Editorial Notes: The current Circuit Best Lap Record at Sepang is 1:59.053 (Dani Pedrosa, 2015) and the current Race Lap Record is 2:00.606 (Jorge Lorenzo, 2015). The fastest ever lap by a motorcycle, until today, was a 1:58.830 set by Lorenzo during testing in 2018, but because it was done during a test and not a race weekend it is not an official lap record.
FIM MotoGP World Championship Test
Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
February 8, 2019
Day Three Best Lap Times (all on Michelin tires):
1. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.239
2. Francesco Bagnaia, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.302
3. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), 1:58.366
4. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.538
5. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), 1:58.644
6. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), 1:58.780
7. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 1:59.022
8. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Yamaha), 1:59.141
9. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), 1:59.148
10. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), 1:59.155
11. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:59.170
12. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 1:59.180
13. Stefan Bradl, Germany (Honda), 1:59.368*
14. Tito Rabat, Spain (Ducati), 1:59.485
15. Joan Mir, Spain (Suzuki), 1:59.486
16. Fabio Quartararo, France (Yamaha), 1:59.497
17. Johann Zarco, France (KTM), 1:59.640
18. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), 1:59.751
19. Miguel Oliveira, Portugal (KTM), 1:59.949
20. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), 2:00.378
21. Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia (KTM), 2:00.766
22. Sylvain Guintoli, France (Suzuki), 2:00.990*
23. Bradley Smith, UK (KTM), 2:00.995*
24. Mika Kallio, Finland (KTM), 2:01.020*
25. Yamaha Test Bike 2, Japan (Yamaha), 2:01.243*#
26. Yamaha Test Bike 1, Japan (Yamaha), 2:01.719*#
27. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Aprilia), no time recorded
28. Takuya Tsuda, Japan (Suzuki), no time recorded*
#Yamaha’s test bikes are being shared by test riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Kohta Nozane and Jonas Folger.
More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Ducati domination on Day 3:
Petrucci, Bagnaia set the pace
Borgo Panigale machinery locks out the top four on the final day of the Sepang Test
Friday, 08 February 2019
After Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) missed out on setting the fastest ever lap of Sepang by just 0.067 on Thursday, Friday saw action in Malaysia end on a high as not one but six riders went quicker than Jorge Lorenzo’s quickest effort in 2018. The quickest of them all, however, was Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) as the Italian stormed the timesheets with an awe-inspiring 1:58.239 after 32 laps – with rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Alma Pramac Racing) hot on his heels and only a fitting 0.063 in arrears after 21 laps. Next came his teammate Jack Miller only another small margin further back, the Aussie doing 47 laps and quick despite a crash, with Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) completing the top four, three tenths off the top. All in all, a stunner of a day for Ducati machinery.
Dovizioso was positive after the day, although he said there’s still room to improve mid-corner, and Team Manager Davide Tardozzi continued the positivity. The Italian said the riders seem happy with many of the updates brought to the test, including chassis updates and a new fairing, and the long run pace of Day 2 bodes well. Alma Pramac rider Miller put in a long run on Day 3 too, with a good number of laps in the 2:00 and 2:01 bracket. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) was a little further back on Day 3, but completed a positive test in P14.
After the Ducati lock out at the top, it was Viñales who remained close. The Spaniard put his newly-numbered number 12 into fifth on the timesheets, setting a 1:58.644 as his best of a whopping 79 laps. Viñales’ long run pace was also electric – with the Yamaha rider putting in 20 laps in the 1:59 and 2:00 brackets. Teammate Valentino Rossi was tenth on the timesheets after more than 60 laps, and it was a positive test for the Iwata marque overall.
Team Director Massimo Meregalli said focus was on taking the different parts and feedback and trying to create a “whole plan”, but that both riders chose more or less the same things and gave similar feedback. Engine decisions have also been made, the two riders remain in discussion about the aero-fairing, and now they’re hoping to reconfirm the results at Qatar.
Petronas Yamaha SRT, on their 2019 spec machines, also had another good showing on the timesheets. Franco Morbidelli was the second quickest Yamaha in P8 after 66 laps, with rookie teammate Fabio Quartararo in P16 after a mammoth 77 laps – just 0.011 behind rookie rival Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar).
Behind Viñales, the final man to beat the 2018 fastest lap was Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) as the Brit took P6 overall and was fastest Honda once again despite returning from injury. The three-time Grand Prix winner crashed on Day 3 once again but managed an increased 61 laps – a positive showing after so much time away – and did a best of a 1:58.780. His teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), meanwhile, impressed once again as he completed Day 3 in P9 and in the top ten – making that three days in a row. The Japanese rider was happy after the test and put in 61 laps on Friday.
Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) seemed relieved on the third day of testing to see the condition of his shoulder improved after a tough Day 2. The number 93 again finished work a little early to aid his recovery, but he did 39 laps with a best of a 1:59.170 and ended the day in P11 – just 0.015 off Rossi. Honda Test Team rider Stefan Bradl also added more than 50 laps to the count for the Japanese manufacturer, ending the day in P13, and tested a new aero fairing, as did Marquez.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was another who put in a stunning performance on Day 3, ending the session in seventh and only just outside Lorenzo’s quickest 2018 lap. He did 52 laps. Technical Director Romano Albesiano was positive about the laptime and the performance of the electronics and chassis, saying it’s been a positive winter and six days of testing so far are encouraging. Espargaro’s teammate Andrea Iannone, meanwhile, sat out the action due to illness.
Team Suzuki Ecstar had a more low-key day on Friday, on the timesheets at least, with Alex Rins the highest-placed Hamamatsu machine in P12, 0.010 off Marquez but putting in 75 laps. Rookie Joan Mir made a big move up the rankings on Day 3 though, ending the session in P15 and only three tenths off his teammate. Rins had positive things to say about Friday and especially about the test overall, with Suzuki aiming to keep their stunning 2018 form despite now having lost concessions for this season.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing saw Johann Zarco once again the fastest Austrian machine as the Frenchman took P17 with a 1:59.640 after 44 laps – but he only pipped teammate Pol Espargaro by just over a tenth. The Spaniard was P18, with Miguel Oliveira putting his Red Bull KTM Tech 3 machine just behind the two factory bikes. Chassis, suspension and aero were all being worked on, and long run pace was a positive for the Austrian factory. There were several versions of the aero package from KTM, and further testing will take place at Qatar before a decision is made.
That’s it from Sepang and now that Qatar Test looms large as the next chance for the grid to head out on track. That’s from the 23rd to 25th February at Losail International Circuit. Stay up to date on motogp.com!
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech3:
Oliveira and Syahrin wrap up first test of 2019 with strong improvements
Following some intense days at the Sepang International Circuit, the Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo rounded out the pre-season test in Malaysia today with significant steps forward. While comparing different geometry settings and tyres, Miguel Oliveira lowered his pace from Wednesday by a full second, braking the 2-minutes mark while doing 38 laps today and 158 laps in total over the course of the official test. Moreover, the MotoGP rookie missed out on the top KTM rider by just 0.309 seconds.
Further Hafizh Syahrin was speeding up by 1.093 seconds related to his fastest time yesterday during an impressive morning. Like his teammate, the local hero tried different tyres, plus spent some time working with various settings today. Overall, he completed 123 laps from Wednesday to Friday, with 21 laps on the clock at the ultimate day in Sepang, before heading over to Qatar, where the Red Bull KTM Tech3 riders will be back testing in a fortnight.
Position: 19th – Time: 1:59.672 – Laps: 61
“The lap time was ok. It was not as fast as I expected, because I couldn’t match the best configuration of the bike with the best tyres in the best moment, but in any case, I’m very close to the two KTM factory riders, closer than everybody expected. I guess, this is the biggest positive point these days. We have been really competitive with used tyres, which is good for the race. At the moment, I can see a clear step forward, still I feel we didn’t extract the maximum of what we have, so I think it’s about going to the Qatar test, taking the experiences from these three days and just trying to be another step better.”
Position: 21st – Time: 2:00.766 – Laps: 21
“We improved a lot compared to yesterday, were better in turning and on the brakes. The lap time is significantly faster than before, but still a bit far from the top. During this last day, I felt really good with the bike, but my physical condition was not ideal. After four full days of riding, the muscles in my arms were too hard and I was lacking some power. To be honest, I am a bit disappointed about myself for this, as the bike was truly great for this last day and I couldn’t fully use it. Anyway, I’ll try to do my best during the Qatar test before the start of the season, we are on a positive way and for sure we can be better.”
“Overall this test in Sepang has been fantastic, a great feeling. We had the luck to be one of the concession teams. We did two days of shakedown test, two days rest and three days with the whole grid here. Clearly, I think it was important for us as a KTM team to go through a lot of laps because we’ve got so much to try. This is what we did. What I would like to point out is a big thank you to everybody inside the KTM factory for what they have done during the very short period we had since the last time we were on the bike end of November. The bike has changed really dramatically. Our riders feel so much more confidence, they can give a lot more accurate information. Clearly, I think both, Miguel and Hafizh have enjoyed and I assume, gave some really valuable comments and information to the KTM engineers. The fact we have five guys here, all of them pushing each other, all of them improving each single day, has been a very good sign. There is an incredible energy inside the whole orange group and we are proud to be part of that group. Just now, we can’t wait to be in Qatar, honestly, because if you look at Miguel for example; each single run, each single day has been better and better. Still there is a gap to the top guys, but I’m sure we can reduce that. We want to continue working, testing and improving. So, it was a great, great test. It was very tough for the organism of the riders, but also of every single team member. Anyway, we go home exhausted, but with a big smile on our face.”
More, from a press release issued by Alma Pramac Racing:
#SepangTest D3 – Outstanding result for Alma Pramac Racing: Pecco 2nd and Jack 3rd as Ducati dominates
The first winter tests of the 2019 MotoGP season ended with an amazing result for Alma Pramac Racing and Ducati. Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller, in fact, finished in second and third place respectively, completing the Ducati’s domination with Danilo Petrucci leader of the standings and Andrea Dovizioso in P4.
Francesco Bagnaia’s tests were extraordinary. The reigning Moto2 World Champion has improved lap by lap both in terms of speed and feeling. Pecco worked hard on the setup but also on the braking phase and in the morning’s time attack notched up the second fastest lap time (1’58. 302) just 63 thousandths from Petrux, recording the best chrono overall in both T3 and T4. Debilitated by light gastroenteritis, Bagnaia preferred not to go back on track, postponing his first race simulation to the next tests in Qatar.
Fantastic result also for Jack Miller who confirmed to be very fast on lap time, getting positive indications from race pace too. For the second consecutive session, the Australian rider fished 3rd, lowering his chrono by almost two tenths of a second (1’58.366) and finishing just 127 thousandths from Petrucci. A crash in the last laps of the afternoon’s long run did not reduce the very high value of the tests sustained by Jack.
P2 – Pecco Bagnaia (1’58.302)
“I’m very happy with the work we’ve done. We’ve created a good base of settings that will help us to have a good start in Qatar. We still have to work on some electronic details but I have to admit that I’m really happy. The time attack was very good and the pace is not bad either. We will do the race simulation in Qatar”.
P3 – Jack Miller (1’58.366)
“Our speed is really good. I’m very happy about that. I’m not very happy with the race simulation but the temperature was really high and I had little feeling with the tyres. It’s a shame about the crash. I am especially sorry for the guys of my team who have worked very well these days”
More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:
THE FIRST TESTS OF 2019 END ON A POSITIVE NOTE FOR APRILIA
THE NEW RS-GP GROWS AT SEPANG WITH ALEIX, ANDREA AND BRADLEY
The first MotoGP test session of 2019 ends on a positive note for Aprilia. On its track début, the new RS-GP demonstrated encouraging growth, garnering positive feedback from all the riders who took it out.
After the shakedown entrusted to tester, Bradley Smith, whose work was praised by both Aleix and Andrea, the factory riders had the chance to assess the evolutions of the 2019 Aprilia prototype in the demanding conditions of the Malaysian track. Aleix expressed satisfaction, completing an encouraging race simulation and attempting a fast lap today, finishing with a time of 1’59.022 that placed him seventh in the final standings.
Andrea Iannone was able to count on a day of rest today, thanks to the contribution of test rider Bradley Smith, who put in an intense day of testing. The Italian rider, tired after a long antibiotic treatment and with the agreement of the team, chose not to take any risks after the good job done on the first two days, so he will turn up to the next tests in Qatar highly motivated.
“On the first two days, our work focused on getting to know the new bike and lapping on used tyres with good results, as the pace in the race simulation yesterday confirms. This morning, we set the bike up to try a time attack and I am rather satisfied with our time. We improved over the three days and I must say that I found a good feeling with the new bike. I am able to be aggressive and I feel at ease in terms of ergonomics too. This was definitely a positive first test. We have margins for improvement, but I know that the guys at Aprilia will keep working hard.”
“Even though it came after a course of antibiotics, we did two good days of work. Yesterday was especially important in terms of how many laps we turned and how we did them and because of how we began to make changes to the bike. This was my first test on this bike, and I can confirm that we have a lot of potential to explore. But the conditions here are hard even when you are at full fitness and, given the work we did and the fact that the test team was here, today we preferred to take a rest. We made the decision with the team, purely as a precaution. We’ll pick up where we left off in Qatar, hopefully at full fitness and certainly with much clearer ideas.”
“These were some very interesting tests. The guys at Aprilia improved the RS-GP and I think that at the end of this first outing, our level is decidedly encouraging. I’m pleased that what we did during the shakedown allowed Aleix to start from a good base. Seeing him lap at 1’59 brings great satisfaction for the entire team. I tried to give my best, conveying my sensations to the engineers, and I can’t wait to get back on the track in Qatar. First as a tester and then, on the race weekend, as a rider!”
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:
NAKAGAMI COMPLETES EXCELLENT TEST SESSION IN MALAYSIA
Takaaki Nakagami and his LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team signed off from the opening pre-season test of the year in Malaysia with an impressive ninth place, bolstering the Japanese rider’s hopes for the season ahead.
The vast majority of riders set their fastest lap times on the final morning, when the track was at its fastest. Nakagami joined them by putting in an excellent 1’59.148, less than a tenth outside the circuit’s official best lap.
Taka has made steady progress over testing so far, including finishing fastest overall at Jerez in November, and with one more test to go in Qatar in two weeks’ time, it augurs well for the season opener at the same venue in early March.
Takaaki Nakagami – 9th
(1’59.148 – lap 21 of 61)
“It has been good, but a really hard three days because the hot conditions don’t make it easy to put in lots of laps. It’s been a very important test for us though, and we have made improvements every day. We finished in P9 overall, so I’m pleased to be inside the top ten again. The lap time is not so bad too, I’m really happy to be close to the 1’58 barrier, but I do feel I still can’t get the most out of one lap, whereas my race pace has improved significantly.”
“The LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team have worked really hard this week to improve things for me all the time. We have good potential on the bike, I feel strong, so the aim is just to continue that at the Qatar Test and then see what we can do from there.”
More, from a press release issued by Mission Winnow Ducati:
The Mission Winnow Ducati team concludes the first MotoGP tests of 2019 with Petrucci in 1st position (new unofficial lap record), Dovizioso 4th
The Mission Winnow Ducati team archived the first official MotoGP tests of 2019 at Sepang (Malaysia). In the third and last session, all riders tried to set their fastest time in the morning – with cooler temperatures and, consequently, faster track conditions – and both Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso were able to break the previous, unofficial best lap (1:58.830) posted by Jorge Lorenzo one year ago as a factory Ducati rider.
Petrucci clocked 32 laps, posting a phenomenal 1:58.239, which put him in first position. Dovizioso finished in fourth position, with a personal best of 1:58.538, 0.299 seconds behind his teammate with 36 laps to his tally. The riders also tried a new fairing with a different aerodynamic profile, giving positive feedback.
The strong performances by Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller, respectively second and third on Pramac Racing Team’s Desmosedici GP bikes, further underscored Ducati’s overall competitiveness during this test.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:58.239 (1st)
“Today we started off on the right foot: I was supposed to try two ‘time attacks’ but one attempt, done with a medium rear tyre, was enough. When I saw the lap time on the dashboard, I was really happy. After that, we resumed our work on some new items. Unfortunately, however, I crashed while I was trying a new fairing around midday. Given the fact that I was also experiencing some issues with blisters in my hands, we decided to stop a bit ahead of schedule to recover and make sure we’re at our best in the next tests in Qatar. Overall, it’s been a really positive test.”
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:58.538 (4th)
“All in all, this test has been positive. It was important to push to the limit again today because we only have another test before the season starts, and we managed to post a competitive time even on a flying lap after being really consistent in yesterday’s race simulation. Also, to see so many Ducati bikes at the front confirms that we have a good base. We also tried a new fairing, with positive feedback. It’s still early to draw conclusions, but I’m happy with the work done here and now we’ll look for more ways to improve ahead of Qatar.”
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action at Losail (Qatar) for the second and final pre-season MotoGP test, scheduled for February 23-25.
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:
CRUTCHLOW RETURNS TO ACTION AS FASTEST HONDA IN MALAYSIA TESTS
After a three-month absence from any kind of racing motorcycle following his nasty ankle injury at the Australian GP, Cal Crutchlow returned to MotoGP action this week with the first pre-season tests in Malaysia.
Considering the extent of his injuries, the LCR Honda CASTROL man was unsure of how things would feel on the bike, but having ended the three-day session as top Honda and faster than the official circuit best lap, it is clear that the Brit will be competitive yet again.
On the final day, Cal focused on testing parts for HRC on the new factory RC213V motorcycle he will ride in the 2019 MotoGP World Championship. Despite missing out on an absolute fast lap when he had a small slide out on the softest tyre, he still posted the sixth fastest time of the day, and the test as a whole.
Crutchlow and the LCR Honda CASTROL Team return to testing action in two weeks’ time at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, before the season opener at the same venue in early March.
Cal Crutchlow – 6th
(1’58.780 – lap 17 of 61)
“I’m happy at the end of the third day, not only with how the test has gone, but to be finished with it too! My ankle by the end was getting sore, hot, and swollen. I feel in good shape however, and the ankle feels good on the bike. It doesn’t bother me on there, it bothers me when I stop”.
“I kept the length of the runs quite minimal today, because we didn’t need to go long – we were testing items rather than testing for race pace. I was really pleased with my pace all day. On the used tyres we were consistent and fast which is good. It’s good going into Qatar and especially after a three-month lay-off – to ride again and to be competitive with it”.
“I should have gone faster in terms of overall lap time, but I crashed. It was completely my own fault, I went into turn two over-excited! I lost three-tenths in the first sector on my fastest lap, compared to a normal good lap. So, the next lap I pushed like a madman thinking I needed to go half a second faster than I had the previous lap. I had some chatter, tried to save it, and crashed. That was with the really soft, test tyre. On average I think you could take at least six-tenths off with that, so I’m confident we could have gone a lot quicker, and then we didn’t use that tyre again all day”.
“I think the 2019 bike is definitely better, but my feeling is I just need to adjust it a bit more. I ride quite a neutral bike, but I haven’t found the perfect setting with the front end just yet. Overall HRC has done a great job with the package. I think it can be competitive for the championship, and it’s one I’m looking forward to riding this year”.
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:
TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR ROUND OFF VERY POSITIVE SEPANG TEST
Alex Rins: 12th – 1:59.180 (+ 0.941)
Joan Mir: 15th – 1:59.486 (+ 1.247)
Sylvain Guintoli: 22nd – 2:00.990 (+ 2.751)
•Alex Rins shows further capability of setting very quick laps.
•Joan Mir puts aside parts testing to focus on pace.
•Team collect useful info to take forward to Qatar Test.
The final day of testing in Malaysia saw a move away from race simulations and testing of major parts, and instead the focus was shifted to more minor adjustments. This allowed Joan Mir his chance to work on race pace and gave Alex Rins the time to try new front and rear tyres. Although all four riders, counting also on Sylvain Guintoli and Takuya Tsuda, also collected useful information about the 2019 package.
Despite three very tough days in the searing heat of Sepang, the riders and team completed the test with very positive feelings about the work done. Joan Mir was happy to put together a string of fast laps which saw him drop into the 1:59 bracket with a 1:59.486, finishing the session in 15th place. Meanwhile Alex Rins built on the great pace shown on days one and two, setting a 1:59.180 before completing an incredible 75 laps. He was 12th at the flag. Test Rider Guintoli continued in his crucial role, helping to finalise settings and giving valuable feedback.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR will be back on track at the Qatar Test on February 23rd.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“At the end of these three days we’re feeling happy about the work we’ve done. We tested a lot of things, and the riders have been busy working on the development of the bike. We’ve confirmed our 2019 package, and we compared several different items and components. Everything is a clearer now in terms of what works best. We’ll go to the Qatar test now, where we’ll put everything together with a sort of final package for the first race. Alex was very focused and fast, with a lot of good laps. And Joan was able to go for it on this final day, after putting everything together, and we feel good about his progression and work. Sylvain helped us a lot with selecting parts, so thank you to him and to all our staff for their hard work during the winter.”
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“It was a very positive test, our four riders (Rins, Mir, Guintoli and Tsuda) did a great job. It helped us that the weather was very good, and during our six days in total here we completed a lot of useful things. We brought many new items here, so the main thing was to choose which ones we would use for the race, and we were able to make some important selections. We’re all very tired from this hard work, but we feel it has been very productive.”
“Today was a very positive day, and so were the previous two days. We’ve tried a lot of things and we’ve developed the bike a bit more, so I feel our package is even better now. I was able to do a lot of laps in the 1:59 bracket. For sure we need to keep working and try a few other things in Qatar that we didn’t have a chance to check here, and the engineers will continue to work. I feel that the championship will be really interesting this year, there are a lot of riders close together, and a very high level.”
“Today’s been really good because during the first couple of days I was adjusting to the bike, trying to get better with it, and also trying a lot of new things and new parts. Today I made a good step and I had good pace, so that’s really nice. I feel I have improved every day so I’m really happy about how this test has gone. I’ve learned a lot, which I think is inevitable when you’re doing around 60 laps per day. I understand the bike better, as well as the tyres and various mechanical things too.”
“We’ve done a lot of testing because we had a lot to do and the weather was good, without any rain, so we made the most of every moment. This meant we were able to complete our planned programme. I spent a lot of time on track and everything went well. This was a really important block of testing for the team, just before the season starts. I’m happy to have been able to give good feedback.”
More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP CONCLUDE SUCCESSFUL SEPANG TEST
Sepang (Malaysia), 8th February 2019
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP wrapped up the first official IRTA test of the 2019 season today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had a lot of work to do. They spent the three days trying a number of testing items as well as new Michelin tyre compounds. The team-mates secured fifth and tenth place respectively in the overall standings.
1’58.644 / 79 LAPS
1’59.155 / 62 LAPS
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have completed their testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today. The third and last eight-hour session was crucial to collect some final data, as the team-mates tried new aero parts. They rode until the very end of the session, not letting any time go to waste. They ultimately took fifth and tenth place respectively in today‘s timesheets as well as in the overall 2019 Sepang MotoGP Official Test results.
This morning Viñales picked up where he left off, working on the race spec of his YZR-M1 and the acceleration. He was quick to show the bike‘s nimble character again, dropping a 1‘58.644s on lap 8, to slot into provisional fourth place in the rankings.
As the session progressed, the order changed slightly with the Spaniard being pushed to fifth in the second hour of riding. However, Viñales was more concerned with finalising his testing programme than putting in a time attack. He completed a 20-lap race simulation and kept riding until the very end when the chequered flag came out. The no. 12 rider completed 79 laps in total and held his fifth position in both today‘s and the overall results.
Rossi filled the final day of riding in Malaysia with further evaluating new tyres for Michelin and continued working on the stability in braking and the smoothness of the acceleration, and in the process he also improved on his best time from Day 2 by nearly half a second.
Similar to team-mate Viñales, the Doctor was solely putting his attention towards enhancing his bike‘s setting. His fastest lap was a 1‘59.155s, set on lap 9, putting him in tenth place for the majority of the day, 0.916s from the top. With a little more than 14 minutes on the clock, the Italian was committed to improving his position in the timesheets but was unable to do so and stayed in tenth place in today‘s and the combined timesheets.
The team will now return to Europe whilst the engineers return to Japan to process the data and take their 2019 MotoGP preparation another step further. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will regroup in Qatar from 23 – 25 February for the second preseason test of 2019.
“It has been a very positive and productive test, under extremely hot conditions. We had three days without problems, during which we could evaluate all the items that were prepared over the winter. Most of them gave positive results, improving the smoothness of the acceleration, the stability on braking and accordingly the turning. Our speed, pace, and consistency has been there for both riders throughout the entire test and this is very significant for us. Maverick was able to do an impressive race simulation. An important aspect is that both he and Vale are improving and are working in the same direction. Another significant aspect is that we deliberated on the engine specification. It will be important to get the same response in Qatar in two weeks‘ time, where for sure, based on this test, we’ll have another update available to us.”
“The test was really good. I actually missed one time attack in the morning which I planned to make in the afternoon, but finally it was so hot that the tyre was sliding a lot, so I couldn‘t improve my lap time from the morning. Anyway, I‘m happy because on the race simulation I felt really good. I was really tired, but I felt good on the bike. Day by day the bike was working pretty similar, as in the last test. You always get positives and negatives testing new items. Now we have to come to a conclusion to see if we should bring the new fairing to Qatar. I also made some laps behind our rivals, so I could compare how our bike is working, and it‘s not bad. There are just some small details left and that‘s the most important. Last year they were some steps ahead, and now we are closer.”
“I’m half happy because some things worked well and we improved our performance, other things from which we expected a lot unfortunately didn’t bring us what we need. So, for me, it’s good, because it’s the first test and we improved some things, but we have a lot of work to do. The gap is quite big, so we need time. I’m happy about the atmosphere and especially about the ideas inside the garage, it looks like Yamaha are very much concentrated on improving, so this is important.”
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:
FIRST STEP TO 2019 MOTOGP COMPLETE AS LONG MALAYSIAN TEST STINT FINISHES IN SEPANG
MotoGP 2019 IRTA test Sepang – Day 3 (MYS)
The opening chapter of the 2019 MotoGP year closed today as three days of official IRTA testing at the hot Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia introduced a sizzling early pace into the pre-season period. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Red Bull KTM Tech3 as well as test rider Mika Kallio completed a busy and comprehensive programme during the IRTA sessions as well as two days of private work to make pleasing progress in their preparation for the Grand Prix campaign ahead.
Continued high temperatures and improving grip around the long Sepang layout saw lap-times tumble into new record territory on the third and final day of work in Malaysia. Pol Espargaro, Johann Zarco and Miguel Oliveira were able to increase their pace to find lap-time in the 1min 59 bracket as the riders wearily notched almost 200 laps between them in what was their fifth day circulating Sepang.
Espargaro – entering his third year with the KTM RC16 – signed-off a hectic agenda of experimentation and successfully banished memories of his heavy crash twelve months earlier at the same venue that caused a setback to his 2018 season. Zarco continued his adaption to his new racebike – only his second for his third term in the premier class – and was satisfied with the gains he could make for front-end feeling and confidence. Oliveira was the surprise package of the day among the ‘orange’ group and his time attack showed real promise from the MotoGP rookie. Mika Kallio forged ahead with his testing regime while Hafizh Syahrin struggled a little with fatigue today but was still able to grasp a feeling of progress once the eight-hour period was chequered flagged.
The MotoGP quartet will now travel back to Europe and to the KTM factory in Mattighofen for the 2019 Grand Prix presentation on Tuesday 12th February. The second and final pre-season test will take place at Losail in Qatar from 23rd-25th February.
Pol Espargaro: “We made an amazing rhythm today. On the first day we couldn’t, and then yesterday I was half a second slower than today. The pace was very, very nice and I was comfortable doing it. The fast lap was not what I expected – I found [Franco] Morbidelli in the way in the morning and could not improve – but this is a test and we go home with the knowledge we have done a good job. It is the first time we felt this big improvement from just one test. We have had five hot and hard days here but I think the whole team and factory did an amazing job: all the guys were super-focussed.”
Johann Zarco: “I tried this morning to improve further but I did not expect all the others to be going that fast! It was quite incredible. I’m pretty happy to be able to do many laps under two-minutes. We are happy with what we did, but we still have a lot of work. Overall I have improved my feeling and my control of the bike over five hard days. We will see what I can do in Losail. It will be interesting to see if we can adapt quicker in Qatar than we did here. The lap-time was better than I expected and we reached good points in our plan.”
Mike Leitner, Team Manager: “We have been testing so many things these days, from chassis to suspension to aerodynamics and we had three riders in the 1min 59s by the end. We could not really manage the super-fast single lap but on the longer runs people are quite happy and we are very consistent. We have a good feeling about the test. It was super-important. We worked many days and made steps that were very big. We took the time to make ‘basic’ work on our bikes where the focus is not always the lap-time. We will go to Doha now and hope to use this good information. A big thanks to all our five riders here in these demanding conditions: they worked through many ideas that came up in the factory during the winter and the guys in Austria have been pushing hard. We still need to fine-tune some things but we are going in the right direction.”
Sebastian Risse, Technical Director: “All-in-all it was a long test for us and a lot of things have piled up in all areas of the bike over the winter. So it was an intense test, also with Tech3 structure here now also that allowed us to get even more information. I think we can be very happy with our progress and we made huge steps with our new riders in terms of getting confidence in the bike and setting and development. Looking at what we have done and the pace compared to previous years we are happy. The speed was quite incredible today and our positions are not quite what we were looking for. We know our competitors are strong and are developing their motorcycles quickly but we have to be even quicker! That was the challenge here. I think we did it…but we also have a long way to go. We will have to prepare our priorities well now for the last test and make sure we make another step forward in performance.”
Miguel Oliveira: “The lap time was ok. It was not as fast as I expected because I couldn’t match the best configuration of the bike with the best tyres in the best moment, but in any case, I’m very close to the two KTM factory riders, closer than everybody expected. We have been really competitive with used tyres, which is good for the race. At the moment, I can see a clear step forward, so I think it’s about going to the Qatar test, taking the experiences from these three days and just trying to be another step better.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “We improved a lot compared to yesterday. The lap time is significantly faster than before, but still a bit far from the top. During this last day, I felt really good with the bike, but my physical condition was not ideal. After four full days of riding, the muscles in my arms were too hard and I was lacking some power. To be honest, I am a bit disappointed about myself for this, as the bike was truly great for this last day and I couldn’t fully use it. Anyway, I’ll try to do my best during the Qatar test before the start of the season, we are on a positive way and for sure we can be better.”
More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team:
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT squeeze maximum from Sepang test with Morbidelli in top ten
Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo complete another positive test in eighth and sixteenth place respectively, with the team learning even more than they’d hoped.
A three-day test at the Sepang International Circuit ended on a high today for the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, with Franco Morbidelli, Fabio Quartararo and the whole team having made the most of the available track time as they clocked up 2,128km on their Yamaha YZR-M1 machines and making great progress throughout. Morbidelli and Quartararo improved their lap times on each day of the test, edging into the 1’59s today to finish up in eighth and sixteenth place respectively.
Morbidelli kicked his day off with an impressive time attack that saw him make a notable improvement on his lap time and move into the top ten positions, where he remained for the rest of the day. The Italian experimented with a completely different front-end set-up on his Yamaha YZR-M1 in an attempt to improve turning and he was satisfied with the results. Franco’s best overall effort of 1’59.141 came on lap 8 of 66 completed today.
His teammate Fabio Quartararo also started out with a time attack that also saw him break the 2’00 barrier. The Frenchman also completed his first simulation on a MotoGP bike, reporting a good feeling with the bike over 18 laps. After that, Fabio and his team continued working with the front suspension to try and find further improvements in braking and his line through the final corner. The rookie finished the test in 16th position after clocking his best time today on lap 13 of 77 completed.
After this successful test here at Sepang International Circuit, the next appointment for the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team will be the Qatar test on 23, 24 and 25 February, two weeks before the season-opening Grand Prix at the same venue.
Wilco Zeelenberg – PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, Team Manager
“We have had a very positive test here at a special circuit for us, even more positive than we expected in terms of the lap times and the number of laps we have been able to complete. We have learnt some good and interesting things about the 2019 bikes – like I said, more than we expected. As for the riders, we can be very happy with Fabio’s [Quartararo] progress and with Franco [Morbidelli] we would have liked to finish a little higher up but considering the odd setback we have had over the test, to set a 1’59.1 today was quite incredible. Lap time aside, the way he is riding and what we are learning about the new YZR-M1 thanks to his feedback is another big positive. The next objective for the Qatar test will be to build on what we have learnt here. Obviously, Yamaha needed to try some different options at Sepang to define certain configurations before the season starts for real, so now we will look to confirm that we are going the right way at a different circuit.”
#21 Franco Morbidelli
“The last day here at Sepang International Circuit has gone really well. We have managed to complete the programme we set out yesterday, which was to improve our pace and top speed. I wasn’t able to do a race simulation because we had a lot of things to get through but we will do that at the Qatar test. What I did manage to do for the first time was a good time attack. We also tried some different tyres, including the super soft, and gathered some useful data. We still have work to do because we want to be closer to the front but we are on the right lines and working hard to keep going in that way.”
#20 Fabio Quartararo
“Today was another positive day at the Sepang International Circuit. This morning we did a pretty good lap time, dipping inside 2’00, but our weak point remains that I am struggling to do a qualifying lap. Despite that I am very happy because on my first ever race simulation on a MotoGP bike I felt physically really good. To me that was another step forward – with the heat here and the track temperature at 60º it is very difficult – and we coped quite well. After the race simulation we went back over a couple of things and made a slight improvement at the end of the day. In Qatar we will have to work on braking and the first turn there will be a good place for that because it is really hard on the brakes. That will be our focus because in the fast corners we are in good shape.”