Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Sepang:
Solid Start in Sepang for Yamaha
The last of the overseas triple-header Grand Prix has kicked off today at the Sepang International Circuit with the first two free practice sessions ahead of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. Jorge Lorenzo jumped into action and set the fastest time of the weekend so far, with team-mate Valentino Rossi wrapping up the day in fifth position in the combined times.
Sepang (Malaysia), 23rd October 2015
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi have started the action in the first free practice sessions ahead of this weekend‘s penultimate round of the championship.
Lorenzo successfully started off the 25th anniversary of the Malaysia Grand Prix weekend during the slightly hazy morning session. The relatively cool temperatures on track helped the Majorcan rider to make his intentions clear. Aware that every session is important for the outcome of the championship as he attempts to close down the gap to Rossi in the overall standings, he come out of the starting block flying, and posted a best lap of 2'00.622s for second place.
Happy that the usual tropical rain showers at Sepang in the afternoon did not make an appearance today, the Majorcan continued to make progress during the hotter FP2 session. He focused on perfecting his setting until, with eight minutes of the session remaining, it was time to put his YZR-M1 to the test under similar conditions that can be expected for the race if it stays dry. Without further ado he delivered the fastest time of the day of 2‘00.246s to lead the first day with a 0.047s advantage over his closest rival.
Teammate Rossi will have his first ’match point‘ this weekend against Lorenzo. The Italian‘s eleven-point advantage in the championship standings could potentially earn him the 2015 MotoGP World Championship Title this weekend, depending on Sunday‘s race results. With this motivation to push him above and beyond, the nine-time World Champion hit the ground running. Rossi made the most of the dry 45 minutes session and set a solid pace. His best lap of 2'00.915s in the morning session brought him up to fourth place.
In the afternoon the Doctor solely focused on further improving his set-up and tried several tyre and bike setting combinations to suit his riding style best. He worked tirelessly on the baking Malaysian track, but did not improve on his morning time, clocking a fastest time of 2‘01.305s. However, his morning‘s time was fast enough for him to hold on to fifth place in the combined free practice times, 0.669s behind his teammate.
1st JORGE LORENZO
2'00.246 / 15 LAPS
We are working very well on the setting of the bike. We have a good pace both with the old and the new tyre, we just need to improve some details, but overall it‘s good. This afternoon it was very hot. It will depend on tomorrow‘s weather, but I think the bike can be further improved so I can better my lap time.
5th VALENTINO ROSSI
2'00.915 / 16 LAPS
This morning we had a good pace and in the afternoon we worked well until the last time we exited the box. We used a hard tyre to get an understanding of our capabilities, but unfortunately we didn‘t finish our work, because when we put on the softer tyre I had some problems with chatter and was not able to understand my potential. We will have to wait for tomorrow morning to also see what our level is with the medium tyres. It‘s too early to say if this will affect qualifying. The most important thing tomorrow will be to understand if it was the bike or the tyre that created too much vibration, but we still have another set of tyres, so we can manage.
Today was a strong start to the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. In the morning both our riders were pretty fast and set competitive times in the relatively cooler conditions. In the afternoon Jorge continued to make good progress. He had a solid pace, having set the fastest time of the day, he seems set for a strong result this weekend. Vale struggled when he put on the softer tyres in the afternoon and will do further testing on it tomorrow. However, his pace on the harder tyres was quite good and showed that he is feeling confident at the Sepang track and so is the team as well. We will continue to work to prepare some improvements overnight and look forward to a ’hot‘ qualifying session tomorrow.
Strong start for Pedrosa and Marquez in Malaysian heat
With hot temperatures and poor visibility – caused by the haze caused by agricultural fires in Indonesia – it’s been a tough start to the Malaysian GP. However, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez began strong this morning – Dani topping the FP1 session with his time of 2’00.412 (lap 3/16) and Marc just 0.324 seconds off him in third with his time of 2’00.736 (lap 3/17).
In this afternoon’s FP2 temperatures rose to 35ºC in the afternoon (from 30ºC) and the track temperature rose to 47ºC (from 33ºC). With the lack of any rain in recent weeks and with more rubber on the track, most riders were able to better their times. Dani finished the day second in the combined times with his time of 2’00.293 (lap 17/18) – just 0.047 off Lorenzo – and Marc finished third with his lap of 2’00.472 (lap 13/16).
"Today we had the first practice sessions in Sepang and we focused our work on tyre testing and setting up the bike. We mainly used the day to see what shape the track was in and understand if the testing we did here in the Winter would be a help to us or not, and now we need to continue analysing with the team to see which is the most suitable race tyre for Sunday."
"It’s true that we’ve all tested here, but now it’s completely different. We are working to adapt the setup of the bike to this circuit, although we went out with the base we used in the test and it was not too bad. It seems that the grip is still not the best, as happened last year, but we are working hard and I think that we will gradually improve. The important thing is that we are close to Jorge and Dani, who are the ones with the best pace. Let's see if tomorrow we can take that step forward and get the one tenth that I need to be up there with them."
Iannone fourth, Dovizioso eighth after first day of free practice for the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix at Sepang
Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso wrapped up the first day of practice for the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix at Sepang in fourth and eighth place respectively. On a hot, sultry day, amidst a permanent haze caused by forest fire smoke from nearby Indonesia, the two Ducati Team riders took to the track in the first morning session using only medium compound tyres, front and rear. At the end of the 45-minute session Iannone was seventh, with Dovizioso in tenth.
In the afternoon’s FP2 both Ducati riders continued the set-up work on their Desmosedici GP15 machines with the same type of tyres. Andrea Iannone had a harmless crash on his third lap, and when he returned to the garage, he continued the session with his second bike. In the final stages both riders bolted on a soft rear and Andrea Iannone set fourth quickest time in 2’00.486, just 0.24s away from provisional leader Lorenzo. Andrea Dovizioso instead finished in eighth place with a time of 2’01.127.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 2’00.486 (4th)
“All things considered it was a positive day, pity only about my crash at the start of the second session. The front closed up when I entered Turn 7 and I crashed: I’m sorry for the guys, who will now have to rebuild the bike. For the moment my pace on the track is good and this makes us hopeful for tomorrow. At the front I always used the medium compound tyre, which will probably be the one we’ll use in the race but now it will be important to know if the others have used the same tyre or the hard one.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2’01.127 (8th)
“It was a difficult day for me, because I hoped to be closer to the front, but we’re still a long way off. My bike has improved a lot from last year’s in several areas, but we have lost out in others and on certain tracks we can go well, on others not so good. Unfortunately I am not able to get 100% out of the bike and it’s a bit frustrating. However we must try and improve during the weekend: today we tried various things, some positive, some not so much, and I hope that they will be enough to understand the right direction for tomorrow and help us to improve a bit more.”
POSITIVE APPROACH TO SEPANG BY TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 23.
The Malaysian GP has started in typical weather conditions for the region, with lot of humidity and heat that required extra effort from both the riders during the first two sessions of practice, but both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders performed well throughout the day at Sepang International Circuit, registering important improvements from morning to afternoon.
Aleix Espargarò was the faster of the two riders, with a final seventh position from the 2'01.058s-lap he scored in Free Practice 2. His team-mate Maverick Viñales struggled a little more to find good confidence, but his lap times were well inside the top-10 for almost all the sessions, and only in the last part of FP2 he lost his place and was classified 12th in the combined times with a best lap of 2'01.796.
Today’s classification is a little unusual, as the top four riders are covered by 0.240s but then the classification is broken by a seven-tenth-of-a-second gap, with other riders from fifth to 12th by a further 0.7s. This is an indication of how tough today’s riding conditions were.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“We are still working hard, but today we saw some encouraging things. First of all Aleix was good from the start, we could understand many things and improve his set-up, while collecting good information that shows us which direction to move forward in during the weekend. He was always in the leading group for the whole session and this is a good sign. Maverick instead struggled a little, but again we had some encouraging signs. For sure, we have to work hard but I am confident we can improve his situation for tomorrow. We know that this is a pretty hard track for us, but if we manage to exploit the potential we have at its best, we can try to improve even further.”
“I was expecting to struggle a lot on this track because it is very fast and has two very long straights but to be honest we are not as badly off as I thought. Of course, I cannot say it was an easy job, but I am happy to be in seventh place. We did a huge job in recent days to analyse the data from Australia and also from the test we had here in February and this gave us a lot of information. This morning it was harder to improve, I struggled to find good confidence with the front, as it lacked stability, but we did make many improvements in the afternoon even though my feeling is not much better. The acceleration is not so bad and we also have positive grip; we made some improvements both on the electronics but also on the overall geometry of the bike and this has paid us back so far. We still have a lot to do for tomorrow but I have the feeling that we are on the right path.”
“I’m not so satisfied about this first day, I feel the bike is unstable and I can’t take the lines I’d wish to around this track. I also still lack some traction, I suffer a lot of spinning from the rear and we must now find the best way to get back some confidence. For other reasons the day has also been positive. We have started working with the hard tyre and the pace is not bad; at the same time, I have to recognise that when I went out with the softer tyre I found much traffic in sectors 3 and 4 and this probably prevented me getting a better result than 12th place overall. Anyhow, we have received a lot of information today and we can work on it all. Tomorrow we will try to perform better and to get a better feeling from the bike.”
MOTOGP - APRILIA, FIRST TWO PRACTICE SESSIONS ON THE DEMANDING SEPANG CIRCUIT
BRADL: A DECIDEDLY MORE POSITIVE FRIDAY THAN AT PHILLIP ISLAND
BAUTISTA: I NEED TO MAKE PROGRESS TOMORROW
Sepang (Malaysia), 23 October 2015 - In Malaysia the extreme weather conditions, with very high heat and humidity, and the difficulties of an extremely varied track, put Bautista and Bradl to the test, both working on their respective Aprilia RS-GP machines to find a setting for the qualifiers and the race. Between the first session in the morning (FP1) and the afternoon session (FP2), both Aprilia Racing Team Gresini improved, finishing in 15th place (Bradl with 2’02,118) and 19th place (Bautista with 2’02,626) in the combined standings. The sensations were more positive for Stefan, already pleased with his base setup, whereas Alvaro, a bit behind his team mate today, needs to work particularly on rear grip in order to move up in the standings.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“Bradl is quite motivated, positive and I'd say quite effective as well after the hiccough at the Phillip Island race. We dedicated the sessions today to various tests and comparisons, focusing most of all on rear grip which is the aspect where we need to improve the most. Alvaro also had a slight mishap this morning with a harmless crash. Now we'll analyse the data to get ready for tomorrow's sessions.”
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“The results are positive for this first day: a crash in the morning session slowed Alvaro's progress and that's why he is a bit behind compared to Stefan. In general, however, the gap behind the faster riders, considering the type of track, is not that big. Tomorrow we'll continue working in the hopes of improving even more.”
“Today was not easy, partly because of a crash that slowed our work during FP1, but overall we need to improve rear grip. The bike is sliding around a lot right now and I can't push the way I should be able to. In the second session we tried a few different solutions but since I still can't feel the rear I'm struggling to get in a good lap. We need to analyse the data and find a solution to make progress tomorrow.”
“This was a much more positive Friday than the one at Phillip Island. I'm happy to be back to demonstrating performance that is more in line with our levels. The bike and tyres are giving me a good feeling to be able to push and I'm already quite pleased with the setup we began with this weekend. In any case, we still have a few ideas to improve further. In fact, we need a bit more grip going into turns, which forces me to take care, especially when tyre performance begins to drop. We will also try to improve our braking stability. Overall it was a satisfying day anyway. Hopefully we can continue like this tomorrow as well.”
Petrux starts with a precious Top 10. Yonny (18°) has to improve his feeling
Danilo Petrucci ends friday's free practices of the Shell Malaysia GP with a valuable tenth place which allows him to win the provisional qualification to Q2. For Yonny Hernandez (18th) a feeling with the bike to be improved in FP3.
OCTO Pramac Racing has started well the weekend at the Sepang circuit characterized by a blistering heat also due to the blanket of smoke coming from the large-scale fires in Indonesia. Saturday's qualifying could also hold some surprises according to weather forecasts which indicate possibility of rain before FP3 and during Q1 and Q2.
That's why tenth the 10th place could be a very positive result for Petrux. At the same time, very interesting data come from the growth recorded between FP1 and FP2 when the rider from Terni successfully lowered his quickest time of the morning by 4 thents of a second despite the worst track conditions. The fastest lap time of 2'01.598 earned Danilo ninth in Fp2 and tenth in the friday's combined classification .
Yonny struggled a lot in the last the Asian event of 2015 MotoGP season. The rider from Medellin didn't manage to be competitive as after the 17th place in morning practice, he did not made a significant step forward in the afternoon ending with a time of 2'02.554 which places him in 18th place.
10th - Danilo Petrucci - OCTO Pramac Racing Team #9
It was a positive day and I'm glad for the work we did. Although I was not able to get the most with the soft tire, I'm very satisfied with the race pace as the GP will be very difficult due to low grip conditions on a circuit which becomes very slippery in the afternoon. From Phillip Island we got a good bike. Today we were very competitive from the beginning and I want to continue to stay in the Top 10 tomorrow.
18th - Yonny Hernandez - OCTO Pramac Racing Team #68
I do not have a good feeling with the bike as I feel I'm missing rear grip. In acceleration I lose a lot of speed and this affects the laptime within. I improved a bit in the afternoon but to be competitive we have to do better. In FP3 I have to take advantage of the better conditions of the track and fight for a place in Q2.
Top ten for Redding on opening day in Sepang
Sepang, Malaysia - 23 October 2015: Finishing inside the top ten on the opening day of the Malaysian Grand Prix marked a solid start to the weekend for Scott Redding. Having been fifth fastest in the morning the 22-year-old was consistent throughout both sessions and looks set to secure a strong result this weekend.
However, a lack of feeling from the front end when the temperatures rose in the afternoon left the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider feeling that there was still plenty of room for improvement. Finding a solution to the front end issues, as well as improving the set up to conserve the rear tyre, will be critical to a good result here at Sepang.
With rain forecast for tomorrow it was important for riders to finish the opening day inside the top ten, to ensure they automatically go through to Q2 should tomorrow’s 45-minute FP3 session be run in the wet. As a result finishing ninth fastest on the combined timesheet today offered plenty of reason for encouragement for the rest of the weekend.
Redding was one of only six riders not to improve their times in the afternoon session, but he comfortably made it into the top ten times having completed 31 laps over the course of the day.
Scott Redding: 9th – 2’01.218
"I'm pretty happy with today. This morning was good because we had a good base from the test here, but we still need to try some changes with the electronics. This afternoon was a little bit more difficult for me because the hotter temperature gave a greasy feeling with the front. It was not bad though and I feel quite comfortable with the bike so we just need to work a little bit more with the electronics for the tyre life. We'll work on these things for tomorrow and try and improve the lap time because it was a little bit more difficult with the hotter track temperature in the afternoon but, then again, it's the same for everybody."
Chris Pike: Chief Engineer
"Looking after the rear tyre is very important here in Malaysia. We get a lot of spinning from the rear here at Sepang that, combined with the high track temperatures, makes big demands of the rear tyre. We need to ensure we find a set up that reduces the spinning and looks after the rear, while also working to make the front of the bike more stable in the terms, which is what Scott is requesting.”
Preparations begin for the Tech3 pair at day 1 in Malaysia
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro produced a resolute effort on the first day of practice at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix and battled to 13th overall. When the opening 45 minute morning session commenced, Espargaro threw his leg over his Yamaha YZR-M1 as he aimed to complete the first run at Sepang solidly. With a positive test having been achieved before the dawn of the season, the Spaniard started by experimenting with various aspects of the bike in order to make it more competitive in low grip conditions. He concluded a total of 18 laps around the circuit whilst testing the key areas in the opening shakedown and finished in 13th, yet he looked set to make a step up in the afternoon. Here, his hard work continued with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team as he tirelessly pushed onwards and he completed free practice 2 with a best time of 2’01.850 which he set on his last lap. This time was an improvement of 0.409 from his opening gambit and the Spaniard now aims to progress with his efforts tomorrow in FP3 ahead of the all important qualifying campaign.
On the opposite side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith started his Malaysian campaign with a firm display at the penultimate round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship as he ended the opening day in 14th overall. When the fight commenced, Smith leapt onto his Yamaha YZR-M1 and he began to alter the base setup of his MotoGP bike to suit the challenging 5.5 kilometre circuit. The British rider finished the practice in 15th, yet he remained confident of improving in the afternoon. There, he launched straight back into his groove as he aimed to lower his lap time and make advances in preparation for Sunday’s main event. During the practice, Smith completed 19 laps, the highest number of any MotoGP rider and his personal best time of 2’02.101 which he set on his 7th lap, left him in 14th in the combined standings. After a challenging day, the 24 year old now sets his sights on seeing out his qualifying campaign with a strong performance tomorrow ahead of the 17th round battle on Sunday.
Position : 13th Time : 2'01.850 Laps : 34
“For sure, we didn't start the weekend in the way that we wanted to, but it goes without saying that today was the best time to try different settings. We already knew that the opening day is not usually our strongest point during an event as we struggle a lot with the lower grip level. Therefore, we decided to invest some time and alter several aspects of the bike in order to improve, particularly in these kind of conditions. So, we collected a lot of information today and we will now analyse which direction we need to head towards. Anyway, we are confident that, just like in Phillip Island, the situation will improve as soon as the track gets a bit more grip and then, we will be able to reduce the gap to the front guys. So now we'll work hard in order to be ready to bounce back strongly during tomorrow's practice sessions."
Position : 14th Time : 2'02.101 Laps : 37
“It’s good to be back at Sepang which is a track that I enjoy riding at, but I must admit that today was quite a struggle and to be completely honest, we have some work to do. As soon as I started this morning, my confidence and feeling wasn’t quite the same as usual with the bike and it’s difficult to understand why after the positive test that we had here in February. At the moment, we are unfortunately stuck inside the 2’02 bracket, which of course, is not where we want or need to be. However, a positive is that we are not just struggling with one specific factor but we need to improve the bike as a whole which means it is easier to find some solutions. Anyway, towards the end of the second free practice session, we were able to improve slightly, yet there is plenty of work to do tomorrow still. Overall, we tried a lot of different settings today in order to identify which direction to head towards and now we will have an in depth look at the data and then see what we can do. It was a tricky start today, but for sure, tomorrow we will be stronger.”
Barbera close to Top Ten on the opening day at Sepang
23/10/15 Avintia Racing MotoGP - Grand Prix of Malaysia - FP1 - FP2
Great start for Hector Barbera and Avintia Racing on the opening day of the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Spanish rider did a fantastic first free practice session, finishing eight aboard his Ducati Desmosedici GP14.1. In the afternoon with the track temperature close to 50º degrees, it was harder for him to improve his lap times, but finally he was able to do one single lap that was only one tenth slower than his morning’s best. Barbera was eleventh in the combined sheets and only 18 thousandths of a second from the Top Ten. It was certainly a good way to start the weekend at Sepang.
Mike Di Meglio felt a considerable improvement after making several changes to the set up in between sessions and in the afternoon he had better feeling with the bike despite the boiling temperatures. His goal is to improve tomorrow and to try to get closer to his teammate, the fastest Open Class rider today. But we’ll have to keep an eye on the sky, as there is rain forecast for tomorrow in Sepang.
HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 11th (P1 Open) 2'01.616 @HectorBarbera
The Grand Prix could not start in a better way, I was eight this morning, twelfth this afternoon and eleventh fastest in the combined time sheets. We have been strong in the last two races, I feel very good with my bike and we have the pace. Today was difficult to go fast with used tyres, but we could see that we are quite fast with new tyres. So tomorrow we’ll have to concentrate on working with race settings and try to go faster when the tyre performance starts to drop. This is a very demanding track because of the heat, but the best thing of this sport is that it’s the same for everybody.
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 21st (P5 Open) 2'03.394 @Mikejpp63
Overall I think today it was a good day. We changed many things from the morning to the afternoon and my feeling was positive. We didn’t use the softer tyre in the afternoon in order to keep them for tomorrow, because the track condition will be cooler in the morning and we must try to do a fast lap. We have to refine the set-up, because we did a good step forward, but we need to adjust it to get the maximum out of the bike. The base set up from the winter test was okay, but we changed it quite a lot.
A day of work for the Forward Racing team at Sepang
A day of intense work ended for the Forward Racing team at the circuit of Sepang, that this weekend hosts the Malaysian Grand Prix. Loris Baz and Toni Elias, in fact, have managed the free practice for finding the right setup with the Yamaha Forward on this track characterized by high temperatures.
Baz, who struggled in the first session with the grip and the electronics, finished the day with a best of 2.03.429, which earned him the 22nd place in the combined standings. The Frenchman remains confident for qualifying where the goal is to reduce the gap with the other Open.
Busy day also for Toni Elias who finished the afternoon session with a good 2.03.710 in 23rd place. The Spaniard, who suffered the high temperatures in the morning, improved his lap time by almost eight tenths in the afternoon on this track that is well suited to his driving style.
“I tried new solutions during this free practice day. Compared to the others I was not here during the winter test and today I used all the time for focusing on the setup. Sepang is a track I really like which suits on my driving style – so I’m motivated to do well. We have to find the right grip”.
"Compared to the February test the weather conditions are totally different and it was not easy to adapt to the track especially in the morning session. In the afternoon the conditions changed and I could not find the right grip for pushing hard. We continue to work: the aim is to improve the lap time for qualifying".
CRUTCHLOW ON SONG AGAIN AT SEPANG
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow continued his fine recent form with an encouraging display on the opening day of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. On a warm and hazy day at the Sepang International circuit things did not start as the Briton had hoped, but he responded in impressive fashion to ensure he was towards the top of the timesheets after Friday’s free practice sessions.
Crutchlow endured a minor fall at corner six early on in the morning but got back on his RC213V to post the sixth fastest lap of the session. He then found another two tenths of improvement in the afternoon to end the day in fifth position and et himself up nicely ahead of Saturday’s qualifying.
Cal Crutchlow #35 (5th - 2’01.039)
"Today we did not have the best start to the weekend as we had a small crash in FP1 and were disappointed to lose some time. I’ve been using the hard rear tyre so far, and also started the second session with it, but we had some problems because of the pre-heating of the tyre.
“But in the end we managed to gain some in the lap time and we used the soft tyre at the end to seal the real potential of the day. We still have a bit of catching up to do, but I’m looking forward to working with the guys overnight and hopefully we can come back tomorrow and improve again.”
MILLER LOOKING TO IMPROVE AFTER DAY ONE IN MALAYSIA
LCR Honda rider Jack Miller endured a frustrating opening day of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. Friday’s free practice sessions took place in warm, hazy conditions at the Sepang International circuit, but Miller was unable to build on the momentum of his excellent ride at Phillip Island last time out.
The Australian went 18th fastest in the morning session with a fastest lap of 2’03.136, but was unable to better that as humidity rose in the afternoon session. Ultimately he finished down in 21st position on the timesheets but insists the team will be working hard to ensure improvement in Saturday’s qualifying.
Jack Miller #43 (21st – 2’03.485)
"It’s really good to be back on the bike again and racing, although obviously I’m not so happy with the position today and also we seemed to struggle with the feeling of the bike.
“But we are working hard as a team to find a good setting for tomorrow, but we definitely need to make a big improvement because today we felt a little bit lost which is disappointing after last week.”
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders separated by just a thousandth of a second
Friday, 23 October 2015 11:54
Narrow margins separate Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden on first day in Malaysia
The heat has been rising at Sepang both on and off the track over the past couple of days, with yesterday's controversial press conference being followed by an intense first day of action today. After claims and counter claims of favouritism between Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, it was time for the riders to do their talking on track in the opening two free practice sessions of the 25th edition of the Malaysian Grand Prix. In-form Dani Pedrosa led the morning session and looked on course to stay on top this afternoon until a stunning late effort from Lorenzo sealed first position overnight.
It was a contrasting day for the two riders in the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar garage although both finished with an almost identical result. Eugene Laverty struggled for front end stability this morning in the hard braking zones and bumpy sections that are a feature of this circuit, but he made strong progress this afternoon to finish as the leading Honda Open bike, two seconds off Lorenzo in sixteenth place. Nicky Hayden made a confident start and was happy with his pace and feeling this morning, although his sensations changed this afternoon with used rubber on the scorching track. The American switched to fresh tyres on his final outing to finish one position and just one hundredth of a second behind his team-mate.
16º Eugene Laverty 2.02.426 (33 laps): “This morning we had a big problem in the braking area and also on the bumps, I didn't feel safe with the front. We improved both areas this afternoon. For me it is nice to come back to somewhere we tested in preseason and see the progress we have made. I think everybody knows we didn't have much support in preseason but the team have worked so hard to get us to where we are now. We were so lost at the test here, I didn't even feel like I was racing the bike until Argentina. Now it goes where I want it to and I think that shows the quality of this team. The conditions are much hotter now and even after short runs this afternoon I was short of breath. I remember doing a full race run in the test no problem but today my throat was tight. I had asthma as a kid so I am hoping it is not related. I'll speak to the other riders and see how they are feeling but anyway it is going to be a physically demanding weekend for sure.”
17º Nicky Hayden 2.02.427 (32 laps): “The first day started out okay, this morning we were able to improve the bike a little bit each time. The feeling was not so bad, also the lap time, I mean the track wasn't in bad condition for the first session compared to sometimes here. I certainly don't think the smoke had any effect on the track. This afternoon though things were more difficult in the hotter conditions. We started again with some quite old tyres and they never really came in. The first two runs were quite difficult for me but then on the last exit with some new tyres I was able to improve the feeling and the lap time. So now we got some data to work with, to try to solve some chattering on the front and also improve the grip in the hot conditions. Let's keep going and see what happens tomorrow.”
Lorenzo sets the pace in stifling conditions during Malaysian MotoGP™ practice
Round 17: Malaysian MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two
Sepang, Friday 23 October 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft & Hard (Symmetric) & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 29-31°C; Track 35-38°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 34-35°C; Track 48-50°C (Bridgestone measurement)
The tropical heat at Sepang International Circuit couldn’t melt the resolve of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo today, as the Spaniard topped the timesheets in Friday’s practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
On his final stint in Free Practice 2 this afternoon, Lorenzo set a time of 2’00.246 – almost a second quicker than the Sepang Circuit Record Lap - to end the day 0.047 seconds ahead of Respol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa, who was second quickest overall and the leading rider in Free Practice 1 this morning. Third quickest overall was Pedrosa’s teammate Marc Marquez, who set a 2'00.472 in FP2 to end the day just two-tenths off Lorenzo’s benchmark time. All of the top three riders on combined times set their quickest lap time using the combination of the medium compound slicks front and rear.
Extreme heat and humidity combined with a thick smoke haze to create infernal conditions at Sepang today, with a peak track temperature of 50°C during FP2. With the threat of rain looming over the next two days of action at Sepang, the riders used today’s dry sessions to evaluate a wide range of slick tyre combinations. Both of the front slick options available for the Malaysian Grand Prix – the medium and hard compound options – were tested today, with the medium option proving to be most popular choice due to its combination of cornering and braking performance. All three rear slick options were also evaluated and although the medium compound rear firmed as the riders favourite, the soft rear is a viable option for the Aprilia, Suzuki and open class riders, while the consistency of the hard rear slick could make it a race option if conditions on Sunday are similar to those experienced this afternoon.
The current weather forecast indicates a possibility of rain tomorrow, especially for the afternoon sessions. The next MotoGP session is Free Practice 3 at 0955 local time (GMT +8) which will be the final ranked practice session to determine which riders qualify directly for Qualifying Practice 2 tomorrow afternoon.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“Conditions at Sepang today were as we expected with the bumpy track surface only offering moderate levels of grip to the riders. We’ve revised our Malaysian Grand Prix tyre allocation this year to provide the riders with more grip to compensate for the poor track surface and as a result the pace today was very quick, even in the elevated temperatures in FP2 this afternoon. After the two sessions today, the riders already have a good understanding on what slick tyre combinations are working best for them so we have a good information base to build on tomorrow. However, there is a possibility of rain tomorrow and on Sunday, so if it does rain it will be important for the teams and riders to get some experience with our wet tyres on this circuit as during pre-season testing we only had a couple of hours of wet track time at Sepang. Regardless of what the weather brings tomorrow, I am confident our tyre allocation will give the riders enough performance to ride this technical circuit with complete control and safety.”
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Preview - Round 17: Sepang, Malaysia
Thursday, October 22 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft & Hard (Symmetric) & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)
The penultimate round of the 2015 MotoGP™ season takes place at Sepang International Circuit, a circuit defined by its high ambient temperatures, humidity and a fast, technical layout.
Measuring approximately 5.5 kilometres in length, Sepang features a wide variety of corner types - both low and high speed - with its main feature being two long straights that end in extreme braking zones that demand high levels of stability from the front tyre. The technical layout generates significant forces and loads on tyres and overall the Sepang circuit is one of the more demanding in terms of tyre development.
Two of the rear slick options for the Malaysian Grand Prix – the soft and hard options – are symmetric in specification, while the medium rear slick is asymmetric with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder compared to the left. The rear tyre options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the medium and hard compound slicks, while the Aprilia, Ducati, Suzuki and Open-class riders have the soft and medium compound rear slicks available. Owing to its severe braking zones and high ambient temperatures, the front tyre allocation for Sepang comprises the two hardest front slick tyres in Bridgestone’s range; the medium and hard compound front slicks.
Heavy downpours of rain are not uncommon at Sepang, particularly in the afternoon and as ambient and track temperatures are quite warm at this venue the main wet tyre for the Malaysian Grand Prix is the hard compound. The alternative, soft compound wet tyre will also be made available to riders.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“This weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix is the last of the three back-to-back races and after the breath-taking contest we had last week at Phillip Island, the championship is poised for a thrilling conclusion in the final two rounds. The Sepang circuit is a vastly different circuit from Phillip Island, but like the venue for last week’s round, its layout and climatic conditions create a tough challenge for the riders, their bikes and tyres. In recent years we have seen crowds at the Malaysian Grand Prix growing year on year and given the intense championship battle between Jorge and Valentino I hope to see a record crowd at Sepang International Circuit this weekend. This weekend also marks the final round of the Asia Talent Cup and Bridgestone has been extremely proud to be the exclusive tyre supplier for this series at it has an excellent platform to help talented Asian riders on their way to a career in Grand Prix racing.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“The Sepang circuit has a varied layout with its main features being its two long straights and high track temperatures, which often rise above 50 degrees Celsius. These factors, along with the track being one of the fastest circuits of the season make this circuit very demanding for tyres. The main characteristics the tyres need to have at this circuit is excellent braking stability from the front tyre and good edge grip and durability from the rear tyre. A good bike setup is crucial at this circuit as the grip level of the track isn’t very good and with the high track temperatures, it is easy to overheat the rear tyres. Although teams acquired a lot of bike setting data for this circuit from the pre-season tests in February, the track conditions for the race in October can be quite different to those in testing.”