February 6th, 2015
Press releases from the teams after the final day of the first test at Sepang:
Track conditions at Sepang were never as good again as they were in the morning, meaning that only a handful of riders improved their times by the end of the test, the riders choosing instead to get back to testing work and work on their long runs. That left Marc Marquez on top of the timesheets, with a new lap record and as the only rider every to have posted a 1'58 lap. Dani Pedrosa was second quickest, the Spaniard just missing out on a 1'58 lap, but not disappointed, as he made a mistake on hsi fast lap and could have gone faster. Andrea Iannone was third fastest, ahead of the two Movistar Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Several riders ran race simulations, with Dani Pedrosa's universally judged by his competitors as the fastest. Marquez' long run was slower, but run later in the day, when track conditions were worse.
The ideal weather conditions at the start of the last day of testing at Sepang triggered a veritable qualifying war in the first hour, from which Marc Marquez emerged the victor. The Repsol Honda rider was already fast on his first run, but then went on an all-out attack, smashing the existing lap record and becoming the first rider to crack the 1'59 barrier, posting a time of 1'58.867, a whole second faster than the rest of the field.
The others closed the gap, but could not match his blistering pace. Teammate Dani Pedrosa got closest, coming up just shy of a 1'58 lap, posting a 1'59.006. Andrea Iannone was impressive on the Ducati, using the soft tire to his advantage to post a 1'59.388, ending ahead of a trio of Yamahas led by Valentino Rossi, with Jorge Lorenzo and Pol Espargaro behind. Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso was the last man to lap under 2'00.
Once the madness of the first hour had passed, testing resumed a more thoughtful pace. In the second hour, the riders continued the work of testing development parts and working on set up. If the times set this morning are to be bettered, it will come at the end of the day, but the marker laid down by Marquez will be tough to beat.
Times shortly after noon:
The first day of the first Sepang MotoGP test is always a revealing of secrets. It's not that the factories tell the media everything they are doing, but with everyone on the track, there is nowhere left to hide. The timesheets tell the tale.
The story of the second day is always a little more complex. Initial impressions from the first day are absorbed, the data examined and analyzed, and engineers and mechanics come up with new ideas. That means that riders are working on different ideas and in different directions, some changes work, others don't. Times become much more difficult to assess.
So what did we learn today? A lot. Not so much from the lap times – Jorge Lorenzo is fastest, and looking as good as ever, Andrea Dovizioso is incredibly quick, especially on a new soft tire, and the Hondas have chosen a direction to follow – but more about the underlying state of play. It was a fascinating day, despite the fact that the standing barely changed much after noon.
I went out and stood at track side for an hour, intending to walk all around the circuit using the service road. That proved to be optimistic – despite the fact that it is cooler here than it was last year, the heat quickly becomes brutal. I made it half way round, and given a visceral sense of how punishing riding a MotoGP bike at speed must be. It is really, really tough.
Increased heat at the end of the day saw no changes at the top of the standings, with only the riders behind Cal Crutchlow in 8th going fastest. Several riders said they were not really chasing lap times, the fast laps having been set during the morning. Thursday was all about set up work. With the test ending on Friday, tomorrow will be the day the riders put in a real time attack. The weather is expected to stay warm and dry, and allow another full day of testing.
Times at the end of day 2:
With the afternoon heat robbing the Sepang International Circuit of grip, little has changed on the MotoGP test timesheets since noon. Of the top 10, only Marc Marquez has improved his time, getting to within two tenths of fastest man Lorenzo. While riders are still out on track, the times won't start to drop until the last hour, once the temperature drops
Times at 3:45pm:
Weather conditions at Sepang continue to be idea for testing, and the riders are making the best of it. Jorge Lorenzo leads the times, having cracked the two minute barrier towards noon, displacing Andrea Dovizioso from top spot. The Repsol Hondas are 3rd and 4th quickest, while Andrea Iannone is 5th. Only Dovizioso is close to Lorenzo's time, while seven riders are within a second of the Spaniard's fast lap.
Jack Miller had an early tumble, falling at Turn 5, though he was uninjured.
Times at noon:
Press releases from some of the teams after the first day of testing at Sepang:
There is something about the sound of a MotoGP bike that stirs the blood once again. After a long winter, in which to reflect on the many negatives of following motorcycle racing – hard work for little money, endless trips through faceless airports to faceless hotels, and long periods away from home – a few milliseconds of the sound of a MotoGP bike being warmed up is enough to make you forget all that, and melt away the misery of business travel on the cheap under the fierce heat of passion for the sport. There is nothing that excites like motorcycle racing.
It was an intriguing first day back, with highs and lows, strong performers and real disappointments. The finishing order is not completely indicative of the real strength of the field, but it offers some sound clues as to who stands where.
Marc Márquez topped the timesheets, but he had to put in a fast lap on a new tire at the end of the day to depose the Yamahas. For it was Valentino Rossi who led the way for much of the first day of testing, the Italian happy to be back on a bike. It wasn't just Rossi who was quick: Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Tech 3's Pol Espargaro were the fastest of the bunch, with Márquez and Dani Pedrosa only occasionally interjecting to spoil the Yamaha fun.
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
On your marks, get set, test!
This is your early season wake-up call. Yes, in case you didn’t already know it, 2015 MotoGP testing began earlier today at Sepang. While I and many of you shivered over our porridge in Europe, Marc Márquez and the rest were turning sweaty laps in Malaysia’s tropical heat.
All the factories are there. This is the way it is nowadays, with the top teams almost always testing side by side to save costs. Money is saved, but secrecy is lost: riders can watch and learn from their rivals and engineers can spy on other machines while dissecting their lap times and split times to the nth degree. There are no secrets anymore.
Marc Marquez finished the day at the top of the timesheets, after pushing hard at the end with a new tire. That put Marquez ahead of the two Movistar Yamaha riders, both of whom proclaimed themselves happy with how competitive they were, not having used a new tire for a fast lap. Andrea Dovizioso was similarly happy, ending very close to the top 3, and ahead of Dani Pedrosa on the second Repsol Honda.
Times at the end of day 1:
Little change on the timesheets at Sepang, after most of the riders avoided the worst heat of the afternoon. The track is getting a little busier now, with riders heading out to take advantage of cooling temperatures.
Times at just after 2pm:
More press releases previewing the Sepang test, from Bridgestone and from Tech 3:
Bridgestone prepares for the first MotoGP™ group test of 2015
Tuesday, February 3 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric) & Medium (Symmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard
The riders contesting this year’s MotoGP™ World Championship will get their first taste of Bridgestone’s 2015 specification tyres at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit from February 4-6, as the world’s largest tyre maker embarks on its seventh season as the official tyre supplier to the series.
Like last year, the MotoGP regulations for 2015 provide concessions on rear tyre choice for manufacturers, depending on their class of entry, Factory or Open, and their recent record in dry races. Open class entrants, and Factory class manufacturers that did not win a race in dry conditions in the previous season, will have access to rear slick compounds that are one step softer than Factory class entrants that did record a win in dry conditions last year.
The table below details the rear slick tyre allocation available to each team for pre-season testing and races during the 2015 season.