2015 MotoGP Sepang 1 vs Sepang 2 Test Comparison: Barbera, Crutchlow And Open Hondas Show Most Improvement

While the focus of most testing is on the rider who goes fastest - that, after all, is the point of motorcycle racing - only looking at the best times does not tell the full story. If the aim of testing is to improve, then measuring improvement can reveal the shift in power, and give hints of the shape of things to come.

Comparing times between the Sepang 1 and Sepang 2 tests show Hector Barbera as the man who has got the most out of the two tests. The Avintia Ducati rider has already shown solid pace, ending the test as 8th overall on the Open Class GP14, and ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Ducati GP15. Barbera is clearly highly motivated, and with a much more competitive bike, capable of some interesting results. After the two Sepang tests, he has staked his claim as the favorite to win the Open class in 2015, if he can translate his one-lap pace into the race.

Not far behind Barbera is Cal Crutchlow, the LCR Honda rider making solid progress in the second Sepang test, after struggling with the Honda RC213V at the first. Crutchlow ended the Sepang 2 test as 3rd overall, a big step forward after the first test, where he ended in 11th spot. Crutchlow took 0.878s off his fastest lap here two weeks ago, despite having brake problems on the final day. Combining times from both tests, Crutchlow finishes in 6th, behind the Fearsome Foursome of Marquez, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi, and the blistering lap set by Andrea Iannone on the Ducati GP14.3 at Sepang 1.

The Open class Hondas made good progress too. Nicky Hayden took nearly seven tenths off his best time, and Karel Abraham over three quarters of a second off his time at Sepang 1. But that progress does not bring them much in terms of results: Hayden ended the Sepang 2 test as 16th overall, 1.760 seconds behind Marquez, while Abraham is in 21st, over 2.4 seconds slower. Abraham's improvement is also down to acclimatizing to the Showa suspension, the Cardion AB team having taken on the role of testing from Gresini.

Hector Barbera's teammate Mike Di Meglio followed Barbera's example, improving by 0.641, but Di Meglio is also some way off the pace, down in 20th. Alvaro Bautista has shown similar progress on the Aprilia, but the Noale factory clearly has a lot of work to do, Bautista ending the test in 19th, and 2.372 seconds behind Marquez.

At the opposite end of the scale sits Dani Pedrosa, the Repsol Honda rider not having put in a real time attack lap during the second test. Both Forward Yamaha riders suffered with a lack of grip at the second Sepang test, Loris Baz being 0.8 slower, Stefan Bradl 0.391 slower. After an impressive first Sepang test, Pol Espargaro struggled, lapping nearly two thirds of a second slower at this test on the Tech 3 Yamaha. Valentino Rossi was also slower, going 0.432 slower than the Movistar Yamaha rider had at the first test. The pattern appears to suggest that the Yamahas handle the heat less well than the Hondas, though Jorge Lorenzo did improve his time during the second test.

Best times from Sepang 1 test vs Sepang 2 test:

No Rider Bike Sepang 1 Sepang 2 Improvement
8 Hector Barbera Ducati GP14 Open 2:01.183 2:00.244 -0.939
35 Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 2:00.536 1:59.658 -0.878
17 Karel Abraham Honda RC213V-RS 2:02.297 2:01.536 -0.761
69 Nicky Hayden Honda RC213V-RS 2:01.508 2:00.813 -0.695
63 Mike Di Meglio Ducati GP14 Open 2:02.128 2:01.487 -0.641
19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 2:01.924 2:01.310 -0.614
45 Scott Redding Honda RC213V 2:01.263 2:00.695 -0.568
50 Eugene Laverty Honda RC213V-RS 2:02.334 2:01.815 -0.519
38 Bradley Smith Yamaha M1 2:00.384 1:59.883 -0.501
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP14 2:00.970 2:00.556 -0.414
25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki GSX-RR 2:00.964 2:00.604 -0.360
51 Michele Pirro Ducati GP14.2 2:01.232 2:00.875 -0.357
43 Jack Miller Honda RC213V-RS 2:01.895 2:01.593 -0.302
41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 2:00.486 2:00.275 -0.211
99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha M1 1:59.624 1:59.437 -0.187
15 Alex De Angelis Aprilia ART 2:03.399 2:03.300 -0.099
33 Marco Melandri Aprilia 2:03.641 2:03.569 -0.072
93 Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 1:58.867 1:59.115 +0.248
29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP14.3 1:59.388 1:59.722 +0.334
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP14.3 1:59.874 2:00.250 +0.376
6 Stefan Bradl Forward Yamaha 2:00.294 2:00.685 +0.391
46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 1:59.401 1:59.833 +0.432
44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha M1 1:59.851 2:00.490 +0.639
76 Loris Baz Forward Yamaha 2:01.624 2:02.426 +0.802
26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 1:59.006 1:59.912 +0.906
T1 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha M1 Test 2:02.363 2:03.337 +0.974

 

Combined best times from Sepang 1 and Sepang 2

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 93 Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 1:58.867    
2 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 1:59.006 0.139 0.139
3 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP14.3 1:59.388 0.521 0.382
4 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 1:59.401 0.534 0.013
5 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha M1 1:59.437 0.570 0.036
6 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 1:59.658 0.791 0.221
7 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha M1 1:59.851 0.984 0.193
8 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP14.3 1:59.874 1.007 0.023
9 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha M1 1:59.883 1.016 0.009
10 8 Hector Barbera Ducati GP14 Open 2:00.244 1.377 0.361
11 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 2:00.275 1.408 0.031
12 6 Stefan Bradl Forward Yamaha 2:00.294 1.427 0.019
13 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP14 2:00.556 1.689 0.262
14 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati GP14 2:00.603 1.736 0.047
15 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki GSX-RR 2:00.604 1.737 0.001
16 45 Scott Redding Honda RC213V 2:00.695 1.828 0.091
17 69 Nicky Hayden Honda RC213V-RS 2:00.813 1.946 0.118
18 51 Michele Pirro Ducati GP14.2 2:00.875 2.008 0.062
19 19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 2:01.310 2.443 0.435
20 63 Mike Di Meglio Ducati GP14 Open 2:01.487 2.620 0.177
21 17 Karel Abraham Honda RC213V-RS 2:01.536 2.669 0.049
22 43 Jack Miller Honda RC213V-RS 2:01.593 2.726 0.057
23 76 Loris Baz Forward Yamaha 2:01.624 2.757 0.031
24 50 Eugene Laverty Honda RC213V-RS 2:01.815 2.948 0.191
25 T1 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha M1 Test 2:02.363 3.496 0.548
26 15 Alex De Angelis Aprilia ART 2:03.300 4.433 0.937
27 33 Marco Melandri Aprilia 2:03.569 4.702 0.269

 

2015
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Comments

Not a big fan of Hector but I am a big fan of the "red bikes" If Barbera can get under a second from the leader with last year's 1st iteration of the gp14, imagine what he could possibly do with the final iteration of last years bike (gp14.3).....
David will the sat. Pramac team start off with the gp14.2 then upgrade to the gp14.3 during the season and the open Avintia team recieve those gp14.2 machines? Or could the Pramac team start the season with the gp14.3 and receive this year's bike (gp15) later on, thus leasing the p14.3 machines to the open Avintia team? Or does Ducati start both the factory and satellite teams with the same model from the start of the season with upgrades only to the factory squad like Honda and Yamaha?
The factory "trickle down" effect.

While I am impressed by Hector Barbera's increase in speed. I am paying more attention to Cal Crutchlow. Seems he is adapting quicker to this Honda than the has adapted to the Yamaha and definitely quick than the Ducati. There may be hope for him to get some a win or more with this new bike. He definitiely has shown far more consistant drive than Alvaro Bautista ever showed on that bike, (and yes I know he had Showa suspension but that has nothing to do with trying or ending up battling with Redding or Hayden when you have 60 more horses under you).

David, How in the hell can these guys be having brake issues? When you look at the system, MC-brake lines-calipers-rotors (Im lv'ing out all the complexity of the calipers), it would seem impossible to have brake issues, unless......Xperimentling with new rotors?

I'm certainly no expert... but couldn't the braking issues stem from a host of other factors? Such as the chasis as well as engine braking?