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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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”.
MotoGP 2014: QUINTO TEMPO PER BAUTISTA NEL PRIMO GIORNO DI TEST IN MALESIA. REDDING ACCUMULA ESPERIENZA
OFFICIAL GRESINI PRESS RELEASE – 4 Febbraio 2014
In Malesia ha ufficialmente preso il via la stagione 2014 della MotoGP, con i primi test sul circuito di Sepang. Dopo la lunga pausa invernale, entrambi i piloti del Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini sono potuti risalire sulle rispettive moto: Alvaro Bautista ha preso contatto con la versione 2014 della Honda RC213V, mentre il suo compagno di squadra, Scott Redding, ha potuto conoscere in maniera più approfondita la Honda RCV1000R, recuperando il tempo perso lo scorso novembre a Valencia per via del polso ancora dolorante.
Bautista ha completato 52 giri, chiudendo la prima giornata di test malesi in quinta posizione con un miglior tempo di 2’01”240; Scott Redding ha invece completato 48 giri, segnando un tempo di 2’04”431.
I test riprenderanno domani per il secondo dei tre giorni di prove programmati al Sepang International Circuit.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (2’01″240 – 52 GIRI)
“E’ stata una prima giornata di test molto positiva! È stato bello tornare su una MotoGP dopo quasi tre mesi di pausa: nei primi giri ho dovuto riprendere confidenza con la moto, riattivare i meccanismi e ritrovare i giusti riferimenti, ma ad essere sincero non mi ci è voluto molto, perché mi sono subito trovato a mio agio con la nuova RC213V. Oggi mi sono concentrato fondamentalmente a riprendere il ritmo, senza intervenire sull’assetto: domani inizieremo invece a lavorare sulle sospensioni assieme ai tecnici Showa, che hanno portato diverso materiale nuovo, e anche sui freni Nissin; ne proveremo di diversi tipi per cercare di migliorare anche in fase di frenata. Parlando della RC213V versione 2014, mi è piaciuta subito, credo che il pacchetto composto da telaio, motore e sospensioni sia già molto buono, un’ottima base sulla quale lavorare in vista della prima gara”.
SCOTT REDDING (2’04″431 – 48 GIRI)
“È stata una prima giornata positiva, sono felice di essere tornato finalmente a guidare al cento per cento, senza problemi al polso, anche se fisicamente per me è stata comunque una giornata dura a causa del caldo. Sulla RCV1000R mi trovo già bene, anche sarà necessario lavorare sull’elettronica e sulla frenata per progredire. Domani lavoreremo anche sull’assetto cercando di migliorare il comportamento della moto in curva”.
“Sono contento di come si è svolto questo primo giorno di test: ad Alvaro è piaciuta subito la nuova moto e infatti è stato molto veloce, tanto che nel finale avrebbe anche potuto migliorare leggermente il suo miglior tempo. Abbiamo riscontrato soltanto qualche difficoltà in fase di frenata, per questo stiamo già lavorando assieme ai tecnici di Nissin per trovare una soluzione già a partire da domani, quindi sono fiducioso. Per quanto riguarda Scott, si è trattato di fatto del suo primo vero test, per cui non ha cercato il tempo, ma ha soltanto puntato a prendere confidenza con la moto. Domani avremo tanto lavoro da fare, siamo certi di avere un buon margine di miglioramento”.
Malaysia has officially kicked off the 2014 MotoGP season, with the first day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit. After the long winter break, both riders of Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini were back on the saddle: Alvaro Bautista quickly got to grips with the new 2014 version of the Honda RC213V, while his teammate, Scott Redding, was able to complete several laps on his Honda RCV1000R, recovering some of the time lost last November in Valencia because of the wrist still sore.
Bautista completed 52 laps, finishing the first day of testing in Malaysia in fifth position with a best time of 2’01”240, while Scott Redding completed 48 laps, setting a time of 2’04”431.
Practice will resume tomorrow for the second of three days of testing scheduled at the Sepang International Circuit.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (2’01″240 – 52 LAPS)
“It’s been a very positive first day of testing! It was nice to be back on a MotoGP bike after nearly three months of winter break: in the first laps I had to regain confidence with the bike, re-activate the mechanisms and find the right references, but to be honest it took me not too much, because I immediately found at ease with the new RC213V. Today I focused basically on regaining the right rythm, without working on bike set-up; however, tomorrow we will begin to work on the suspension together with Showa, which brought some new items, and also on the Nissin brakes, testing different kind of brakes to try to improve also the braking. Speaking about the new RC213V, I loved it: I think the package of chassis, engine and suspension is already very good, an excellent base on which to work ahead of the first race”.
SCOTT REDDING (2’04″431 – 48 LAPS)
“This first day of testing was good, I was really happy to ride again at full strength, without physical problems, although it was hard for me to ride all day because of the weather conditions. The bike was working well, I like riding it, but we need to improve on the electronic and braking. Tomorrow we will focus on set-up, in order to make the bike turn better”.
“I’m happy about this first day of testing: Alvaro immediately liked the new bike and it was very fast. We found only a few difficulties during braking, but we are already working together with Nissin engineers to find a solution as early as tomorrow, so I’m confident about it. Regarding Scott, it was actually his first real test, so his focus was not on lap times, but he only managed to get familiar with the bike. Tomorrow we will have much work to do, we are sure to have a good margin of improvement”.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Marco Simoncelli to become MotoGP™ Legend
Italian rider Marco Simoncelli is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a MotoGP™ Legend. The popular former 250cc World Champion was a front-runner in the premier class before tragically losing his life to an accident in 2011.
In becoming a MotoGP™ Legend, Simoncelli’s name will be the 21st on the list as he joins a list of 20 other greats. To the shock of race fans around the world, the Gresini rider lost his life on Sunday 23 October 2011 in a crash on the second lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix, just one week after finishing in second place at Phillip Island.
The Italian rider dazzled the World Championship paddock with his charisma, ability and racing style and was a World Champion, having taken the 250 crown in 2008 – a title he narrowly missed out on defending in 2009. Arriving in the premier class in 2010, his progress was rapid and before his untimely death Simoncelli had already taken two premier class podiums and two poles in a strong second campaign.
Marco Simoncelli’s introduction as a MotoGP™ Legend will take place at this year’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, as he joins the list already including compatriot Giacomo Agostini plus Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Daijiro Kato, Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Freddie Spencer, John Surtees, Casey Stoner and Carlo Ubbiali.
2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release
MotoGP™ Official Test Sepang 1
Monday, 3rd February
Tomorrow will see the much-awaited opening MotoGP™ test of 2014 as the field gathers in Malaysia. For the first time this year, Factory and Open machines will share the track as riders and personnel get to grips with new teams.
Tuesday will see the much-awaited opening MotoGP™ test of 2014 as the field gathers in Malaysia. For the first time this year, Factory and Open machines will share the track as riders and personnel get to grips with new teams.
Following on from the post-Valencia Grand Prix test in November that saw new bikes break cover for the first time, 2014 testing now begins in earnest with the traditional early-year trip to the Sepang International Circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
Key terms this season are ‘Factory’ and ‘Open’, with the CRT label having now disappeared from the sport. Furthermore, the first Sepang gathering will mark one of only two occasions on which all teams and riders are able to share a race track for testing this pre-season, as the March Tyre Test at Phillip Island in Australia will feature only the official riders of the factory teams, with those in question then not taking part in the following test at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
At Sepang this week, Marc Marquez will continue development with Repsol Honda Team as he retains the number 93 plate, having elected not to take on the World Champion’s privilege of running number 1. On the other side of the garage, Dani Pedrosa will continue to adapt to no longer working directly with long-term mentor Alberto Puig. There are also staff changes for Valentino Rossi, as he resumes work with new Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera who replaces Jeremy Burgess.
For Ducati Team, 2014 is the start of a new era. Andrea Dovizioso reunites with former Monster Yamaha Tech3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow, as ex Aprilia guru Gigi Dall’Igna joins the outfit for what is hoped to be a dramatic turnaround in fortune over the next few seasons. The Italian, now in the role of General Manager for Ducati Corse, aims to start by improving communication between team members working at the circuits and those back at base in Bologna, Italy. Boosting the line-up for this test, Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro will also be in action at Sepang, as well as Yamaha Factory Test Team’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Wataru Yoshikawa plus HRC Test Team representative Kosuke Akiyoshi.
The satellite riders take on new challenges as well. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl returns to Sepang for the first time since breaking his ankle during last year’s race meeting, while Tech3 field reigning Moto2™ World Champion Pol Espargaro – younger brother of Aleix – alongside Bradley Smith. Preparation for the test has been slightly disrupted for the French outfit, which two weeks ago suffered an untimely flood in its Bormes-les-Mimosas base. The satellites are completed by Alvaro Bautista with GO&FUN Honda Gresini and the Pramac Racing Ducati of Andrea Iannone. Both Gresini and Pramac have split their development, however, as second riders Scott Redding and Yonny Hernandez will race Open equipment. At the time same, Gresini is the only team on the grid to be competing with Showa suspension and Nissin brakes on both of its bikes.
For the first time ever, all bikes in the premier class are now running the Dorna-supplied electronic control unit (ECU) as part of the continued initiative to lower running costs in MotoGP™. Yet there are numerous subtle differences between Factory and Open specification bikes. The Open machines must also use the spec software supplied with the ECU by Italian firm Magneti Marelli, whereas Factory entrants are able to make use of their own programs. However, Open riders will be able to enjoy 12 engines per season, contrasting with the five powerplants of Factory bikes which are frozen in development and may not be modified during the season; with this in mind, engine management now becomes more critical than ever before. On top of this, Factories are constricted to running 20 litres of fuel across a race distance (one less than last year), while there are 24 for the Open riders.
Other exciting additions to the grid include four brand-new Honda RCV1000R customer bikes, to be ridden by Gresini’s Redding, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and the Drive M7 Aspar Team pairing of Hiroshi Aoyama and 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, who is competing on a Honda motorcycle for the first time in over five years. NGM Mobile Forward racing is running an FTR-Yamaha package including a lease engine deal; with this, the outfit will have five Yamaha engines per rider across the season (three new units and two rebuilds). Within the team, Colin Edwards is joined by Aleix Espargaro.
A total of five rookies are on this year’s grid, with former Moto2™ rivals Pol Espargaro and Redding accompanied by Britain’s Leon Camier (British Supersport and British Superbike title winner of 2005 and 2009, respectively) with IodaRacing Project, although the team is not testing this week. Australian Broc Parkes has signed up with PBM – with the team this year racing two own-built bikes for the first time – while France’s Mike di Meglio returns from an injury-affected 2013 to make his premier class debut with Avintia Racing.
The first Official MotoGP™ Test of 2014 will run between Tuesday and Thursday, with the Sepang track open between 10am and 6pm local time (GMT +8).
MotoGP™ 2014 pre-season testing schedule:
1.Feb 4-6: Sepang 1
2.Feb 26-28: Sepang 2
3.Mar 3-5: Phillip Island (Tyre Test)
4.Mar 7-9: Losail
“La moto è migliorata, Lorenzo e il suo team hanno fatto un bel lavoro. La 1000cc è più veloce ma è anche più facile da guidare e questo grazie ad un bel passo in avanti a livello di elettronica. Puoi farci quello che vuoi, più o meno”. Queste la parole di Valentino Rossi dopo il primo vero test alla guida della sua nuova Yamaha M1.
05 Febbraio 2013: Sepang (Malesia)
Oggi, con la prima sessione di test, si apre ufficialmente a Sepang la stagione 2013 della MotoGP.
Quest’anno la Spagna presenta tre favoriti alla lotta al titolo iridato: l’attuale campione del mondo in carica Jorge Lorenzo su Yamaha Factory Racing, Dani Pedrosa su Honda Repsol ,e la new entry Marc Marquez attuale campione del mondo della categoria Moto2, ai quali si aggiunge sicuramente Valentino Rossi al suo ritorno in casa Yamaha al fianco del pilota majorchino.
La sessione di test non poteva iniziare in un modo migliore, e sono proprio i quattro piloti appena nominati che, sull’asfalto del Sepang International Circuit, si danno battaglia a ritmo di giri veloci. Bastano pochi giri ed ecco tornare il pilota di Tavullia al primo posto della classifica provvisoria, del resto il feeling con la M1 non lo ha mai perso. Dani e Jorge seguono a brevissima distanza; a fine giornata sarà Dani Pedrosa a fa segnare le prestazione migliore, seguito da Lorenzo, Marquez e Rossi. Il distacco tra i primi quattro è inferiore al mezzo secondo.
Siamo ancora alla prima giornata di test, ed altre ne seguiranno, ma questi primi e pochi dati potrebbero essere sufficienti a dare una prospettiva abbastanza chiara su chi sarà in lotta per il titolo mondiale 2013.
Valentino Rossi durante la prima intervista ufficiale post sessione, ha dichiarato con il sorriso sulle labbra “Questa è la mia moto“. Il pilota di Tavullia ha immediatamente trovato il giusto feeling con la M1 girando subito su tempi molto veloci. Valentino ringrazia anche il suo ritrovato compagno di squadra, dandogli il merito di aver contribuito alla realizzazione di una moto ancor migliore di quella che il dottore lasciò nel 2010 per abbracciare l’esperienza poco fruttuosa in Ducati.
Anche il campione del mondo Jorge Lorenzo si dimostra soddisfatto della sua M1, elogiando le doti del nuovo telaio elencandone vantaggi e svantaggi, ma rimanendo ancora dubbioso sul problema principale della Yamaha: la moto continua a muoversi molto in accelerazione
Desmosedici che lasci, Desmosedici che trovi?
E’ brutto anticipare le conclusioni, soprattutto alla fine della prima sessione di test, ma guardando in casa Ducati, mi sembra di vedere un film già visto più di una volta. La casa di Borgo Panigale, da poco passata sotto la dirigenza Audi, ha chiuso la prima giornata con Nicky Hayden e Andrea Dovizioso, rispettivamente con il 10° e 13° tempo fermando il cronometro a più di 2″ dalla vetta della classifica. E’ chiaro che la base della moto è quella dello scorso anno, ma è sicuramente da qui che bisogna ripartire per capire le problematiche di questa “rossa” nel tentativo di renderla più competitiva.
Tra qualche ora i campioni della MotoGP scenderanno nuovamente in pista a Sepang per la seconda sessione di prove ufficiali in vista della prima gara che si terrà Domenica 7 Aprile sul circuito di Losail in Quatar
Si ringrazia la DORNA SL per la gentile concessione ed utilizzo delle immagini