Archive - Race Or Practice Result
February 25th, 2015
2015 MotoGP Sepang 1 vs Sepang 2 Test Comparison: Barbera, Crutchlow And Open Hondas Show Most Improvement
While the focus of most testing is on the rider who goes fastest - that, after all, is the point of motorcycle racing - only looking at the best times does not tell the full story. If the aim of testing is to improve, then measuring improvement can reveal the shift in power, and give hints of the shape of things to come.
Comparing times between the Sepang 1 and Sepang 2 tests show Hector Barbera as the man who has got the most out of the two tests. The Avintia Ducati rider has already shown solid pace, ending the test as 8th overall on the Open Class GP14, and ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Ducati GP15. Barbera is clearly highly motivated, and with a much more competitive bike, capable of some interesting results. After the two Sepang tests, he has staked his claim as the favorite to win the Open class in 2015, if he can translate his one-lap pace into the race.
Marc Marquez finished on top of the timesheets at the second test at Sepang, posting a fast lap early and then switching his focus to race set up. The Repsol Honda rider completed a punishing test, grinding out 73 laps in the blistering heat of Sepang, 12 more than any other rider. Marquez finished with a race simulation in the final hour of the test. Jorge Lorenzo leaves Sepang as 2nd fastest, the Movistar Yamaha rider satisfied with the work done so far, and the gap to Marquez three tenths of a second. Cal Crutchlow surprised many with a fast lap in the morning, made despite braking problems to take third slot, ahead of Andrea Iannone on the Ducati GP15. Valentino Rossi was 5th fastest, and Dani Pedrosa was one of the few riders to improve their times at the end of the day, finally cracking the two minute barrier.
The combined timesheet looks very similar to the timesheet from Wednesday, almost everyone improving their lap time on the final day. Only Andrea Dovizioso, Loris Baz and Yamaha test rider Katsuaki Nakagama were faster yesterday, the difference for Dovzioso meaning he climbs up to 9th in the combined standings.
With temperatures hotter again on Wednesday, a lot of riders got their fast laps in early on the last day of the official test, at least on Bridgestones. Marc Marquez was, unsurprisingly, the fastest, his quick lap impressive, but unable to match the record time he set at the first Sepang test. Jorge Lorenzo took 2nd, and did manage to beat his best time from Sepang 1, perhaps a sign of the progress Yamaha have made. Cal Crutchlow was 3rd quickest, and nearly a second faster than his best time at the first, though the LCR Honda rider was struggling with brake problems similar to those suffered by Marc Marquez on Monday.
Andrea Iannone was the fastest of the Ducatis, taking 4th spot aehad of Valentino Rossi, while Bradley Smith improved to takes 6th, and the last rider under the two minute mark for the moment. Dani Pedrosa has the 7th fastest time so far, ahead of Hector Barbera on the Open class Ducati, an impressive feat from the Avintia rider, though he found a wheel to follow to set the time. Aleix Espargaro is in 9th, while Andrea Dovizioso rounds out the top ten on the other factory Ducati. With temperatures starting to cool a little, riders will likely put in another attempt to improve their times at the end of the day, when track conditions are a little more conducive to fast laps.
Times at 4pm:
Marc Marquez has ended the second day of testing at Sepang on top of the timesheets, after cracking under the two minute barrier in the relative cool of the morning. With temperatures a little lower than yesterday, times were quicker, with both Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo managing to get under the two minute mark. The Ducati GP15 performed well, the two Andreas taking 3rd and 4th spots. Dovizioso set his time in the morning, while Iannone leapt ahead of his teammate in the last few minutes with lap that got him to within two tenths of Marc Marquez.
Dani Pedrosa took 5th spot, ahead of Valentino Rossi, the Honda and Yamaha riders posting fast times at the start of the day, and concentrating on testing for the rest of the day. Bradley Smith and Cal Crutchlow posted their fast times at the end of the session, Smith having moved up t 7th from 13th spot, while Crutchlow had already set a quick lap in the morning. Aleix Espargaro set the 9th quickest time in the morning, the Suzuki proving to be quick, and beat his brother, Tech 3 Yamaha rider Pol, into 10th.
Marc Marquez tops the timesheets with a few hours to go on the second day of the Sepang test, the Spaniard clearly over his braking problems from yesterday. Jorge Lorenzo is also better than yesterday, the Movistar Yamaha man looking pale and drawn on the first day and suffering from jet lag. Lorenzo has been pounding in fast laps andi is just behind Marquez' time.
The Ducati Desmosedici GP15 may be new, but it is showing a lot of promise, Andrea Dovizioso posting a very quick time on the GP15 to take 3rd spot, just ahead of Dani Pedros and Valentino Rossi. Aleix Espargaro has confirmed the strength of the Suzuki, Espargaro being just a tenth slower than Rossi, but up among the front runners, with Andrea Iannone right behind him. Cal Crutchlow follows, having closed the gap considerably on the LCR Honda, two thirds of a second off Marquez, but just a couple of tenths behind Pedrosa. Pol Espargaro is currently 9th on the Tech 3 Yamaha, while Danilo Petrucci is a highly creditable 10th, on the older version of the GP14.
Times at 4pm:
Valentino Rossi has topped the timesheets on the first day of the second Sepang MotoGP test. In a day marked by the weather, the Movistar Yamaha rider set a quick lap in the morning, before the extreme heat became too oppressive, to finish ahead of Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda and Pol Espargaro on the Tech 3 Yamaha.
The weather played a major role all day at Sepang. The day started hot, the heat increasing towards the afternoon, causing the track to be greasy and prompting complaints of a lack of grip. That left a lot of riders stuck in their pit boxes to sit out the hottest part of the day, in the hope of doing more work at the end of the day. The weather gods were not inclined to be merciful, however, and heavy rain started falling around 4:30pm, just as riders were taking to the track once again. Rain and thunderstorms played havoc with the rest of the day, a couple of lightning strikes causing the session to be red-flagged, then restarted.
The second test at Sepang has gotten underway in sweltering conditions, the heat much greater than at the first test two weeks ago, making the track greasier and times slower. The heat has limited action, with times set during the morning, and riders taking a long break for lunch. Valentino Rossi is currently fastest, the Movistar Yamaha man leading the Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa by just over a tenth of a second. In third is Aleix Espargaro, the Suzuki man very quick out of the gate on the bike.
The plan for Ducati changed at the last minute, meaning that the Ducati riders took the GP15 out today, instead of waiting until Tuesday, as was the original plan. Andrea Dovizioso's fourth quickest time was set on the GP14.3, however, the bike Ducati brought to the Sepang 1 test, while Iannone has been doing runs on the GP15, his quickest time set on the new bike.
Times at 4:15pm:
Rain was showing south of the track, but luckily it didn't get close to the track and left the riders to get on with twenty two more laps of close racing.
Eighteen uninterrupted laps under light cloud cover offering excellent conditions for racing.
With a high track temperature, managing tyre life was assumed to be the way to win the race, offering a potentially pedestrian race. Luckily, the tyres performed perfectly well and we got an exciting, close race instead.
After incidents in World Superbike qualifying, the start to qualifying was pushed back an hour.
With no Evo class for 2015, an easily predicted division between Superpoles one and two isn't as clear-cut as it was last year. The weather was warm and clear and the track was hot, but red flags affected both sessions.
In the untimed session before Superpole, Michael van der Mark was quicker than Tom Sykes by a hundredth of a second. Leon Haslam was not far behind and Alex Lowes was within two tenths of van der Mark.
Jules Cluzel was one thousandth of a second slower than his best time from yesterday but was still quickest ahead of Kyle Smith who was unable to beat Kenan Sofuoglu's best Friday lap.
Gino Rea continues to perform well in his return to the series with the third fastest lap, quicker than Lorenzo Zanetti and Kenan Sofuoglu.
Leon Haslam was the quicker of the two Aprilias with Jordi Torres settling for second-best. Jonathan Rea was third quickest, but his time didn't yesterday's fastest from Alex Lowes.
Troy Bayliss continues to keep his promise of taking it easy in free practice with the sixteenth quickest time today, seventeenth overall, improving his time each session so far. Gábor Rizmayer did not take part in this session as yesterday's crash ruled him out for the weekend.