MotoGP: Maverick Vinales Under Lap Record On Day Two Of Testing At Sepang (Updated)

MotoGP: Maverick Vinales Under Lap Record On Day Two Of Testing At Sepang (Updated)

© 2019, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

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, 1:58.830, was 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 7, 2019

Day Two Best Lap Times (all on Michelin tires):

1. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), 1:58.897

2. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 1:59.424

3. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), 1:59.517

4. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 1:59.562

5. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), 1:59.566

6. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), 1:59.625

7. Tito Rabat, Spain (Ducati), 1:59.664

8. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:59.790

9. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), 1:59.845

10. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), 1:59.966

11. Johann Zarco, France (KTM), 1:59.973

12. Francesco Bagnaia, Italy (Ducati), 1:59.995

13. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 2:00.101

14. Fabio Quartararo, France (Yamaha), 2:00.108

15. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Yamaha), 2:00.151

16. Stefan Bradl, Germany (Honda), 2:00.230*

17. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), 2:00.305

18. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Aprilia), 2:00.510

19. Mika Kallio, Finland (KTM), 2:00.523*

20. Miguel Oliveira, Portugal (KTM), 2:00.672

21. Joan Mir, Spain (Suzuki), 2:00.876

22. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), 2:01.245

23. Yamaha Test Bike 1, Japan (Yamaha), 2:01.406*#

24. Sylvain Guintoli, France (Suzuki), 2:01.654*

25. Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia (KTM), 2:01.859

26. Yamaha Test Bike 2, Japan (Yamaha), 2:02.989*#

27. Takuya Tsuda, Japan (Suzuki), 2:03.276*

*test rider
#Yamaha’s test bikes are being shared by test riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Kohta Nozane and Jonas Folger.

(Above) Red Bull KTM test rider Mika Kallio (66). Photo by Gold and Goose, courtesy of KTM.

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Day 2: Viñales obliterates the opposition

Half a second clear after a last-minute leap up the timesheets, the Yamaha rider homes in on the fastest ever lap

Thursday, 07 February 2019

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) got within just 0.067 of Jorge Lorenzo’s fastest ever lap of Sepang on Day 2 of testing, with the 1:58.830 set by Lorenzo last season – although not an official lap record – now surely under threat on Day 3. Viñales had been hovering in third for much of the latter part of the day and left his vie at record breaking late as the final few minutes saw time attacks light up the timesheets. More than three tenths up before the final sector, the Spaniard eventually crossed the line 0.527 ahead of nearest rival Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), setting both a supreme lap and a serious benchmark.

That built on a positive first day on the timesheets for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP and Valentino Rossi in sixth added to the good vibes. The veteran Italian did 51 laps and was only two tenths off second, although the distance to his teammate stretched out from there. The Iwata marque confirmed they have a busy agenda, with different winglets and chassis items on the menu. Happy with progress since November, Team Director Massimo Meregalli says the biggest focus from Sepang is the last part of the corner and specifically, acceleration.

Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli ended the day in P14 and P15 respectively – and the Frenchman had a 2019 bike as he made that key step forward. They both did 58 laps.

Alex Rins was the man who lost his top spot to Viñales after seeming set to end the day fastest, but the Spaniard’s 1:59.424 was nevertheless an incredible laptime and he did 61 laps on Thursday. Team Manager Davide Brivio said it’s going well and they have different swingarms, new aerodynamics with both riders and some different combinations; engine mapping, clutch, “things like that” – as well as an exhaust to try on Day 2. The Italian said their focus is fitting together the “puzzle” correctly for the first race, and the timesheets seem to bode well for Rins despite the Hamamatsu factory losing their concessions in 2019. Rookie teammate Joan Mir ended the day in P21 after 64 laps.

On Rins’ tail was the fastest Ducati on Day 2 and once again it was an Independent Team rider – this time Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing). The Australian was a late mover like those above him and was only a tenth off Rins by the end of play, putting in 49 laps. Just behind him came Andrea Dovizioso, who was the fastest Mission Winnow Ducati and looked set to top the day’s action until the late flurry of fast laps saw him pushed down to fourth. Initially the number 04 was working on frames, and Team Manager Davide Tardozzi confirmed that teammate Danilo Petrucci was focused on finding a better connection between the throttle and the rear tyre – working on the electronics and engine. Roles were then reversed, and Tardozzi also confirmed the Borgo Panigale factory also had some work on aero planned. That’s expected tomorrow. Today, it was two red machines in tandem as the two were on track together on some longer runs in the afternoon, with Petrucci saying he has “more to learn” than his teammate and ending the day in ninth. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) pipped him on his GP18 to end Thursday in P7, with Francesco Bagnaia fastest rookie in P12 for Alma Pramac Racing.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) put in a good showing on Thursday to take fifth overall and end the day as fastest Honda. The Brit is returning from a badly broken ankle sustained at Phillip Island last season but managed 53 laps to end the session within just 0.004 of Dovizioso. He also suffered a crash; Rider OK.

Next up for Honda was eighth placed Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who downed tools early once again and put in 37 laps on Day 2 – although some of those were a longer run in the afternoon. The team confirmed they’re on schedule despite the lighter lap load for the reigning Champion, too – with Marquez routinely having done over 90 laps per test day last season – and were working on the new bike, new engine and electronics, with a lot to get through including some different fairings. Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) took P10 after 60 laps, with Stefan Bradl (Honda Test Team) taking P16 after 59 laps.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing saw some tables turned on Day 2 as Johann Zarco ended the day as fastest Austrian machine for the first time since his switch to the marque. He said he outstripped his expected progress for the day and it made him smile to dip below the 2 minute mark for the first time, and he ended the day in P11 after 58 laps. Teammate Pol Espargaro was P17 and just over three tenths off the Frenchman. KTM test rider Mika Kallio was a couple of places back, and just pipped Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rookie Miguel Oliveira. Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin had a tougher day, outside the top twenty.

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, meanwhile, had a race simulation fairly early on Day 2 for Aleix Espargaro as Andrea Iannone remained focused on adaptation. Bike balance, electronics and torque control were a focus for the Noale factory. Espargaro ended the day in P13 after 54 laps, Iannone in P18 after 39. Romano Albesiano, Technical Manager, also confirmed that it’s not just the immediate future the marque are working towards, with plans made to make some big changes in testing in order to set up some more radical development later in the season.

That’s it from Thursday at Sepang and there’s just one more day of this test to go. Make sure to keep up to date with everything from Friday action on!

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Productive day two in Sepang for Marc Marquez

(Above) Marc Marquez (93).

Dry conditions continued for the second day of the Sepang Test, allowing Marc Marquez and his Repsol Honda Team to continue without interference.

Close to perfect track conditions greeted Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team at the Sepang International Circuit for the second of three days of testing. A morning track temperature in the high 40s would quickly rise by almost 20 degrees, but work continued. Marquez again limited his running to the first half of the day, progressing through his testing plan and assessing various parts for the 2019 RC213V.

A 1’59.790, set on lap five of 37, would be Marquez’s fastest lap of day two as he ended the day in eighth position. The reigning world champion’s 1’59.621 from day one sees him sat in sixth place on the combined times.

Stefan Bradl also had a productive day as the Official Test Rider completed 59 laps and finished the day in 16th. Tomorrow, February 8, presents the Repsol Honda Team with their last day of the Sepang Test before the Qatar Test, February 23 – 25.

Marc Marquez

8TH 1’59.790

“Today we worked much the same as yesterday and tried a few new things, the most important ones for Honda. I started the day well but then the shoulder started to get a bit worse so we stopped to be able to run well again tomorrow. I can’t ride exactly how I’d want, normally I’m a rider who brakes very late and deep but I can’t do that at the moment and have to brake earlier and smoother. In regards to the bike, we’ve been working mostly on corner exit but sometimes at this circuit the grip can change a lot.”

More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech3:

Oliveira and Syahrin learn in Malaysian heat to further step forward

With track temperatures up to 60 degrees Celsius, the Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo faced a second boiling hot day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit today. Following an intense opening, Miguel Oliveira completed further 61 laps on Thursday while working on various settings; from chassis to engine. The Portuguese MotoGP newcomer wrapped up the day in 20th, improving his lap time from Wednesday by 0.230 seconds.

At the same time, Hafizh Syahrin was working on his riding position and the electronics of his brand-new KTM RC16, plus confirmed the winglets, he already tried during the first day of official testing. Yet, the Malaysian lapped the circuit 53 times with a personal best of 2:01.859 minutes, following his team mate in 25th place, before the third and final eight hours of track time in Sepang tomorrow.

(Above) Miguel Oliveira (88).

Miguel Oliveira

Position: 20th – Time: 2:00.672 – Laps: 61

“It seems like we can improve our lap time every day a little bit. With the used tyres I was quite happy with my performance, also with the performance of the bike. It was only the last run, that we couldn’t improve the lap time, because we ran a different traction control setting, which was really something else and combined with the new tyre, it didn’t work. We had to learn, which direction to take and will finetune this area tomorrow to be able to go faster. I’m very motivated, plus the team is doing a great job, we understand the bike more and more. Today we were only missing the time attack, but I would say we are quite strong and on a good direction.”

(Above) Hafizh Syahrin (55).

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 25th – Time: 2:01.859 – Laps: 53

“To be honest, I’m still quite slow at the moment and far from the top, especially because Maverick (Viñales) improved in the end. But now I start to understand many things when I was on the track. Today I followed some others, while before I rode alone, trying to do my best to improve my lap time. When I followed some riders like my teammate Miguel and also Pol Espargaro and Mika Kallio, I tried to understand how they can do such a good turning. Now we found out where the point is and we’ll improve it for the last day tomorrow. I hope I can do something good. I keep my motivation and work hard and also try to give my best for my team.”

More, from a press release issued by Mission Winnow Ducati:

The Mission Winnow Ducati team resumes action at Sepang: Dovizioso 4th and Petrucci 9th in the second day of official MotoGP tests

The Mission Winnow Ducati team moved forward with its all-around development program at Sepang (Malaysia) in the second of a three-day official MotoGP test.

In hot weather conditions, with more than 30 degrees in the atmosphere and 60 on the tarmac, Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci clocked 60 and 65 laps respectively, including two “long runs” apiece to cover the race distance in the hottest time of the day. Dovizioso ended the day in fourth position with a personal best of 1:59.562, more than half a second faster than his personal best yesterday. Petrucci also showed improvements, taking two tenths of a second off his previous best with a 1:59.845 that granted him 9th position in the combined rankings, just 0.283 seconds behind his teammate.

(Above) Andrea Dovizioso (04).

Andrea Dovizioso (#04, Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:59.562 (4th)

“It’s been a really positive day, and I’m very happy with the way we’re working, which allowed us to gather plenty of interesting data. Today, we focused on some areas in which we struggled a bit in the past, finding good solutions. Instead of just riding alone, I also managed to do a couple of longer runs together with Danilo to bring the tyres to race distance, which helped us to better simulate what happens during a GP. We still have a few components to try tomorrow, development never stops and we’ll keep looking for more ways to improve our performance.”

(Above) Danilo Petrucci (9).

Danilo Petrucci (#9, Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:59.845 (9th)

“It’s been a very intense day from a physical standpoint, because we clocked a lot of laps and we even rode over the race distance in two consecutive runs during the hottest hours. I have to say we gathered a positive feedback, both from a technical and physical standpoint, and the team did an excellent job. A small setback prevented us from further improving our lap times, but the rankings are certainly not our priority at this point of the year. Compared with yesterday, we’ve been a lot more competitive with higher temperatures, which makes me really confident ahead of tomorrow.”

The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action tomorrow for the third an final day of the official MotoGP tests at Sepang.

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:



The second day of pre-season tests on the Malaysian circuit of Sepang gave Espargaró and Iannone the chance to do a lot of positive work.

The two teams stayed busy in different ways. In fact, Aleix focused on a race simulation for the day which provided comforting results. His pace over about twenty laps was consistently fast with a time in the end that was significantly better than what he had done here in the October race. His best time was 2’00.101.

Andrea and his team, after their very first contact yesterday when the Italian rider threw a leg over the 2019 RS-GP for the first time, began to make some changes to the bike and, although a time attack is certainly not one of the goals in Malaysia, the improvement on the time sheets compared to yesterday was clear, thanks to a time of 2’00.510.

(Above) Aleix Espargaro (41).


“Today I did a 20-lap race simulation and I am very satisfied, both with how I held up physically and with the performance of the RS-GP. I managed to lap in the first half of the long run at 2’00 and in the low 2’01s for the second half – a good pace that confirms our competitiveness with used tyres. I must be realistic and also consider that the track is in better conditions than those of the race, but I am still pleased with the performance. We are still lacking incisiveness when we have more grip on new tyres. It seems like the others are able to exploit it better on the flying lap.”

(Above) Andrea Iannone (29).


“Today we began to get to know the bike better, which is part of our growth path. There are some positive changes and some not so positive, so we’ll keep going without revolutionising the bike, but with the clear goal of constantly improving, lap by lap. We managed to find some advantages in performance with used tyres. I did my best lap precisely in these conditions and using the medium. I am pleased about that and I can confirm our potential, considering the fact that this is our first real test.”

More, from a press release issued by Alma Pramac Racing:

#SepangTest Day-1. Excellent session for Alma Pramac Racing: Jack scores a superb P3, Pecco (12th) improves lap by lap.

(Above) Jake Miller (43).

The second day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia) offers extremely positive indications to Alma Pramac Racing. Despite the torrid heat with the asphalt temperature exceeding 60 degrees, both Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia work with constant intensity, completing 49 and 52 laps respectively, but above all breaking both the 1’59” wall.

Jack has been pushing hard since the first runs, also experimenting with innovative solutions on his Ducati Desmosedici GP 2019. Despite a bad crash at the end of the morning session, the Australian rider remained focused notching up a superb P3 (1’59.517) in the final time attack.

Lap after lap, Pecco gives the feeling of being more and more at ease on his Ducati Desmosedici GP 2018. The reigning Moto2 World Champion worked hard on the braking phase managing to lower yesterday’s lap time by more than 6 tenths and finishing in 12th position (1’59.995) just 4 tenths of a second from the hypothetical front row.

P12 – Pecco Bagnaia (52 laps)

“It’s been a very good day. I worked much better than yesterday at the technical level and in the afternoon we made a big step forward. Tomorrow we will try to make a time attack and a race simulation but I think it is a positive test so far: lap after lap I feel to better understand the bike”.

P3 – Jack Miller (49 laps)

“We have worked hard on the set up and tried many solutions. The feeling with the bike is very good and already with the used medium tyre I was able to lap very fast in high 1’59’’. It’s a shame about the crash: it’s the second one in two days at turn 9. Tomorrow I have to stop this bad tradition”.

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


Sepang (Malaysia), 7th February 2019

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi enjoyed a positive second day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit. Despite the soaring hot track conditions, the team-mates put in numerous laps and took first and sixth place respectively in today‘s timesheets.



1’58.897 / 63 LAPS



1’59.625 / 51 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were back on track today at the Sepang International Circuit for a second day of testing. They continued to work through a number of different materials and made positive progress, taking first and sixth place respectively in today‘s rankings.

Yesterday Viñales was one of just four riders to drop under the 2‘00s-mark, but today the pressure was on, with practically everyone improving their pace. The Spaniard again used the somewhat cooler morning hours to find a good rhythm and chip away at his time. He set a 1‘59.597s around 12:30 (GMT+8), which put him in third place, a position he held until the final stages of the session.

In the afternoon the no.12 rider continued to perfect his bike‘s set-up whilst also testing new items. The pace picked up in the final minutes of the test, when the temperatures dropped again. Viñales was moved back to fourth place, but he had a trick up his sleeve. He quickly headed out too and produced the only result under the 1‘59s-mark on lap 62/63, a stunning 1‘58.897s. He signed off the day firmly at the top of the timesheets with a 0.527s margin to his closest rival.

After a solid first day of testing, Rossi was raring to get back to work this morning. Like his team-mate, it didn‘t take him long to improve on his time from yesterday, bettering it by nearly half a second. He posted a superb 1‘59.625s on lap 8/51, which initially put him in first place with a 0.165 margin to second.

After posting the red-hot lap, he concerned himself with improving his bike‘s performance. He tested new items and compared the data between various setting options. His morning time allowed him to hold fourth position for the majority of the day. The Italian was only pushed back to sixth place, 0.728s from first, at the very end, when several riders put in a time-attack.

(Above) Maverick Vinales (12).


“Honestly, we tried to work really hard today on the race pace. We were always using the spec for the race. I felt good and around midday we made good lap times especially during the race simulation when it was hot, without grip, so I’m actually really happy how we worked today. We made a good improvement on the bike, so we need to try to do this again tomorrow.”

(Above) Valentino Rossi (46).


“We continued to work because we had some other items to improve and also today was not so bad. We found something that improved the performance and I think we did a good job. At the end my pace was always quite strong. So, it was a quite positive second day and we still have something to test tomorrow. We will try to continue to work and we’ll see what our situation is like at the end of the three days.”

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


LCR Honda CASTROL’s Cal Crutchlow, who yesterday made his return to MotoGP action after three months out through injury, today continued to make steps forward on day two of testing action in Malaysia.

The Brit ended the day an impressive fifth fastest overall and top Honda rider, having spent the majority of the test in second position until the usual late one-lap charge from some of his rivals. The LCR Honda CSTROL Team were pleased to have two 2019-spec Honda RC213V motorcycles in the garage today, allowing Crutchlow the opportunity to familiarise himself even better with the new machine.

The opening pre-season MotoGP test concludes at Sepang on Friday, where Crutchlow hopes to fine-tune his set-up with the 2019 machine.

(Above) Cal Crutchlow (35).

Cal Crutchlow – 5th

(1’59.566 – lap 14 of 53)

“Today was a positive day and the team worked very well. We tried the 2019 bike all day, and we had two of them in the garage which meant we could do back-to-back tests on a few things. It was always the plan, so it’s good to do that. I felt quite comfortable over the day and we are pleased with what HRC has brought us to the test and as a race bike for this season.

“My physical condition is not too bad as regards my ankle. I have more pain at the end of the day and the ankle is swollen due to the heat, but in general I’ve felt good on the bike. I had a small crash at turn five, which was a strange one because I wasn’t pushing or doing anything different – it was a first lap out of the pits. Luckily, I was ok.”

“We look forward to the last day tomorrow, where we will focus more on working on the setting, and we can try and get all the information we need to be ready for the start of the season.“

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


Alex Rins: 2nd – 1:59.424 (+ 0.527)

Joan Mir: 21st – 2:00.876 (+ 1.979)

Sylvain Guintoli: 24th – 2:01.654 (+ 2.757)

•Alex Rins sets hot lap whilst working on settings.

•Joan Mir improving and giving useful feedback.

•New parts tested by all three riders to build on 2019 package.

Following a searing hot first day at Sepang International Circuit, the riders rejoined the track on Thursday to continue working towards the 2019 season opener next month, with Alex Rins and Joan Mir both trying a new fairing, new swingarm, and some electronics settings.

With track and air temperatures at 54ºC and 31ºC respectively, it was another physically tough day and the riders worked very hard. However, the overall feeling from the team was a positive one and they were able to try more new parts and continue to build the 2019 package.

Rins completed 61 laps and was very happy with his day, both in terms of testing and lap times. He finished the session in 2nd place again, improving on his Day 1 time to set a best of 1:59.424.

Mir, feeling more comfortable with each outing, focused his day on learning and giving feedback on the new parts. He held 21st place at the end of the six hour session, shaving around half a second off his Day 1 time. The youngster also put in a whopping 64 laps. Sylvain Guintoli continued testing new parts and providing valuable insight for the team, 24th as the flag came out.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager

“It was another good day, Alex worked very hard with a lot of testing and some comparisons. He had to be very patient and give a lot of feedback, which is not an easy task, especially with this heat. At the end of the session he went for a time attack and achieved very good lap times, so that’s a positive sign and a good end to the day. We feel we’ve done a good job today, it’s made everything clearer in terms of set-up. Joan also worked very hard and we made progress with him too. Tomorrow he’ll continue his learning progress with more laps, and we’re happy with how it’s all going.”

(Above) Alex Rins (42).

Alex Rins

“Today was a very positive day; we tried the new fairing, some new electronics settings, and it was all good. My rhythm and race pace were very good, even on used tyres. We were able to confirm a lot of things, we still need to improve a little bit, but nothing major. Overall, I’m very happy with how it’s all going, and with my lap times too.”

(Above) Joan Mir (36).

Joan Mir

“Today we tried so many things! I’m quite tired from all the effort – it was a tough day. We were trying to discover the good points and the not so good, and I’m pleased with how it went. Tomorrow I hope to continue in this way, and I would like to make a time attack to see how that goes. I liked the new fairing I tried today, but we’ll have to analyse everything.”

(Above) Sylvain Guintoli (50).

Sylvain Guintoli

“Today we tested different things and some updated parts, and we found it was getting better and better. Yesterday was more like ‘performance testing’ and today we focused in more specifically on different areas, like the clutch for instance. It’s my fifth day of testing with the team here and I’m happy with the progress.”

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


Takaaki Nakagami was happy to have made further improvements on day two of MotoGP pre-season testing at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, as he and his LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team continued their preparations for the 2019 season.

The Japanese rider finished inside the top ten for the second day in succession, confirming the progress he has made on the RC213V since the end of his rookie season. He also made significant advances in terms of stability under braking, something he and the team had highlighted on day one.

The first of two pre-season MotoGP tests comes to a close with a final day on Friday.

(Above) Takaaki Nakagami (30).

Takaaki Nakagami – 10th

(1’59.966 – lap 57 of 60)

“Second day done, and we finished in P10, and to be inside the top ten is a good thing for us. This is testing however, and the main thing is that we stay focused on our programme and planned testing schedule, which we are doing. We are working hard to improve the set-up of the bike. Yesterday we had a bit of a struggle with the braking stability, but finally today we found an improvement and a better feeling on the brakes.

“On the other hand, we are still missing a bit of edge grip on the rear. Tomorrow we have to see if we can find a better balance on the bike, and then we can make a race simulation.

“At the end of the day today we went into the 1’59s, and that was my target for the day so that is good. We will keep pushing tomorrow of course and let’s see what happens.”

More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team:

Quartararo and Morbidelli make more progress at Sepang

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team riders continue with their work programme at Sepang International Circuit and both finish inside top fifteen, with the rookie Fabio Quartararo in 14th and Franco Morbidelli in 15th.





Intense heat again welcomed the MotoGP teams and riders to the second day of a three-day test at Sepang. With track temperatures reaching 59ºC, the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT riders continued working alongside their respective engineers on the set-up of their new Yamaha YZR-M1 machines. With close lap times throughout the field, Fabio Quartararo ended the day in fourteenth position, just one place and 0.043 seconds ahead of his teammate Franco Morbidelli.

The French PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider was first out onto the track, taking advantage of the cooler morning conditions to set three consecutive fast laps and improve on his best time from yesterday. Quartararo was also able to work on the electronics set-up and on the front suspension as he looked to improve under braking. Fabio finished the day in fourteenth position, with a best time of 2’00.108 set on his 11th lap of 58.

Franco Morbidelli had the misfortune of crashing in turn 1 after exiting pitlane during the first hour of the day, meaning he missed out on the ideal track conditions for a time attack. Despite the setback, the Italian continued to make progress and managed to improve on his best time from yesterday, clocking a 2’00.151 on his 56th of 58 laps. Morbidelli also worked with his team on braking and was satisfied with the notable improvements made in this area.

The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team will be back on track tomorrow for the third and final day of the test, from 10am until 6pm Malaysian time.

(Above) Franco Morbidelli (21).

#21 Franco Morbidelli

“Today we focused on improving grip and trying to set a good pace on used tyres. I am happy with the work we have done and with the progress we made on both tyre compounds. It was a shame to crash so early because we missed out on the coolest part of the day and the chance to make a good time attack. In general, we have improved the feeling from yesterday so I am happy. We are showing some good form in the test but we still have a lot of work to do. Tomorrow we will continue working, try to improve our performance and make more progress overall. We will keep pushing to the maximum.”

(Above) Fabio Quartararo (20).

#20 Fabio Quartararo

“The second day here at Sepang International Circuit has been very positive. This morning we set some good lap times on the new tyres and made the most of the track conditions to make a time attack, which I was really happy with. This afternoon we tried to improve but it wasn’t possible. We worked a lot on the setting of the bike, especially under braking, where we managed to improve the feeling. This evening we will analyse the data and come back tomorrow to try and improve the lap time and make more progress under braking, which is the area we have most room to improve.”

More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:


MotoGP 2019 IRTA test Sepang – Day 2 (MYS)

2019 MotoGP work continued around the hot and sunny confines of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia and after the second of three days of official pre-season action Johann Zarco was satisfied with a meaningful step to rest 11th fastest at the end of the session.

Eight hours of evaluation and decision-making continued at Sepang today for both Red Bull KTM and Red Bull KTM Tech3 in the second day of the first 2019 MotoGP IRTA test. Johann Zarco managed to dip under the two minute lap-time barrier for the first time with his KTM RC16 as he found more improvement with his corner entry feeling. The Frenchman rested just one second from the fastest effort set by Maverick Viñales as many riders tried a ‘time attack’ in the final minutes of the day.

Pol Espargaro suffered another crash – his second of the test – in the morning but was soon back into his hectic testing workload and was the second busiest rider around the Sepang course with 67 laps logged throughout the day. The Spaniard was less than half a second from his teammate’s best Chrono but now has aims on refining a race set-up tomorrow in Malaysia.

Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin posted 114 laps between them with the Portuguese managing his quickest lap at Sepang so far. Test rider Mika Kallio was close in lap-times to Oliveira and Espargaro.

(Above) Pol Espargaro (44). Photo by Gold and Goose, courtesy of KTM.

Pol Espargaro: “100% the bike is getting better. We did a lot of things today and by the end I was a bit overloaded. It was hot again and we did a lot of laps. The crash in the morning didn’t help. I think tomorrow will be more relaxed and we can concentrate on a fast lap or a good rhythm. Rear grip was my main concern coming here and we improved that but then had some issues with the front pushing. We also tested more electronics and aerodynamics. I think we touched all the parts of the bike! We’ll sleep well tonight and maybe test less things tomorrow. We’ll focus more on the actual bike set-up instead of trying big things. More like a normal day [at a GP].”

(Above) Johann Zarco (5). Photo by Gold and Goose, courtesy of KTM.

Johann Zarco: “We worked on corner entry so I could be more confident. It was already getting better yesterday but I was missing an easy feeling. During the day I became more natural and I could focus on other things about my riding to make the step. It was like a wave this morning with the good lap-time and I could keep surfing on it all day. At the end of the afternoon we changed the set-up and once I put on new tyres I had that small gift to get under two minutes. It is kind of a reference now. It gives me a smile and a feeling of happiness. A better improvement than what I expected and we’ll keep pushing in that way tomorrow to see what else we can do, and especially with the bike over many laps.”

Miguel Oliveira: “It seems like we can improve our lap time every day a little bit. With the used tyres I was quite happy with my performance, also with the performance of the bike. I’m very motivated, plus the team is doing a great job, we understand the bike more and more. Today we were only missing the time attack, but I would say we are quite strong and on a good direction.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “To be honest, I’m still quite slow at the moment and far from the top, especially because Maverick (Viñales) improved in the end. But now I start to understand many things when I was on the track. When I followed some riders like my teammate Miguel and also Pol Espargaro and Mika Kallio I tried to understand how they can do such good turning. Now we found out where the point is and we’ll improve it for the last day tomorrow. I keep my motivation and work hard and also try to give my best for my team.”

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