February 4th, 2015
Testing is underway at Sepang, under good conditions, with temperatures reasonable and humidity not too high. Marc Marquez leads after just two hours, but it had taken him a while to set the quickest time, Dani Pedrosa having led earlier, with the two factor Yamahas and Andrea Dovizioso also quick.
Times at 12:15pm
The 2015 MotoGP season kicks off tomorrow. On Wednesday, the riders take to the track once again at Sepang to continue the development on the bikes they will be racing this year, and to test out the new updates the engineers have been working on during the winter break.
And yet the two most important and interesting developments won't even be at the first Sepang test. Ducati's much-anticipated Desmosedici GP15 is not quite ready for prime time, and so will not make its public debut until 19th February at the launch in Bologna, and not make its first laps in public until the second Sepang test at the end of this month. Yamaha's fully seamless gearbox – allowing both clutchless upshifts and downshifts – will also wait until Sepang 2 before Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo get their hands on the bike.
The official reasons given for the delay are that the GP15 and Yamaha's gearbox are almost ready, but not quite, still needing a few last checks by the engineers before they are ready to be handed over to the factory riders. Those of a cynical – or perhaps even paranoid – bent may be tempted to speculate that the delays are more to do with the media than the engineering. The first Sepang test this week is well-attended by journalists and photographers alike, the MotoGP press just as eager as the riders and the fans for the winter to be over.
The second Sepang test sees only a very few journalists attend, with few publications willing to spend the money to cover the expenses for what is often just more of the same. Perhaps the factories have cottoned on to this, and are taking advantage of the opportunity to test important new parts with a little less media attention. Or perhaps it really is just a case of not being quite ready in time.
Despite the absence of the really big news, there will still be plenty to see. So who will be testing what, and what are the key factors to keep an eye on?
The FIM today issued an updated entry list for the 2015 Moto2 season. The list has only minor changes to the original line up, with teams now having to enter a chassis name. The Kalex domination of the series is nearly complete, with 23 out of 31 entries. Speed Up and Tech 3 each have 3 entries to their names, while Suter retains just two riders, both rookies. Florian Alt has at least raced in the Moto3 series, while Malaysian rider Zaqhwan Zaidi is completely new to the series.
An updated version of the Moto3 entry list was issued today, including 34 riders. Brazilian rider Eric Granado has lost his place, with Maria Herrera taking the seat at the Laglisse team. Remy Gardner, son of former 500cc champion Wayne Gardner, joins the grid, ensuring an Australian successor for Jack Miller in the Moto3 championship.
With the start of the World Superbike season just a couple of weeks away, the factory Ducati team launched their 2015 WSBK campaign. The Aruba.it Ducati team was presented to the press at Arezzo in Italy. After the event, the team issued the following press release and photos, containing photos of the new livery:
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team presented today in Arezzo
- The presentation of the official team took place at the Aruba Data Center.
- The event was broadcast in live streaming on new website www.arubaracing.it.
- The new livery of Davies’ and Giugliano’s Ducati Panigale R bikes was unveiled.
Borgo Panigale/Arezzo (Italy), 2 February 2015: The Aruba Data Center in Arezzo today hosted the presentation of the new Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team, the only official Ducati team in the 2015 Superbike World Championship.
The Repsol Honda team chose Bali as the location to launch their 2015 MotoGP livery. Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez unveiled a new color scheme broadly similar to last year's scheme, but with prominent Red Bull sponsorship. Though Satu Hari, the slogan of Honda's Indonesian subsidiary Astra Honda, is less visible, the fact that Honda chose to launch the new bike in Bali demonstrates just how important Indonesia remains as a market. The press release and photos from the launch appear below:
Marquez and Pedrosa unveil new 2015 livery in Bali
Today on the tropical Island of Bali, Repsol Honda’s World Champion Marc Marquez and teammate Dani Pedrosa revealed their new look 2015 race machines.
With the MotoGP test at Sepang due to start on Wednesday, the first preview press releases are starting to trickle in. Today, Suzuki and Marc VDS issued their previews, while Pramac Racing issued a press release containing an interview with team manager Francesco Guidotti. The press releases appear below:
SUZUKI MOTOGP BEGINS 2015 TESTING AT SEPANG
Team Suzuki Press Office – January 31.
SUZUKI MotoGP begins 2015 pre-season tests at Sepang in Malaysia next week in preparation for its return to the premier class of motorcycle racing at Losail, Qatar on March 29th.
Despite a forced winter testing ban, new team riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales, plus Suzuki’s factory technicians, have been hard at work training and continuing development of the 2015 GSX-RR MotoGP machine that the young Spaniards will race in the 18-round series.
The official four-day test at the 5,543m Sepang International Circuit, 60km south of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, will see all the 2015 MotoGP factory teams together on track for the first time between February 4-7th; and the first opportunity for Espargaro and Vinales to evaluate the new developments made to the GSX-RR at Suzuki’s development centre in Ryuyo in Japan since the previous tests in November.
Casey Stoner wrapped up a three-day test at Sepang on Saturday, riding the 2014 and 2015 Honda RC213V MotoGP bikes, as well as a Honda CBR1000RR which HRC is preparing for the Suzuka 8-Hour race. HRC issued the following press release after Stoner completed the test:
Stoner returns to Sepang in HRC test
Two-time MotoGP World Champion, Casey Stoner, has completed a successful test in Sepang with Honda Racing Corporation.
Casey began his test schedule at the 5.548km Sepang Circuit – 75km to the south of Kuala Lumpur – on Thursday mid-morning. Brief rain showers interrupted testing throughout the course of the three days, but nonetheless Casey was able to fulfil the plan set by HRC.
Casey spent time on both the 2014 and 2015 RC213V machines, doing a chassis comparison and analysed new variations of the new spec brought to this test by HRC. He also tried new brakes from Brembo amongst various other testing components. The engineers also took advantage of having Casey in Sepang to run a few laps on the Suzuka 8 Hour Honda CBR1000RR in the afternoon on the final day.
Casey Stoner 27
Test Rider – MotoGP
Officially, testing for 2015 MotoGP season starts in five days time, on Wednesday, 4th February. Unofficially, it started yesterday, when Yamaha and Honda's test teams gathered at Sepang to pre-test a number of parts and prepare the way for the arrival of the factory riders, who arrive in Malaysia next week.
Normally, test teams test in secret - a local journalist and photographer was told in no uncertain terms he would not be welcome at the track - which means their work goes unnoticed. Unfortunately for Honda - or perhaps fortunately, depending on your perspective - HRC had a very high-profile test rider at Sepang. Casey Stoner spent a couple of days on the 2015 Honda RC213V, and though no press release has yet been issued, a couple of posts on his Instagram and Twitter accounts gave a few clues about the test.
After the launch of the Movistar Yamaha team in Madrid, the team issued two press releases, featuring interviews with their 2015 riders. After yesterday's interview with Valentino Rossi, today we publish the interview with Jorge Lorenzo:
Where and how did you spend your winter holidays?
“I spent five days in Santo Domingo, sunbathing and enjoying the beach. I always like to go to a country where there is good weather. I started my training on January 2nd and have been preparing for the pre-season to be fit for the first test in Sepang. I’ve also been for a few days in Lugano and Punta Cana.”
Last year began with so many difficulties, how are you this year?
“I think I’m in much better shape. Physically I’m stronger from training because we have been focusing on the best workout sessions and I have not had to undergo surgery as occurred in 2014. Until I get on the bike and see how it’s going I prefer to be cautious and see what happens.”
What has changed in preparing this year compared to 2014?
Analyzing Yamaha's MotoGP Launch - A Motivated Rossi, A Lean & Mean Lorenzo, And A Fully Seamless Gearbox
2014 did not go to plan for Yamaha. After the first four races of last year, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo trailed the Repsol Hondas by 76 points in the team championship, and Yamaha was 33 points behind Honda in the manufacturers standings. Marc Márquez was in the middle of an unbeaten run, Dani Pedrosa backing him up strongly. There were a lot of good reasons for Yamaha's troubled start. Yamaha was struggling to get a smooth throttle response from a liter less fuel, the new Bridgestone tires were less suited to the YZR-M1's need for high corner speeds, and Jorge Lorenzo arrived at the start of the season out of shape, after neglecting his training after surgery during the winter.
2015 looks like being the polar opposite. At the launch of their 2015 campaign, the Movistar Yamaha team looked forward with some optimism. Building on the progress made in the second half of 2014, the bike is much more competitive, Valentino Rossi arrives motivated by his strong season, and Jorge Lorenzo is lean and fit, having spent all off-season preparing. They are ready for big things.
With 2014 out of the way, one of the big sponsorship issues could also be addressed. When Movistar signed up alongside Monster, that caused a confusing clash on the fairing of the 2014 bike, with two large fluorescent green M logos on the bike. A redesign has given Movistar a little more prominence on the fairing, the logo now much larger, the text moved elsewhere on the bike. Key to the sponsorship is not just the visibility, however, it is also the ability to showcase technology. Movistar demonstrated an excellent 360° smartphone app at Aragon last year, which is the start of much more to come.
After a major highside at the start of the Jerez test, in which Sylvain Guintoli landed on his head and shoulder, straining his neck and bruising his shoulder, the Pata Honda rider was forced to miss the remainder of the test. Pata Honda have now issued the following press release, updating the reigning world champion's condition:
Sylvain Guintoli – injury update
Following his crash at turn one at Jerez in Spain on Monday 26 January at the start of a pre-season test, Pata Honda rider Sylvain Guintoli chose to return to the UK for complete assessment of his injuries.
Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 January) the reigning World Superbike champion underwent an MRI scan on his neck and back and had a further X-ray on his right ankle.
Despite severe bruising and some discomfort, it was confirmed that Guintoli sustained no fractures and the 32-year-old has begun his rehabilitation with physiotherapy and the use of a hyperbaric chamber.
“The back is still quite painful,” said Guintoli, “but I can put some pressure on the ankle and I’m happy that there are no breaks. The treatment has started and although it will take a while to settle down, I’m confident about being fit and ready to start the season at Phillip Island next month.”
After the launch of the Movistar Yamaha team in Madrid, the team issued two press releases, featuring interviews with their 2015 riders. Today, we publish the interview with Valentino Rossi. On Friday, we publish the press release interview with Jorge Lorenzo:
Valentino, where and how did you spend your winter holidays?
“It was a very busy end of year, after Valencia GP. I was able to take some rest only before Christmas, when I flew to Mexico with some friends for a short holiday. Then I moved to the mountains, to practice snowboarding, again with friends. Right after the break, I started my physical training, although actually I never stopped training. For the last month, I have been working very hard. The first official test in Sepang is getting closer and it’s crucial that I get there in the best physical shape.”
We followed your training activities at the Ranch on your social media channels throughout the winter. How important is training there for your workout?
Several World Superbike teams issued press releases after the last test in Europe at Jerez. The press release appear below: