests Aprilia on Day 2, with 20 riders within a second on Sunday

Sunday, 06 February 2022

 

Enea Bastianini (23). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Enea Bastianini (23). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

The two-day Official MotoGP™ Sepang Test concluded on Sunday, and with a new searing fastest ever lap of the venue. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), on only his second day riding a MotoGP™ bike at Sepang International Circuit, set a scorching 1:58.131 to beat Day 1’s quickest rider Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) by just 0.026 – and the two were both under the previous fastest lap of the track. We saw 20 riders within 1.066 by the end of play, with Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) third quickest and only 0.112 off the top.

However, heavy afternoon rain did disrupt the action. Some riders ventured out in the wet conditions, but as expected, the timing screens remained unchanged from the early flurry of rapid laps.

DUCATI

 

Francesco Bagnaia (63). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Francesco Bagnaia (63). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Bastianini was the top Ducati on Day 2 – on the GP21 – as the ‘Beast’ hit back to topple Aprilia’s Saturday dominance. Martin, the rider who duelled and beat Bastianini in the fight for Rookie of the Year last season, leapt up the timesheets too – the Spaniard slotting into third and just 0.112 off the top. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) made a big move up the timesheets into sixth on Sunday, 0.134 off Bastianini, with Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) in ninth. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) was P14.

On rookie watch, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) came out on top once again, despite a crash. Just over half a second off the fastest ever lap of the track is a feat in itself, and the number 72 ends the test in P16. Teammate Luca Marini also had a good day and was P11 by the end of play. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) was P20, the number 49 having missed two days of the Shakedown but still able to get within 1.066 of his teammate’s record-breaker at the top.

MotoGP™ pitlane reporter Simon Crafar reported a concern shared with him by Ducati Lenovo Team Manager Davide Tardozzi: the throttle connection, and rideability. The new engine has made gains in top speed and at Jerez the feedback was all positive, but Sepang has shown there remains margin for improvement. Martin, as he begins his sophomore season, framed that more in terms of still having a big margin to improve the new bike – so pausing the ‘Jaws’ music may prove premature.

The GP22 machines appear to have settled with the new aero and updated air intake, and the updated ride-height device continues to make a splash as Borgo Panigale  push the boundaries of innovation.

APRILIA

 

Maverick Vinales. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Maverick Vinales. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

After taking a fantastic 1-2 on the opening day, Aprilia Racing end the Sepang Test in P2 and P5 thanks to the efforts of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales. The new 2022 bike – with updates across the board – has been very well received by both riders. Aleix Espargaro has praised the turning and corner speed improvements, although the Spaniard does remain undecided on which chassis is best.

Technical Director Romano Albesiano explained that Aprilia’s longer runs at the Sepang Test, which included a 12-lap run for Espargaro, have been “to measure the temperature of the working components,” not seeing how fast Espargaro and Viñales can go. Whichever way you look at things, Noale have started 2022 on the front foot. Both Espargaro and Viñales are within 0.130s of Bastianini’s quickest time, so three more days in Mandalika should be enough time to iron out any remaining issues they have before the Qatar GP.

SUZUKI

 

Joan Mir. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Joan Mir. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Suzuki confirmed they had “significantly improved the engine”, which was a real key for the Hamamatsu factory as the inline-four machines – Suzuki and Yamaha – look to gain top speed without compromising elsewhere. There was more mixed feedback for aero and chassis updates but plenty that did work, making for some more good news.

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was the fastest Suzuki once again, slotting into fourth and less than a tenth and a half off the top. 2020 MotoGP™ Champion Joan Mir was P12, still within four tenths of Bastianini as the timesheets were split more often by hundredths and thousandths. Mir also crashed, rider ok.

YAMAHA

 

Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Yamaha’s engine has been a talking point for a few seasons now and after winning the World Championship in 2021, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) wanted more top speed. There has been a small step, but both Quartararo and Team Manager Maio Meregalli explained they expected a bigger improvement, so they’re focusing hard on other areas – mainly aerodynamics – to get the best out of the updated YZR-M1.

“We didn’t make any revolution, we tried to improve the bike we used last year and we mainly focused on aerodynamics, we started to compare two chassis and in my opinion the ‘real test’ will be in Mandalika, where the riders have their speed and confidence back,” said Meregalli to MotoGP™’s Jack Appleyard and Simon Crafar. “There we will spend three days working and testing all the items we’ve tested here. To take a decision on which way we can go is too early, we would prefer to wait in one weeks’ time to have a better overview of what is working better.”

Quartararo’s best time at the end of the test was a 1:58.313, 0.182s down on Bastianini’s effort, but he sounded pleased with his pace. The Frenchman also saved a couple of sets of tyres for the afternoon, but rain put a stop to him heading out to try and go faster. Overall, it was an upbeat Quartararo by the end of the Sepang Test though. His lap time put him in seventh place, with the next best Yamaha down in P22. Andrea Dovizioso (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team) completed 55 laps as he continues his adaptation to the latest-spec Yamaha, with Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and rookie Darryn Binder (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team) 24th and 25th respectively. Test Rider Cal Crutchlow was on track too, and we’ll be seeing more of the British rider in Mandalika.

Darryn Binder was able to get some wet weather laps under his belt in the afternoon on Day 2 as well, and finished 1.7s away from the fastest time at the Test. Very respectable from the South African, who now has three more days to get acquainted with his new bike in Mandalika.

HONDA

 

Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Work on the completely new RC213V continued on Day 2 for the HRC quartet of Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda teammate Pol Espargaro, Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), with the number 93 ending the Test as the quickest Honda.

Marc Marquez ended the Test with a 1:58.332 in P8 as the Spaniard got an important 101 laps under his belt overall. The new bike is a “big change” from the previous RC213V and Marc Marquez admitted he needs time to find the limits with the new bike, and at the end of Day 1 he was “very tired”. However, he did feel good with the package. Two crashes on Day 1 didn’t affect his preparations for the new season, and the three days coming up in Indonesia will be vital for the eight-time Champion.

Pol Espargaro was into the top 10 with a 1:58.420 to finish a couple of tenths away from the best pace, with Nakagami and Alex Marquez also in the 1:58 bracket. All three riders have been testing the 2022 RC213V from the get-go in Sepang and the signs are positive from the Japanese manufacturer.

KTM

 

Miguel Oliveira (88). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Miguel Oliveira (88). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

For KTM it remained a more muted test on the timesheets, but new Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager Francesco Guidotti said the focus for now, after a tougher 2021, is getting a good base to begin the season, and one from which the Austrian factory can then further develop. Guidotti said they’d had a lot of work to do and plenty of new parts, as well as a lot from 2021 to evaluate better. Some parts were “much better than expected”, and some things “so-so”, according to the Italian.

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the fastest of the Mattighofen contingent in 15th but still within 0.570 of the fastest ever lap of the track, and Brad Binder was only a few places and a few tenths behind his teammate. On rookie watch, Raul Fernandez (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) was right behind Brad Binder and got down to a 1:59.180, 0.164 off the South African. 2021 Moto2™ Champion Remy Gardner, still pushing through the pain barrier after breaking his wrist in training, put in a best lap of 1:59.348.

That’s it from Sepang until the paddock returns later in the season to go racing. Now it’s time to pack up and head for the new Pertamina Mandalika Circuit for the second and final pre-season Official Test, with three days of action on the cards in Indonesia. In the meantime, stay ahead of the game on motogp.com and across social media as we digest everything from the #SepangTest!

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Gresini Racing:

#SEPANGTEST DAY2: BASTIANINI ON RECORD PACE, DIGGIA ONE SECOND AWAY

It was surely a positive Sepang test for Team Gresini Racing MotoGP as the Italian squad was among the protagonists in the two-day Malaysian outing that drew to a close today.

Enea Bastianini was simply superb: with only one quick-lap attempt in the morning, he was able to log the quickest-ever lap-time on two wheels at the Sepang International Circuit. A last-turn mistake prevented him from breaking the 1’58s barrier, but it matters very little: the most significant thing was his ability to ‘easily’ put together a ‘qualifying lap’, which was his Achille’s last year.

Fabio Di Giannantonio also did very well, as he finished one second away from his teammate while continuing his learning curve ahead of next week’s test at Lombok’s Mandalika International Circuit. Too bad for the rain that came in the afternoon and took away from Diggia some precious track-time.

1st – ENEA BASTIANINI #23 – (1’58.131s – 25 laps)

“It was very exciting to get back on the bike. We were very quick both yesterday and today: if yesterday we had to shake some rust off, today we worked on speed. Due to the rain we only managed to do one time attack, but it went quite well. We also had a look at our race pace these two days as we made a few set-up changes, and we improved a lot despite starting already from an excellent base. Now we need to test a new track – we will all start from zero and we will work for the race: we want to be quick there, too.”

20th – FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO #49 – (1’59.197s – 39 laps)

“These two days have been very important, and we managed to do some significant steps forward towards being competitive. Yesterday things went smooth, while today we experienced some issues, which we were still able to fix with the team. Lap after lap I’m getting to know the bike a little bit better, and at every stop at the garage I’m getting to know the team better. Now we’ll have another three days at the Mandalika circuit, where we’ll work almost exclusively on myself and my riding style. We will also try to understand the tyres better.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:

MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP CONTINUE POSITIVE FEELINGS ON DAY 2 IN SEPANG

Sepang (Malaysia), 6th February 2022

SEPANG OFFICIAL MOTOGP TEST

TEST

Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli‘s second day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit was repeatedly halted by rain. Still, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP teammates put in numerous laps and took 7th and 24th place respectively in today‘s and the combined timesheets.

7th FABIO QUARTARARO 1’58.313 / 54 LAPS

24th FRANCO MORBIDELLI 1’59.365 / 38 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were back on track today at the Sepang International Circuit for a second and final day of testing in Malaysia. They continued to work through a number of different items, taking 7th and 24th place respectively in today‘s and the combined testing rankings.

Quartararo had hoped to get more laps in at the Sepang circuit, but various sudden rain showers altered his schedule. Still, the Frenchman was able to conclude the first official 2022 IRTA test with a good feeling. His best time of 1’58.313s, set in the dry on lap 12 of 54, put him in seventh place, 0.182s from first.

After a solid first day of testing, Morbidelli was motivated to resume his work on getting back the feeling with the bike. He didn’t take long to improve on his time from yesterday, bettering it by 0.742s on only his eighth lap of the day. As with his teammate, rain disrupted the testing plans but he still got some wet laps in. He ended the day in 24th place with a 1.234s margin to the top.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

First of all, it was great to be back on track. Especially here, after two years. But I have to say that two days of testing, after the riders not having touched the bike for two months, was probably not enough. Luckily, we are now moving on to Indonesia, where for sure the test will be more productive. We spent the first day getting the riders back up to the speed they were on before the winter stop and having them get back their confidence on the bike. This second day was the most important one. It‘s impossible to make a solid decision already, because we need to test all the items at another track. Luckily, we have the Mandalika Test next week. We tried two chassis specs and different aerodynamic items. We are now going to analyse and study all the information we gathered and compare it with the feedback of the riders. In Mandalika we will try to confirm everything, and there is where we will make our final decision on how we will start the season.

FABIO QUARTARARO

I‘m really happy about my pace. Unfortunately, I kept two tyres to do a time attack, and then it was raining. But this morning I did a great lap! I‘m quite happy because I came from a really old rear tyre, and let‘s say that the gap between them was too big. I couldn‘t really take the benefit from the new rear tyre, but I‘m super happy. I think that we have some margin on one lap, and I think it was a good test. We can be satisfied. In Mandalika we will test again what we have tried at this test, and we‘ll see if there are any positive outcomes.

FRANCO MORBIDELLI

We made good steps also today. We wanted to improve on new tyres, and we did that. We wanted to improve our pace, and we did that too. Unfortunately, we were not able to do the time attack, because in our programme it was scheduled in the late afternoon, but with the rain it wasn‘t possible to do it. The feeling is getting better and better. Every time it‘s getting better with the bike. We‘re setting it up well to be fast and consistent. There is this time attack doubt that I wanted to take away. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until Indonesia for that, but so far, so good. I‘m quite happy.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Tech3 KTM Factory Racing:

Fernandez and Gardner both make improvements on final day of Sepang Test

Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s duo went on track for the fifth and final day of the week today at Sepang International Circuit. Following an intensive week of testing here in Malaysia with three days of Shakedown and the Official Sepang Test, Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner slowed down the intensity on Sunday and completed 24 and 35 laps respectively.

Just like the rest of the MotoGP class, Raul Fernandez got an early start at 10:00 local time this morning to take advantage of the lower track temperatures. All the riders started the day very fast, and Raul rapidly improved his lap-time from yesterday (1’59.258) on his thirteenth lap, and then registered 1’59.180 a few laps later, placing him in nineteenth position at the end of the first two hours of the day. A heavy rain throughout the afternoon stopped the action on track for a while, but the Spaniard showed his willingness to ride on a wet track and he was the first to come out of the box to get a few laps in. The rookie finishes the Official Test only 1.049 seconds from the top position.

It was an early start too for Remy Gardner who also managed to improve his lap-time from yesterday just five laps after leaving the box. He continued to improve progressively throughout the morning, crossing the line on lap 17 in 1’59.697. Towards the end of the morning, he reached his best lap-time of the week with 1’59.348 on his thirty-fourth lap, just before calling it a day for the Test week here in Malaysia. After a very intensive week, the Australian was struggling with his injured wrist and decided to get some rest in order to take care of his physical condition. The Tech3 KTM Factory Racing is now headed to a new destination, Indonesia, to participate in another three days of testing at the new Pertamina Mandalika Circuit.

Raul Fernandez

Position: 19th

Time: 1’59.180

Laps: 24

“We end the test with only one second from the first position, it is incredible how close the MotoGP category is. All the manufacturer riders were here on track and it is going to be an amazing championship. KTM did an excellent job this week and I am really happy with all the work done here in Sepang. Step by step, I learn and I get closer to the factory riders, so this is what matters for me at the moment. During the tests, everybody is fast, but it will be different during the races, and I am well aware of that. For now, I think that we did a very good job here in Malaysia.”

Remy Gardner

Position: 23rd

Time: 1’59.348

Laps: 35

“It has been a very busy week of testing. Malaysia was fun but I did roughly two hundred laps here, so I have to admit that I look forward to changing the track and going to Mandalika. We tried a lot of different things this week, especially during the Official Test, and we managed to find some interesting points with the bike. Halfway through the day today, we decided to stop because I was struggling with my physical condition and especially with my wrist, after four full days on track, and it is important for me to focus on my injury’s recovery. I still managed to go faster this morning and I improved my lap-time, which I am happy with. We are still a bit far away from the top positions, but considering the circumstances, it is not bad at all.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

RAIN STOPS PLAY IN SEPANG BUT SUZUKI REMAINS UPBEAT
Alex Rins: 4th – 1’58.261 (+ 0.130)

Joan Mir: 12th – 1’58.529 (+ 0.398)

Sylvain Guintoli: 26th – 1’59.996 (+ 1.865)

The second day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit saw the familiar late afternoon rain storms arrive, cutting short the riders’ track time. However, Team Suzuki Ecstar still managed to carry out the majority of their testing plan.

One of the main areas of focus for both Joan Mir and Alex Rins was the cowlings. Then each rider took their own path to fine-tune other things; Mir working on the swingarm and Rins on the suspensions. Neither rider had planned to do a long run, and conditions also did not allow for this either.

Rins completed a total of 37 laps. He reported improvements compared to yesterday’s outing and he was satisfied with his pace.

Mir put in 35 laps. He was able to feel the potential of the engine more clearly than the previous day and he felt happy with the progress made.

Team Suzuki Ecstar will now move onto Mandalika Circuit in Indonesia, a brand new track, for another three days of testing next weekend; February 11th-13th.

Alex Rins:

“We’ve concluded the Sepang test, and a bit earlier than expected, but it’s been great to be back on the bike. The first part of today felt like qualifying, we were all out there trying to get laps in before the rain came! We learned a lot during these two days about what works well for us, and what still needs some improvement, but overall we’re going to Mandalika with a very good bike. I’m going to watch some Superbike races to try and understand how the Mandalika circuit is, and I’m really excited to arrive there because my supporters there are amazing.”

Joan Mir:

“Overall I’m really happy about the last two days here. The bike is working well and my feeling is good. Today felt better than yesterday but we couldn’t put it all together to push for a lap time, anyway, our pace is strong. I understood the potential of the new bike and the new engine and I have no complaints. Both Alex and I feel that we’ve made a step forward, and that’s an important thing. I’m really excited and interested to go to Mandalika next week – the fans there are so supportive and kind, and I’m waiting to discover the track!”

Sylvain Guintoli:

“Over the past five days – including the shakedown – I’ve done about 250 laps, and it was really good to be back on the bike again, and back in Sepang because I really like this place. The testing programme was quite intense because the team brought many items, but everything seems to be working well so far, especially the engine spec. I also worked on the chassis, the suspension, the aerodynamics, and the ride height device. I managed to set a new personal best lap around here and overall the bike feels really well balanced, it also looks great!”

Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader and Team Director:

“We came here with 2022 spec. bikes, which we’d already seen promising signs from last year, and we brought some new items to try. Our test riders and race riders found some of the new items were working in good way, but we couldn’t finish checking a few things due to rain this afternoon – we will try them in Mandalika next week. But the overall feeling is that we are more competitive. Our riders and all the team are feeling very positive and motivated to start another test in Indonesia, and to be ready for the first round in Qatar. I would like to say thank you to everyone for giving their all in these tests, and for their help launching our new bike.”

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“We are pretty satisfied, we brought many items here and we were able to try almost all of them. The weather did disturb our plans a bit and it meant we couldn’t finish everything we wanted to, so we’ll continue the work in Mandalika. The important thing is that the 2022 engine spec. seems to be working well for us, and the riders are feeling quite happy.”

 

 

 

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

KTM GATHER FIRST TRACK MILEAGE OF 2022 MOTOGP™ AT SEPANG TEST

2022 MotoGP news

The 2022 KTM MotoGP effort swung into action for the first time this year with a comprehensive week of work at the Sepang International Circuit. The opening appointment of the racing calendar represented the first of two pre-season tests before the Grand Prix of Qatar on March 6th.

KTM accumulated almost 380 laps through Saturday and Sunday between the four riders. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder (18th on combined times) and Miguel Oliveira (15th) assessed new parts and ideas for the 2022 RC16 and further development after the final test outing of 2021 at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto in Spain. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing had an even busier schedule: rookies Raul Fernandez (19th) and Remy Gardner (23rd) filled a three-day ‘shakedown’ prior to the two official days at the fast and hot Sepang layout. Sunday was curtailed prematurely due to the typically unstable Malaysian climate. Heavy rainfall marked the end of the session by mid-afternoon but both Binder and Oliveira completed a few circulations in the wet.

MotoGP now moves onto the new Pertamina Mandalika Circuit in Indonesia for a three-day test from February 11th and the final chance to work on configuration before the Losail International Circuit beckons next month.

Brad Binder: “These last two days have been a challenge. We needed some more time to make the most out of the package. We have some small changes to the bike and we have the same performance as last year so now we need to explore, try different set-ups and balances to see what works further. Yesterday was about getting up the speed after the break and then we didn’t have that much time this morning before the weather cut things short. I did a few laps in the wet and everything felt good. Overall, I feel we have a lot of potential. We need to work more to extract it.”

Miguel Oliveira: “Progress was there. For sure our pace could have been a bit better but we were still trying things out to maximise what we have. We still feel there is room to improve and that’s important for us. It was good to have the half day today and we made the lap we had here two years ago, without any risk. Positive feelings, and now we move onto a new track. The package is there. We have to take advantage of what we have. This is the focus and what pushes us.”

Raul Fernandez: “We end the test only one second from first position: it is incredible how close the MotoGP category is. All the riders were here on track and it is going to be an amazing championship. KTM did an excellent job this week and I am really happy with all the work done here in Sepang. Step by step, I learn and I get closer to the others so this is what matters for me at the moment. During the tests, everybody is fast, but it will be different during the races, and I am well aware of that. For now, I think that we did a very good job here in Malaysia.”

Remy Gardner: “It has been a very busy week of testing. Malaysia was fun but I did roughly two hundred laps here, so I have to admit that I look forward to changing the track and going to Mandalika. We tried a lot of different things this week, especially during the Official Test, and we managed to find some interesting points with the bike. Halfway through the day today, we decided to stop because I was struggling with my physical condition and especially with my wrist after four full days on track. it is important for me to focus on my recovery. I still managed to go faster this morning and I improved my lap-time, which I am happy with. We are still a bit far away from the top positions but considering the circumstances, it is not bad at all.”

Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: “We had a productive one-and-a-half days here. We collected a lot of information between the four MotoGP riders – as well as our test riders Dani and Mika – and we tested different aero packs and the new engine spec was delivered. There were a few other important items. We have three more days of work in Mandalika next week and those will be important to evolve our ideas in different circumstances to be ready for the first race. A lot of comments from the riders here matched and that’s important in terms of finding the right direction. Hopefully that will be enough to make the ideal combo for the start of the season.”

Sebastian Risse, Red Bull KTM Technical Manager MotoGP: “Some intensive and productive days for us. First, we blew away the cobwebs from the winter and then focussed on the elements we have to homologate for the season. These are obviously important decisions and we have only two tracks at which to make them. We know Sepang and it’s a place where if something works then it can be transferred quite well to other tracks. It was important to understand the packages we had at our disposal here. We had several different aerodynamic options and we also worked on the engine and then the bike setting. It all had to fit together, and we had a few directions. Finally, we have a bike that is different for the riders, it does not have the same character as before and it is already a step faster and still with some areas to explore.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Rain cuts into promising second day of Sepang Test

Dark clouds broke just after the lunch break and soaked the Malaysian track, Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro still able to profit from a busy morning.

Sepang’s legendary afternoon rain showers finally hit the MotoGP paddock after almost an entire week of uninterrupted running on Sunday, the final day of the first pre-season test. Hitting just as the Repsol Honda Team were returning from their mid-test break, the rain meant there was little to learn in the final afternoon and the squad began to prepare for the trip to Mandalika, Indonesia. Even with the rain, both Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro are content with what they’ve been able to accomplish in a day and a half.

Marc Marquez finishes the second day of the Sepang test in eighth place, a 1’58.332 on his seventh lap of 49 putting him just 0.201s behind Enea Bastianini – fastest on the day. Although unable to do a planned long run due to the weather, Marquez and his side of the Repsol Honda Team garage were able to continue exploring the new Honda RC213V and gaining important knowledge. The coming Mandalika test will allow Marquez to further unlock the potential of the package Honda HRC have prepared over the winter.

Less than a tenth of a second behind his Repsol Honda Team team-mate, Pol Espargaro completed the second day rounding out the top ten. Returning to the circuit after the afternoon rain, his best time was set in the morning on lap nine of 50. Across the two days Espargaro completed 114 laps aboard his 2022 machine. Long runs during the test showed promise for the RC213V and the #44, he and his team excited to confirm their findings next week in Indonesia.

The final three days of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship pre-season will begin on February 11 at the new Mandalika Circuit in Indonesia. These three days will be crucial for the Repsol Honda Team as they aim to prepare the new 2022 RC213V for the first race under the Qatari floodlights.

Marc Marquez

8TH  1’58.332

“I am happy about these two days in Sepang, but also tired! It’s true that it is very positive for us to be here even if I suffered a little bit physically, but we suffer now to enjoy in the season. When I push with the bike, the speed is there, and we are learning a lot about this bike after trying some big things. The bike certainly has potential and today we understood the front feeling better after some changes we made. Pol and Alex were fast in the long ran which is encouraging. I did a few laps in the damp and felt good too.”

Pol Espargaro

10TH  1’58.420

“In general I’m pretty happy with how the test has gone, of course it would have been good to do a few more laps but the weather is what it is. We are close to the front with a new bike and this is positive. There’s still some time to find over one fast lap and I made a small mistake on my fastest lap, but on the longer runs we are working well. It will be important to improve the one lap speed because we have seen how tight Saturdays are in MotoGP. We were able to gather good data here and now we have a bit of homework to do before the next test.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Mooney VR46 Racing Team:

STEP FORWARD FOR LUCA MARINI AND MARCO BEZZECCHI AT SEPANG

On the last day of testing, important chronometric improvements for Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi, 11th and 16th in the combined standings of the two days

Sepang (Malaysia), February 6th 2022 – First act of 2022 in archive for the riders of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team at Sepang where the official MotoGP test ended today. Good sensations on the track with the Ducati Desmosedici GPs for both with Luca Marini in 11th place in the combined standings of the two days and Marco Bezzecchi in P16.

An uphill start for Luca yesterday, forced into the garage for a long time, but a very convincing Day2 and a final lap time of 1.58.430 signed just before a heavy storm hit the Sepang International Circuit area. Opportunity to test the GP22 even in wet conditions and complete a total of 37 laps during the day.

Marco Bezzecchi (1.58.701) also closes the long week of testing in crescendo, very fast and under the wall of 1.59, the fastest rookie. Also for him the first laps in the wet on the MotoGP bike at the end of the day.

Transfer time now for the Mooney VR46 Racing Team which will leave Malaysia in the next few hours for Indonesia. Next appointment scheduled: MotoGP test, 11-13 February, at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit.

Luca Marini #10

I am happy with this second day of testing: I am satisfied with the base I found, we are not at 100%, considering that I was forced into the garage yesterday, but it is okay. Today both bikes were perfect, I was fast right away from the pit lane exit and I had a good feeling. To be only the second day in Sepang, we made a nice step on the lap time and we tried something on the setting. In the afternoon the plan included a qualifying simulation, but the storm was unexpected.  A pity,, but it’s not the priority at the moment and I’m happy to have been able to ride in the wet at the end of the day.
Marco Bezzecchi #72

I honestly didn’t expect a lap time like this, I’m happy, we did a great job with the Team, the technicians and Ducati. A shame about this morning: just before my fastest lap, I was long on the last corner, I entered the gravel and I crashed. I went back to the garage and with different tires I did my best lap time. An impressive time, built step by step from the shakedown. Compared to the first days, I feel better on the bike, at the beginning I was missing something on the front in terms of riding style, then we checked all the data and we managed to make a nice step forward. I can’t wait to get back at work in Mandalika.

Pablo Nieto

Team Manager

I am satisfied with what has been done in this long week here in Malaysia. Well done Luca who found the feeling after a complicated day y. He worked on the set up and things went better. Marco worked hard in the shakedown and collected a lot of data that was then really useful for this second test where he was able to try the new bike even in the wet. We are a young Team, but I am very happy with the whole group, we can’t wait to get back on track in Indonesia.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team:

Dovizioso and Binder progressing on final day in Malaysia

WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team concludes the first test of the year with noticeable improvements of lap times.

Sunday saw the MotoGP field hitting the Sepang International Circuit for a second and final official test day. While conditions proved to be ideal once again in the first hours, rain interrupted proceedings after lunchtime. Yet, both WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team riders managed to step forward already in the morning.

Following a first day full of work, Andrea Dovizioso aimed to find clearer directions aboard his 2022 Yamaha YZR-M1 today. The Italian set his fastest time on lap 12 and went more than one second quicker compared to day one. Due to the weather conditions, he was unable to chase faster lap times in the afternoon, but still went out and did a total of 115 laps throughout the two days of action.

At the same time, Darryn Binder advanced significantly. The premier class rookie broke the 2-minutes mark already on his first run and was 0.961 seconds quicker than on day one of the official test. Compared to his first day on track this Monday, he even went over two seconds faster and did 55 further laps today. This afternoon, the South African even used the conditions to go out in the wet for the very first time.

The WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team is now ready to pack and fly over to Indonesia, where the entire paddock is excited to get to know the Mandalika Circuit, which is a new addition to the MotoGP World Championship calendar in 2022.

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO

“We made some progress for sure but I can’t be happy about where we’re at because there are still too many things I don’t have under control. The way I ride the bike is not good enough. I can be faster for sure because this morning I wasn’t able to use the potential of the soft tyre. Apart from that, I’m still not feeling that good. These two days have been very difficult but like always in Malaysia, I think it’s the best track to test some high turns but the condition is over the limit, the grip changes and you don’t have enough tyres to compare. Anyway, I’m very happy to go on a different new track, and I will continue my work with the team to do better.”

DARRYN BINDER

“Yesterday we worked really hard but didn’t get the results we wanted. Today, we came back fresh and used everything we worked on yesterday and put it straight into play immediately. After that I was looking forward to just working throughout the day, trying to perfect everything, learn and keep trying but unfortunately it started to rain. But being a rookie that was great as it gave me a chance to go out on the wet with the bike. In my eyes, it’s been a positive two days.”

Razlan Razali, Founder and Team Principal WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team

“In general the last two days has been a positive test for both our riders, both have improved in terms of time. It is still early days and we wait and see for the final test in Mandalika and finally in Qatar. But overall, we are very happy with the first test. We must congratulate Sepang International Circuit (SIC) for being able to allow the MotoGP paddock to come and test here this weekend.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Team Manager WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 

“It has been a very good test, we learned a lot. Of course we are not in the spot and place we want to be, but we have to respect the level of the group. Darryn for sure improved today and again did a step, which was our aim every day to be better and we have been doing that. Today he learned a lot in the rain with the soft and medium rain tyres, going out on half intermediate track conditions that will help in the season when he’s on the grid and it starts to rain. For Andrea, we have been trying to improve the bike, especially on rear grip and traction and we reached a limit, where we need to make more steps in that area. Over the two days, we made a lot of laps and gained a lot of information and now we’re ready to go to Mandalika.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:

GOOD START FOR THE NEW 2022 APRILIA RS-GP

ALEIX AND MAVERICK FAST STRAIGHT AWAY BUT IT’S THE FEELING THAT GIVES THEM MORE CONFIDENCE

AFTER SEPANG, THE SECOND AND FINAL PRE-SEASON TEST WILL BE INDONESIA

Even with all the caution demanded by the circumstances, this is definitely a good début for the new Aprilia RS-GP in 2022 version. On the track in Sepang (Malaysia) for the first tests of the season, the new Italian bike provided immediate positive feedback in the able hands of tester Lorenzo Savadori, sensations which were then confirmed when Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales tested it.

After three days dedicated to the shakedown (the first real test of the new prototypes), it was time for the entire MotoGP class to have two days of official testing. It was clear by the end of the sessions that the competition is still extremely fierce, with 19 riders all within one second of one another. In any case, the stopwatch confirmed that Aprilia is on the right path, with Aleix second, just 26 thousandths of a second behind the leader and beating the track record. Maverick was also fast straight away, just 130 thousandths of a second behind, riding his RS-GP to fifth place.

However, although the times may not provide the most accurate picture of the situation, since they were achieved by all during true time attacks on soft tyres, feedback on the feeling is a different story. And this is why Aprilia is confident as they head to the new Indonesian Mandalika track for the second and final pre-season tests.

Aleix Espargaró

“I must thank the staff in Noale. Albesiano and all the engineers did a good job. From the first time I swung a leg over, during a photo shoot, I noticed how sleek and compact the new RS-GP is, and I know how hard it is to achieve this result. The ergonomics, the frame and all the new features make it extremely agile, letting me improve on cornerspeed, especially in fast turns. However, we still need to consider that this is just the first test and that we are all extremely close. The current level of MotoGP is absolutely incredible. We’ll keep working and I can’t wait to turn laps on the new Mandalika circuit too.”

Maverick Viñales

“I’m pleased with this first test. I felt extremely comfortable on the bike. I was especially surprised by our race pace, with used tyres, whereas on the flying lap, I am still unable to fully exploit the bike’s potential. When you try to find the limit, and you have to do that often in MotoGP today, the feeling has to be more than perfect, but I am still making a few mistakes. I need to get used to the way this bike behaves when I’m looking for maximum performance and that’s a process we’re working on.”

Lorenzo Savadori

“The 2022 bike seems like a clear step forward. I did some tests here aimed specifically at setting up Aleix and Maverick’s work, since this is the first shakedown of a new project. I can’t wait to get start on the actual testing programme, which will let us grow the RS-GP even further. The base is there. They did a great job and you can tell straight away.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

SEPANG TEST – SECOND AND FINAL DAY OF TESTING IN SEPANG ENDS WITH MARTIN AND ZARCO FINISHING THIRD AND NINTH RESPECTIVELY.

Jorge Martin put in an excellent performance to take the third fastest time of 1:58.243. Johann Zarco focused more on development work with the main objective of being able to fully exploit all the characteristics of his Desmosedici GP22, finishing the test day in ninth position with his best time of 1:58.413. It was a positive two days of testing, ending with a clear improvement and gaining knowledge of the bike’s potential. The Indonesia test will give us the right push to start the championship in the best possible way.

Jorge Martín

It was a positive second day, we brought home a lot of information that we will need in a few days in Indonesia. Unfortunately it rained in the afternoon and we didn’t get the most out of the day, but I am very satisfied with this first test.

Johann Zarco

Another positive day for us, I am happy with how we have worked and how I feel on the bike, we also did a wet run to see the feeling and I felt really good. There are still some areas where we can improve but we will make the most of next week’s test to be ready for Qatar.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:

ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ PUTS IN THE HARD YARDS AT SEPANG TEST

6 February 2022 | Sepang Test

Álex Márquez got through a busy schedule as the first official MotoGP pre-season test finished in hot, muggy conditions at Sepang International Circuit on Sunday. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider took the opportunity to put in some hard yards on the 2022 RC213V prototype as he ramped up preparations for the new World Championship season.

The Spaniard enjoyed plenty of track time on both days – despite rain disrupting proceedings on Sunday afternoon – as he racked up the most laps of any rider at the two-day session. On Saturday, Álex completed 65 as he went 15th fastest, before adding another 57 on Sunday as he gathered valuable data in all conditions.

The second and final pre-season test will take place at Indonesia’s new Mandalika circuit from February 11-13.

Álex Márquez – 17th

(1’58.800)

“Second day here in Malaysia and I think we did a really good job overall. The most important thing for us at this test was to get to know the bike, do many laps and gather information for the future. We are getting to know the bike more and more and we’re not doing badly. There is still room for improvement, but the base is really good, in terms of set-up and performance.

Today we were able to do nearly race distance with a simulation of 15 laps and the pace wasn’t bad, it was really constant. Unfortunately, the only thing we missed today was a time attack as, when I tried to make one, I had a really small crash, but the most important thing this weekend was the feeling. I want to thank my team for all their work on these two days, now we go to Mandalika with a clear plan of what we need to improve.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:

TAKA ENJOYS PRODUCTIVE TEST SESSION AT SEPANG

6 February 2022 | Sepang Test

The first official pre-season test ahead of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship wrapped up at a typically humid Sepang on Sunday. The two-day session at the Sepang International Circuit provided the premier class teams with a crucial chance to fine-tune their machinery for the new season with LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami putting the revamped RC213V through its paces.

The Japanese star was able to amass lots of useful data as he clocked up over 100 laps across the two days, 62 on Saturday and 41 on Sunday when rain interrupted the riders in the afternoon. Taka looked comfortable on the 2022 prototype as he continued working for the duration of both sessions, finishing in 12th fastest on the timesheets on day one and 13th on day two.

Takaaki Nakagami – 13th

(1’58.607)

“We had a really good two-day test here in Sepang and I’m very happy with the step forward we’ve made. From yesterday we were able to improve our confidence on the bike and find a solution. This new bike has really great potential so I’m really happy about that. I want to say a big thanks to my team because these two days for the mechanics are really hard, but they did a great job. I’m looking forward to the next test at Mandalika as it’s a new country and new circuit for us, so I’m really excited”.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Lenovo Team:

The Ducati Lenovo Team concludes MotoGP pre-season testing at Sepang with Bagnaia sixth and Miller fourteenth

Enea Bastianini is the fastest (new unofficial Sepang record) with the Desmosedici GP bike of the Gresini Racing team

Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller concluded the first MotoGP pre-season test of 2022 at Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia). Over the two days, the Ducati Lenovo Team riders could lap again at the Malaysian track (which had been absent from the MotoGP calendar for the past two years) with their Desmosedici GP bikes in 2022 configuration.

Despite the scorching temperatures, the Borgo Panigale team’s riders found good conditions to ride, except for the last few hours of the second day, which were disturbed by rain. During the Sepang test, both Bagnaia and Miller continued the testing program they began last November in Spain, at Jerez de la Frontera, testing the new solutions developed by the Ducati Corse engineers over the winter.

With 110 laps under his belt and a best time of 1:58.265, Pecco closed the test in sixth position, while Jack, who completed 92 laps, finished fourteenth with a best time of 1:58.645, 380 thousandths behind his teammate. Enea Bastianini topped the Sepang test with the Ducati Desmosedici GP of the Gresini Racing team, thanks to a lap in 1:58.131, 172 thousandths faster than the current circuit record.

After these first two days on track for 2022, the Ducati Lenovo Team riders will have another three days of testing next weekend. From 11th-13th February, MotoGP will make its debut at the brand new Mandalika Street Circuit in Lombok, Indonesia, for the final official test before the season opener scheduled on 6th March in Qatar.

Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:58.265 (6th)

“I am happy with how this second day of testing went. We are definitely not at the level I aim for yet, but I know we will get there soon. In just two days of working with the new bike, we have taken a big step forward, and with each session, we continued to improve. Now we have to keep working in this direction to be ready for the start of the Championship. These days, I did not concentrate on finding the best time. My priority now is to work on developing the bike, which has shown to have really great potential. I am satisfied and can’t wait to get on track for another three days of testing next week in Indonesia”.

Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:58.645 (14th)

“Thanks to the data we gathered on the first day, we were able to take a big step forward today, and I also felt more comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, we missed the afternoon because of the rain, but we could still carry out most of our program. I have been busy testing some new components, and maybe if we had pushed harder, we could have been even faster, but we are still not far off the front. In general, I’m satisfied with these first two days of work, and I can’t wait to get back on track in a few days at Mandalika”.

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