Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the second day of testing at Sepang:
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:
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.
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.
Where does the British Grand Prix belong?
Where should the British Grand Prix have its home? What we are looking for is a circuit that tests the mettle of the riders as much as the metal of the motorcycle. There would be only three on my list: Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Silverstone.
To my mind, racetracks should have some primal scream to them; they should be more than mere technical exercise. On the current calendar – outside Britain – that means Brno, Mugello, Phillip Island and possibly Sepang; four circuits from 17 foreign venues.
This is the first in a series of weekly round ups of motorcycle racing news from around the world. Every Wednesday, we will bring a brief summary of stories that did not warrant a full article of their own. So here are some stories you may have missed, for the week preceding 11th February 2015.
Ducati Desmosedici GP15 to be presented on line
It is becoming something of a tradition among the MotoGP factories: launching their MotoGP teams online. Two weeks ago, the Movistar Yamaha launched their 2015 livery in Madrid. On Monday 16th February, Ducati will be officially presenting their bikes and riders to the fans and media live on the Ducati website.
The Ducati launch is a little more significant than Yamaha's presentation, however. While the Movistar Yamaha presentation was mostly about showing off the new color scheme the factory team is to use in 2015, Ducati will be presenting the Desmosedici GP15 online. The first bike to come from the pen of Gigi Dall'Igna, this is the machine which Ducati hope will finally allow them to be fully competitive with the factory Hondas and Yamahas. The bike is expected to feature a new, more compact engine, though still a 90°V4 using desmodromic valves, fitted in a smaller chassis.
The presentation starts at 11am CET on the Ducati website. Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone will get their first ride of the bike on 23rd February, when the second Sepang test gets underway.
Should Melandri stay or should he go?
Given that Aprilia's return to MotoGP was both earlier than anticipated, and embarked upon at a very late stage, their initial times at the Sepang test could be regarded as acceptable. The new engine – with an 81mm bore and pneumatic valves – proved to be reasonably reliable, and though still down on power, at least closer to the fastest bikes. The new chassis was much less of a success, both Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri preferring to stay with the 2014 bike, rather than switch to the new RS-GP, as it has been dubbed.
The provisional MotoGP calendar for 2015, updated on 11th February, when Silverstone was confirmed as replacing Donington:
The World Superbike calendar has been reduced to 13 events. The Russian round of WSBK, scheduled to be held at the Moscow Raceway on 5th July has been canceled, after the event organizer, YMS Promotion, failed to provide the contract guarantees required by the contract. As a further consequence, the Yakhnich Motorsport Team have also lost their slot on the 2015 World Supersport grid, which was tied in with the Russian round.
The cancellation of the Russian round did not come as a surprise. The Russian WSBK round is a legacy of the last years of Infront running the series. Infront and YMS signed a ten-year deal to organize a World Superbike round in Russia, but continuing political instability in Russia, tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine, and murky regional politics have made it impossible to stage a race there. The round was placed on the calendar automatically, because of the existing contract, but it was never expected to actually take place.
The Russian round of World Superbikes will not be replaced. Instead, the series will run 13 rounds in 2015. Below is the press release and updated 2015 WSBK calendar.
2015 WSBK Calendar update
FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000 cc Cup
2015 calendar, 11 February
Danilo Petrucci has always been one of the most underrated riders in MotoGP. The Italian came into the class from Superstock, where he finished runner up in the Superstock 1000 class. He joined the IODA Racing team, where he started off on the team's own Aprilia-based machine, before switching to the Suter BMW. Last year, he rode the Aprilia ART machine for the team, before finally getting a shot at a proper MotoGP machine this year with Pramac.
Since making the move, Petrucci has quickly got up to speed, but three years on underpowered bikes have left the Italian with a riding style problem to fix. Like many other former Open class and CRT riders, he is used to carrying corner speed, to compensate for a lack of horsepower. Now on a Ducati Desmosedici GP14.1, he has horsepower to spare, and needs to adapt his riding style to stand the bike up earlier and make use of the available acceleration.
I spoke to Petrucci after the last day of testing at Sepang, where he explained what he had been working on. He talked of changing his riding style, developing electronics for the factory team, and getting help from his friend Valentino Rossi.
You have a GP14.1, the bike Crutchlow had?
The Repsol Media service issued the following press release, containing an interview with Marc Marquez after the test at Sepang:
Marc Marquez: “Riding in the 1’58s at Sepang was a special moment”
Marc Marquez has begun the 2015 preseason in excellent form, preparing to defend his MotoGP title for the second consecutive year. After three days of intense work, the Repsol Honda rider concluded the final day with the fastest lap ever set at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. The Spaniard once again demonstrated that he and the Honda RC213V will be hard to beat this season..
How was the first race simulation of the year?