MotoGP: Quartararo Close To Record As Testing Ends At Sepang (Updated)

MotoGP: Quartararo Close To Record As Testing Ends At Sepang (Updated)

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

Best Race Lap Record: 1:59.661, Valentino Rossi, 2019

All-Time Lap Record: 1:58.303, Fabio Quartararo, 2019

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Sepang International Circuit

Sepang, Malaysia

February 9, 2020

Day Three Test Results (all on Michelin tires):

  1. Fabio Quartararo, France (Yamaha), 1:58.349
  2. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), 1:58.431
  3. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 1:58.450
  4. Francesco Bagnaia, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.502
  5. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), 1:58.541
  6. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.606
  7. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), 1:58.610
  8. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), 1:58.616
  9. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 1:58.694
  10. Joan Mir, Spain (Suzuki), 1:58.736
  11. Miguel Oliveira, Portugal (KTM), 1:58.764
  12. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:58.772
  13. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Yamaha), 1:58.838
  14. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.859
  15. Johann Zarco, France (Ducati), 1:58.951
  16. Alex Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:59.042
  17. Brad Binder, South Africa (KTM), 1:59.104
  18. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), 1:59.169
  19. Tito Rabat, Spain (Ducati), 1:59.549
  20. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Yamaha), 1:59.697*
  21. Bradley Smith, UK (Aprilia), 1:59.841*
  22. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), 1:59.860
  23. Iker Lecuona, Spain (KTM), 1:59.898
  24. Sylvain Guintoli, France (Suzuki), 2:00.100*
  25. Mika Kallio, Finland (KTM), 2:00.148*
  26. Yamaha Test Bike 1, Japan (Yamaha), 2:01.123*
  27. Takuya Tsuda, Japan (Suzuki), 2:03.674*
    *test rider

Combined Test Results (all on Michelin tires):

  1. Fabio Quartararo, France (Yamaha), 1:58.349
  2. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), 1:58.431
  3. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 1:58.450
  4. Francesco Bagnaia, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.502
  5. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), 1:58.541
  6. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.606
  7. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), 1:58.610
  8. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), 1:58.616
  9. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (KTM), 1:58.662*
  10. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 1:58.694
  11. Joan Mir, Spain (Suzuki), 1:58.731
  12. Miguel Oliveira, Portugal (KTM), 1:58.764
  13. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:58.772
  14. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Yamaha), 1:58.831
  15. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 1:58.859
  16. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), 1:58.893
  17. Johann Zarco, France (Ducati), 1:58.951
  18. Alex Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:59.042
  19. Brad Binder, South Africa (KTM), 1:59.104
  20. Tito Rabat, Spain (Ducati), 1:59.549
  21. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Yamaha), 1:59.697*
  22. Bradley Smith, UK (Aprilia), 1:59.841*
  23. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), 1:59.860
  24. Iker Lecuona, Spain (KTM), 1:59.898
  25. Sylvain Guintoli, France (Suzuki), 2:00.100*
  26. Mika Kallio, Finland (KTM), 2:00.148*
  27. Yamaha Test Bike 3, Japan (Yamaha), 2:00.791*
  28. Yamaha Test Bike 1, Japan (Yamaha), 2:00.920*
  29. Yamaha Test Bike 2, Japan (Yamaha), 2:01.744*
  30. Lorenzo Savadori, Italy (Aprilia), 2:03.150*
  31. Takuya Tsuda, Japan (Suzuki), 2:03.674*
    *test rider

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Full house: Quartararo remains untouchable on Day 3

Frenchman fastest despite the timesheets tightening up – and some long runs raising a few eyebrows

Sunday, 09 February 2020

Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) made it a full house at the Sepang Test as he topped the timesheets once again on Sunday, with the Frenchman putting in a 1:58.349 to end the session close to the fastest ever lap of the Malaysian venue. He had some close company, however, with LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow taking second place, 0.082 off, and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) taking third within 0.101 of the top. All manufacturers ended the test within 0.345.

The weather was on side again on Sunday, with only the last half hour or so affected by rain – but a few finished a little early whether by design or mishap. For Quartararo it was a shorter day than Saturday, as the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider put in 57 laps, setting his fastest on his 17th. Teammate Franco Morbidelli, on his “A-spec” machine, did 58 laps and ends the test in P13.

Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was actually the second fastest Yamaha rider on Sunday. His best was a 1:58.541 and that puts him in fifth after just over a half century of laps. Rossi’s teammate Maverick Viñales, meanwhile, was way down the timesheets yet positive about the test; his best a 1:59.169 in P18 – but after a whopping 83 laps and some impressive long run pace. On Saturday evening, the Spaniard was especially impressed by the top speed improvement from the new engine.

Test rider Jorge Lorenzo was out on track on Sunday too, with the Spaniard adding another 46 laps to the Iwata marque’s program and proving a key point of interest. But Yamaha had another slightly different talking point too – something that looks very much like a holeshot device, spotted on Viñales’, Rossi’s and test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga’s machinery.

Honda’s test program workhorse Cal Crutchlow kept them in the hunt for the top on Day 3. The Brit’s best was a 1:58.431 and, predictably, he was one of the most prolific on track, completing 69 laps. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez did 47 laps and was P12, his day ending in a mishap at Turn 15 – rider ok. The Spaniard also reported in his debrief that he’s more focused on getting the technical side of the new season sorted, rather than worried about his shoulder recovery.

His rookie teammate Alex Marquez was 16th and did 49 laps, ending the test less than half a tenth off getting into the 1:58s. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) did a best of a 1:59.860 a bit further back, completing 48 laps.

Alex Rins was back in charge of the Suzuki teammate battle for supremacy on Sunday. The number 42 almost made it three bikes in a tenth but for a single thousandth, and he did an apt 42 laps, downing tools a little early. Teammate Joan Mir was P10 after 32 laps, his best a 1:58.736 despite a crash at Turn 9. The positivity from the Hamamatsu factory seems positively brimming after the test, and some impressive long run pace in the mid 59s made for good reading too.

Ducati, meanwhile, saw their top position on the timesheets taken over by Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) as the Italian put in a 1:58.502 to secure P4 – only 0.052 off Rins. Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci was sixth with a 1:58.606, and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) eighth… but just 0.010 behind the Italian. Bagnaia and Miller both crashed at Turn 15, riders ok.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was a little further down in P14 with a best of 1:58.859, with every GP20 rider putting in around 50 laps each on Sunday. But Dovizioso sounded pretty satisfied, working on setup and feeling on the new tyre in the morning – and pointing out that both he and Miller set their best on the medium…

Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing), meanwhile, continued his improvement on the GP19 and ends the test 15th on Day 3, getting down to a 1:58.951 after 42 laps. Teammate Tito Rabat did a best of 1:59.549.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) finishes the Sepang test in a similar position to where he started it, in seventh, but the number 44 was nearly a second quicker on Day 2. He only put in 34 laps on Sunday, but was also at the shakedown with KTM. His teammate Brad Binder had a pretty solid Sunday too as he remained close to fellow rookie Alex Marquez on the timesheets; the South African shaving nearly a second and a half off his Day 1 best.

Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira, meanwhile, impressed on Day 3, putting in a 1:58.764 as he returns from injury – and slotting into P11 just ahead of reigning World Champion Marc Marquez despite doing only 22 laps. Oliveira’s teammate Iker Lecuona put in just 23 laps as well, but the Austrian factory also fielded test rider Mika Kallio as the Finn took over from Day 2 hero Dani Pedrosa. Kallio suffered a crash at Turn 15, rider ok.

Aprilia also leave Sepang securely belonging in the top ten, having hit the ground very much running with the new RS-GP. Aleix Espargaro led the way for the Noale factory once again as he took ninth with a 1:58.694, putting in 45 laps – and saying there was also more to come from a single lap, which was proving a challenge to maximise. And that’s borne out in the awesome long run pace the number 41 laid down, with a host of mid 59s. Test rider Bradley Smith was also on duty once again, adding 61 laps for the Italian marque.

That’s it from Sepang, now it’s time to head for Qatar for the second – and final – pre-season test. That starts in a couple of weeks on the 22nd of February, with the grid now facing just three days of track time before the season begins in earnest. Keep up to date with everything on motogp.com in the meantime!

 

 

 

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

Red Bull KTM Tech3 concludes Sepang test on a high note
Miguel Oliveira broke through the 1:59 mark today at the scorching Sepang International Circuit to finish the first official test in 2020 impressive 0.415 seconds to the top. Yet, the Portuguese youngster was missing 1.710 seconds to the fastest rider exactly one year ago. Meanwhile Red Bull KTM Tech3’s new addition Iker Lecuona likewise completed Sunday with his fastest time at the Malaysian venue, eager to follow his positive learning curve in less than two weeks at the final preseason test in Qatar.

Miguel Oliveira
 

Position: 11th

Time: 1:58.764

Laps: 22

“This morning, we mainly focused on a time attack and doing this with the best setup, we found of parts together. We had a very good lap with our normal tyre allocation, which was surprising. When I put a softer tyre on the rear, I couldn’t improve, but overall, I’m very happy with our pace and all the work we have done during the three days of official test here. In the upcoming two weeks I still have some work to do, physically, building some more muscles and trying to remove as much pain as possible on the shoulder in order to have a good first race weekend in Qatar.”

Iker Lecuona
 

Position: 23rd

Time: 1:59.898

Laps: 23

“My goal was to have a small gap to the front, but today I didn’t improve as much as I wished, although I managed reach the 1:59’s. I tried some new tyres today and I know, that I still need to be faster, plus after all these days on track here, I’m physically exhausted, to be honest. Overall, I have to admit, that I’m not totally happy about today. I will continue to learn in Qatar. For now, we have a good base with the bike, which I like, my general feeling is great. I just need to learn and understand more and more things about this machine.”

Hervé Poncharal

Team Manager

“Finally, after a long stay in Malaysia, the first 2020 test is over. For Red Bull KTM Tech3 it was a tough mission, because we didn’t only test three days with the whole grid, but also had the great possibility to do the shakedown, which was another three days prior to the official test. After a long winter break without any MotoGP riding, if was clear, that the bodies of both riders are suffering, especially during the last two days. Anyway, it was a very, very productive test. Honestly, I have to state, that I’m amazed by what KTM did during the winter, about what the entire racing department brought to Malaysia and everything we were testing from chassis over aerodynamics to electronic was a big step forward. Compared to last year at the Sepang test, especially when we take a look to the gap of Miguel to the fastest, KTM was clearly much, much closer to the front, not only on a single fast lap, but also in terms of race pace. This is, what I would like to emphasize more than anything, that KTM has become a real strength for a top 5 finish or hopefully even more within only 12 months. Miguel is very positive about the outcome of this test, also about his own physical condition. Together with Pol (Espargaro) and Dani (Pedrosa) they are really the top guys, KTM can truly rely on to further develop the bike. On the other side, Iker did a great job, was improving every day and because he is a fighter, he was not satisfied with this, but either way, we can be proud of him. He is the youngest rider on the grid and was already under two minutes, which is a good lap time in Sepang. His physical condition was suffering towards the end, but all of this is what you need to become a good MotoGP rider. I’m sure he will go back to Spain with a lot of data in his head, ready for Qatar. I want to thank Miguel for his great work and also our rookie did a good job, overall, we are positive. I think we have a decent line-up. We don’t make headlines at the moment, but if people look closer inside the data, they will see, that the orange division is coming. Now everybody should go back home and get some rest until Qatar is going to be the final shakedown for the first round.”

 

 

 

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

GOOD DÉBUT FOR THE NEW 2020 APRILIA RS-GP AT THE SEPANG TESTS

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ AND BRADLEY SMITH SATISFIED WITH THE BIKE WHICH, WITH STILL MUCH TO BE DEVELOPED, HAS REVOLUTIONISED THE ITALIAN PROJECT

LORENZO SAVADORI ALSO ON THE TRACK

The three anxiously awaited days of the début finally arrived and left everyone in the Aprilia garage happy. The 2020 Aprilia RS-GP, the project which revolutionised the MotoGP bike from Noale over the winter, proved to be a clear step forward compared with the 2019 version right from the shakedown entrusted to Bradley Smith. Arriving in Malaysia without ever having seen a track, the bike was immediately competitive, especially in the hands of Espargaró who, already from the first day, was consistently faster than his reference times on the Sepang track, placing consistently among the protagonists of the tests and finishing with a best lap of 1’58.694.

The 2020 RS-GP arrived in Malaysia after a labour-intensive schedule of milestones which has Aprilia Racing staff working non-stop for the entire winter. For this reason, it took to the track with all the names of the women and men in the racing department who made this goal possible on its fairings. It was an enormous effort which revolutionised the RS-GP project and which was rewarded by the first responses from the track.

It is just a first step. The bike still needs to be completely “done”, but the potential for growth seems to be there. In addition to Espargaró and Smith, and in the hopes of having Andrea Iannone back in the saddle soon, Lorenzo Savadori was on the track after first gaining familiarity with the category during the shakedown days astride the 2019 version of the RS-GP and then throwing a leg over the 2020 model on the first day of testing.

ALEIX ESPARGARÒ

“I am absolutely satisfied and I would truly like to thank everyone at Aprilia Racing who made it possible to take such a new and competitive bike out on the track here. The 2020 RS-GP has improved in every aspect. It is a step forward that, quite frankly, almost surprised me. There are clearly many areas where we need to work, but they are problems due to how young the project is and not real deficiencies. At the end of the three days, I would have liked to have been closer to the leaders with the soft tyre, but with this type of tyre I just wasn’t feeling it. In race configuration, on the other hand, even with used tyres, I was extremely fast. We need to keep pushing, because there are only a few weeks left before the first race, but I am leaving Malaysia with a smile on my face.”

BRADLEY SMITH

“These were six important days of testing for us. We took a completely revamped RS-GP out onto the track and I am pleased with the way things went. Aleix’s times demonstrate the quality of the project. Now we have a lot of refinements to do which is inevitable for a new bike. During these tests, we focused on getting to know the 2020 RS-GP, rather than experimenting with the setup, but already in the base configuration, the results were decisively encouraging.”

LORENZO SAVADORI

“When Aprilia called, I came running, considering the opportunities and my bond with the brand. It was a fantastic experience – four days in which I had the chance to make contact with a new category for me and which make my mouth water for more… I wish to thank Aprilia Racing for the honour, after three days with the 2019 version, to test on the 2020 bike as well. The new RS-GP seemed easy and intuitive straight away, even for someone like me in his first experience. As for my performance, I am pleased to have been able to improve on every outing. It isn’t easy to understand these prototypes, partly because they are very sensitive to every command. I also did well in terms of physical fitness, despite a few months of inactivity and demanding environmental conditions.”

 

 

 

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

SUZUKI ECSTAR WRAP UP A SUCCESSFUL SEPANG TEST
 

Alex Rins: 3rd – 1:58.450 +0.101

Joan Mir: 11th – 1:58.731 +0.382

Sylvain Guintoli: 25th – 2:00.100 +1.751

The first official test of 2020 has drawn to a close, with Team SUZUKI ECSTAR enjoying plenty of strong laps and gleaning a lot of information from the three-day stint on track.

Alex Rins continued working on the new chassis and various different setups. He also tried the new tyres supplied by Michelin. Rins felt happy with the progress made over the three days.

On the other side of the garage, Joan Mir spent this final day fine tuning his settings and working on electronics and tyres. He used the remaining time to complete a race simulation and admitted that he feels better with his new GSX-RR every day.

Sylvain Guintoli began the third day of testing but later handed over to fellow Test Rider, Takuya Tsuda. The pair confirmed many of the parts tested by Alex and Joan.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR will be back on track in Qatar on February 22nd.

Ken Kawauchi:

“For this first test of the year, we brought many parts; chassis, swingarm, electronics cowlings and some engine updates. Before the start of this test I was worried that we wouldn’t have time to go through everything, but we managed to do it and we found a good direction. This test was about trying these new parts, and then at the next test we’ll work to confirm the package more precisely and finalise everything. We’re pleased with how everything went here and the work we’ve done, and I’m confident about the Qatar Test.”

Davide Brivio:

“It was a very good test; we did a lot of work and completed our planned program. We confirmed the new engine, tested the chassis, the aerodynamics, and the electronics and so on. We found improvements and positive things which can improve our overall package. The riders worked hard here, and they are both in good shape with good pace, so everything went well. In Qatar we’ll check a few things to confirm if they work equally well there and finalise the package, and then we’ll prepare for the first race. When we get to the first race we’ll truly know how well the testing went.”

Alex Rins:

“Today was the last day of the test, and we’re happy how all three days went. We tested everything we had on the list and now we go to the Qatar Test with a better bike than last year. I improved my rhythm and race pace here, and also my best lap time, so I’m happy with that. We’ll continue working and see how things are in Qatar, when we arrive there we will try the new parts again to compare how they work on a different track layout.”

Joan Mir:

“I feel really good on the bike, it’s better every day. In the morning I tried the new soft tyre, but in the end I improved my lap time without the soft tyre so that was something positive. We’ve found good things in this test and we have strong potential, I think in Qatar we will take another step forward, and then we’ll be closer to the front. It will be interesting to try the bike on a different circuit.”

Sylvain Guintoli:

“It’s been a busy few days! I was riding at the ‘shakedown test’ for three days before this, so I’ve now done six days of riding and completed around three hundred laps! So, we’ve got loads of work done and it’s been really interesting. We tried different aerodynamic packages and chassis settings, and we’ve completed our planned program, so we’re really pleased. The bike is feeling good and Suzuki is doing a great job with all the work, and the atmosphere in the team is incredible.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Three days of testing draw to a close for the Repsol Honda Team in Malaysia

The final day of testing in the Sepang heat provided tantalisingly close times for fans and more valuable data for riders and engineers.

Maximising his time on track without over working his shoulder, defending MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez completed 47 laps on the final day of testing in Malaysia. Each day has allowed Marc to test not only the 2020 bike but also test his shoulder, the Honda rider pleased with progress made in both areas. The final day came to a slightly premature end as Marc fell at the final corner, again avoiding any further injury. A best time of 1’58.772 saw the eight-time World Champion finish within half a second of Fabio Quartararo who topped the test.

Sunday was another day of steady and constant progress for rookie Alex Marquez who improved his best lap time throughout the day. Cutting over half a second off his previous best, Alex leaves the Sepang test with a best time of 1’59.042 and edged out Brad Binder to finish the test as the top MotoGP rookie. The test has been an extremely positive one for Alex and his Repsol Honda Team, able to accomplish everything they set out to do at the start of the three days. Finishing the day within two tenths of his teammate and 0.693s back from the fastest rider of the test is testament to the work done in Sepang.

Across the three days of testing the Repsol Honda Team have completed 284 total laps with Alex leading thanks to his 153 laps across the three days.

Cal Crutchlow finished the test as the fastest Honda, setting the second fastest time aboard his LCR Honda during the third day of running.

Teams and riders will enjoy a brief break before once again heading out for three final days of testing in Qatar on February 22 – 24. For both riders, this gives them a chance to rest and undergo their final preparations to be in the best shape for round one of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship.

Marc Marquez

1’58.772 

“I finished the day with a good feeling as this morning we had a good rhythm and I put in the most effort today. I had a small crash at Turn 15, but this was down to physical condition. It’s good to know where the limit is, of course it would have been better to not crash but I am OK after it. Today I did 47 laps again, but it was with a different rhythm. I tried a few things but there is still work to do. The runs today were a little longer today but our speed was still good.”

Alex Marquez

1’59.042 

“The general feeling everyday was better, we were faster and felt better. This is the most important thing. There are only three more days of the pre-season left to be ready for the Qatar GP but we are closer every day. Still we need to learn more but every time we ride my knowledge is growing and I’m pleased with everything we’ve achieved. For Qatar our aim is to continue to understand the setup of the bike for myself and in various conditions. We’ve tried a lot this test so I leave happy.”

 

 

 

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

Successful testing at Sepang concludes with Quartararo on top

A successful test at Sepang International Circuit concludes for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT with Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli first and 13th.

The opening MotoGP test of 2020 has come to a successful conclusion for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team riders Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli. Across the three days the team has been able to build up vital knowledge as they prepare for the season start next month in Qatar.

Once again Quartararo was one of the first riders out on track to run a series of time-attack laps, which saw him improve upon his best time from yesterday, despite experiencing some difficulties, before testing Michelin’s new rear tyre compounds. After an early lunch break, Fabio was able to focus his attention on a long run at a time of day representative of a race start. The Frenchman rounded out the session with a series of practice starts and finished the final day of testing at the top of the time sheets with a best lap of 1min 58.349secs, out of the 57 completed.

Morbidelli had initially planned to join his team-mate in the series of time attack runs, but needed to test some different bike setups instead to combat some front-end chatter. After working through this Franco was able to resume his testing programme in the afternoon, where he proceeded to enjoy more laps on his Yamaha YZR-M1 and finished the day with a total of 58 laps on the board. His best time was a 1min 58.838secs, which in an exceedingly close session placed him 13th – just 0.489secs shy of Fabio.

With testing at Sepang now at an end PETRONAS Yamaha SRT will have to some time to assess their learnings before turning their attention to the next MotoGP Official Test in Qatar (22-24 February), which will be the last test before action gets underway at the first round of the year (6-8 March), also held in Qatar.

Razlan Razali

Team Principal

I’m glad we got the launch and the announcements out of the way before the test began as it meant that our riders could fully focus on the three day test without any distractions. In general, I think the test went very well. Although we can’t really look too much at the timings yet, I think psychologically it’s good for the riders to be quick, and for the competitors to see as well. So far everything seems positive: Fabio is doing great on the new bike that he’s had for only two days and Franco is making progress with his bike as well. At the same time we’ve also managed to engage the riders with the fans here the last three days, and with our guests. I think generally it was a very positive test.

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

The first test for season 2020 is done. It was a very positive test with no crazy things happening! We had good weather across the test. For Fabio to have three days on top of the time sheets is very promising. I’m also very happy to see Franco riding like he is at the moment. I think he understands the bike better than he did last year and he also made some good steps forward. We did what we had to do and tested what we had to be doing, there were no big crashes and now we’re ready for the Qatar test.

Fabio Quartararo

1st (1:58.349)

Today was a difficult day for us, it was not easy to get into the pace and make a good lap this morning, but overall I’m really happy. We did a long run of 12 laps in the hottest conditions when there was nobody on track. It was not bad: our pace was high 1min 59sec and low 2mins, it was 55 degrees on track and nobody else was riding so it was probably the worst track conditions we had today. We are working in a really good way to improve the speed and hopefully in Qatar we will take another step forward. My goal now has changed a little bit; we want to have better long run pace, because we now know over one lap we are fast. Overall, I’m really happy with the first test of the year with the 2020 bike.

Franco Morbidelli

13th (1:58.838)

I feel quite happy about this test as we’ve been working a lot and we understand many things on the new bike. I also already feel that I have good confidence with the new bike. We didn’t use the super soft tyre today to make the time attack, we used it yesterday just for normal running. So I think that is why we are not higher up the timings today. But even with the normal tyre on the time attack our pace is not so far off the top. I understand a lot from these three days and we know what we need to work on in Qatar. It has been overall a good test and I look forward to Qatar now and we try to do a good job there also.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

Sepang Test – The three testing days bring important knowledge ahead of the next test in Qatar

The third and final day of testing closes in Sepang. Pecco Bagnaia put in an excellent performance this morning conquering the fourth fastest time in 1:58.502 (+0.153 from the leader) on lap 15. In the afternoon Pecco did a long run, necessary to gain as much confidence as possible with the bike and more technical data to analyse in race configuration. Jack Miller is more focused on the development work, having as main objective to take full advantage from his Desmosedici 2020. Jack finished the last day of testing in eighth position in 1:58:610 (+ 0.257 from the leader). It’s been three days of positive testing, closing with a clear growth and acquiring knowledge about the potential of the bike. The knowledge gained at the test will give the right boost to start the championship with the best possibilities.

Pecco Bagnaia

It was a very positive day, in the time attack we were very fast. What I liked this morning was the consistency with my pace and this afternoon’s simulation helped us to understand a lot of things, how these tyres behave and how to improve my riding style to keep a better pace. In general it was a positive test, we are happy and we start with a good base for Qatar.

Jack Miller

A positive final 3-day test in Malaysia, we made many changes today, we were lucky that it was dry until the last 20 min. We are always happier with how the bike works, there are still a few details to work on but in general we have always been fast over the three days and we have done what we wanted. Today I had the best time with the medium rear tyre and I was very surprised. We have worked well with the team, now a couple of days to relax and then I will start preparing for Qatar.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Reale Avintia Racing:

THE REALE AVINTIA RACING TEAM FINISHES THE SEPANG TEST

With the conclusion of the third day at the Sepang International Circuit, the first pre-season test of 2020 for the Reale Avintia Racing Team has come to an end. After three intense and productive days of testing, team and riders were able to gather various data that will help the development and evolution of the Ducati Desmosedici GP19.

During the three sessions, Johann Zarco completed his first kilometres on his new Ducati. The French rider has been able to work on several configurations and on the adaptation and development of his bike. On the last day of the test, Zarco set a time of 1:58.951, more than a second and a half faster than his best time on Friday, after a total of 42 laps to the Malaysian circuit.

Tito Rabat stopped the clock in 1:59.549 after completing 59 laps, one second and two tenths of a second faster than his best time on Friday. In the final moments of the day the rain arrived to Sepang and he was forced to put an early end to the test. Throughout the three days the Spanish rider, step by step, worked on the adaptation to the tyres and was able to try new settings that allowed him to finish with good feelings.

The Reale Avintia Racing Team is now heading to the final pre-season test at Losail, which will take place from the 22nd to the 24th of February, two weeks before the start of the 2020 season at the same circuit.

TITO RABAT – P19

“We have been improving progressively during these three days, it has been a good test. We have to improve on the braking, but anyway I’m happy with the team and now the most important thing is to analyse the data collected and rest in order to reach 100% for the test at Losail.”

JOHANN ZARCO – P15

“It’s been a good test. The first day was a little bit difficult. I think I can be faster, I still have to learn new things, but at the end of the third day I am happy because I see that the method I am following works well and with time I will be able to learn more. The bike has a lot of acceleration and I need to take advantage of it. I can’t wait to arrive to Qatar because we have three more days to improve and prepare for the start of the season. It is difficult to learn new things, but I feel prepared and I am very motivated.”

 

 

 

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

Sixth Petrucci and fourteenth Dovizioso on the final day of testing in Sepang

The third and final day of first 2020 Official MotoGP Test has ended today at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

After a Friday that featured mixed track conditions due to the rain and a Saturday that welcomed on-track action under bright skies, the Ducati Team riders where able to take advantage of the dry conditions on Sunday until the final half-hour of free practices when the weather again deteriorated.

Both Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci took it to the track just after 10 AM committing part of their test program to understand how to use the new Michelin tyres and working also on the ideal setup for their Desmosedici GP20 bikes.

In the morning, Petrucci was able to stop the clock on the 1:58.606, which was also his personal best of the weekend, ending sixth of the day and sixth in the combined classification.

It has been a positive day for Dovizioso too. Despite having ended the day just 14th and 15th overall at the end of the three days, he was able to finish only 0.510 seconds behind the pacesetter founding a good race pace in the mini long run (10 laps) that he did late this morning.

Before the opening Grand Prix of the 2020 MotoGP season that will be held on the 8th March in Qatar, the Ducati Team will head at the same Losail International Circuit from 22nd-24th February to complete the final session of winter testing.

Danilo Petrucci (#9, Ducati Team) – 6° (1:58.606) 

“It has been a busy three-day test. Today we worked on different setup solutions, and even if we still have a few aspects that we still need to improve, I am satisfied because we were able to find a good race pace and make another step forward. I discussed a lot with Andrea, and together we identified a few aspects that for sure will be helpful during the races. We still need to understand how to use well the new tyres, but we still have the Qatar Test to complete our work”.

Andrea Dovizioso (#04, Ducati Team) – 14° (1:58.859)

“I am quite satisfied with the work we have done today. This morning we were able to put in several laps, improving the bike setup and also my feeling with the new tyres. It had not been easy because I had to adapt my riding style, and I was struggling a lot with this in the beginning. Danilo and I did a few laps together: the pace was good, but the tyre performance dropped quite a lot. We still need to understand how they will work on a race distance and here in Sepang, where the conditions are peculiar due to the high temperatures, is really difficult to make a complete evaluation. Now we still have a test before the opening round of the season in Qatar. I am sure that the final classification of these three days doesn’t completely reflect what will happen in the Championship this year”.

 

 

 

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

MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP CONCLUDE SUCCESSFUL SEPANG TEST

Sepang (Malaysia), 9th February 2020

SEPANG MOTOGP TEST

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team have wrapped up the first official IRTA test of the 2020 season today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales spent the three days working through a number of testing items and confirmed the positive 2020 YZR-M1 development.

5th VALENTINO ROSSI 1’58.541 / 51 (159 in total) LAPS

18th MAVERICK VIÑALES 1’59.169 / 83 (201 in total) LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales have completed the three-day testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today, concluding it in 5th and 16th place in the combined standings and with positive feedback.

Rossi was a man on a mission today, working hard to give all the testing items a try before leaving the Sepang track. The decision to focus on the 2020 items evaluation meant he wouldn‘t be able to put in a race simulation but it resulted in the gain of valuable data and feedback. His schedule also allowed him to put in a time attack which he made good use of. He earned himself fifth place in the Day-3 and combined standings with a fastest time of 1‘58.541s, 0.192s from first, on today‘s lap 10 of 51.

On the third and final day of the Sepang MotoGP Official Test, Viñales was brave enough to complete a race simulation in the typically hot Malaysian temperatures, to get a clear understanding of the 2020 model‘s race pace. He was positive about the YZR-M1‘s development, having been able to keep up a good rhythm throughout the 20 laps. The weather turned when he was scheduled to put in a time attack, and it left him 18th in today‘s results and 0.820s from first, with a 1‘59.169 best lap set on lap 30 of 83. However, his best lap from Day 2, a 1‘58.893s, puts him in 16th position in the combined Day 1-2-3 timesheets, 0.544 from first.

The team will now return to Europe whilst the engineers return to Japan to process the data and take their 2020 MotoGP preparation another step further. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will regroup in Qatar from 22–24 February for the second preseason test of this year.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

We were able to get what we were after: we definitely got the confirmation that the 2020 bike is a step forward and from now on we will be focusing on this model. We noticed an improvement in top speed, grip, and tyre life. Maverick completed a race simulation today in very hot and critical conditions, and he showed great consistency from beginning to end. Vale didn‘t do the race simulation but focused on testing all the items that we needed to try here, and he also did a good hot lap. It‘s his first 1‘58s lap, so that‘s another positive sign that we are moving forward as a team. For Maverick, when the time came to do his time attack, it started raining, so this compromised his position in the Day-3 and overall standings. But we can certainly say that this has been a good three-day test, and we hope that all the information we have been able to collect will be helpful to make another improvement at the next Qatar test.

VALENTINO ROSSI

We are happy with these three days. Today was a good day because I did a very good lap time in the time attack. It‘s the first time for me to be in the 1‘58s, so this is positive, also because we are in P5 and very close to the top. We worked a lot, also on the pace, and we tried different things. Some were good, others weren‘t. We have to work hard because everybody is so fast, but the test was positive.

 

 

 

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

CRUTCHLOW COMPLETES PRODUCTIVE TEST IN SEPANG

Cal Crutchlow enjoyed another progressive session on the third and final day of the official pre-season practice at the Sepang International Circuit. The Briton again worked his way through a long list of parts and settings and also managed to post the second fastest time on Sunday – and in the overall combined times – as he wrapped up a hugely productive three days in Malaysia.

With conditions staying fair, aside from a rainy final 30 minutes, Crutchlow took full advantage to rack up a total of 69 laps as he continued to gather valuable feedback for the 2020 RC213V factory Honda. He exchanged top spot on the timesheets with Fabio Quartararo in the opening hour, although the Yamaha rider would again finish on top of the pile, as he did on Friday and Saturday. Cal’s best lap was his 14th of the day, although the 34-year-old was pleased with his consistent pace throughout.

There is now just one more official test before the season gets underway in Qatar and Crutchlow is looking to continue improving ahead of the 2020 curtain-raiser.

Cal Crutchlow – 2nd

(1’58.431 – lap 14 of 69)

“We had a good and positive third day to get through a long list of items that we needed to test for ourselves and Honda. We had some test items on there throughout the day and also some geometry settings. I felt good today with the pace, although I still didn’t feel fantastic with the bike. We need to improve the pushing on the corner entry and the turning of the bike for me to feel more comfortable. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that at the Qatar test, but thank you to my team for such hard work over the last three days here in Sepang.”

 

 

 

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

NAKAGAMI SATISFIED WITH COMEBACK AT SEPANG TEST

LCR Honda Idemitsu rider Takaaki Nakagami got another valuable chunk of laps under his belt as he continued his re-adaptation to the RC213V on the third and final day of the official Sepang test. The test session in Malaysia marked the Japanese star’s first competitive outing since the shoulder surgery that brought an early end to his 2019 MotoGP season.

Taka again acknowledged that the condition of his right shoulder remains a work in progress, but – as on day two – was able to get through nearly fifty laps as he carried on the work to fine-tune his bike for the upcoming campaign. He finished strongly on Sunday as rain brought an earlier than scheduled end to proceedings, clocking a best time of 1’59.860 on the 45th of his 48 laps.

Nakagami will now look to continue improving both his fitness and bike set-up at the final pre-season test in Qatar in two weeks’ time.

Takaaki Nakagami – 22nd

(1’59.860 – lap 45 of 48)

“It’s been quite a tough three days for me. Of course, the physical condition of the right shoulder is not the best, but it’s getting a little better day by day. The first day there was a lot of pain, but the second day and third day were better and today we were able to get close to 50 laps. Still the lap time is not the best and we have to improve that, but we were able to test many items and it’s quite a positive result for the feeling of the bike. Now I’m going back to Japan for close to two weeks, so I’ll try to get some rest and hopefully be a little bit better for the Qatar test. We still have a lot of work to do and things to improve on the bike for my riding style, but let’s see what we do in Qatar.”

 

 

 

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

KTM STRIDE FORWARDS WITH 2020 MOTOGP PREP AFTER LONG SEPANG TEST

MotoGP 2020 IRTA test Sepang (MYS)

KTM’s Red Bull MotoGP teams and test riders completed almost a week of work at the Sepang International Circuit in what was a busy but immensely productive first stage of dialling-in the new works KTM RC16 for the 2020 season.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Red Bull KTM Tech3 completed six days and hundreds of laps of the Sepang International Circuit in the first MotoGP testing schedule of the year. Pol Espargaro, Brad Binder, Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona were joined by test riders Dani Pedrosa and Mika Kallio in both private and official IRTA sessions as work towards refinement of the KTM RC16 gathered pace.

Espargaro evaluated many components and technical ideas – chiefly engine and electronics and chassis mods – and concentrated on different swingarms and the new Michelin tyre allocation today. He clocked a best lap just over two tenths of a second away from the top of the time sheets and from a final classification that saw eighteen of the twenty-six riders on track split by less than one second.

Binder pushed to gather more mileage and understanding of the MotoGP machine and was content to be just half a second behind Espargaro by the time of the end of the test. Dani Pedrosa demonstrated his exceptional skills still remain firmly in place by clocking the 3rd fastest lap on day two. Mika Kallio ran the latest spec of the KTM RC16 in the final outing.

Red Bull KTM Tech3 pairing Oliveira and Lecuona continued their respective agendas in Sepang. The Portuguese was reacclimatising to the MotoGP machinery ahead of his second term in the class and after missing the last two rounds of the 2019 calendar due to shoulder surgery. The Spaniard, the youngest rider on the grid, gained more valuable laps at just his third circuit with the RC16.

Both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Red Bull KTM Tech3 will unveil their 2020 racing colours in a special online presentation on February 18th.

MotoGP moves onto the second and final three-day test at the Losail International Circuit on February 22nd. The opening round of twenty in the 2020 campaign takes place at the same facility in Qatar on March 8th.

Pol Espargaro: “We’ve done a lot these six days! Today was successful: we tested the new Michelin tyres and we made our conclusions. We also worked on the swingarm because we felt we were losing grip in hot conditions from the soft tyres so we wanted to understand why. We learned a lot actually. We have more horsepower and the electronics are working smoother which allows you to open the throttle earlier in the corners and is important here in Sepang and what we were missing before. Overall it feels very good. In Qatar we will restart. We might have different problems and we’ll have different tyres so we’ll begin again and hopefully have the same results.”

Brad Binder: “In the first two tests I was 2.1 off and now I am 0.7. It’s a big step forwards for us. The feeling and the comfort on the bike is way-better but we have a long, long way to go. I need to keep working and it will pay-off soon. If you look at the position then it is dissatisfying but the main thing is the gap. A couple of tenths have made a good difference in the standings. I have seen that it’s not too difficult to make a fast lap but I need to do twenty of them! It’s been a positive six days. We’ve progressed every day. We can reset and start again in Qatar.”

Miguel Oliveira: “This morning we mainly focused on a time attack and doing this with the best set-up. We had a very good lap with our normal tyre allocation, which was surprising. When I put a softer tyre on the rear, I couldn’t improve, but overall, I’m very happy with our pace and all the work we have done during the three days of official test here. In the upcoming two weeks I still have some work to do, physically, building some more muscles and trying to remove as much pain as possible on the shoulder in order to have a good first race weekend in Qatar.”

Iker Lecuona: “My goal was to have a small gap to the front but today I didn’t improve as much as I wished, although I managed reach the 1:59’s. I tried some new tyres today and I know, that I still need to be faster, plus after all these days on track here, I’m physically exhausted, to be honest. I will continue to learn in Qatar. For now, we have a good base with the bike, which I like, my general feeling is great. I just need to learn and understand more and more things about this machine.”

Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “After six days we can be positive about our test programme and that is different compared to last year and the rainy conditions because we had ideas on the table that we could not try. It meant we had quite a big operation to bring over here to Sepang and some late decisions. So, the test has been really important and necessary and the feedback from the riders has been good. There are people in the company working so hard on this bike – including the whole test team – and they have done a great job this winter. We have confirmed ideas and changes and it was nice to see that in the long runs we are quite strong and the fast laps are acceptable. We can see that we have made another step. The riders had a lot to do and we have two rookies in the group in Brad and Iker and they did very well with a lot of laps and building up their knowledge of MotoGP with the riding style and small changes. Pol, Miguel and Dani had to do many laps, many runs and go through a big list and they stayed focussed and did it in a great style. It is also positive to leave here with everybody healthy. Small details make the difference and eighteen riders are split by one second so we know the season will be tough and very competitive. Let’s go to Qatar now and see how we look.”

Sebastian Risse, Technical Coordinator MotoGP: “What we are using here is completely different to last year’s bike. We were using a basic package at Valencia and Jerez at the end of last year and then went back home in the winter break to analyse the pluses and minuses and to smooth it out. Basically, there are hardly any parts from last year’s bike. We had the opportunity to check single items in order to make sure that every piece of the puzzle brings a positive impact and now we are very confident. We look much better than we did at the same time last season. Of course, everybody has moved closer together but we have moved even closer. The lap-time looks much better and the consistency is very good. The tyre specification has changed and the combination with our new bike seems to be very competitive around here. We have been working on the engine and different chassis configurations and a lot with aerodynamics because this is something we need to homologate for the entire season; this is a high speed track so it presents an opportunity to understand that better. Now we are looking forward to see how this all works at another track with a different character and different tyre allocation to understand where we are for the season.”

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