Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the second day of testing at Sepang:
Final times for the second day of testing:
Marc Marquez tops the timesheets halfway through the day at Sepang, with the track gone quiet in the heat of the day. The Repsol Honda man punched in a very fast lap shortly before 2pm to break into the 1'59s, the first rider to do so this test. Marquez' time is still 0.3 off the fastest ever time around the circuit, set by Casey Stoner back in 2011.
Marquez is now four tenths ahead of his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, who had led for most of the session. Stefan Bradl is just three thousandths of a second slower than Pedrosa, making it three Hondas topping the timesheets. An armada of Yamahas follow the Hondas, with Valentino Rossi fastest, ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the Open class Yamaha FTR, Bradley Smith on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, and Jorge Lorenzo on the second factory Yamaha. Times are close, however, with less than three tenths separating Pedrosa in 2nd from Lorenzo in 7th.
8th is Andrea Iannone, the Pramac Ducati rider continuing his impressive run at the test. Iannone's time of 2'00.855 is the fastest a Ducati has been around the Sepang circuit since the test here in Sepang in February 2010, when both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden were quicker. Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow are also more competitive than Ducati riders in the past, Dovizioso's time in the low 2'01s quicker than at previous tests.
It has been a fascinating first day of testing at Sepang. And like all fascinating days, it has been long, tiring, and utterly inspiring. There were surprises, disappointments, and rumors confirmed and denied. It was, in short, a good day at the office.
Marc Marquez was fastest – it goes almost without saying – the 2013 world champion picking up where he left off. He was quick from the off, and put in a final burst of speed at the end of the day to open the gap on the rest, finishing with half a second advantage. Braking stability was the watchword for the Repsol Honda team, especially rear grip on braking and corner entry, with both Marquez and Dani Pedrosa working on a slightly revised version of the 2014 RC213V which both men had tested at Valencia last year.
Their main focus – like those of everyone on their first day back on a MotoGP – was just to get used to the speed again. The switchover had been toughest for Cal Crutchlow, the Englishman claimed. He had ridden a motocross bike for exactly one day, he said, spending the rest of his winter training on his bicycle. The speed differential between a 20-speed racing bicycle and a 6-speed Ducati Desmosedici is nothing if not cavernous.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of testing at Sepang:
Times at the end of the first day of testing at Sepang:
Testing is well and truly underway at Sepang, with the bikes rolling out on to a relatively clean track in good conditions. Sepang has not seen any rain for weeks, and the temperature is cooler than in recent years. The good conditions are reflected in the times.
With the teams having taken a break for lunch, Marc Marquez sits on top of the timesheets, the reigning world champion starting the season as he left off at Valencia. Marquez and Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa are both riding the 2014 version of the RC213V, with its characteristic large air intake on the front of the fairing, resembling a basking shark feeding.
Jorge Lorenzo is the second fastest man so far, the Factory Yamaha rider three tenths off the time of Marquez, and just fractionally ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi. Rossi has made a strong start to the test, leading the times at one stage in the morning. The two satellite Hondas follow the two Factory Yamahas, Stefan Bradl two tenths behind Rossi, but fractionally quicker than Alvaro Bautista.
Bridgestone Press Release - Bridgestone Previews Sepang, And Assesses Tires For The Open Class In 2014
Bridgestone has issued its first press release of 2014, previewing the first MotoGP test of the year, due to start on Tuesday at Sepang. The press release discusses Bridgestone's plans for 2014, and goes into more detail on the decision facing the Japanese tire manufacturer over tires for the Open category in MotoGP. With the Open bikes much more varied, contrasting the Yamaha M1 engines, Honda RCV1000R, Aprilia's ART and Kawasakis to be used by the Avintia team, the range of power outputs is much wider than last year. Some Open class bikes may require the harder rear tire used by the Factory Option bikes, while others may require the extra soft option provided to the CRT machines last year. Bridgestone will have a lot of work to do at Sepang, assessing the tire options for the Open bikes, as well as examining new tires to be used by the Factory Option bikes.
The Bridgestone press release, containing some more detail on the tires, appears below:
Bridgestone heads to Malaysia for first MotoGP™ group test of 2014
Monday, February 3 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard
The test ban is over, and the MotoGP season is about to get underway. Bikes are already circulating, as the test riders put the first versions of the 2014 models through a shakedown to ensure that everything is in place, and working the way the engineers intended. In a few hours, we get the first glimpse of what the 2014 season could hold.
The rule changes for 2014, though at first glance relatively small, could have a major impact. For the front runners, the fuel allowance is dropped from 21 to 20 liters, a change requested by the manufacturers to give them the engineering challenge they demand to justify their involvement. All of the Factory Option (the designation for the bikes which have been referred to as factory prototypes for the last two seasons) entries must now use the spec Magneti Marelli ECU, but they retain the ability to develop their own software for the computer which sits at the heart of every modern vehicle. That reduced fuel allowance will place a premium on fuel conservation, meaning the manufacturer who can reduce friction, thermal efficiency and combustion efficiency will hold the upper hand.
It's not just the factory bikes that have a new designation. The CRT category has disappeared, replaced by the Open class. The change is not as big as the renaming would appear. Like the CRT bikes, they have 12 engines instead of 5 to last the season, and 24 liters of fuel to last each race. And like the Factory Option bikes, they must also use the spec Magneti Marelli ECU. The difference, with both the Factory Option bike and last year's CRT machines, is that now they must use the Dorna-controlled software, written by Magneti Marelli to Dorna specifications. The switch to control software means that the claiming rule, which defined the CRT class, has been dropped. Anyone can enter anything in the class, from modified Superbike (as long as, like Aprilia's ART machine, it uses a prototype chassis) to full-fat factory engine, as long as they use the spec software.
With the 2014 MotoGP season about to get underway, at least one team is likely to miss the first test of the year at Sepang, from 4-6 February. Speaking to the official MotoGP.com website, new signing Leon Camier said that the plan was to skip the first Sepang test and only attend the second test, taking place at the end of the month.
The reason for the delay is simple. The IODA Racing team is yet to sign a contract with Aprilia to supply them with bikes, despite the season being close to starting. According to the Italian magazine Motosprint, IODA are still haggling over the price with Aprilia, though an agreement is likely to be reached. Both Aprilia and IODA have an interest in reaching an agreement: IODA, as they do not really want to spend another season on the Suter BMW, undeveloped almost since its introduction two years ago; and Aprilia, as the IODA team is the only team willing to take the ART machines, with PBM having only signed up to use Aprilia's engines.
After a year of evolution in MotoGP which brought them few rewards, Ducati looks set for a radical shake up for next season. Respected Italian website GPOne.com is reporting that Ducati is considering racing in MotoGP as an Open entry, instead of under the Factory option. In practice, Ducati would be free of the engine freeze in place for Factory Option teams in 2014, have 24 liters of fuel instead of 20, and twelve engines per season instead of just five. In addition, they have more freedom to test with factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. In exchange, they will have to forego the freedom to develop their own software, and will run the spec Dorna-supplied software instead.
GPOne's source is impeccable, quoting Ducati factory rider Andrea Dovizioso. The two bikes - the GP13 in factory configuration, and in the Open configuration with more fuel and the spec software - have already been tested back-to-back, at the test in Jerez in November. However, those bikes were ridden by test riders, and not by Ducati factory men Dovizioso and Crutchlow. 'The real test will come when we test the bike,' Dovizioso told GPOne.com. That test is set to happen at Sepang, at the first test of the 2014 season from 4th to 6th February. One of the things which was said to be improved was the engine response when running with more fuel. An aggressive throttle response is something which Ducati riders have all complained of in the past, and having more fuel available could alleviate.
The first major change to the 2014 MotoGP schedule has been announced. Though the dates remain the same, the order of the Asian flyaway triple header has been reshuffled, with Sepang moving from first of the three to last. The Grand Prix classes will now head to Japan first, for the Japanese GP at Motegi on 12th October, before heading south to Australia for the Phillip Island round a week later, on 19th October. The weekend after that the MotoGP paddock visits Malaysia, for the last of the three overseas races at Sepang on 26th October.
The change is unlikely to be the last. It is widely anticipated that the new track in Brasilia will not be ready for the Brazilian round of MotoGP on 28th September, and that the Motorland Aragon race, due to take place on 21st September, will be rescheduled for a week later. That decision will not take place for some time, however, as the Autodromo Brasilia Nelson Piquet will be given a few more months before the mandatory circuit homologation inspection.
Below is the updated, and still provisional, 2014 MotoGP calendar, with changes highlighted in bold. You can always find the latest, most up-to-date version including all changes on this page.
The 2014 MotoGP calendar:
2014 World Superbike, World Supersport and FIM Superstock 1000 calendar (provisional)
At long last, the FIM and Dorna have released a calendar for the World Superbike and World Supersport classes for 2014. The calendar features fourteen World Superbike events, but it is still very much a provisional list, with three of the fourteen still subject to contract, and the final race still marked as to be confirmed, with neither the location nor the country known.
The season kicks off as always in Australia, the World Superbike and World Supersport classes headed to the Phillip Island circuit for the opener on 23rd of February. There follows another WSBK tradition: the interminable wait for round 2. In 2014, there are seven weeks between the first and second rounds, with the second event taking place at the Motorland Aragon circuit just outside of Alcañiz. The WSBK circus then takes off for a tour through Europe, heading to Assen, Imola and Donington Park, before heading overseas again to Sepang, and a Malaysian round. Two rounds in Europ follow, at Misano and Portimao, before the World Superbike class heads to Laguna Seca, taking the slot vacated by the MotoGP class.