2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release
Repeating his dominance of the first two days, Marc Marquez concluded the first Sepang test of the 2014 preseason ahead of his rivals, thanks to a rapid early best time.
The MotoGP™ World Champion Marquez wasted no time on the final test day at the Malaysian venue, laying down a superb 1’59.533 marker in the cooler temperatures of the morning. His pace-setting lap was marginally quicker than the previous best Sepang test time of 1’59.607, registered by Casey Stoner also on the Honda prototype in 2012.
Marquez later produced a strong performance in a race simulation with 15 consecutive laps under the 2’01 mark.
The early running had seemed more like a qualifying practice than a test session with the top riders battling each other for top spot in a time attack.
Nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi set his own personal best Sepang test time of 1’59.727, whilst Jorge Lorenzo clocked the third best time of the day with a notably quick 1’59.866 effort on just his second lap.
Like Marquez, both Yamaha Factory riders later produced longer runs as they too worked on tyre durability and fuel consumption in preparation for their battles this year with the incoming ‘Open’ class machines – which will have a 24 litre fuel limit compared to the 20 litre capacity of the Factory entries.
Showing the potential of the new ‘Open’ bikes was the consistently impressive Aleix Espargaro on the FTR Yamaha of NGM Mobile Forward Racing, with his 1’59.998 best time coming on the second of 43 laps. The older Espargaro brother’s pace is one of the talking points of the week and he was able to lap nearly two seconds quicker than his teammate Colin Edwards who concluded Thursday’s session 14th.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl (+0.579) was close behind Forward Racing’s Espargaro in fifth, despite falling at turn one early on Thursday. That was of course the corner where he fractured his ankle in October’s Grand Prix, but on this occasion he was unhurt and immediately remounted.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa made a slower start and also had an off track excursion early in the morning, but later moved towards the business end of the timesheet, going up to sixth place with a 2’00.223 lap in the afternoon.
A decent time for Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso (2’00.370) put him seventh on Thursday, the Italian producing one of Ducati’s best ever Sepang test times. Indeed Dovizioso’s time was a 0.776s improvement on his Wednesday best and was 0.7s faster than his new teammate Cal Crutchlow’s final time, as the Englishman ended up 12th.
Both Ducati riders expect machine upgrades for the second Sepang test later this month.
Like his older brother Aleix, rookie Pol Espargaro also impressed, finishing as the faster of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders in eighth place, 1.122s down on Marquez’ best time.
Fellow Tech 3 man Bradley Smith was 11th overall, though he may not have been shooting for out and out pace on Thursday and will hope to improve his competitiveness if the team can secure access to the Yamaha seamless shift gearbox early in 2014.
The top ten was completed by Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, with both riders just over a second off the pace. Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding were 13th and 21st respectively and will both hope to go faster on the new RCV1000R before the season starts.
Suzuki Test Team rider Randy de Puniet will also continue his work throughout the year in testing as he looks to close a three second gap to the front with the evolving Suzuki machine. He was 17th on the timesheet.
The majority of riders broke for lunch shortly before 2pm local time as the heat increased, with more race simulations and longer runs a key focus after the initial morning runs. The data from those longer runs are crucial for fuel economy calculations for the ‘Factory’ bikes in particular, as they have one litre of race fuel less than 2013.
A new Bridgestone tyre was also tested by the riders this week – a similar construction to that used in Valencia testing in November, with a compound slightly adapted to suit the Sepang heat. The Japanese tyre supplier will therefore hoped to have gathered useful data for improved performance in 2014.
The premier class riders will be back in action at the Sepang International Circuit for further testing from 26th to 28th February.
OFFICIAL GRESINI PRESS RELEASE – 5 Febbraio 2014
Sono proseguiti oggi a Sepang i test della MotoGP in preparazione del Campionato del Mondo 2014. I piloti del Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini, Alvaro Bautista e Scott Redding, hanno iniziato a lavorare sul set-up delle loro moto in una giornata molto calda, ottenendo buoni miglioramenti.
Nonostante un problema alla leva del freno che lo ha tenuto fermo per gran parte della mattinata, Alvaro Bautista è riuscito a completare 55 giri siglando nel finale un ottimo 2’00”897, già migliore del rilievo cronometrico registrato dallo spagnolo nelle qualifiche dello scorso Gran Premio della Malesia. Il suo lavoro si è concentrato sulle nuove gomme Bridgestone e sulla prova di due nuovi ammortizzatori della sospensione posteriore portati da Showa. Nell’altro lato del box, Scott Redding ha continuato il suo apprendistato sulla Honda RCV1000R “Open” abbassando il tempo ottenuto ieri di oltre un secondo, scendendo fino a 2’03”117 in 53 giri.
I test proseguiranno anche domani, per il terzo e ultimo giorno di prove al Sepang International Circuit.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (2’00″897 – 55 GIRI)
“Quella di oggi è stata una giornata molto produttiva, anche se non ho potuto girare per quasi tutta la mattina a causa di un problema alla leva del freno, risolto soltanto nel pomeriggio. Ho provato un paio di nuovi ammortizzatori Showa per la sospensione posteriore: uno di questi, in particolare, sembra funzionare bene con la nuova gomma portata da Bridgestone in questi test, perciò continueremo a lavorare su questa strada. Il bilancio quindi è positivo: tra l’altro ho segnato il mio miglior tempo nel pomeriggio, sicuramente non nelle condizioni migliori, con la pista molto calda e quando ero già abbastanza stanco fisicamente. Domani sono convinto che potremo migliorare ancora, sia in termini di feeling con la moto che come tempi sul giro”.
SCOTT REDDING (2’03″117 – 53 GIRI)
“Oggi è andata meglio, ho potuto fare molti giri e pian piano ci siamo avvicinati alle altre Honda ‘Production Racer’. Abbiamo lavorato molto sulla frenata e ora mi sento più a mio agio sulla moto. Le condizioni della pista e le temperature cambiano molto durante la giornata e ciò mi mette ancora un po’ in difficoltà, ma tutto sommato sono soddisfatto di come sta procedendo il mio apprendistato. Dal punto di vista della guida, sto imparando come gestire al meglio la moto nell’ultima parte della frenata e in uscita di curva. Domani cercheremo di migliorare ulteriormente”.
“Oggi il nostro programma è proseguito in maniera positiva con entrambi i piloti: purtroppo Alvaro ha perso un po’ di tempo in mattinata, ma alla fine è riuscito ad ottenere un buon tempo e a mostrare un buon passo. Sono comunque convinto che domani potrà stare ancora più vicino ai primi. Abbiamo ancora tanto da fare, domani continueremo a lavorare sulle sospensioni e a provare le nuove gomme Bridgestone, sia quella da gara che quella più morbida, per tentare un primo ‘time attack’. Scott ha continuato il suo apprendistato e ha migliorato i suoi tempi, avvicinandosi alle altre ‘Production Racer’, anche se ovviamente si tratta di una moto tutta nuova sia per noi che per lui. L’importante adesso è continuare a lavorare con calma: diamoci il tempo, siamo soltanto al secondo giorno di test”.
ALVARO BAUTISTA AND SCOTT REDDING CONTINUE PRODUCTIVE TEST IN SEPANG
The second day of testing in Sepang allowed both riders of the Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini, Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding, to complete a positive day’s work on their bikes’ set-up, getting good improvements.
Despite a problem with the brake lever in the morning, Alvaro Bautista was able to complete 55 laps, posting in the latter part of the session an excellent 2’00”897, already better than the qualifying lap time recorded by the Spaniard in the last Malaysian Grand Prix. His work was focused on the new Bridgestone tyres and on two new rear suspension shock absorbers brought by Showa. On the other side of the box, Scott Redding continued his apprenticeship on the “Open” Honda RCV1000R, improving his times by over a second, going up to 2’03”117 in 53 laps.
Practice will resume tomorrow for the third and final day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (2’00″897 – 55 LAPS)
“Today was a very productive day, even if I could not run for most of the morning due to problem with the brakes, that we solved only in the afternoon. I tried a couple of new Showa shock absorbers for the rear suspension: one of these, in particular, seems to work well with the new tyre that Bridgestone brought for this test, so we will continue to work in this direction. Despite the time lost during the morning, we are happy: moreover, I did my best time in the afternoon, certainly not in the best conditions, with the track very hot and when I was already a bit tired. Tomorrow I am convinced that we can improve, both in terms of feeling with the bike and lap times”.
SCOTT REDDING (2’03″117 – 53 LAPS)
“Today was a little better than yesterday: I could put in a lot of laps and we are slowly closing the gap to the other Honda ‘Production Racers’. We worked hard on the braking and now I feel more comfortable on the bike. The track conditions and temperatures change a lot during the day and this is making me struggling a little bit, but generally speaking I am satisfied with how my apprenticeship is progressing. From the riding point of view, I’m learning how to brake into the corner and getting the bike turned on exit. Tomorrow we will try to further improve it”.
“Today our program continued in a positive manner with both riders. Despite losing a bit of time in the morning, in the end Alvaro managed to set a good lap time, showing a good pace. I think that tomorrow he will be even closer to the fastest. We still have much to do, tomorrow we will continue to work on the suspension and we will try the new Bridgestone tyres, both the race and the softer tyre, for a first ‘time attack’. Scott continued his apprenticeship and has improved his time, closing the gap with the other ‘Production Racers’. The important thing now for him and for the team is to continue to work with calm: we are only on the second day of testing”.