Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone at the conclusion of the final day of testing at Sepang:
Pedrosa shares joint fastest time on final day in Sepang
The second and final test in Malaysia has come to an end with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa finishing joint first with Valentino Rossi with a time of 1’59.999 on his final exit.
This morning Dani did a race simulation run of 19 laps and worked on various settings and engine mappings on his RC213V machine. He then took the time to rest before returning on track for a time attack, recording his fastest lap of the week. He completed a total of 41 laps today taking his total for the second test to 145.
The team will now pack up and head to Phillip Island for their final test in preparation for the Qatar GP on 23 March.
2nd - 1'59.999
"Today we worked on engine mapping to improve cornering, but the most important thing that we were able to do is a race simulation. We also tried to improve our fast lap time attacks as well. We progressed a lot - although there is still room for improvement. Now we are off to Phillip Island to test out the new tyres”
BRADL CONCLUDES FRUITFUL SEPANG TEST IN 5th PLACE
Sepang, 28th Feb: the second test of 2014 has concluded with Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi clocking the fastest lap time (1’59.999) at the end of the 3-day action at Sepang circuit. LCR racer Stefan Bradl dedicated the majority of the day working on long distance pace again and his quickest lap time (2’00.164) came early in the session when the German took the track on soft rubber. Bradl took advantage of the slightly improved track conditions to focus on the overall package of his RC213V before moving to Losail (Qatar) for the last pre-season test on the 7, 8 and 9 of March.
Stefan: “I am quite happy about the job we made in the last three days. It’s tough to work in these conditions (37 degrees today!) and the guys made a very good job to adjust the bike. Early in the session we went out on soft rubber and afterwards we kept working on long-run performance. Today my pace was not as good as yesterday because I was not comfortable enough on hard front tyre but, overall, this test has been quite positive for us: we are not far off the pace and we have the potential to ride in the front”.
The NGM Forward Racing Team end the Sepang test with very promising results
The second 2014 MotoGP pre-season test session ended today at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit with very positive results for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team.
Aleix Espargaró was very consistent along the three days of testing, scoring the 4th best time in the combined lap times classification with a top time of 2’00.101. After having worked on the bike set up in the first two days, this morning he made a long run to check the bike behaviour on the race distance, showing a good pace.
Colin Edwards continued working on the bike set up. He also tested some new solutions in preparation of the race distance. In total he completed 23 laps, Aleix 43.
The NGM Forward Racing Team will be back on track for the last MotoGP Test session scheduled in Qatar from the 7th to the 9th of March.
“We continued working on the bike set up to improve the feeling with the bike in the corners. We tried several solutions but I still don’t have the right confidence to push as I am used to. We also worked on the electronics with positive results and we focused on the tank to check the fuel consumption as we would like to take advantage of the possibility to use all the 24 liters that the Open class has at disposal. We gathered important data and I’d like to thank my team for the work done during these three days”.
“I’m very happy with how we progressed in these three days of testing. We started where we left here in Sepang 1 and I could work on the second bike and on the race distance. I’m very satisfied with the data gathered during the long run. We were competitive and now I look forward to confirm my feeling in Qatar, where we will do another test session before the opening race of the season”.
Rossi Wraps Up Second Sepang Test on Top
Sepang (Malaysia), 28th February 2014
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi has completed the second official test of the 2014 MotoGP season as the fastest rider. Rossi wrapped up the three days of riding at the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia with a fastest time of 1’59.999, one of only two riders to drop under the two minute mark after an impressive fastest lap today.
Whilst still struggling to find a perfect solution to the new Bridgestone tyres, Jorge Lorenzo was able to find a change to make some improvement to set up today. The Mallorcan was still less than satisfied overall with the grip levels on offer from the 2014 rubber. Lorenzo was able to step a little closer to the front than yesterday, wrapping up in seventh, just over 0.6 of a second from his teammate in first.
The Team now move directly to Phillip Island in Australia for a further test before the season kicks off under the floodlights of Qatar on the 23rd March.
1st / 1'59.999 / 41 laps
“First of all I am very happy because I am in first position and I did a good lap. I was one of the only ones in the 1’59s which is positive, especially because with the 2014 tyres in the first test we tried a time attack and I was more than one second slower than today. This test we have always been at the top and fighting for the first position so it’s positive. We still have some problems when it’s very hot over long distance with the new tyres, so we still have to work, but we made a good step from the first test. The next test in Philip Island will be very important to understand if also there we improved a lot like here because I am more than one second faster than the second test of last year so we have been working well.”
7th / 2'00.619 / 70 laps
“We found a better solution today to improve our situation and adapt these tyres at this track. The tyres are much harder in the sidewalls. At this track, with this tarmac that is very slippery, it’s not the same as Phillip Island or Mugello for example, it’s impossible for us to be competitive. This tyre is much worse for Yamaha and better for Honda. Our bike is competitive, at a similar level to the competitors but with the tyre we have problems. We tried a simulation today and it was worse and worse every lap. In the edge there is a problem with no grip but also when you pick up the bike it spins. You can improve the feeling a little to get more grip but when the tyre starts to drop the problems get worse and worse.”
“We finished this three day test with some good improvements and were able to make the bike better every day. At the end Valentino was able to make the fastest lap of the day. Jorge continued to have some difficulties, especially because of his riding style. It looks like the new tyre doesn't work very well on our bike, especially at this track. Here at Sepang the problem was increased because of the lack of grip on the tarmac and also the high temperatures. We made some improvements but we are not satisfied 100% and we have to improve over race distance. We look forward to the Phillip Island test now to see what Bridgestone has prepared to solve the issues we had last year and then we are ready for Qatar.”
“It’s been a difficult test and really we are not very happy with the result. For the last day Jorge has found some confidence back in the bike. Of course it’s not how we want it but at least he could do a decent long run and be quite consistent. It was very hot today and we got a lot of new information with the new tyres. We are very curious to see how we get on in two days in Phillip Island.”
BAUTISTA AND REDDING WRAP UP SEPANG TEST IN HIGH SPIRITS
The Sepang official MotoGP winter testing has come to a conclusion today for GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding: both riders leave the Malaysian track in high spirits, having obtained a good feeling aboard their bikes, the ‘Factory’ Honda RC213V and the ‘Open’ Honda RCV1000R respectively.
After yesterday’s successful race simulation, Alvaro Bautista spent the last day of testing focusing on different details about suspension, brakes and electronics. The Spaniard finished the day with the sixth best time, 2’00”506, obtained in the morning but also replicated in the latter part of the day, with very high temperatures on track, proving that there’s still room for improvement.
Scott Redding concluded his first two MotoGP testing sessions costantly improving his lap times. The 2013 Moto2 runner-up got to grips with the Honda RCV1000R adopting a smoother riding style, working especially on stability under braking and refining the electronics. The young British rider lowered his lap time from yesterday by 0.4 of a second, with a best time of 2’02”228 after clocking up 50 laps around the Sepang track.
The Team will now fly to Qatar, for the last pre-season test scheduled from 7th to 9th of March at Losail Circuit.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (2'00"506 - 60 LAPS)
“These six days of testing in Malaysia have been very hard because we faced very difficult conditions, but we are really happy because we have improved so much throughout the two testing sessions, reaching a good feeling with the bike. After the great work done in the first two days, today we could focus on some details with regard to the Showa front fork, as well as the Nissin brakes . In addition, we have refined the electronic controls . At the end of the day I managed to repeat the lap times obtained in the morning, when the track was cooler: it means that we are working in the right direction, and that there is still room for improvement . Moreover, even though the new rear shock already goes very well, enabling us to maintain a good pace for several consecutive laps, even when the tyre starts to wear out, we have not yet explored all the possible settings . Therefore in the next test in Qatar we will continue to work on this aspect, also trying to improve our qualifying performance”.
SCOTT REDDING (2'02"228 - 50 LAPS)
“I am very happy with how these three days of testing went! The situation has improved a lot since the first test earlier this month; we found a good direction to work on the bike and now I also feel much more confident when riding. Initially I was very aggressive, but now I'm trying to adopt a softer and smoother riding style, and this is helping me a lot also to work on the bike set-up. Today we have also seen progress under braking, where, however, we need to work on consistency, and also in terms of electronics. We are confident ahead of the next test in Qatar: we will start from the data collected here in Malaysia and we'll see how it goes, considering that we will face a completely different track and conditions”.
“Generally speaking, it’s been a positive test: after leading day one with Alvaro, on this last day we could definitely get better lap times, but the important thing is that both our riders have obtained positive feelings. I am particularly pleased because thanks to the excellent work done in these three days we were able to recover the time lost earlier this month, when we had been slowed down by some problems. Now we look forward to the next test in Qatar with great confidence”.
DRIVE M7 ASPAR RIDERS SIGN OFF FROM SCORCHING SEPANG
Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama post faster lap times on final day of Malaysian test, improving both performance and consistency
The last of three days of testing at Sepang took place today, bringing an end to the Malaysian preseason leg. Only three more days of tests now remain before the season starts, with the factory Honda, Yamaha and Ducati riders heading to Australia next week and the remainder scheduled to ride in Qatar. Today was the hottest of the six days at Sepang, with the thermometers registering an incredible 64 degrees. It was a gruelling day for the riders, many of whom had full race runs to complete, and probably explains why the pace wasn't quite as quick as yesterday, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa topping the timesheet with an identical best lap of 1.59.999.
DRIVE M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama both picked up their pace on the final day, the Japanese rider clocking his best time of the entire six days here (2.02.070), although the American was unable to match his fastest effort from the first session, when the conditions were more favourable. Despite the tortuous heat both riders managed to improve the consistency of their lap times and are looking forward to making more progress in the next test.
15th Nicky Hayden 2.01.924 (59 laps): “We have worked really hard over the last three days here and we have gathered a lot of information that has given us a better understanding of the bike, although we still haven't made the major step we are looking for. We still don't know why we're struggling so much to get the bike stopped into the corners so we need to work more with the electronics. It has been a strange day and we lost some time making alterations to the set-up to adapt to the heat. We know our potential is much higher than we have been able to show here so we can be optimistic and go to Qatar next week ready to put some more hard work in. It will be interesting to see how the bike performs at a different track but we have a lot to do there to make sure we are ready for the first race."
17th Hiroshi Aoyama 2.02.070 (61 laps): “We had a little setback today and had to put everything on hold at around midday but in the end we fixed it and got back out on track. Our objective today was to continue working on the set-up and we managed to improve the feeling by the end of the day. As well as improving the feeling we also improved the lap times but we still have plenty to test next week in Qatar. We need to have a meeting and work out how we can improve the suspension but in general the feeling is that the bike is good and has plenty of room for improvement - it just needs more laps."
Expectations met at Sepang 2 for Tech3’s Smith and Espargaro
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro completed the final day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit today, with many positives to conclude, for the beginning of the MotoGP season at the end of March.
Having undertaken relentless testing programmes for the previous two days, today saw the second Sepang MotoGP test draw to a close. Both Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders experimented with various aspects of their Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes in order to find the most suitable set ups which would suit their riding styles.
British rider Bradley Smith ended the test with an overall feeling of satisfaction regarding his performances over the past three days, as he prepares for his second season in MotoGP. Having spent a large quantity of time on refining the front and rear sections of the Yamaha YZR-M1, as well as accustoming himself to the seamless shift gearbox and the new Bridgestone tyres, Smith was content with the developments made. He completed a full race simulation today, which was successfully undertaken and confirmed that all of the changes made during this test were in the right direction. Undertaking a colossal 185 laps over all three days, the young British rider finished the second Sepang test with a best time of 2:00.804 in 9th place.
Young Spanish rider Pol Espargaro finished the session feeling pleased, having spent the past three days learning and mastering his new MotoGP bike. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion, completed over 158 laps around the 5.543 kilometre track, over the three days. He optimised the available time and tested ceaselessly to continue to gain as much knowledge of his new Yamaha YZR-M1 and Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team as possible. The learning curve was steep and despite a small crash yesterday, Espargaro leaves the Sepang test feeling positive. Having gelled seamlessly with the new gearbox, the young Spaniard set the 3rd fastest time on the opening day, before finishing in 10th overall, with an ultimate lap time of 2:00.999.
The next testing session will commence at the Losail Circuit, Qatar on the 7th of March for Satellite MotoGP riders, and Open Class MotoGP riders only.
Bradley Smith - 9th - 2:00.804:
“We tried a lot of different solutions today, especially with the rear of the bike and tried to work the new Bridgestone tyres as much as possible. I found a setting that I was much happier with, which made the bike smoother, and let me ride the Yamaha how it should be. We definitely made the step with rear tyre performance, which allowed me to be much more consistent, compared to the last Sepang test and last year’s race. I did a race simulation, and am pleased as it was during a really hot part of the day, so not perfect in terms of track conditions. At the end of the day, after 70 laps I also did my best time. There are many positives, and I come away from here quite happy. It appears as though the track was slower this time than the previous test, but we are close to my lap time from then. All in all, it has been a somewhat difficult three days, but I am really pleased with the final result. “
Pol Espargaro - 10th -2:00.999:
“It has not been an easy day today. Probably the most difficult one we have had so far. I didn’t feel too well, on one hand maybe because of the crash from yesterday, or on the other hand because it’s really demanding doing several days and so many laps in such hot and humid conditions. However, even if I’m not too enthusiastic about my performance today, I am still just one second from the top of the timesheets which makes me feel much better. Again, we tried different setup solutions, as I still have many things to learn about this bike. I’m really looking forward to trying the bike on a different circuit, in Qatar next week. This will extend my knowledge further, and will permit us to be able to evaluate the information which we collected during this test in a better way. But honestly, all these comments are not as important when you get news like we received today from our Moto2 rider, who is in hospital in France. My thoughts are with him and I hope he recovers quickly.”
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager:
“It has been a very positive test for us even though we are not on top of the timesheets. We chose to work relentlessly on our race performance. We were also able to evaluate the new seamless gearbox we got from Yamaha for this test, which we are very thankful for. Comparing the race simulations from the first test here at the beginning of the month, and to today, we clearly saw that the gearbox has been a big improvement as well as the new Bridgestone tyre. Of course there are still things to adjust, especially on Pol’s side but altogether we are satisfied with the progress we have achieved during the last three days. Unfortunately this positive MotoGP test is shadowed by the very sad news of an incident with our Moto2 rider, Alex Mariñelarena, who is in hospital in Toulon. The thoughts of the whole Tech3 Racing Team are with him and his family. We truly hope he recovers quickly to join us for the upcoming challenges.”
Positive conclusion for Ducati Team in second IRTA test at Sepang
The Ducati Team concluded the second IRTA pre-season testing session at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia in a positive way, with an excellent third place for Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow finishing eighth overall.
In the three days of testing, which were held almost entirely in suffocating heat and humidity, the two riders completed a massive amount of work, aimed at optimizing the development of their GP14 machines, with both men showing a constant improvement; on today’s final day in particular, Dovizioso and Crutchlow also lapped with the DORNA/Magneti Marelli electronic software and ECU provided for the new Open option.
In the evening, the Ducati Team announced that it will be taking part in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship with the two riders on GP14 bikes in Open configuration.
Dovizioso was particularly satisfied with the lap time he set today, the best the Italian has ever recorded on this track, which took him to just one-tenth away from the fastest riders in the test, Rossi and Pedrosa, while Crutchlow also showed considerable progress over the three days, in which he was able to further get to grips with the bike he will be racing in his first season in Ducati.
Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro carried out a totally different work programme over the three days and his aim was not to push for any really quick lap times.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 3rd (2m00.067s)
“I am really pleased: we go away from Sepang having confirmed all the improvements we made three weeks ago. I managed to do a really good lap time, the best I’ve ever done on this track, and I did it in track conditions that were worse than in Sepang 1. This means that we went much better this time around! We also did a long-run of 14 laps and I was also satisfied with that. At this moment we are probably not in a position to fight for the top places, because we are not always able to lap with this pace, but we really improved a lot in these tests.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 8th (2m00.790s)
“Obviously for me the situation in these tests at Sepang was different to what I’ve been used to in the past, so I think Dovi managed to benefit more from the three days because he’s on a familiar machine. But that’s the way it goes and I’m generally pretty satisfied with the results we’ve achieved here. I’ve been consistently able to go as fast as Dovi with used tyres, but not at the start, because I’m unable to push hard right away and get enough grip into the tyres. This is something we will have to improve for qualifying and the races. Overall we’ve made good progress, testing a lot of stuff here, which was the main thing, and starting to understand what the bike does with different set-ups. Now it’ll be good to go to another circuit and try something else.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“For Ducati it is really important to continue the development work on the GP14 and we certainly made some improvements during this test, just like the previous one. The gap separating us from our rivals is however still a big one, so having the possibility to modify our engine during the season is fundamental for us. For this reason, we have chosen the Open option, sharing the decision with our riders: Andrea and Cal have a lot of confidence in all the Ducati Corse technical staff and they accepted our decision without a moment’s hesitation ".
SUZUKI FINDS NEW DIRECTION IN SEPANG
Team Suzuki Press Office – February 28.
The Suzuki MotoGP Test Team concluded its three-day test at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today with new direction and a stronger performance after testing several new parts and settings.
Test rider Randy De Puniet completed a total of 188 laps of the 5,543km circuit during the three days, shaving almost two-seconds off his initial best time and finishing the final day with a lap of 2:01.430; which put him 12th in the overall standings.
During the test, the Suzuki MotoGP team worked on new electronic ignition settings, tested a new engine and also appraised a new frame today.
Randy De Puniet:
“Today we made good steps with some settings with the electronics by the end of the test and on the last run we found something certainly helped me ride the bike better.
“Overall we reduced our lap-times gap compared to the first test and I'm now more comfortable on the bike. The character is still a little aggressive but now we have got good information and we have some new direction on what to work-on in the future.
“We also tested a new frame today and we plan to further-test with more new settings in the future to further evaluate this.”
Satoru Terada – Suzuki MotoGP Test Team Manager:
“We struggled with lap-times during the first test here in early February but our factory technicians have worked very hard over the past two weeks and we were able to bring several new items here in terms of updated software, engine specifications and a new frame.
“We made some good steps improving here and we also found a clear direction for the future.
“Now we go back to work again for the next test opportunity and I'd like to thank all my staff for their efforts.”
Finishing second test still with pain in shoulder.
Abraham is waiting for start of the season
During three days of second pre-season test in Malaysia Karel Abraham improved his time by 1,3 seconds in spite of his pain in shoulder. He took twenty-fifth position in total test classification. During the final test scheduled for next weekend in Qatar team will focus to improve the setting of the bike Honda RCV1000R. The aim is to have the bike one hundred percent prepared for the racing season as soon as the rider recovers fully.
„Even if we are far from positions where we would like to be, today it means for me a bit of hope. I expected that third day the shoulder would make problems, but I was able to be on the bike enough laps and repeatedly ride times at level of my maximum. Next week we start to test in Qatar so we fly directly there. So it is clear that the shoulder won’t recover miraculously. I will continue with rehabilitation and I have to hope that it will get better gradually. Now when I ride regularly I will be able to see some progress. I would like to be prepared for the race in Qatar, but if it will be like that no one can say it. But I’m going to do everything to be prepared in best manner possible.“
Marco Grana, chief mechanic Cardion AB Motoracing
„All three days we were improving day by day and it is a positive new for us. The bad one is that Karel is still limited by his shoulder injury and we cannot ride at the limit. The result that we have reached isn’t naturally the position where we would like to be or where we should be. Despite that we cannot ride fully I consider this test as helpful. We worked on the setting and also on the electronic to be hundered percent prepared when even Karel will be hundred percent prepared. We just have to wait for now. We don’t know how long it will take, but we know, when it will come we could race fully. I have to repeat again that the bike is working perfectly and gradually we are able to move limits of new electronic Magneti Marelli. Big contribution is new rear tyre developed specially for our open class by Bridgestone. In relation with lower power of the engine respect to prototypes, we could not use harder set of tyres adequately.
Pedrosa and Rossi share the spoils in second Sepang MotoGP™ test
Friday, February 28 2014
Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 29-34°C; Track 37-60°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi shared the top of the timesheet at the second MotoGP™ pre-season group test at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, after the two riders set an identical lap time of 1’59.999.
Both Pedrosa and Rossi set their best lap time using the combination of the medium compound slicks front and rear on the final day of testing. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso finished third overall with a personal best lap time of 2:00.067, ensuring three different manufacturers were represented in the top three. In a carbon copy of the first Sepang test, Aleix Espargaro was once again the quickest open-class rider, placing fourth overall on the NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR-Yamaha with a best lap of 2’00.101. The gap in lap time from the quickest to slowest rider at the second Sepang test was 6.483 seconds.
Weather conditions for the test were similar to the first Sepang test; very hot and dry, although the grip level of the tarmac was at a lower level when compared to the previous test in February. The peak track temperature recorded over the three days was 60°C; 3 degrees warmer than the highest measurement at the previous Sepang test. All front and rear slick compound choices were utilised by riders over the three days, with only the 2014 specification tyres being made available to riders at this test.
Bridgestone now heads to Phillip Island for a three day test from March 3-5, and will also be present at the final MotoGP™ pre-season group test at Qatar’ Losail International Circuit from March 7-9.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Compared to the last test at Sepang, the track conditions over the last three days weren’t as favourable making grip harder to come by for the riders. This was the main reason why the lap times weren’t as quick at this test compared to the last time we were at Sepang. On the final day of the test the conditions were particularly extreme with track temperatures reaching sixty degrees Celsius, however some riders did race simulations in the tough conditions so we were able to acquire a lot of good data about our tyre durability at this test.
“For this test we only offered our 2014 specification slick tyres for the riders to use, so our engineers spent a lot of time working with the teams to get them up to speed on this new rubber. As is usual when we introduce new tyres, some teams and riders need more time to adapt then others, but I believe everyone has made progress over the last three days. It was promising to see four different types of machine; Yamaha, Honda, Ducati and an open-class Yamaha set lap times within a tenth of a second of each other at this test, as this bodes well for a competitive season. We are now heading straight to Australia for a three day test at Phillip Island next week with some Ducati, Honda and Yamaha riders to test the new tyres we developed for the Australian Grand Prix in October.”