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World Champion Marquez back on top in Sepang with Pedrosa third
The 2014 season has finally arrived with the test ban over and bikes returning on track at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Repsol Honda riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa both spent time on the 2013 RC213V machine, to regain the feeling after the Winter break, before climbing aboard their 2014 bikes. It wasn't long before the two Spanish riders were topping the time sheets with Marc setting the fastest time before lunch with a time of 2'00.767 set on lap 30 of 34. Dani was just 0.747 off him with 2:01.514 on lap 25 of 31, placing him 7th.
At 15h10 Dani went back on track to continue his testing programme which included working on the rear brake, shock, clutch and engine mappings. He completed a further 44 laps, taking his total to 75 (the most of any rider for the day) and set a fastest time of 2'00.906 placing him 3rd on the first day in Malaysia.
Marc rejoined at 16h00 working on engine mappings, clutch and also the new spec Bridgestone rear tyre and remained fastest for the day with a time of 2'00.286 on lap 52 of 62, half a second faster than second place Rossi.
Testing will resume tomorrow at 10h00 local time.
1st - 2'00.286
"I'm happy with how this first day went and to have achieved my goal of regaining my feeling on the bike. Of course, at the start I was a little stiff, but gradually I was able to pick up the pace. Today I tested the new rear tyre from Bridgestone and it felt similar to last year. Tomorrow we will continue with our plan: testing out the setup and beginning to draw conclusions from our findings. We put in a lot of laps today and I'm sure that tomorrow I will feel it; even though we train in the gym over the winter, here you work your muscles in a different way"
3rd - 2'00.906
"It was a very long, hard day. We put in a lot of laps and despite us being fresh as it's the first day, I'm sure that tomorrow I'll be feeling it! It was fun, as I had not been on the bike for a long time and was curious to see how I would feel after my operation last year. In general things went well and we focused on trying out the rear brakes, clutch and engine mapping today. Tomorrow we will work on the chassis and the new tyres. The bike seems very similar to last year's model; we still need more time to work on things, but it appears as if there are no huge differences required in terms of riding style"
2014 season gets underway for Ducati Team with first test at Sepang
After a two-month winter break, the 2014 season got underway for the Ducati Team today with the first of three days of IRTA testing at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. Following a restructuring during the winter months with the arrival of Luigi Dall'Igna as Ducati Corse General Manager and British rider Cal Crutchlow alongside Italy's Andrea Dovizioso, the Bologna-based manufacturer now has to archive a disappointing 2013 season and look to the future with confidence and renewed commitment.
In this pre-season test, the first of three scheduled for Sepang and Phillip Island in the months of February and March, the Italian team's work will revolve around back-to-back comparison tests between the Desmosedici GP14 and the GP13; visually the new model presents revised aerodynamics, both in the front and rear fairings, in addition to improved rider ergonomics and more possibilities for chassis adjustment, as well as several new electronic solutions.
Dovizioso and Crutchlow spent the first day of activity comparing the two bikes and working on general set-up. In particular Dovizioso, entering his second season on the Desmosedici, continued to try the two versions, while the British rider, who stepped aboard the GP13 for the first time at Valencia last November, opted to continue his learning curve in the afternoon solely with the new bike.
The Ducati Test Team was also out on track with Michele Pirro, once again back in his role as test-rider. During the year however the young Italian will also have the chance to take part in at least four rounds of the world championship as a ?wild-card'.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 12th (2m02.497s)
"Today was a bit of a strange day, the first day of testing in Malaysia should not be taken with too much importance because you have to find the right feeling again after months of inactivity. We had a different bike to test, but we were not able to do a lot of laps and test everything we had scheduled. Luckily we've got another couple of days here in Malaysia so it won't be too much of a problem. It was the right decision to start with the 2013 bike to resume where we left off last season, then we immediately switched to the new bike to see the difference, but unfortunately I only managed 27 laps today. I feel sure that things will go a lot better tomorrow."
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) - 14th (2m02.860s)
"First and foremost, it was good to be able to get back onto a bike after two and a half months off. We rode the GP13 in the morning and the GP14 in the afternoon, and it's clear we have some work to do because the bikes are not too dissimilar at all. Most of the changes are cosmetic, but the feeling of the bikes is similar. The GP14 enters the corner a bit better, which is what we were looking for. We only used two sets of tyres all day so now it's about building confidence to go faster with this bike. We also had a lot of electronics stuff to try so I never did too many runs in the afternoon. Ducati are definitely working hard and I'm excited about that."
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) - 13th (2m02.552s)
"Today we tried to continue the work we started in the two days here last week, when unfortunately I crashed on day 2, so today I had to get the feeling with the bike back again, focussing on some new components. All things considered it was quite a positive day, my lap time wasn't bad but we have to improve and I'm confident we're going in the right direction, but we need more time. Our rivals are in a better shape than we are, and for us it's the first time we've put the bike on the track."
Sepang Signals Start of 2014 MotoGP Season
18:00 Local time GMT+8 Sunny Sunny Temperature Air 35°C
Track 56°C Temperature Humidity 65%
Sepang (Malaysia), 4th February 2014
After a long winter wait the Yamaha Factory Racing riders were finally back on track today for the first official ride of the 2014 season at the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia. The first day of the three-day IRTA test gave riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi a chance to blow off the cobwebs and stretch their muscles on a bike again as they worked through a number of test items for the 2014 YZR-M1.
Rossi, the first Factory rider to venture out on track, was also the first to find a quicker pace on his M1, slotting quickly into the top three and leading briefly before the lunch break. As the afternoon session continued the Italian was joined by his teammate Lorenzo who moved up into second, just 0.3 off front man Marc Marquez. A flurry of fast laps towards the end of the session re-shuffled the pack a little, Rossi ending the day in second, 0.518 from the top and Lorenzo in fourth, 0.796 seconds from first.
The Yamaha Factory riders were enjoying their 2014 bikes in full livery, featuring recently announced sponsors Eurasian Bank, Fiat Professional and SuisseGas.
The bikes also had a special sticker stating ?Yamaha Lends a Hand to Yolanda Victims' to promote Yamaha's campaign to support victims of the typhoon in the Philippines.
The day's testing was followed by a special press conference hosted by Yamaha Motor, introducing Yamaha's Global 2014 Racing Program. The event was also attended by Takaaki Kimura, Senior Managing Executive Officer and Representative Director of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
46 Valentino Rossi
2nd / 2'00.804 / 61 laps
"I'm happy about the first day, it's a good start. I feel good and I'm in a good shape. I'm happy because we've been very fast and always stayed in the top three positions. We worked a lot on the bike and on the new stuff to try and improve my problems. We already found something. I'm happy because I feel good with the bike and was able to go into the 2'00 minute mark, that was my target. It's a positive day."
99 Jorge Lorenzo
4th / 2'01.082 / 47 laps
"As always it's difficult to come back again in a good shape after the Winter, some months without training changes you a lot so the first day is always tough! The bike has changed quite a bit compared to last year. The new regulation of 20 litres fuel allowance makes us change quite a lot of electronics so the bike is not working exactly how I would like. I know we will find a solution in the next two days."
DRIVE M7 ASPAR RIDERS COMPLETE FIRST LAPS OF 2014 AT SEPANG
Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama complete over fifty laps apiece on new Honda RCV1000R at first 2014 shakedown
After the end of the winter testing ban the MotoGP riders were finally able to get back out on track today and face off for the first time in 2014 at Sepang, for the first day of preseason tests. With full-time and test riders present there were no fewer than 26 riders on track between 10am and 6pm. Marc Marquez clocked the fastest lap with a 2'00.286, with Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa his closest pursuers but both over half a second behind the reigning World Champion in typically hot and humid conditions at the Malaysian track.
DRIVE M7 Aspar Team kicked off the three-day Sepang session with great excitement as they looked to assess the improvements made to the new Honda RCV1000R since testing it for the first time at Valencia last November. With a new team title sponsor also on board in energy drink brand DRIVE M7 there was fresh look to the machines that Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama rode for 56 and 51 laps respectively, with both saving their best until virtually last. Both riders gave positive feedback on the handling of the chassis as they also made good steps with power delivery from the Japanese engine.
17th Nicky Hayden 2.03.319 (56 laps): "To say it's only the first day the pace here is very fast. I was happy to get back on the bike today and even though we have a lot of work ahead I can say that the electronics package is improved from what we used at Valencia, certainly in terms of the power delivery. We have to work on acceleration out of the slow corners but I really like the way this bike handles. The chassis is really stable over the bumps here. After testing a bunch of stuff we got the lap time down at the end of the day but we know this is a completely new project and we have to work hard. We are a long way off the pace at the top, partly because this is such a long track and the difference is more exaggerated. But we will try to chip away and reduce the gap. Tomorrow we will work on finding a bit more grip in corner entry and a few other basic things to try and adapt more to the bike."
18º Hiroshi Aoyama 2.03.328 (51 vueltas): "Después de dos meses sin montarme en una moto de gran premio esta mañana estaba excitado, tenía muchas ganas de entrenar. El arranque del test ha sido positivo, hemos probado la nueva moto con óptimas sensaciones. Esta mañana hemos tenido un inconveniente con el sistema de frenado, pero lo hemos modificado totalmente y se ha solucionado. Después de esto he podido pilotar con mucha más constancia, y progresivamente mis sensaciones con la moto han ido mejorando. Además, al final del día hemos mejorado nuestros tiempos. Aun así estamos lejos de los mejores tiempos, con lo cual todavía nos queda bastante trabajo por delante. Hoy hemos mejorado desde la mitad de las curvas hasta la salida, algo muy positivo. Mañana seguiremos trabajando en la misma dirección para encontrar nuevas mejoras".