Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Sepang:
Pedrosa fastest in mixed conditions on first day in Sepang
On a 50/50 day at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, it was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who was fastest in the dry with World Champion Marc Marquez in 4th, whilst in the wet FP2, Marc finished second and Dani third.
This morning’s session presented contrasting conditions to Australia, with an ambient temperature of 31ºC, a track temperature of 41ºC and humidity at 65%. Both Dani and Marc had a productive session, and this time it was Dani on top with a time of 2’01.379 on lap 15/16. Marc finished the session in 4th with his time of 2’01.670 recorded early in the session on lap 5/15.
As the afternoon’s FP2 was about to commence, the heaven’s opened and a tropical storm hit the Sepang circuit. The session was postponed due to track conditions and finally began at 14h30 local time. This proved a good opportunity for both riders to test in full wet conditions. Marc completed thirteen laps and his fastest time of 2’14.745 (lap 10) placed him second, and Dani finished third with 2’15.582 (lap 9/11).
1st - 2'01.379
“We were able to ride in the dry this morning and set some good times, but in the afternoon the rain arrived. We shall see what the weather is like tomorrow, and hope to get more dry track time to finish analysing the performance of the front and rear tyres. We only used the soft compound this morning and we would like to try the harder compound. I had a problem with the wet rear, which had hardly any tyre wear after 14 laps, but no grip from the beginning. We hope to continue developing the setup of the bike tomorrow and be able to ride with a tyre that works well.”
4th - 2'01.670
“I felt pretty good and comfortable in the morning, we had a small problem, but that has now been resolved. This afternoon we rode in wet conditions and the feeling was also good. It was positive, because now we have references for a wet setup if it rains on Sunday. We hope it is dry again tomorrow, so that we can keep developing the setup of our bike and have every possible reference for the race.”
Solid Start at Rain Soaked Sepang for Yamaha
Sepang International Circuit (Sepang, Malaysia), 24th October 2014
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi got their first laps in around the Sepang International Circuit under very mixed conditions today as they prepare for this weekend’s Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Lorenzo successfully kicked off the third and last overseas Grand Prix weekend during the sunny morning session. The Majorcan rider spent his first stint finding a good dry set up before posting a best lap of 2’01.416 in his second stint, just 0.037 seconds off the fastest pace.
Teammate Rossi also was quick to find a solid pace around the Malaysian track over the first practice session. The nine-time World Champion made the most of the dry 45 minutes session and put in a total of 18 laps to find the perfect race set-up. The Italian rode a best lap of 2’01.842, just 0.463 seconds off the front.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammates had to be patient for the second practice session to get underway as it was red flagged due to a sudden monsoon. Standing water created concerns about the track’s conditions. When the track started to dry out the afternoon free practice session was restarted at 14:30 local time.
Lorenzo and Rossi used the session with caution as they got to know the wet weather tyres and tried to find a matching set-up. Lorenzo led most of the session and found a good wet set up whilst Rossi struggled with a lack of grip on his YZR-M1. The slower wet times meant both riders were unable to improve on their morning time, causing Lorenzo to complete the first day third in combined sessions times and Rossi in sixth.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
3rd / 2'01.416 / 14 laps
“The race will be held at 4 o’clock this weekend but it would be better if the race was at 2 o’clock because at 4 o’clock it usually starts to rain here. We hope to either have a completely wet race or a completely dry race, but not something in between because that would be difficult for everyone. In the wet I was really satisfied and happy. Midway through the practice I was pushing really hard and was feeling very good. My lap time was two seconds quicker than anyone else! Finally Marc and Dani improved at the end of the practice, but at that moment I was really fast. Valentino was having some problems, so this means our setting was working very well and I was feeling great on the bike. On the dry in the morning I also felt good from the beginning. I finished in third, which is like a second place because Aleix put on the extra soft tyre. Dani seems to be strong here on the dry, like always, but I think we can fight for the win.”
46 Valentino Rossi
6th / 2'01.842 / 12 laps
“I’m not very happy. This morning, with the dry conditions, it went not so bad. My rhythm was already quite good, but it wasn’t enough. I was not fast enough or strong enough to stay at the front, also because I wasn’t able to ride the bike in a good way, so we need to work. Especially, because in the wet this afternoon the situation was a lot worse. It was a very difficult practice and I wasn’t able to make the right speed to ride the bike in a good way, so the target is work, work, work. For Sunday we have to be ready for both conditions, because the weather here is very unstable and it could be either dry or wet. My bike had some chatter and we had to save the tyre, but I wasn’t able to get enough corner speed. I need more balance going through the corners to go faster.”
This morning was ok for us, in the dry conditions both Vale and Jorge were pretty fast and had no big complaints. In the afternoon Jorge continued to have a good pace and speed so he has a good set up in both conditions, wet and dry. Vale was struggling in wet so we need to work to find solutions for his wet setting. It’s very important because the weather forecast for the weekend is dry in the mornings and storms in the afternoons so we have to be ready for all conditions. We can see what the problem is in the data so we are confident we can find solutions overnight for tomorrow’s sessions.”
Ducati Team conclude first day of practice for Shell Advance Malaysian GP at Sepang with Dovizioso 7th and Crutchlow 8th.
The first two free practice sessions for the Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix took place today at Sepang, and the two Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow ended the day in seventh and eighth place respectively thanks to the times they set during the morning session.
A tropical downpour lashed the Malaysian circuit early in the afternoon, delaying the start of FP2 by some minutes. When the riders eventually went out on track, it was totally wet, but the sun came out during the session and the track began to dry. None of the riders managed to improve their morning times however, and Dovizioso finished the afternoon run in fourth place and Crutchlow tenth.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 7th (2’01.971)
“Today was a bit of a strange day: this morning the grip wasn’t very good, and so the times can’t really be relied on, but I think the conditions of the track will improve tomorrow. This afternoon we had a good run in the wet, but it’s always strange to lap in these conditions here at Sepang because usually the track dries out very quickly. I am quite happy with today, even though we still have a few things to improve, and tomorrow hopefully we can lap on a dry track.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 8th (2’02.171)
“I’m quite pleased with today: I felt we had good pace and also in the dry it was better than expected, but we still need to gain some grip in those conditions. I was able to run a good pace with the rain initially in the session when it was full wet, but when the track became drier we didn’t alter the setting of the bike and struggled a bit for rear grip, but we think we know the direction to go. I had some fun on the track today, hopefully it’ll be the same for the rest of the weekend.”
Iannone is sore, Hernandez well in wet and dry conditions
At Sepang, the first day of practice was characterized by a very variable wether. The first free practice session was held on a dry track and ended with Hernandez 9th and Iannone 11th. In the second round the track was wet and Iannone finished 8th while Hernandez 12th.
In the morning session Andrea Iannone struggled to ride because of pain in his left hip for the crash in Australia. Andrea was in difficulty especially in right corners where he could not lean as he wanted. During FP2 Andrea was involved in a contact with Marquez that hit his left arm and made him crash. The Italian ridere suffered a severe contusion in the muscle but tomorrow will still try to get back on track, hoping that the treatment of the Mobile Clinic will make the maximum effect. Marq, however, came to the garage and apologized and admitted the error.
Even today Yonny Hernandez pushed to the limit his GP13 gaining the ninth position in the combined classification. Yonny showed to have a good pace with both the wet and dry conditions hopefully giving him the possibility to access Q2. Yonny hopes to do well to celebrate at his best his fiftieth race of his career in MotoGp.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
"This morning I decided to start cautiously because of the pain that I have in the hip. I struggled to ride and I could not lean especially on the right side. Unfortunately, at the start of FP2 it started to rain not allowing me to improve. Regarding the contact with Marquez, I do not know what to say, I only felt a contact. Marc, however, ammitted the error and immediately came to apologize. I have the triceps and the elbow very swollen and I hope to get back on track tomorrow. "
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing)
"I'm happy with how it went today. I was fast right from start and I was able to classify ninth in FP1. During FP2 I was fast with the wet track too. There is still much to work on to improve but with the weather so variable it is more difficult to find a perfect setting. "
Espargaro and Smith battle through mixed conditions on opening day at Sepang
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro undertook a confident start to the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle GP by finishing in 10th position in the combined standings, despite opposing weather conditions in both sessions. Espargaro began the day by ending up in 10th with a time of 2’02.248 which was just half a second from 5th position as he battled the humid and searing heat of the Malaysian track. The reigning Moto2 World Champion had hoped to continue his progress in the afternoon, yet a sudden and torrential downpour at the Sepang circuit caused FP2 to be red flagged and delayed. Once the practice eventually began, the track was in full damp conditions thus preventing any improvement in time, yet giving the riders the opportunity to establish a wet setup which could prove integral for Sunday's race due to the unpredictability of the weather. Espargaro bravely completed the difficult practice as he avoided pushing to the limit in order to lower the risk of crashing, as well as continuing to become more familiar and confident with riding a MotoGP bike in the wet. However, the Spaniard remains optimistic and hopeful for a dry session in tomorrow’s qualifying.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith finished the opening day at Sepang in 12th position after having started to meticulously establish his race setup for Sunday. The young British rider who comes from a debut podium in the premier class at the previous round in Australia, completed the morning session with a best time of 2’02.627 which was his fastest lap of the day. This time saw him in 12th place in the combined standings as well at the end of the day, as the conditions were far from perfect in the afternoon. Nevertheless, Smith audaciously battled the lack of traction as he gathered valuable information for a potentially vital wet setup at Sepang, instead of posting fast times in the damp session. The 23 year old rider now looks towards tomorrow’s qualifying at the 5543 metre circuit where he will aim for a place within the top six for Sunday’s 20 lap sprint.
Position : 10th Time : 2'02.248
"It goes without saying that a 10th position at the end of the opening day is nothing to be too happy about, yet I think we did a good job in preparation for Sunday's race. This morning I felt comfortable straight away on the bike and it is a good feeling to come to a race track where I already have some experience with my Yamaha. However, I still think there is a lot of improvement that we need to make as I struggled a bit when stopping the bike, as well as having to deal with a bit of chatter in some corners around the track. So hopefully tomorrow's sessions will be dry to give us an opportunity to adjust these details in order to be more competitive on Sunday. In the afternoon, the conditions changed completely and I tried to familiarise myself with the wet surface, which I still do not have a lot of experience with. Now we will work hard to fix these small issues so that we can be prepared and then show a strong qualifying performance tomorrow."
Position : 12th Time : 2'02.627
"Overall, it was not a bad opening to the weekend despite the difficulties with the rain. We had a good start in the morning even though I wasn’t able to achieve a fast time straight away with the fresh tyres, but I managed to run really consistent 2’02 times which is considerably more important for the race. In addition, we completed some positive work with the electronics as well as examining the rear tyre in order to have a constant pace on Sunday, especially at the end of the race, as this is one of the key factors here. In the afternoon, we struggled due to the rain which is a difficult area for us as we found it tough in Assen and also Aragon. Yet we spent the session finding a solid direction to work in which we managed to narrow down. If there are wet conditions tomorrow, I am optimistic of what we can do and for sure we will be more competitive. Furthermore, I adapted my riding style from Phillip Island to this track, so there are many positives to be taken on the first day and I feel confident for the rest of the weekend here in Malaysia."
Espargaro, fast at Sepang from the first practices
Action resumed today at the Sepang International Circuit for the first day of practices of the Malaysian Grand Prix, last round of the overseas tripleheader.
It was a good start for the NGM Forward Racing Team with Aleix Espargaro and Alex De Angelis finishing respectively in 2nd and 19th place of the combined classification.
As it happened in the winter test, Espargaro was able to ride fast since the FP1 setting a superb 2.01.393, just 14 thousands from the provisional pole man and he finished the first day of free practices with the second best lap time behind Dani Pedrosa.
In the afternoon, with the rain started to fall a few minutes before the start of the FP2,
Aleix couldn’t improve his lap time. The Spaniard showed to be competitive also on the wet, setting the fifth best time of the FP2.
His team mate Alex De Angelis focused on the set up of the bike as he hadn’t tested the Forward Yamaha on this track during the winter test. He set a lap time of 2.04.454, finishing in 19th position of the combined classification.
“Already in February during the pre-season test I was competitive here so today we started from that point and I could confirm the positive feelings. I was fast on the dry this morning, but also on the wet in the FP2 the feeling was quiet good. I’m confident for the qualifying of tomorrow as I have a good pace”.
Alex De Angelis
“Considering that I didn’t test here in the winter I knew that I couldn’t ride fast as the other ones in the first practices. In the morning the feeling was positive and I could ride with a good pace. The target was to improve in the afternoon but just a few minutes before the start of the FP2 it started to rain so I couldn’t continue working on the set up in the afternoon. All in all it was a positive day”.
MIXED CONDITIONS RESULT IN MIXED FORTUNES FOR BAUTISTA AND REDDING ON DAY ONE AT SEPANG
Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding kicked off the Malaysian Grand Prix today at the Sepang International Circuit, closing the combined classification of the first two free practice sessions with the thirteenth and fifteenth fastest time, respectively. Both the Spaniard and the Briton set best lap times in the morning session, held on a dry asphalt, after the arrival of a heavy downpour forced the riders to take part to the FP2 session on a wet track, gradually drying out.
Bautista began the morning session using the set-up that last Februay allowed him to do positive winter tests: Alvaro, however, was once again slowed down again by rear grip issues, especially on corner exit. The situation improved in full wet conditions, but then he struggled again in mixed conditions, at the end of the afternoon session, with a damp track.
The situation was similar for his teammate Redding who, however, said that it was satisfied with his performance on the dry: later, also the English rookie found himself at ease with full wet, albeit he struggled again in mixed conditions.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (13th - 2'02"722)
“This morning the track conditions were not so bad, but here we are still struggling with rear grip, especially on corner exit. Therefore, in the first free practice session we worked to try to find a better grip, but with no reward: the setting we used here last February, during winter testing, actually is not working. Therefore, we were planning to try a different set-up solution in the afternoon, but this was not possible because of the rain. The situation on the wet is not bad, but in the final stages of the FP2, with mixed conditions and the track coming dry, I had a lot of spinning and even in the straight it was impossible to open full throttle”.
SCOTT REDDING (15th - 2'02"898)
“The morning session was quite good for us: it was nice to come back on a track where I’ve already tested with a MotoGP bike. We started from a good level of the electronics right from the beginning and I’m quite happy for this. We have been fast, even if the lap times were harder to get when the track temperature went up. In the afternoon we did a good job in full wet conditions, but when the track started to come greasy, I started to struggle with tyre overheat, so the final part of the FP2 session meant not so much for us. However, the first part was good, now we just need to find something to be strong also in mixed conditions”.
“Today we could make only one session in the dry: Bautista tried the same set-up that last February turned out to be valid, but without success, then the arrival of the rain didn’t allow us to continue to work to try to improve the rear grip. Scott, meanwhile, started immediately with a good level, being able to exploit the references of the test. Both riders in the afternoon experienced some trouble with the track drying out: we need to work, not only for dry conditions, but also to find a good compromise for mixed conditions, which may occur in Sunday's race”.
BRADL 5TH FASTEST AT SEPANG FIRST DAY OF ACTION
Sepang, 24 October: LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl had a good start to the weekend at Sepang circuit setting the 5th quickest lap time (2’01.716 – only 0.3s off the leader Pedrosa) at the end of day one. This morning’s first free session saw the German strongly riding his RCV on dry surface while the second afternoon session was delayed due to a typical tropical storm. But even on the wet Bradl found his pace enforcing his belief ahead tomorrow’s qualifying.
Stefan: "This morning, in the dry, we started with a good set-up and a good pace finishing 5th in the first session. Both bikes worked pretty good and tomorrow we will decide which direction we go because we have some strong points on bike one and some others on bike two. So we need to put the things together to obtain the best overall package. I think it’s gonna be a tough session tomorrow morning - like a pre-qualifying session- but I am not worried about it because we are in good shape so far. Even in the wet, in the afternoon after the storm, we lapped fast despite the tricky conditions of the surface”.
DRIVE M7 Aspar riders enjoy day of contrasts
Hiroshi Aoyama, fourteenth, looks solid in dry and wet conditions. Nicky Hayden spectacular on a wet track in the afternoon session
A heavy downpour fell on the Sepang circuit just before the start of the second MotoGP free practice session today. The track quickly flooded due to the tropical storm, and the MotoGP riders who had worked without incident in the opening session of the Malaysian Grand Prix saw their second runout postponed for fifteen minutes. After the rain stopped, the track was opened and all riders returned to work relatively normally in the wet. In the morning, Dani Pedrosa led the way. In the afternoon, Jorge Lorenzo was fastest.
Despite the particular climatic conditions at the Sepang circuit, the DRIVE M7 riders conducted a very productive day of work to open the Malaysian GP. Hiroshi Aoyama had already announced before landing in Malaysia that Sepang is one of his favourite circuits. Today set the fourteenth fastest time in the opening session and the thirteenth in the second runout. After looking comfortable riding in completely different conditions, the Japanese DRIVE M7 Aspar rider seeks further improvement tomorrow.
Teammate Nicky Hayden has suffered a lack of grip in the morning on dry asphalt, but in the afternoon was spectacular in the wet, allowing him to close the second free practice session in ninth position. After analysing all the data collected on the first day of the Malaysian event, the American now has a clear way forward to improve tomorrow.
14th Hiroshi Aoyama 2.02.847 (31 vueltas): “This morning we had a dry session and my feeling was positive. We started the weekend with a good pace. In the afternoon we had planned to use different setups to balance the bike better, but it began to pour with rain and we had to work in the wet. Our feeling on a wet track was also optimal. The bike responded well today, but tomorrow we will try to improve its performance. Although we have begun this Grand Prix with an excellent feeling, tomorrow morning we will look for new solutions to tweak the setup. Maybe it will rain again tomorrow afternoon, so we will have to be ready and work to avoid surprises.”
18th Nicky Hayden 2.03.787 (31 laps): “My feeling in the first session was strange, because I had no grip on the rear. That meant that I couldn’t ride comfortably, but fortunately I could analyse the data after the session and we could work out what happened. We now know what we can improve for the second day. In the afternoon, on a wet track, I felt much better and the chassis was responding well. The only question marks were over the electronics at different parts of the track. In the second session I spent a long time amongst the fastest riders and I placed ninth, which is positive. The best thing about the second session is that we were able to ride in the wet, preparing us for Sunday if it rains again then.”
Mixed results in mixed conditions for Redding at Sepang
Sepang, Malaysia – 24 October 2014: Scott Redding made the most of returning to a track at which he’s tested previously on the Honda RCV1000R to finish the opening day at Sepang in 15th position.
The 21-year-old Briton set his fastest time in this morning’s first free practice session, as this afternoon’s 45-minute session was held in wet conditions, following the onset of heavy rain that led to the Moto3 session being red flagged.
While the rain had moved on by the time the MotoGP bikes took to the track for their second session today, the track was still wet, with standing water evident in a number of corners. In the wet Redding immediately felt comfortable, but when the track started to dry as the session progressed, he struggled with the tyres overheating on what was now a decidedly greasy track surface.
Redding will work tonight with his crew to find a better set up for mixed conditions, as there is always a possibility at Sepang that the race will be run in such conditions.
Scott Redding // 15th // 2’02.898
“The morning session was quite good for us, it was nice to come back on a track where I’ve already tested with a MotoGP bike. We started from a good level with the electronics right from the beginning and I’m quite happy about this. We have been fast, even if the lap times were harder to get when the track temperature went up. In the afternoon we did a good job in fully wet conditions, but when the track started to come greasy, I started to struggle with the tyre overheating, so the final part of the second session meant not so much for us. However, the first part was good, now we just need to find something to be strong also in mixed conditions.”
Afternoon rain brought eleventh position in Sepang
In the morning sixteenth place, in the afternoon eleventh position. Different results of Karel Abraham reflect different weather condition during free practices of MotoGP class in Malaysia, Sepang. In the morning, riders rode on dry, however in the afternoon came "traditional" shower due to which one the practices was postponed.
In the morning hot weather, in the afternoon rain, it is Sepang as usual. We are satisfied with morning result, even if it was the first practice we had no serious problems. In the afternoon it came really strong rainstorm, we went on the track but then they put red flag and practice was postponed. At the beginning the track was wet, but it was drying, however times are completely different compered to the morning, there is difference almost fifteenth second. So eleventh place sounds really good, however from qualifying point of view it does not matter. On the other hand it is good to know that we can be more competitive on wet. If this traditional weather will last, maybe we will ride on wet also in Sunday.
Pedrosa on race record pace in a day of mixed weather at Sepang
Round 17: Malaysian MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two
Sepang, Friday 24 October 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 29-31°C; Track 40-46°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Wet. Ambient 28-29°C; Track 35-38°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was the quickest rider in Friday practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix, as the MotoGP™ riders had to contend with both sunshine and heavy rain in a challenging opening day at Sepang.
The riders wasted no time getting up to speed at Sepang in the first session of the weekend, and by the end of the session both Pedrosa and NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro were able to set times under the current Sepang Circuit Record Lap time of 2’01.415, set last year by Marc Marquez. Pedrosa’s benchmark time of 2’01.379 saw him beat Espargaro to the first day’s honours by just 0.014 seconds, while the third quickest rider on the day, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo was a mere 0.037 seconds adrift of Pedrosa with a personal best lap time of 2’01.416.
After a dry and warm start to the day allowed the use of slick tyres in Free Practice 1, a heavy downpour of rain just before the start of Free Practice 2 necessitated the use of wet tyres for the entirety of the afternoon session, thus no riders were able to improve on the times they set in the morning. In the morning session, all riders selected the medium compound front slick at the start of the session, yet towards the end of the session some riders opted for Bridgestone’s new hard compound front slick which makes its competitive debut this weekend. The feedback from the riders that used this new front slick was positive, and it is expected the majority of riders will evaluate this option in the next dry session.
For the rear tyre, the majority of riders including the Factory Ducati, Honda and Yamaha riders opted for the medium compound rear slick in FP1, while the remaining riders selected the soft compound rear slick. A number of factory riders planned to evaluate the hard compound rear slick in FP2, but had to abandon this plan due to the afternoon rain. In FP2’s wet conditions, all riders opted for the hard compound wet tyres front and rear, which is the main wet tyre option Bridgestone has provided for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Similar temperatures with a good possibility of rain in the afternoon are forecast for tomorrow. The next MotoGP™ session is Free Practice 3 at 0955 local time (GMT +8).
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The variable weather today gave the riders the opportunity to ride in a wide range of conditions from fully dry to fully wet and although this meant the riders couldn’t evaluate as many slick options as they planned to, a lot of valuable data was collected today. Given that we often experience rain in the afternoon at Sepang, the riders were able to work on their wet setup and get a feel for how our wet tyres perform at this technical circuit. In this morning’s session, most riders used the medium compound slicks front and rear, but some Open-class riders also tried our new hard compound front slick at the end of FP1, and the feedback we received was that this option had a good combination of braking and cornering performance, which was a positive outcome on the first day here at Sepang. Some riders were able to lap under race record pace in the first session of the weekend and the pace among the front runners is very close, so I am pleased that our revised tyre allocation at Sepang this year is working well for everybody.”