With the three days of testing at the MotoGP class' second visit to Sepang now over, some preliminary conclusions can be drawn on the progress or otherwise that the teams have been making over the course of the two tests. Below are two comparison tables: the first one compares the improvement shown by the riders over the three days of the Sepang 2 test, while the second table compares the best times from the Sepang 1 and Sepang 2 tests, and the difference between the two.
One of the patterns which emerges from both tables is that the factory teams appear to make the least progress. Casey Stoner only improved his time from day 1 by just under 1.3 seconds, less than half the improvement made by Andrea Dovizioso, and a second or more less than almost all of the satellite riders, while the factory riders have improved the least. Something similar is apparent when comparing progress between the two tests, with the factory riders mainly going slower in the second test than they did at the first test a month ago.
Clearly, the factory riders started from a stronger base. The factory teams know what is coming at the tests, and have more data to prepare a workable base setup for their riders. The satellite teams have to wait for parts and information from the factory teams, and the data gathered over the course of a test allows for big steps forward to be made in setup. Factory teams are also working on real testing, trying out new parts and seeing whether they provide better feedback. For the satellite teams, they are mainly focused on finding a race setup, and can focus on actual pace rather than comparing the differences between various parts.
Looking at both tables, Andrea Dovizioso showed excellent progress, but the Italian's injury is a major factor in his improvement. The Italian still had a weak shoulder at the first Sepang test, and so was unable to work on finding the right riding position and setup. That work was all condensed into the three days of the Sepang 2 test, but even then, taking 3 seconds off his time from day 1 to day 3 is impressive.
That the CRT teams still have a lot of work to do is evidently abundant from the timesheets, but the improvements made by both the NGM Forward and Avintia BQR teams are also clear to see. Both Colin Edwards and Yonny Hernandez made major steps forward over the three days of testing at Sepang, but Edwards also took over a second off his best time between the two tests. Another brand new chassis from Suter - his 3rd since Valencia last year - made a big difference, getting rid of the worst of the chatter in the bike. But Edwards is still over 3 seconds behind the fastest riders - and 2 seconds off the satellite bikes at Sepang - so there is still a lot of progress needed if they are to be competitive.
|Rider||Bike||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Improvement|
|Hector Barbera||Ducati GP0||2:03.612||2:01.989||2:01.231||2.381|
|Colin Edwards||Suter BMW||2:05.510||2:05.816||2:03.681||2.135|
|Yonny Hernandez||FTR Kawasaki||2:08.767||2:08.213||2:06.632||2.135|
|Franco Battaini||Ducati Test||2:05.563||2:03.566||2:03.490||2.073|
|Valentino Rossi||Ducati GP12||2:03.245||2:02.130||2:01.550||1.695|
|Nicky Hayden||Ducati GP12||2:03.132||2:01.748||2:01.609||1.523|
|Ivan Silva||FTR Kawasaki||2:08.109||2:07.532||2:06.785||1.324|
|Rider||Bike||Sepang 1||Sepang 2||Difference|
|Ivan Silva||FTR Kawasaki CRT||2:08.225||2:06.785||- 1.440|
|Colin Edwards||Suter BMW CRT||2:04.722||2:03.681||- 1.041|
|Andrea Dovizioso||Yamaha||2:01.257||2:00.802||- 0.455|
|Stefan Bradl||Honda||2:01.894||2:01.492||- 0.402|
|Cal Crutchlow||Yamaha||2:01.108||2:00.986||- 0.122|
|Nicky Hayden||Ducati GP12||2:01.729||2:01.609||- 0.120|
|Alvaro Bautista||Honda||2:01.384||2:01.275||- 0.109|
|Hector Barbera||Ducati GP0||2:00.929||2:01.231||+ 0.302|
|Dani Pedrosa||Honda||2:00.256||2:00.648||+ 0.392|
|Franco Battaini||Ducati Test||2:03.033||2:03.490||+ 0.457|
|Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha||2:00.198||2:00.877||+ 0.679|
|Valentino Rossi||Ducati GP12||2:00.824||2:01.550||+ 0.726|
|Casey Stoner||Honda||1:59.607||2:00.473||+ 0.866|
|Ben Spies||Yamaha||2:00.495||2:01.432||+ 0.937|
|Jordi Torres||FTR Kawasaki CRT||2:10.184|
|Karel Abraham||Ducati GP0||2:02.218|
|Katsuyuki Nakasuga||Yamaha Test||2:02.334|
|Robertino Pietri||FTR Kawasaki CRT||2:09.640|
|Yonny Hernandez||FTR Kawasaki CRT||2:06.632|