2016 Sepang MotoGP Monday Press Releases

Press releases after the first day of testing at Sepang:


Tech3 pair back on track as 2016 preparation kicks off

Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith were back on board their Yamaha YZR-M1’s today at the first day of action in Malaysia as they rode their first laps of the year after the winter break which lasted for two months. Both riders eagerly began working on setting up this year’s Yamaha MotoGP bike together with the new electronics package and the Michelin tyres, with the opening findings being positive.

Pol Espargaro leapt straight into gear as soon as the opening shakedown began and he embarked on his testing programme, before setting a personal best of 2’02.646 on his 27th lap. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith finished the day three places behind his teammate, after tirelessly completing 55 laps as he collected vital information for the upcoming season. The hard work will continue tomorrow with both riders fully confident of making further steps forward and lowering their lap times.

Pol Espargaro

Position : 12th Time : 2'02.646 Laps : 42

"It has been a constructive start to the year. When looking at the time sheet it’s easy to see that we did not achieve anything special, but I can’t hide that my feelings are positive. We were able to try the new electronics for the first time and I am glad to say that it’s much better than we expected after what we heard from other people. Of course, we are quite far behind the other manufacturers and also Yamaha Factory, but I’m convinced that there is a huge margin of improvement to make which can can do and the most important thing is that I like how I now have to ride the bike. It goes without saying that it will take us some time to make up the ground and also because we have less engineers than a factory team, but I’m confident that the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team will do a good job. Also the new Michelin front tyres were a positive aspect of the day and you can really feel that they worked a lot on them. We had several front compounds today which all performed well and were absolutely safe. Beside the encouraging technical news, I’m also very pleased that my physical condition seems to be very strong, because even though we rode quite a lot of laps, I do not feel particularly tired. Of course, there are some muscles which we haven’t used since Valencia and for sure the hardest moments are yet to come, with getting up tomorrow morning being crucial, but already, I can’t wait to get back on my Yamaha. Today flew by and we still have a lot of things to test, so we’ll be ready as soon as the light turns green in the morning.”

Bradley Smith

Position : 15th Time : 2'03.026 Laps : 55

"I am pleased to be back after what has been such a long break. I rode a lot of laps today and we did some solid work. Unfortunately I fell at the last corner, however in a strange way, I’m pleased to get my first crash of the year over and done with! It was my fault because I was trying to understand the front tyre, as it is a new style and we were intending to find where the limit is. I was experimenting with this in the hard braking corners and in the last turn I went onto the dirty side of the track and then unfortunately fell. Besides that, we had some small issues today which forced us to make a few changes with the electronics as well as the engine. As a result, we lost a bit of time but I was still able to make a comparison between last seasons’ electronics and this year’s so now we have a clear indication of what we need to do next. Michelin have done a convincing job so far and they’ve brought two compounds of front and rear tyre that are working well here, so they’ve made a significant step from last year at the Valencia test. If you look at the Yamaha riders, it’s clear to see that Jorge and Vale are running well, but I’m sure that once we have had a bit more time with the 2016 electronics, we’ll be able to improve and climb up the rankings. Anyway, I rode 55 decent laps today and now we have a solid plan and a good base to carry on with in the next two days.”


Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Marches to 1-2 on First Day of Malaysian Testing

Movistar Yamaha teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi made their intentions clear whilst testing their YZR-M1s today at the Sepang International Circuit during the first Official MotoGP Test of the year, taking first and second place respectively.

Sepang (Malaysia), 1st February 2016

After a two-month wait, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team assembled in Malaysia to kick off the new season with the first Official MotoGP Test of 2016.

Wasting no time, riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi immediately picked up where they left off, securing the top two positions.

Lorenzo arrived at the sunny and hot Malaysian circuit feeling slightly under the weather, but his mood changed as soon as he put his visor down and swung his leg over the new YZR-M1. He needed little time to move up to fifth place at the end of the first hour, before his smooth riding style took him to first position in the standings, which he held until the end of the session. With his pace proven to be as fast as ever, the Spaniard then decided it was time to test various options for the setting of his bike and ended the day 1.033s ahead of the rest of the field with a fastest lap of 2‘00.684s.

Teammate Rossi was also eager to break in his new YZR-M1 and make clear he means business. He needed less than an hour to take over at the top of the provisional ranking order and with the muscles fully warmed he went on to focus on testing two different set-ups for his bike. Despite a short break when the session was red flagged due to a crash of Eugene Laverty, the nine-time World Champion was able to tick off most items listed on today‘s testing schedule. He spent more time on track than any other rider, completing a total of 55 laps, and finished with a solid fastest lap of 2‘01.717s for second place.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

Personally, I couldn‘t wait to start testing, because of the new regulations and the work ahead of us. It is good to be back in action and we can be satisfied about today‘s results. It has been a good first day, it stayed dry for almost the entire test and this allowed us to start working on different bikes. Today has been very positive, we didn‘t come across any big issues and the riders are getting used to riding on Michelin tyres and the new software. They are getting to know the combination of the bike, the electronics and the Michelin tyres better and are growing in confidence each time they head out on track. We will study the data this evening and tomorrow we will proceed with our test schedule as planned.

JORGE LORENZO

I‘m very happy and surprised about the feeling I had today with the Michelin tyres. The lap times were relatively easy to achieve and every time we exited pit lane we improved something on the bike to understand the electronics better and they adapted very well to the Michelin tyres. I‘m very happy with the change, because Sepang, for me, is always difficult. Today I only slept two hours because of the jetlag and I have a sore throat so I‘m taking antibiotics. My physical condition is not perfect, but to ride two or three laps, I can do that very well. If I was fitter I could do longer stints.

VALENTINO ROSSI

The gap to Lorenzo is too big, but it's also true that he was stronger than everybody else, so he was able to have a better rhythm. On the other side, my position is not so bad and we worked a lot on the bike. It‘s just the first day and the total count will be at the end of the third, but we have a lot of things to do. I‘m quite happy because the electronics already work quite well. We‘re not at the same level as last year, but it‘s already good to ride the bike and especially the Michelin front tyre improved a lot, so the feeling when you ride the bike is more similar to last year. These are the two important issues. We had three bikes, but one of them was just meant for doing a few laps, it was the old one. We have two 2016 bikes and I did my fastest lap time on the bike that‘s more similar to the 2015 model, so it‘s a little bit half and half, but just because I didn‘t have enough time to work on the 2016. I did only one stint and it wasn‘t so bad, we will continue tomorrow and see. Our first issue for this test is to decide which one, so tomorrow we‘ll try to get a better understanding.


Steady start for Rabat on first day at Sepang

Sepang, Malaysia – 01 February 2016: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider, Tito Rabat, got his 2016 MotoGP campaign off to a solid start with a productive first day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

Rabat was the first rider out on track this morning, going on to complete 52 laps of the 5.5km Sepang circuit as he continued his familiarisation with the Honda RC213V on which he will contest the 2016 MotoGP World Championship.

It was the former Moto2 World Champion’s first outing at the Sepang circuit aboard a MotoGP bike and his first experience with the control ECU and unified software that is now mandatory in the premier class. Rabat opted to remain on the harder of the Michelin tyre options for the whole of the opening day, which he finished in 18th position with a time of 2’03.463.

Tomorrow Rabat and his crew will start the process of refining the set up of the Honda RC213V to better suit the 26-year-old’s riding style and the characteristics of the Sepang circuit.

Tito Rabat: 52 Laps - 2’03.463 (+2.779)

“Today was all about getting back the feeling with the bike after such a long time away from the track and with the new electronics package that we will use this season. At first the sensation was a little different to last year, but with more laps the feeling improved. The bike felt good, but we were focussed more on my riding rather than set up, as the lines here are very different on a MotoGP bike and the carbon brakes take some getting used to. Overall it was a good first day but, tomorrow, we need to up the workload and start improving the bike, refining the set up to suit more my riding style.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

“I think today has been a positive start to the test, even if our position on the timesheet doesn’t really reflect this. It’s Tito’s first time at Sepang with the MotoGP bike, the team’s first time at this track with the Michelin tyres and the first time we’ve run the new electronics on the bike. Even with all these new variables, everything ran pretty smoothly and Tito was able to focus on learning his way around on the Honda RC213V, which required different lines to the Moto2 bike he’s used to, and adapting to the power and consistency of the carbon brakes. We stuck with the harder of the tyre options today, so we know we have something in hand when we do put the soft tyre into the bike, but more important than the lap time at this test is to get Tito comfortable and confident with the bike.”


THE 2016 MOTOGP SEASON BEGINS IN MALAYSIA

THE FIRST OF THREE DAYS OF TESTING TODAY FOR BAUTISTA AND BRADL ON THE APRILIA RS-GP MACHINES

Sepang (Malaysia), 1 February 2016 - The 2016 MotoGP season kicked off with the first day of tests, traditionally held at Sepang, with Aprilia committed to their second year in the top motorcycle racing category.

For the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini official riders, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl, it is also a return to the saddle after the long winter break, so for the first day they were mainly focused on getting back into the groove. From a technical point of view, the area of greatest interest has to do with the new electronics, a unique package that must be developed and matched to the peculiar characteristics of each bike. The team focused their efforts on this front, looking for a basic setup that can then be transferred to the new 2016 Aprilia RS-GP prototype.

On the first of the three days scheduled Alvaro Bautista put in 34 laps and his team mate, Stefan Bradl, put in 39.

ALVARO BAUTISTA

“After two months without a bike this first test is essential for getting back into the groove. We have a lot of work to do, especially in terms of the new electronics package. I'm expecting three intense days where we can take as many steps forward as possible, progress that we'll then be able to use on the new bike.”

STEFAN BRADL

“Here at Sepang we'll use the 2015 RS-GP, but the work schedule is rather tight for us anyway. The feeling with the new electronics and the new tyres must be developed lap by lap. The first tests of the season are always something special. You get back onto the track after a long break but it really only takes a few kilometres to reacquire the right sensations.”


Barbera sixth fastest on the opening day at Sepang

01/02/16 Avintia Racing MotoGP - Official Test MotoGP Sepang

Great start for Hector Barbera at the winter test in Sepang: The Spanish rider of Team Avintia Racing MotoGP took sixth place on day one and was only three tenths behind the second fastest rider on track. But the most important thing was not the lap time – it was Hector’s good feeling with the Ducati Desmosedici GP15, the new electronic package and the Michelin tyres. With a total of 59 laps, Barbera was the rider who spent the most time on the bike on the opening day. Nevertheless, he has more work to do in the next two days, where he has to test new suspension parts and more Michelin compounds. He also has a race simulation scheduled for Wednesday, which will be a crucial test of bike and tyre performance as well as his own physical condition.

Team-mate Loris Baz turned 23 today and saw the start of track action as his best possible birthday present after the winter break of two months. The Frenchman completed 58 laps on the 5.543 meters track, working with the tyres, his riding position and his feeling with the Ducati bike. Baz feels he needs to improve on two points of he track, where he loses too much time. But overall, it was a positive first day for him.

HECTOR BARBERA #8 / @HectorBarbera 2'00.002 P6

I’m happy. Usually, the first day is about getting back the feeling and setting up the bike and it came as a nice surprise that we were fast already. I adapt quite well to the Michelin tyres and the new electronic package is a step forward for us compared with last season. I feel good with the team, I know the bike and Sepang is one of my favourite tracks. I didn’t start out with a goal for the first day, because you never know, but in the end the result was positive and shows that we have worked well during the winter. Now we have to keep working in the same way, because everybody else will improve during the next two days. It’s encouraging for me to know that we didn’t just do one fast lap, but had a strong pace during the whole day.

LORIS BAZ #76 / @lorisbaz 2'03.204

It was a great day and I would not ask for a better birthday present than riding my MotoGP bike after a long winter break! I’m happy, because the day was positive. We used the hard rear tyre and the soft front during all the day, but I always have the same problem at Sepang. I lose too much time in the last two corners, almost one second and this is too much. But we did a good job, we got valuable information and step by step, I’m adapting my lines to this bike. At the end of the day, the track was not fast as in the morning, but I was still able to improve my lap time and this is important. I need to get the confidence to attack from the first laps, which will come with more time on the bike.


2016 testing gets underway for Repsol Honda Team at Sepang

The first day of the Sepang test took place today in hot, humid conditions (max temperature: 33° air, 50° ground) until rain began falling just 20 minutes before the track closed at 6:00 p.m.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa ended the day in third place with a best lap time of 2’01.780 on lap 23 of 34. Marc Marquez was seventh with a best effort of 2’02.278 on lap 32 of 50.

The pair took to the track in the morning on their RC213V machines, which were fitted with the engine they had run in Jerez in November. As the day progressed, they began to work with the new engine spec also. HRC engineers worked hard on the new Magneti Marelli software and on the bike setup as well.

Testing will continue for two more days.

Dani Pedrosa

2'01.780 34 laps

"Today we had to work very hard on several things. The positive part is that Honda know this and are working on things in Japan. Using my experience I am giving my all to try to provide them with as much information as possible, and advance in every area possible. We shall see if we can finish the test with a better feeling than when we started. We also have to continue testing the Michelins and putting in more kilometers with them. They have made some positive changes, although we still need to work more to improve the feeling. We will continue working and evolving throughout this test. We saw Jorge (Lorenzo) go very fast on Day 1, so we are going to continue improving gradually”.

Marc Márquez

2'02.278 50 laps

"After going the entire winter without getting on my bike, today we began the first preseason test of 2016. We still have a lot of work to do, as we have new electronics, a new engine and a few different engine specs to what we used in Valencia and Jerez back in November. In terms of setup, we made very few adjustments, because we were focused on the electronics and adapting it to my riding style. It’s true that neither my place on the timesheet or lap time today are great, but this is going to be a long preseason in which we will have to work hard on many different things. We’ll see if we can improve tomorrow.”


First official tests of the new season get underway for Ducati Team at Sepang

After a winter break of more than two months, the Ducati Team riders took to the track today together with all the other MotoGP World Championship protagonists, for the first pre-season IRTA tests. During this test each rider had available a 2015-spec Desmosedici and the new Desmosedici GP machine that had its shakedown test here on Wednesday in the hands of test-rider Michele Pirro.

Iannone and Dovizioso focussed mainly on set-up work for the new electronics in the morning, consistently lapping at a good pace and gathering useful information for the new bike. After the break, the two Andreas stepped onto the Desmosedici GP, still with its black fairings, for the first time at around 4.30 pm, but after one hour a heavy downpour put an end to the day’s proceedings.

Even though they only completed a few laps with the 2016 bike, the impressions of the Ducati Team riders were positive.

Michele Pirro was also out on track today, the Ducati Test Team rider continuing with the planned work schedule for the GP15.

Tomorrow’s second day of the test will see the factory Ducati Team riders joined by the two-time world champion Casey Stoner, who will use the Test Team’s 2015 bike, with the aim of giving further feedback and input.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 2’01.912 (5th), 49 laps

“I have to say that today went quite well, because I got back onto the bike after more than two months, and I was always close to the top guys all day. Today we didn’t change anything big or turn the bike upside-down, I just focused more on dialing myself back in and trying to understand how to get the best out of the Michelin tyres. That’s the way we have to continue: we’ve got two more days in which to make progress and understand the new Desmosedici GP in detail. Today we only did a few laps with the new bike, but for the moment we are satisfied.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2’02.650 (13th), 40 laps

“I am happy with the good feeling I managed to find right away with the new Desmosedici GP. There are some positive aspects which I picked up on immediately: good handling, better precision in both changes of direction and corner turn-in, and other improvements in the bike’s overall behaviour. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to push it to the limit and set better times, due to the amount of things we had to test today and the conditions towards the end of the session as it began to rain and we couldn’t use the Michelin performance tyres. The important thing was to establish a good feeling with the new bike, and now we have two more days to work and take the Desmosedici GP to the limit.”

Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 2’03.203 (16th), 32 laps

“This morning I carried on with the development of a new component and so I had to do ins and outs from the box a few times. After lunch we verified that some new measuring instruments installed on the bike were working and then towards the end of the day we did a couple of set-up tests. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to do a quick lap to get closer to the others because in the last few minutes, just while I was putting my helmet on, it started to rain.”


TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR POSITIVE IN SEPANG FIRST DAY

Team Suzuki Press Office – February 1.

The MotoGP riders got back to work after the long winter break today at Sepang in Malaysia with Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales meeting with their crew and team for the first of a three-days of testing.

After the two-month break that followed the last test in November, the Suzuki engineers delivered many new parts and settings for the Factory GSX-RRs, including new specifications for the engine, new frame as well as the seamless gearbox that Viñales debuted at Sepang in November. The two riders had three machines in the pit garage; the 2015 GSX-RR and two 2016 bikes. At the same time, new tyres and new electronics have yet to be investigated over the busy test program that finishes on Wednesday.

First impressions from Espargaro and Viñales was positive, even though this first day was not focused on finding the time attack, but rather to lap as much as possible to verify and learn all the variables that has been introduced. It was important, in fact, to start recording the feeling of the riders with a step-by-step approach, in order to consolidate the processes.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“It has been a tough but very useful day; of course the main focus was on the electronics to start finding a good way and configuration. We had to ask the riders to be patient today and bear with a demanding workload to understand and test the electronics. However, towards the end of the day we reached a nice level and during the day we were able to work in parallel on other new items we have available here. We have worked on the seamless gearbox, both riders managed to try the engine with new specs and both liked it. Let’s say it has been a hard day because it was very busy but yet mostly positive. The objective now is to finalise the electronics as much as possible so to be able to squeeze the best out of the new components that we have to select for the Championship.”

Aleix Espargaro:

Best lap: 2’02.539s.

“It was a really busy day, but I’m happy I met my team again and we started to work on the new machine. I was happy when I arrived here two days ago because I trained very hard last winter and I know that in Hamamatsu as well they’ve worked very hard, in fact they sent us much new material to try. Today we started our job and tried a couple of things and to me it seems we have a good potential. The first thing I tried was the seamless gearbox, I wanted to try it because in November I couldn’t be here for the accident I had; we still have some work to finalise it, we need to find some fine-tuning in its set-up but the improvement from the standard transmission is very important. I also like the engine with the new specs; to me it looks to have gained a good power distributed over all the curve, which is good for the riding feeling. As a matter of fact we verified this feeling lapping without the traction control for many runs and my impression is that this new spec is very positive. Of course here we also had the Michelin tyres, they’ve made a step forward since the ones we tested in Valencia and the feeling with the front has improved a lot. For the next days we still have many things to test, we can still further investigate many regulations and fine tunings, therefore allowing me to be confident about the room for improvement we still have.”

Maverick Viñales:

Best lap: 2m02.645s.

“Finally we got back on our bikes and I’m happy we’re back. The program we have is very busy because we have so many new things from Japan. Our first priority was to start the job from where we left off here at Sepang in November and the first runs were mainly to test the electronics and get acquainted with it. We still need to learn a lot, in fact we are using these tests to acquire as much information as possible to manage the data and finalise the machine properly. We have made some little steps forward but we still need to improve, keep working and I believe we will be more competitive. The difference between the standard transmission and the seamless is evident, even if we still lack in fine set-up and the improvements are sensible in the lap times. I’m also happy with the new specification engine, not only is it better and faster, but also gives me a positive confidence. This was also my third test with the new Michelin tyres, but honestly I already had good feelings in Valencia when I tried them for the first time; so here I can confirm I’m confident with that. I feel they have made a step forward compared to the last test, the only problem could be to be careful on the way you ride with the front tyre, but I believe this can be also helped by the improvement of my style.”


LCR HONDA AND CRUTCHLOW BEGIN TESTING IN MALAYSIA

The 2016 MotoGP World Championship set its first wheels in motion today, as pre-season testing got began at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. For LCR Honda and their British star Cal Crutchlow it was a first chance to work on their Honda RC213V since tests at Valencia in Spain in mid-November.

With multiple regulation changes coming into force this season, these tests are crucial for the teams, particularly regarding data-gathering alongside new tyre suppliers Michelin as well as understanding what is now a common electronics package. During winter testing the LCR Honda Team are running a HRC Factory spec chassis fitted with an evolution of the 2015 engine, however by the first Round in Qatar, all Hondas will run the same engine spec.

The intense heat and humidity of Sepang make it perfect for testing the bike in extreme conditions, and despite temperatures soaring into the mid-30°C mark, Crutchlow put in a solid 42 laps before rain brought an early end to the day. The Brit’s best time came on his 36th lap of the track, with a 2’02.586 putting him tenth fastest overall, with another two days of work still to go.

Cal Crutchlow - 10th - 2’02.586

“Today we’re happy enough with how the first day of testing in 2016 went. We’ve got lots of things to try with the new electronics, and that’s what we spent the majority of the day doing. We know that the base of the package is working quite well, as we found out at the end of last year, so we spent the whole day trying to set the electronics so that we can at least ride.”

“It’s a difficult job, but I have to say thanks to the team as always because it was actually a good first day and we did everything we needed to do. However, we still have a long, long way to go with regards to the electronics and getting them to work with the Honda. We’ll see how it goes again tomorrow.”


2016

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