February 24th, 2015
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:
If the purpose of testing in Sepang is to ensure that as little time as possible is lost to the weather, then the first day of the MotoGP test fell well short of its objectives. The Malaysian circuit sweltered under oppressive tropical heat all day, rendering most of the day of little use for testing. With track temperatures approaching 60°C in the early afternoon, the grip disappeared, and the heat made riding a MotoGP bike a punishing affair. Then, just as the riders returned to the track as the air began to cool, a tropical thunderstorm washed the track out, with lightning causing the session to be red-flagged for a while. It was not a day in which the teams could get an awful lot done.
That was a shame, as they had an awful lot to do. Ducati had brought the GP15 for its on-track debut, Yamaha had its fully seamless gearbox, Suzuki had unleashed a few more horses from its GSX-RR, and Aprilia had a stack of chassis and electronics solutions to test on track. With on a couple of hours of productive track time, much was left untested.
The biggest question mark at Sepang would be how the Ducati GP15 would work. Would the new bike built under the direction finally cure the understeer which has plagued all previous iterations of the Desmosedici? Andrea Dovizioso had that question answered in the first two corners, he told reporters. When he went to turn the bike in, he found himself on the inside of the kerbs. All of the effort the previous bike required was gone. The GP15 turns, which was exactly what was required of it. "I'm really happy," Dovizioso said. "Now we can work in a normal way. When the bike turns like the competitor, I think you can adapt the bike to your riding style."
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of testing at Sepang:
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:
The engineers have had two weeks to pore over the data from the first MotoGP test at Sepang, identify problems, analyze strengths, and find more ways to go faster. Their analyses have been translated into designs, into new parts, into yet more software, ready to put their theories into practice. On Monday morning, at 10am Malaysian time, the MotoGP riders get to try out all of the new parts and ideas thought up by their factories and teams in search of a few more fractions of a second.
The eyes of the world will not be on what the engineers did between Sepang 1 and Sepang 2, however. Attention will be focused on Yamaha and Ducati, who will be testing hardware which has been a long time coming. Yamaha is bringing its fully seamless gearbox to the Sepang 2 test, and Ducati will roll out its Desmosedici GP15 for the first time. Both could make a significant impact.
In the short term, Yamaha's seamless gearbox is likely to be the most important development. It has not been officially confirmed that Yamaha will be bringing the full seamless gearbox (seamless in both upshifts and downshifts). Officially, people wearing Yamaha shirts will tell you that nothing has been decided yet, but well-informed gossip says that the seamless gearbox will be there, for both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Yamaha's test riders have been using it for several months now, Colin Edwards having tested it extensively at the end of last year.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the thrilling opening races at Phillip Island:
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.
Press releases from the World Supersport and World Superbike teams after qualifying at Phillip Island:
After incidents in World Superbike qualifying, the start to qualifying was pushed back an hour.