These just in:
Repsol Honda MotoGP:
Pedrosa remains on top as first test comes to an end
The first test of 2013 concluded today with Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa maintaining his place at the top of the timing sheet with a time of 2'00.100. Teammate Marc Marquez finished his first test of 2013 in 4th position with a top time of 2'00.636 after experiencing his maiden crash in the premier class.
Dani finished at lunchtime after completing his scheduled testing programme. He spent the morning working on engine braking, the balance and distribution of the additional weight of the bike, and he also had the chance to test the new compound Bridgestone tyre. He completed a total of 44 laps, recording his fastest on lap 4 in the morning when track conditions were perfect.
Marc enjoyed another strong start to the day but had a small crash in the final corner after losing the front of the bike under braking. After the crash, he recorded his fastest time on lap 32 of 33. In the afternoon, he completed a race simulation run of 20 laps to complete his first test of the season and ended the day with a total of 54 laps.
The team will return back on track in Sepang later this month on the 26, 27 and 28 of February.
2:00.100, 44 laps, 244 km.
"We can leave Sepang with a good feeling, because we had good lap times on all three days. We were able to put in a lot of laps and, above all, try out some important things with the engine and the bike weight to adjust to the three kilos more for this season ?dictated by the new rules. Today we focused on rear tyres, in particular the new hard compound. It is similar to the old one with a little more grip in some areas, but it also creates more chatter. We finished the test well and hope to continue like this in the following ones."
2:00.636, 54 laps, 300 km.
"I am very happy with the results that we have had from these three days, above all because I gradually got more consistent with my times. This was what we were looking for from this test. Day by day we improved our times, but this is secondary really. The important thing is that we made our first race simulation, which has helped me to understand the class and the bike better and his given us a lot of information for the next test. We also had a first crash, which luckily was fairly light. I lost the front on the brakes, but I was unhurt and the overall verdict on the test is still very positive."
HRC Executive Vice President
"Both riders have been working hard this week and we are very happy. For Dani, he is happy with some test items and not with others but this is normal for the winter test. Marc hasn't been testing so many things as the primary purpose of this test for him is to familiarise himself with the MotoGP machine, which is more important."
Successful Sepang Test for Yamaha Dream Team
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi today completed the third and final day of the first official MotoGP test of 2013 at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Despite the threat of bad weather both riders were able to enjoy a good amount of dry track time to work through a number of potential engine and chassis specifications for the 2013 YZR-M1. Reigning World Champion Lorenzo delivered his trademark consistency from day one, leading the time sheet at times and never straying far from the front. The Mallorcan was under the official race lap record of the Sepang circuit this morning and just a tenth of a second from the official pole record. He went on to complete a long run this afternoon to wrap up the test. Teammate Rossi continued to go from strength to strength having been reunited with the YZR-M1, the Italian again improving on his time from the day before by nearly half a second to finally dip under the 2'01 mark and finish in third place just over a tenth of a second from teammate Lorenzo in second.
The Japanese Yamaha engineers will now take the valuable data gained back to Japan to work towards the second Sepang test in a few weeks time.
Jorge Lorenzo - Laps 58, Time - 2'00.429
"I think these three days have been positive for us. We tried many things and some of them were good. We need to reconfirm again in another track but here we were able to improve a little bit. I was able to make a simulation this afternoon, the first one I've done in Sepang in my GP career. I felt strong physically, mentally and riding so it was good. The other riders are also really strong so it promises to be an interesting season."
Valentino Rossi - Laps 55, Time - 2'00.542
"I'm very happy, all three days were very good. We worked hard on the bike and improved day by day. The third day was the best, we were able to stay less than half a second from pole position and the lap time is higher which is interesting. Today we finished third in the standings which is theoretically the front row so I'm very happy with this first test."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
"The whole test has been quite positive and we finished today finding two directions for the rest of the season. Also Jorge's long run this afternoon was quite consistent, I think that was one of our tasks we were aiming for, to be fast is one thing but to be consistently fast is what it takes to win in racing. Overall we are pretty satisfied, both Jorge and the team worked really hard in these hot conditions, we're looking forward to coming back to see how we can improve even more."
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
"This has been a really important and positive test. We have been able to work really well and our Japanese engineers have a lot of data so they are really happy. We can go home pretty satisfied and the engineers can continue working on the project, we will see what we can do in a few weeks. Jorge has been very consistent and fast throughout the test in many different circumstances so we are very pleased with him. On Vale's side he removed a lot of weight from his shoulders, I see him very happy because he is finally back riding a bike that he enjoys, which is what he was looking for. I can't say more than that!"
Tech 3 Yamaha
Crutchlow and Smith conclude successful Sepang test
British duo Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith set the fifth and eighth fastest times at the Sepang International Circuit today to conclude a successful start to the MotoGP winter testing schedule for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. A best time of 2.00.734 ensured Crutchlow finished inside the top six on each day and after improving his pace by over a second throughout the test he finished in fifth position on the final timesheets. Having made improvements with corner entry rear grip yesterday, Crutchlow turned his focus to working on his pace an d consistency on worn tyres today, and he was satisfied with the progress to finish 0.634s away from Dani Pedrosa's best time.
Rookie teammate Smith produced another fantastic performance and included in his 48-lap stint was an impressively fast and consistent full race simulation, which he completed in searing heat and humidity on the hottest day of the test. The 22-year-old has made a seamless transition from Moto2 to the heavier and more powerful YZR-M1 machine and his race simulation gave him priceless information on where he can improve when the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team returns to Sepang for a further three-day test later this month. Smith ended with a best time of 2.02.093 today, which was within two seconds of the quickest pace set by Pedrosa and he was only a second away from the top six. His fastest time at the test was yesterday's 2.01.931 that secured him the eighth quickest time overall.
Cal Crutchlow - Laps - 53, Time - 2'00.734
"It has been a very positive week and I am where I expected to be and that's right behind the top four factory bikes. I can't really ask for more than that and I'm pleased with my lap times because my bike is almost identical to the bike I rode last year. Today I was doing a lot of laps on old tyres and trying to stay consistent and I've improved. I also feel like I've made good progress in improving on the brakes, so it has been a productive test and good to be back on track after the winter break. I've built up my confidence each day but it is obvious that 2013 is going to be incredibly tough. There is some amazing talent on really good machinery but I am really looking forward to it. I'll be ready to give it 100% as always and come the first race in Qatar I'll be ready to challenge. Credit to Bradley as we ll because he has done a fantastic job this week. This was his first proper test in MotoGP and he has got faster and more confident each day. I have been very impressed with him and it is going to be good being his teammate this season."
Bradley Smith - Laps - 48, Time - 2'02.093
"I am really happy with the way this test has gone and my lap times and final position have already given me a lot of confidence. I didn't come here with any expectations but to be eighth is where this bike needs to be. I am still not getting all of the potential out of the YZR-M1 but I am gaining in confidence with every lap I complete and it has been mission accomplished in terms of coming here and understanding how the bike needs to be ridden. I still need to be a lot smoother but I am happy to be within two seconds of the fastest time. I knew that was possible but the hard work starts now to close that gap even more. The race simulation was amazing to build up my experience but it was seriously hard work. It was the hottest day and it is very physically and mentally demanding to ride a MotoGP bike at that pace over a long distance. It is hard to concentrate but the best thing was on the last lap I did a 2.02.9 and my best lap was a 2.02.5. So I was consistent and while I need to be faster, I'm really happy to be leaving this test having learned so much. I need a good sleep now to digest all the information I've taken on but already I can't wait to be back on the bike here later this month."
Pedrosa takes top spot in first official MotoGP? test at Sepang
Sepang International Circuit - Thursday, February 7, 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra-hard. Rear: Soft, Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Tue: Dry, Wed: Wet/Dry, Thu: Wet/Dry. Ambient 27-32°C; Track 27-55°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Dani Pedrosa set a time of 2'00.100 early on the final day of testing at Sepang International Circuit to finish on top of the timesheets at the first official group test of the 2013 MotoGP? World Championship.
Pedrosa was quickest on all three days of the group test and set his benchmark time today on the combination of the hard compound front and medium compound rear slick. Second fastest overall was Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo with a best time of 2'00.429, while his teammate Valentino Rossi was third quickest in Sepang, clocking a time of 2'00.542.
After claiming the honour of being the top CRT rider last season, Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaro was the quickest CRT rider at the first Sepang test, his personal best time of 2'02.628 placing him in thirteenth position overall on the timesheets. Twenty-eight riders took part in the first group test of the year and the gap from the fastest to slowest rider was 5.870 seconds, an improvement of almost five seconds compared to the same test last year.
In a welcome change to the CRT ECU test which took place on the two days before the group test, the weather at Sepang over the three days of testing was mainly fine, with only the last hour of the second and third day of testing affected by rainfall. Track temperatures over the three days varied from 27°C to 55°C and thanks to the mainly fine weather, all the slick tyres Bridgestone brought to Malaysia, including a CRT-specific soft rear slick and two hard compound rear slicks for the Ducati, Honda and Yamaha machines were tested extensively. Large amounts of rider feedback and empirical data have been collected and will now be analysed at Bridgestone's technical centre in Kodaira, Japan.
Bridgestone will be back on the ground at Sepang for the next MotoGP? group test which will take place from February 25-28.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"This was a very good test for us and has helped refine the direction of our tyre development for this year. The CRT-specific rear slick we brought to Sepang gave the CRT riders an improvement in rear grip with enough durability to make it a viable race option, so this is promising. Testing of the two new hard compounds we supplied to the works teams also provided useful data, and we will now look to test these options at different tracks in future as part of our ongoing tyre development programme.
"Overall, I'm pleased with what we achieved here in Malaysia and I'd like to thank all the teams and riders for their cooperation over the last five days of testing. I'm also happy that so few riders crashed during the test and I hope this trend continues throughout the pre-season tests."
FIRST MOTOGP TEST OF 2013 COMLPETED
The third and final day of the first test of the 2013 season was completed today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Andrea Iannone put in 23 laps, and his times saw him slot into 13th position after further reducing the gap to the two top Ducati riders. It was a day off for Ben Spies following the positive results achieved in the previous days, as his general physical condition prompted a decision to finish early and focus on preparing for the next test, to be held here from 26 to 28 February.
Andrea Iannone - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
"I am satisfied after these three days of testing even if the gap to the first is still big, however, it is not my goal now. I am focused on learning and improving as much as possible, and we are succeeding. I am happy because I have a good feeling with the team and we are working hard. I would be faster but I know that it is too early, but I am confident".
Ben Spies - Ignite Pramac Racing Team
" The first two days on the bike were positive for not riding through for about three and half months. I think the test that we did was good for the first time on bike and actually the lap time was faster than I can expected to be, it was a good test to get back on the bike but the second day I just had a little bit too much pain on my shoulder to keep going on but I think we are going to have a sort of improvement and we will come back in the same track here in three weeks and I hope to feel a lot better."
Ducati Team's 2013 season starts with first official test at Sepang
Today marked the conclusion of the three-day IRTA-organized test at the Malaysian Sepang circuit, where teams prepared for the new MotoGP Championship, to start on 7 April in Qatar.
Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden took to the track on their Desmosedici GP13 bikes.
The Italian, who is making his debut with the Desmosedici this year, had to adapt to a bike and team that are completely new for him and, thanks in part to his recent experience aboard other factory bikes, was able to give his first real feedback to the Ducati engineers regarding the frame, electronics and engine characteristics.
The American, beginning his fifth season aboard the Italian bike, tried to find his rhythm as he used the three days of testing to provide his own valuable input for the future development of the bike.
The team certainly can't be satisfied with its results, so it heads home aware of the challenging work that must be carried out in order to get back toward the top of the time sheets. They will begin trying new ideas during the next test at Sepang at month's end and at the Jerez test in late March.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th, 2:02.110
"We obviously can't be happy when our times are that far off of the top guys, but we knew it was going to be tough. Sepang has never been a particularly good track for Ducati: we raced here in October, and the bike hasn't changed much since then. We found a couple little things over the course of the test, which allowed us to improve our consistency on day three, but I think we need something big. Anyway, it was nice to be back on the bike and working with the guys. The team has worked extremely hard, and we just have to stay motivated and keep giving them the right information so that we can hopefully start making some real progress soon."
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) 10th, 2:02.277
"Yes, it was a difficult test but we didn't expect it to be any different. We're here to improve the situation and everybody knows the level we are now so we have to improve. We tested as much stuff as we could, because we're focused on improving the bike. The gap to the others is big, and we pushed a lot to understand the bike. I gave a lot of feedback, maybe too much! We don't know how the next test in Sepang will be. There's too short a time between now and then, so it's difficult to do something big in this time. We still have to decide which parts we can bring to the second test. Unfortunately, we need time to try something big."
Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati MotoGP Project Director
"Obviously, we're not satisfied. We knew we were starting from a base that needed significant development work, but it's not nice to realize we're still so far from the leaders. Still, our engineers gathered important data, and now the only thing to do is to roll up our sleeves and continue the development program in the factory. The goal is clear: bring Ducati back to the top of the results sheet as soon as possible."
Ducati Monster 795 ABS Launch
Following the Sepang test, the NAZA Group, Ducati's exclusive importer in Malaysia, unveiled the new Monster 795 ABS in the Ducati Team box, with the help of Nicky Hayden, Andrea Dovizioso and the Ducati Team management.