MotoGP: Martin Leads Rain-Affected Day Two At Sepang Test

MotoGP: Martin Leads Rain-Affected Day Two At Sepang Test

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

2023_SEPANG_MotoGP____OFFICIAL_TEST__classification_2

 

 

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Martin fastest, Aprilia and GASGAS shine despite rain delays on Day 2

A few more puzzle pieces seem to slot into place for a couple of factories on Saturday, with plenty to see in pitlane despite rain curtailing play

Saturday, 11 February 2023

It was a largely rain-affected second day of Official MotoGP™ testing at Sepang International Circuit, with the riders only getting a couple of hours of dry running time under their belts. Overnight rain meant a damp track in the morning, before heavy rain just after midday put any hopes of getting more dry weather testing to one side. However, there are still stories to be told!

Jorge Martin’s (Prima Pramac Racing) 1:58.736 saw the Spaniard claim top spot, with Miguel Oliveira’s (RNF MotoGP™ Team) fastest time of the weekend putting him second on Day 2. Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) was third and also set his fastest time of the test so far, the Spaniard sitting well inside the top 10 heading into the third and final day.

Here’s a rundown of what was seen tech-wise, starting with Ducati after Martin’s table-topping performance. And first, a smile for the vibes… despite the rain.

 

Francesco Bagnaia. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Francesco Bagnaia. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

DUCATI

Martin topped the timesheets and, despite a crash at Turn 7 and some tape on his hand, was positive at the end of the day – saying he hopes to ride in the final Sunday session without any issues. He compared aero but said the crash affected whether he can be fully sure of the differences as yet. Both he and teammate Johann Zarco had a new swingarm each to try, with small differences. Zarco was P15 and on the Frenchman’s role, new Pramac Team Manager Gino Borsoi added that Zarco remains on testing duty but the work will be spread little more across other Ducati riders now too.

Reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) was the second Ducati and slotted into fifth, and both his machines sported the updated aero fairing. New teammate Enea Bastianini was also trying aero but seemed to also be focusing on engine specification, ending Saturday in ninth.

 

Enea Bastianini (23) had two different aero packages to evaluate Saturday. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Enea Bastianini (23) had two different aero packages to evaluate Saturday. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Enea Bastianini (23) had two different aero packages to evaluate Saturday. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Enea Bastianini (23) had two different aero packages to evaluate Saturday. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) was seventh, with Friday’s fastest, his teammate Marco Bezzecchi, a bit further down the order in P12 and suffering a crash at Turn 5, rider ok. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) was in P14 and his new teammate, Ducati newcomer Alex Marquez, was P17.

APRILIA

The leading RS-GP rider on Day 2 was the aforementioned Oliveira, whose 1:58.839 puts him into the top five overall on the combined standings. What’s more, that lap time is just a tenth off his fastest lap time aboard the KTM at last year’s Sepang Test. Impressive again from the Portuguese star, while RNF MotoGP™ Team teammate Raul Fernandez ended up climbing to P6 before the afternoon rain fell. Both Oliveira and Raul Fernandez had two 2022-spec Aprilias to work with.

 

Miguel Oliveira (88). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Miguel Oliveira (88) on his RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Over in the factory Aprilia Racing ranks, Maverick Viñales tested a small variation of the new aero wings that we’ve seen on the Aprilias this week. The difference is they have a third element underneath them, something that test rider Lorenzo Savadori has been running. Meanwhile, Aleix Espargaro had a complicated day at the office. The number 41 crashed at Turn 12 ahead of lunch before then suffering a technical issue in the final hour of the day.

GASGAS

Pol Espargaro had one bike with a new chassis and was seen using the aero update tested by Binder and Miller in Valencia – plus those downwash ducts to add those to the “ground-effect” side fairings. He was positive about the aero and the top speed trap numbers, saying the running may have been short but it was valuable. He also had a coming together with Bagnaia earlier in the day, going past the reigning Champion and then heading a little wide, but both riders stayed on and continued with their running after a couple of gesticulations.

 

Pol Espargaro (44) was positive once more, and smashed in a top lap time. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Pol Espargaro (44) was positive once more, and smashed in a top lap time. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

2023 rookie Augusto Fernandez continued with the new seat and tail unit, and he was working on testing out parts as well as “simply” settling in.

KTM

At Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Jack Miller was first out on track, as he was on Friday, and it was his laptimes coming down that proved the conditions by around lunchtime. One of his machines sounded different to pitlane reporter Simon Crafar, a difference he noted yesterday in one of Binder’s machines, so that will be a key area of interest going forward once there’s more dry running. Miller was P19 by the end of play.

 

Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Brad Binder, meanwhile, ended the day in P10 and spent much of his time on aero. He was seen on the initial update seen in Valencia and also headed out on the package debuted by test rider Dani Pedrosa on the third day of the Shakedown – with the addition of the downwash ducts on the lower side fairing, also seen on the GASGAS RC16 of Pol Espargaro.

 

Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

YAMAHA

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) began the day with Yamaha’s new aero package on both bikes in his garage, while the Frenchman was also running through some of the parts he tested on Day 1 to get another feel for them. Quartararo – who was positive about his day’s work – also tried the downwash ducts that were debuted by test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga on Day 1, and he clocked a 335.4km/h top speed – the third fastest behind the Ducatis of Bagnaia and Martin. Yamaha have two 2023 engine specifications in Sepang, so a decision needs to be made as to which one gets the nod for the season.

 

Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) also had Yamaha’s new aero package on two bikes, but the Italian also did some work on the older aero on Day 2 – back-to-back testing. Cal Crutchlow joined the fray again after sitting out the opening day of the Official Test, as Quartararo and Morbidelli finished P4 and P11 respectively.

HONDA

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) continued with four RC213Vs in his side of the garage, including HRC’s ‘experimental bike’ seen yesterday. His two 2023 development bikes have different chassis from one another, one is the standard 2023 chassis that we’ve seen a lot, while the other is a chassis Stefan Bradl has been seen testing.

 

Marc Marquez (93) demonstrating the grip of the Michelin rain tires. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Marc Marquez (93) demonstrating the grip of the Michelin rain tires. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Honda newcomers Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) – who said he’s more comfortable on the Honda despite a lack of dry action on Day 2 – and Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) both have two 2023 development bikes to play with. Mir’s bikes having two different chassis – the same as teammate Marquez. Rins, on the other hand, has the same chassis in both of his RC213Vs and had a positive day after climbing into the top 10, also stating at the end of the day that his riding style is meshing pretty well with his new machinery. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), meanwhile, also had two different chassis like Marquez and Mir.

That’s it from Day 2, with one day at Sepang remaining. There’s live timing on motogp.com throughout the day, before our special After the Flag broadcasts from 17:30 local time (GMT +8). Pitlane reporter Simon Crafar is joined by Jack Gorst in Malaysia, with Louis Suddaby and Neil Morrison anchoring the show in Barcelona as the team run through a host of analysis, insights and interviews. Join us on Sunday for the final day of the first Official Test!

 

 

 

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

Espargaro Third of Rain-Affected Day 2 of Sepang Test, Fernandez Continues Progress in the Wet

The Sepang Test action resumed on Saturday in Malaysia after a very intense and hot first day yesterday, which was the first school day of 2023 for the MotoGP™ class. If rookie Augusto Fernandez continued his progression following his Shakedown Test, the experienced Pol Espargaro rode his GASGAS RC16 for the first time in three months yesterday, with a busy testing schedule on the menu. Unfortunately, the plans faced consequent disruptions today with the rain being part of the party all day. The rainfall from the morning made it difficult for any rider to go out for the first two hours of day 2.

GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro gave it a go at lunch time, and was followed shortly by a few other riders. Before that, only four riders had adventured themselves to the drying Sepang Circuit. Today, he continued to try different settings, some aero in yesterday’s continuity, and the trial of a different chassis was in the plans. The Spaniard improved quickly from his Friday’s fastest lap (2’00.078), in 1’59.205. Shortly after, he reached 1’58.881, a time placing him third in the timesheets, 0.042 seconds from the fastest man of the day, Jorge Martin. With two hours to go, an intense rain took over the circuit. Pol went on track to get a few laps in the wet, but the aquaplaning forced team number 44 to call it a day.

The conditions were not ideal for the Moto2™ World champion Augusto Fernandez, in need of as much dry track time as possible. He did not ride all morning and started his programme at 13:30 local time (GMT+8). He continued to progress behind the other MotoGP™ riders at lunch time, before he was able to get wet track conditions again following his first experience in the Shakedown. Appearing comfortable with the wet Michelin tyres, he registered interesting lap times towards the end of the afternoon under the rain. Just like his teammate’s, Augusto’s side ended the day once the track was too soaked to do anything else relevant. His fastest lap of the thirty-two of the day in 2’00.732 placed him twenty-third. There is only one day left for the GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 riders to complete their testing programs, so we will be hoping for better conditions on Sunday before heading back home.

Pol Espargaro

Position: 3rd

Time: 1’58.881

Laps: 29

“Tricky day today with the weather, especially on the second day which is very important because we have a big programme. We had many things to try today. Unfortunately, we were unable to check all our to-do list, but the few things we worked on were positive. We tried a new chassis and a few new parts. For the chassis, we need to find a balance between the old and the new one, so we will work on that. For the new parts aiming to improve the turns and the top speed, I think that we got good information today. We were a bit behind yesterday because we worked mainly with medium tyres, but today we are in the Top 5. I am happy because we are improving, and hopefully tomorrow we can push more because I have one more set of soft tyres that I did not use today.”

Augusto Fernandez

Position: 23rd

Time: 2’00.732

Laps: 32

“We already had one wet day during the Shakedown Test, but today was a proper wet day because the rain was quite intense. It was very interesting to learn about the Michelin wet tyres, because they are one of the biggest differences with Moto2. I was surprised that we were able to turn and brake more or less in the same way than in dry conditions. We tried different things today, such as settings and electronics, so the time is not as good as yesterday, but I look forward to dry conditions tomorrow so we can continue our progress.”

 

 

 

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

DAMP BUT POSITIVE DAY 2 FOR MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP AT SEPANG TEST

Sepang (Malaysia), 11th February 2023

SEPANG MOTOGP OFFICIAL TEST

Fabio Quartararo’s and Franco Morbidelli‘s patience was tested on the second day of the Sepang MotoGP Official Test. The eight-hour session was repeatedly halted by rain both in the morning and the afternoon. Still, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP teammates put in numerous laps and took 4th and 11th place respectively in today‘s timesheets.

4th FABIO QUARTARARO 1’58.897 / 34 LAPS

11th FRANCO MORBIDELLI 1’59.289 / 44 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were back on track today for a second day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit, but rain showers in the morning and afternoon impeded their schedule. Still, the duo managed to get some laps in and work through a number of different items, taking 4th and 11th place respectively in today‘s rankings.

Quartararo had hoped to get more laps in at the Sepang circuit today, but wet track conditions meant he had to be patient. Once a dry line had formed, the Frenchman was able to go out and test various items, and he ended the day with a good feeling. His best time of 1’58.897s, set on lap 8/34, put him in fourth place in today‘s results, 0.161s from first, and in eighth in the Day 1 + Day 2 timesheets, 0.427s from the top.

After a solid first day of testing, Morbidelli was extra motivated to resume his work. As with his teammate, rain disrupted the testing plans he had scheduled for Day 2, but the Italian still got plenty of laps in. A 1‘59.289s set on lap 8/44 saw him end FP2 in 11th place, 0.553s off today‘s fastest time. His Day-1 time, a 1‘59.118s, was faster though and put him in joint 14th position in the combined results, with a 0.648s margin to first.

FABIO QUARTARARO

I‘m pretty happy. Analysing the data yesterday, I was not riding really well from my side. I tested a lot of things then. Today I was riding in a much better way, and it was a positive test. I‘m happy about what we have tested today. I‘m looking forward to tomorrow; hopefully the weather will be better than today. We haven‘t fully decided about the aero package yet. But we tried something yesterday that we didn‘t really like, and we tried it again today, and it was much better. I’m feeling happy today.

FRANCO MORBIDELLI

Finally, we were also able to ride in the rain with the new engine, and it’s important. With the updated engine, we needed to check how it was behaving on the wet. There are some things to work on that we can adjust, so it was good to have the chance to ride in wet conditions. I personally didn’t have the chance to try the new aero combinations today, because right at the moment that I was going to try it, it started raining. But I will be able to try it tomorrow hopefully.

 

 

 

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

Oliveira second fastest, Fernandez in P6 on Saturday in Sepang

Rain affected the second day of testing in Malaysia, yet the RNF MotoGP Team duo improved noticeably.

The second day of the official MotoGP testing at the Sepang International Circuit started on a damp track this morning. Some rain showers interrupted proceedings throughout the day, but Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez did not only just set fast dry lap times, but also learned to ride their new Aprilia RS-GP in the wet.

Although time on a dry track was limited due to some drops of rain and some heavier showers towards the end of the day, Oliveira managed to improve on his personal best lap time from day one by 0.891 seconds. Thereby, the Portuguese star moved up to second place in the test standings of the day, just 0.103 seconds behind the fastest rider after doing 52 laps today.

His teammate Fernandez followed Oliveira in stepping up. He went 0.701 seconds faster than on Friday, which was just his second day aboard the Aprilia RS-GP. The young Spaniard did 35 laps during Saturday, clocked the sixth fastest time of the day and missed out on the top by only 0.376 seconds, significantly building on his feeling.

Tomorrow will be the final test day at the Sepang International Circuit, before the entire paddock moves over to Europe for two further days of testing at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal, in March ahead of the first of 21 rounds of 2023 at the same venue.

MIGUEL OLIVEIRA

“Today was a good day! It’s true that we didn’t get as much dry time as we wanted. Actually, we wanted to test a couple more things with the bike, but we couldn’t. That was a shame. But we still enjoyed ourselves throughout today. Hopefully, we get the chance to have some more track time in dry conditions tomorrow.”

RAUL FERNANDEZ

“We had a nice plan but because of the weather, we had to change everything. But in general, I am really happy. We worked really hard on the pace, and this is important for me to understand the bike more. We also managed to work in the wet conditions, it’s complicated with the weather but I’m really happy with the result of what we did today. I had a better feeling, a smile on my face and enjoyed the session today. Tomorrow, we will try to do a lot more laps and work more on myself.”

 

 

 

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

MARINI CLOSE TO THE TOP UNDER THE RAIN AT SEPANG

In a Day2 characterised by uncertain weather, Luca is among the most competitive in the wet. Bezzecchi also did well, maintaining the provisional P1 with yesterday’s lap time

Sepang (Malaysia), February 11th 2023 – Despite the rain, which hit the circuit area from the early hours of the morning and then in the afternoon, the positive sensations of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team duo continue at the Sepang International Circuit where they are busy in the first tests of the 2023 season. Luca Marini set the seventh best lap time of the day in dry conditions, P14 in the combined standings, while Marco Bezzecchi finished 12th (P1 in the combined with yesterday’s lap time, 1:58.470).

Really comfortable on the Ducati Desmosedici GP in wet conditions and on the track to gain confidence with the new rain compound, Luca – 50 laps completed – set a good 1:59.118, improving by over two tenths compared to Day1.

Marco also did well, leading the group with yesterday’s lap time, with a good 1:59.361 (31 total laps ) and is only six tenths behind the very first guys. Step forward in the wet and overall positive feedbacks on the eve of the final day of testing, tomorrow from 10.00am to 06.15pm local time.

 Luca Marini

A day conditioned by the weather: we had planned to test material to improve the performance, but there was not enough time in the dry. The feeling is still good and so is the pace, especially in the wet. I’m happy, even if we weren’t able to make the most of the day. I hope for better weather to be able to use all the tires we have and improve the flying lap. With the rain, we removed all the rubber from the asphalt and tomorrow, if it’s good, the conditions will be more realistic in terms of the race weekend.

Marco Bezzecchi

Despite the crash, we had a good day. I was on the track for a long time with used tires and I also kept a good pace throughout the race. Too bad about the crash, I stayed in the garage for a while because it was important to get back on track with the same bike. In the wet then, I can’t complain, I felt comfortable. Compared to the GP21, I have more support on the rear and this helps me a lot.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Rain hits Sepang for Day Two of the Sepang Test

Showers throughout the day saw reduced running on the second day of the MotoGP test in Malaysia, Marc Marquez making the most of dry track time as Joan Mir took the opportunity to find some speed in the wet.

Early morning showers left the Sepang circuit damp when it opened at 10am local time, the majority of the MotoGP field waiting to venture out. After an early lunch, both the Repsol Honda Team riders entered the track to start working through their plan. More rain arrived in the afternoon and ended any chance of dry running in the second half of the day as a persistent drizzle remained.

Adding to his 58 laps from the previous day, Marc Marquez did a further 36 laps aboard various configurations of the RC213V. As the track remained completely wet in the afternoon, Marquez used the opportunity to assess the Honda machines in the wet and continue to gather data in a variety of conditions. Ending the day in 13th, the #93 continued through his and Honda HRC’s testing plan in order to prepare for the coming season.

Despite the weather, Joan Mir continued to make the most of all available track time and completed another 36 laps. A best time of 1’59.631 put the newest Repsol Honda Team rider in 16th place, less than 0.2s behind Marquez on the other Repsol Honda Team machine. The #36 was pleased with the progress he made, able to make a step and continue improving his feeling on the Honda RC213V.

Just a final day of running remains in Malaysia before the Repsol Honda Team return to Japan to continue their preparations for the Portimao Test, March 11 – 12, and the start of the season less than two weeks later at the same venue.

Marc Marquez

13TH  1’59.450

“Unfortunately today we couldn’t ride a lot and we had to change our schedule as a result. We were able to do about 25 laps in the dry and then in the wet we were able to confirm a few points. I am working a lot and I am trying to get a lot of information for Honda and to be as clear as possible with my comments. Since it rained today we will have to move our plan for the second day to tomorrow where we are aiming to make a step with the lap time.”

Joan Mir

16TH  1’59.632

“The rain today was a pity because it meant we had to change our plan completely. We had a lot of things to try but we only got a few laps in the dry. Still we made the most of what we could and got some laps in the rain where the feeling was not so bad. I was able to improve with each lap and each exit which is the really important thing. We were faster than yesterday and I’m feeling more comfortable on the Honda. There’s still a lot of work to do so let’s hope the weather is good tomorrow and focus on what we have to try.”

 

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