MotoGP Testing Resumes At Sepang
by staff
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The second official MotoGP preseason test of 2013 is underway at Sepang, as riders and teams return to Malaysia to tweak, thrash and tune Tuesday through Thursday. A look at what's at stake for the three factory teams and others:

  • Repsol Honda: Dani Pedrosa was quickest during testing three weeks ago at Sepang, so Honda will continue to make small tweaks to dial in the RC213V to Pedrosa's liking. Expect Pedrosa to focus more on long runs and race setup at this test, an area championship rival Jorge Lorenzo already explored with consistent speed three weeks ago.

    Rookie Marc Marquez will continue to improve his familiarity with a 1000cc prototype, hoping to continue the progress he showed during testing earlier this month. He was fourth-quickest overall.

  • Yamaha: Neither of the M1's will have the seamless-shift transmission system rumored earlier during the offseason.

    Jorge Lorenzo will continue to work on race setup. He showed metronomic, numbing speed during a race simulation on the last day of the first Sepang test earlier this month.

    Valentino Rossi proved he still knows how to squeeze performance from a good motorcycle Feb. 5-7 at Sepang. Now the trick is to close the gap between himself and Pedrosa and Lorenzo.

  • Ducati: The Italian team must have a long to-do list at Sepang. The GP13 that Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso tested earlier this month was largely unchanged from the bike they rode in November at the post-Valencia test, and it showed on the time sheets. Both riders were around two seconds slower than leader Pedrosa.

    New electronics and new chassis parts were bolted to the bike at a test at Jerez after the disastrous Sepang test, with some progress reported. But don't expect any dramatic improvement from the Boys from Bologna. The team is taking a pragmatic, gradual approach to progress, a sign of the new Teutonic leadership provided by Audi and Bernhard Gobmeier.

    This also will be an important test for Ignite Ducati rider Ben Spies. He had a rugged first outing on his factory GP13 earlier this month at Sepang, still suffering from weakness in his shoulder that was surgically rebuilt over the winter.

  • CRT: The non-Aprilia Claiming Rules Team outfits will continue to fiddle and tweak with the new spec Magneti Marelli electronic control units.

    Two days of CRT-only testing earlier this month at Sepang were a nightmare, as the new black boxes were not tuned at all to match the production-based machinery. The performance of the Magneti Marelli ECU's improved during the three days of open testing, but there's still quite a ways to go. Don't expect teams to have a good handle on the new electronics until close to midseason.

    The Aprilia CRT teams will continue to nip at the heels of the slowest satellite bikes and possibly even the Pramac Ducatis of Spies and Andrea Iannone. Aprilia is continuing with its proven, bespoke electronics this season, a big advantage over the CRT teams struggling with the spec Magneti Marelli units.


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