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MotoGP 2014: Marquez ahead of rivals as first Sepang test concludes


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Annunci

MotoGP 2014: Marquez rapid as Espargaro’s Open finishes fifth


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2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release

Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez upped the pace as testing continued in Malaysia on Wednesday, while NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro placed an Open specification bike inside the top five for the first time.

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With conditions just as good as they had been on Tuesday, it was Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa who led the way for much of the first half of the day. The World Champion then smashed through the two-minute barrier shortly before his lunch break, after which there were substantially less changes in lap times. It remains to be seen as to whether Marquez can better Casey Stoner’s 2012 pre-season time of 1’59.607, also registered on a Repsol Honda motorcycle.

With Repsol Honda first and second, Stefan Bradl was third for LCR Honda MotoGP (three thousandths down on Pedrosa) with Valentino Rossi fourth for Yamaha Factory Racing. Aleix Espargaro again displayed the promise of the new Open FTR-Yamaha combination, as his Forward machine was barely two tenths down on the nearest Factory Honda, with Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo sixth; the former double title winner was attempting to improve handling issues, encountered on Day 1 as a result of setup changes made in a bid to improve fuel consumption, as for 2014 the Factory Option bikes are limited by a further litre of fuel to just 20 across a race distance.

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Bradley Smith spearheaded the Monster Yamaha Tech3 charge, with Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone in eighth position; on the leading Ducati, the Italian was some seven tenths of a second quicker than he had been on Tuesday. Alvaro Bautista was ninth for GO&FUN Honda Gresini, but his day was not without its problems; at 11:30, the Spaniard suffered a technical problem and thus took a shortcut back to the pit lane. The top ten was completed by Smith’s team-mate Pol Espargaro, while brother Aleix’s team-mate Colin Edwards was the only rider to not improve his lap time today, but his best effort from Day 1 still leaves the American 15th on the combined timesheet.

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Ducati Team bikes were locked together once again, this time filling positions 11 to 13 with Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and test rider Michele Pirro, with their quickest lap time some 1.3 seconds quicker than it had been 24 hours earlier. In the Honda RCV1000R ranks, the quickest rider was again Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden as the 2006 World Champion managed to circulate 1.1 seconds faster than he had on Day 1. As ever, the true pace of all bikes is difficult to gauge as fuel loads and other such details remain highly secretive. However, more clues may be available on Thursday as a selection of riders aim for race simulations; such long-run pace often serves as a better indicator, although this is only the first of four Official pre-season tests set to be staged prior to the season-opening Grand Prix in Qatar on 23 March.

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The Suzuki Test Team ended the day 20th with Randy de Puniet – 3.1 seconds behind Marquez but eight tenths of a second faster than the Frenchman’s own best lap of Tuesday – as they continued their journey ahead of a MotoGP™ return in 2015. Elsewhere, premier class rookies Scott Redding, Broc Parkes and Mike di Meglio continued adapting to their respective Honda RCV1000R, PBM and Avintia bikes for the corresponding Gresini, Paul Bird Motorsport and Avintia Racing teams.

Thursday will mark the third and final day of this week’s Sepang Official MotoGP™ Test, with identical running times of 10am-6pm local time (GMT +8).

MotoGP 2014: Marquez leads on opening day of Sepang test


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2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release

World Champion Marc Marquez topped the timesheets as this week’s Sepang Official MotoGP™ Test began today. The Repsol Honda Team rider led the way from Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi and Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, with leading Open rider Aleix Espargaro seventh for NGM Mobile Forward.

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Following the usual break for lunch in the middle of the day, the final of the eight hours saw track temperatures drop which allowed riders to push for quicker lap times. This duly saw Marquez post 2’00.286, half a second up on Rossi as both the Italian and Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa jumped ahead of Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha in the final minutes of the day. The top six was completed by GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.

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At Repsol Honda, this year’s RC213V features a larger air intake in an attempt to increase top speeds and improve throttle response on the exit of corners, with Marquez posting the leading effort fresh from historically claiming the title in Valencia last year. In the Yamaha garage, Rossi continued to develop his working relationship with new Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera, who first worked alongside the nine-time World Champion for the post-race test after the final Grand Prix of 2013.

Much attention was on Ducati Team, with talk continuing to circulate that the outfit could elect to race under the new Open regulations this year; this would allow up to 24 litres of fuel as opposed to the 20 of the Factory Options, as well as working on engines during the season and not being limited by the new engine freeze. Also this season, all bikes in the field are running the spec ECU hardware for the first time; however Factory Options are free to use their own software, whereas Opens must adapt the spec software as supplied by Dorna Sports and Magneti Marelli.

The leading Open representative on this occasion was Forward’s Aleix Espargaro (seventh position), with Factory Option riders Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3 team-mates) helping to complete the top ten. Colin Edwards (Forward) overcame early technical difficulties to finish 11th quickest, as Ducati Team filled spots 12 to 14 with Andrea Dovizioso, test rider Michele Pirro and Cal Crutchlow. The leading Honda RCV1000R customer bike was that of 2006 title winner Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) in 17th place.

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At Paul Bird Motorsport, Michael Laverty (25th position) suffered a frustrating start to proceedings, plagued first by brake problems and then by an engine failure. All teams were present with the exception of IodaRacing, which plans to make its 2014 track debut at the second Sepang test which is to run at the end of the month.

Testing continues at the Sepang International Circuit over the next two days, again running between 10am and 6pm local time (GMT +8).

MotoGP 2013: Marquez heads test as Hernandez joins Pramac


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MotoGP Official Test at Misano Report
Mon, 16 September 2013

Marc Marquez was quickest in Monday’s post-race test at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. As the championship leader moved ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, Suzuki continued its programme ahead of a MotoGP™ return and Yonny Hernandez made his first appearance in Ignite Pramac Racing colours.

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The full day of testing gave those present a perfect opportunity to put right what had not worked over the San Marino Grand Prix race weekend, as well as trialing new and updated components both for the rest of this season and for 2014. For the record, Marquez’s last-gasp lap of 1’33.264 demoted Lorenzo by two tenths of a second, with Valentino Rossi completing the top three on the second Yamaha Factory Racing bike.

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For Repsol Honda Team, the programme revolved around a non-liveried evolution bike of the one first sampled in the Aragon test that followed the Catalan GP in June; this was the first time that particular version of the machine had been ridden, as rain had prevented Casey Stoner from doing so at his last Motegi test. Marquez and Dani Pedrosa also worked with the current bike, focusing on a new swingarm and new rear shocks.

Suzuki stuck to their usual plan in terms of rider roles, with Randy de Puniet serving as the main tester alongside Nobuatsu Aoki. Ahead of the company’s return to the World Championship in 2015, running at Misano is likely to come as a great help in order to extract data from a new track in a bid to define chassis development to a greater level; the marque continues to test with Mitsubishi ECU software for the time being, but is working with the Magneti Marelli spec system back at base. Individually, Suzuki will continue testing at Misano across Tuesday and Wednesday.

There was a new challenge for Yonny Hernandez, as the Colombian is now riding for Pramac Racing Team to cover for the injured Ben Spies. He used the test as an opportunity to adapt to the bike ahead of the Aragon race, while teammate Andrea Iannone looked into Brembo brake discs and smaller components, experimenting with settings ahead of specific upcoming race events. Brakes was also the prime focus for Ducati Team, with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso then looking into both software development and clutch settings. Michele Pirro was back in Ducati Test Team colours, sharing his bike with Franco Battaini to analyse a 2014-spec engine plus new software, in order to share feedback with engineers who continue to work on the development of next year’s machine.

GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista made the top five, placing the emphasis on Showa front forks and his Nissin brakes, as he and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl sandwiched Pedrosa into sixth position. In Bradl’s case, the workload consisted of mapping and bike geometry, including suspension modifications. At Avintia Blusens, Hector Barbera resumed work with the new pneumatic valve engine, having suffered chatter during Sunday’s race, while teammate Hiroshi Aoyama began the day with his more conventional engine that had failed during Free Practice on Friday.

The timesheet was completed by Michele Magnoni, currently competing in the Superstock 1000 championship. The Italian rode Lukas Pesek’s Came IodaRacing Project machine and could soon become the team’s official reserve rider, while compatriot Claudio Corti was involved in trying out a Magneti Marelli ECU software upgrade at NGM Mobile Forward Racing; this was also run by Michael Laverty, who was otherwise kept highly occupied with back-to-back comparison runs between the PBM in-house bike and the ART machine previously ridden by Hernandez.

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Although Marquez shook things up by posting the eventual quickest time with the 2014 prototype Honda right before the chequered flag signaled the end of an eight-hour day, activities had started very calmly as the circuit had been left drenched by a heavy rainstorm during the night.

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