These just in:
Marquez remains fastest in Sepang with new record lap
The first test of 2014 has concluded with the World Champion, Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez, remaining the quickest man on track throughout the three days. Today - the final day of the three-day test - Marc broke the Sepang lap record with a time of 1'59.533 (beating Casey Stoner's time from 2012 of 1'59.607) on lap 10 of 40. His teammate, Dani Pedrosa, finished 6th fastest overall with a best lap time of 2'00.223 on lap 29 of 55 today.
Marc spent his final day in Sepang working on electronics and running a 20 lap race simulation. In total, he completed 167 laps over the three days of this first test. Dani tested geometry settings on the bike looking to improve rear grip and found some positive solutions. He had issues with the front brakes in the morning which disrupted his chance at a time attack, nevertheless it was a productive end to a busy test in which he completed 192 laps over the three days.
This has been a positive start for the Repsol Honda Team and the HRC engineers, who will now return to Japan with plenty of data to prepare for the next test, scheduled in Sepang from the 26-28 February.
1st - 1'59.533
"I'm pretty happy with how the three days here in Sepang have gone and we have started the pre-season well. It's true that this is only the first test and we still have work to do, but we've already been able to do a race simulation and it has all gone well. We have tried many setups and we have gathered a lot of data, so we will be well prepared for the next test here. We still have some things to try out, so we must make the most of the days we have remaining here this preseason. Physically I feel good, I haven't stopped over this past month and have had a packed schedule, but I have been able to continue training. I was a little weak here when I arrived, because I had the flu last week, but in the end I felt fine which is the most important thing. We can always improve and this test will help me to up my fitness"
6th - 2'00.223
"On this third day we focused on the chassis, looking to gain more rear grip and I feel that we have made a lot of progress here. This morning we had a problem with the brakes on both bikes and I lost a lot of time, right in the part of the day in which you can put in a fast lap. However, I am happy that we were able to improve the setup and in general today was a positive day. At the next test, I hope that we can continue from where we left off today, and continue improving before moving on to Phillip Island"
Yamaha Complete First MotoGP Test of 2014 with Positive Results
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo today completed the third and final day of the first official test of the 2014 MotoGP pre-season activity at the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia.
The test proved to be a successful one for both riders, with Rossi especially happy at the end of today's riding. The nine-time world champion was able to record his best ever time at the Sepang circuit, dropping under the 2'00 minute mark to finish in second place less than two tenths from front man Marc Marquez.
Rossi and Lorenzo both undertook a race simulation in the stifling Malaysian heat this afternoon to shake the 2014 M1 down over race distance.
Four-time world champion Lorenzo was also happy having completed the three days. The Mallorcan made good progress during the riding sessions, managing to closely replicate the feeling of the 2013 bike whilst making the big reductions in fuel required for the 2014 season. Lorenzo completed the final day in third position, just 0.333 seconds from the front.
The MotoGP paddock will return to Sepang on February 26th for the second official test of the year.
2nd / 1'59.727
"The test has been very good, I'm very happy, especially for the second position and more than that for the lap time which is the best of my career in Sepang. It's the first time under 2'00 for me and just one tenth from Marc and the overall record of the track. I found a good feeling with the bike, we found some good solutions and it's been very positive. We tried a simulation in the afternoon that was very good to understand any problems. We suffered a bit to keep a good pace but it wasn't so bad. For the first test the balance was good."
3rd / 1'59.866
"I think we improved a lot the lap time from yesterday but I didn't make a perfect lap. Maybe with softer tyres we could make a 1'59.5 or a 1'59.6. The goal was not to improve the one lap time but to improve the race pace which we did. When we tried a race simulation in hot conditions we found some problems where we didn't expect it, so the pace wasn't as good as we wanted. We've only practised in one track though which isn't a Yamaha track historically, so let's see what happens at the next Malaysia test and the other tracks. The evolution and the improvement is big so I'm quite satisfied. To have a similar feeling to last year with less fuel is a big thing."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
"The last day of testing done and we reached our target. We really wanted to jump under the 2'00 mark this weekend so we made that. Step by step we are working in the right direction. We still have some work to do but we have six testing days to go until the first race so we can be satisfied with all the things we tried so far."
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
"We finished the first three day test of the new season well with good data. We've been pretty fast throughout and the two semi-race simulations we did at 4pm gave us good information. Our main subject was fuel consumption and after this test we are able to run a race according to the new rules so this is a successful result. There is still some work to do, we need to find a better way to work with the new tyre but overall we are satisfied."
Positive Sepang test concludes for Monster Yamaha Tech3.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro made further improvements at the Sepang International circuit as the first test for the forthcoming 2014 MotoGP World Championship drew to a close.
The three day test at the 5.543km circuit, 50kms south of Kuala Lumpur had perfect conditions for all three days. This allowed the Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders to ride uninterrupted, in order to prepare for the 2014 MotoGP world championship season which begins under the floodlights at the Losail circuit in Qatar, on the 23rd of March.
Young British rider Bradley Smith completed the first test of the season in a positive manner, by exploring different set ups on the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike in preparation for his second full time season in MotoGP. Smith experimented especially with full fuel loads, new Bridgestone tyres and long distance runs in today's session with his Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, and undertook 65 laps. He finished today with a best lap time of 2.00,896 min which puts him into 11th position but his time from yesterday ensures Smith an 8th place on the combined classification.
Pol Espargaro concluded a positive, first MotoGP test of 2014 to finish inside the top ten at the Sepang International circuit. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion familiarised himself further with his new Yamaha YZR-M1, the brakes and the tyres, with Sepang being only his second test on a MotoGP bike. The young Spaniard progressed well with his new Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team and completed 65 laps. Espargaro finished the session with a best lap time of 2.00,655 min, which puts him in 8th place in today's session, 9th in the combined times, and almost a second quicker than his initial best lap time set on the first day of testing on Tuesday.
8th / 2'00.603
"We did some really good work, today we were concentrating on the new Bridgestone tyres. I tried to gain as much information and data also doing a half race simulation at the end of the day with this new tyre, just to compare it with the one from last year. Yesterday's simulation was quite similar to today, although I believe we can still improve with this new tyre. I think I've done nearly 180 laps this test and we know where we need to start at Sepang 2. All in all I am pleased, even if the position on the timesheet does not seem to be ideal, it was never my main aim to set fast lap times during these three days. We are looking at the big picture, and preparing for the Championship and we will try to be ready for Qatar."
9th / 2'00.655
"I'm really pleased with how this first test went. I could improve every day by at least four tenths and it's exactly these small steps that we need to do to be prepared for the season. My Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team helps me a lot as the feeling with them is already perfect. Nevertheless, I know that there are still numerous things to work on such as my corner speed and my braking. I think the braking is one of the toughest things when coming from Moto2 because you don't have any electronic help, like there is in acceleration for example. Anyway, I'm truly happy because after these three days, I know exactly where I need to improve also on my personal preparation and I'm already looking forward to come back to this track in a few weeks."
Drive M7 Aspar
Sepang is well known for its hot and humid conditions but the first test of the MotoGP preseason has been particularly torrid, with the riders completing their test schedules today through the pain of blisters on their hands and feet and the exhaustion of three days in the saddle. Despite that the lap times were once again as hot as the asphalt and no fewer than four riders broke the two-minute barrier today, with Marc Márquez setting the pace for the third day running - his best lap of 1'59.533 almost a tenth inside the circuit record set by Casey Stoner in 2012 (1'59.607). The riders will now have three weeks to recover before their second preseason appointment, starting here in Malaysia on the 26th February.
DRIVE M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama managed to drop their lap times once again today, the American finding another seven tenths of a second on his 21st and best lap of 59 in total. Hayden is delighted with the handling of his new machine but is hoping to find a little more power at the next test. Hiroshi was one of the most hard-working riders on track as he clocked up 66 laps, the Japanese rider improving by six tenths on his best from yesterday with his fastest lap coming almost at the end of the session.
13th Nicky Hayden 2.01.514 (59 laps): "It has been an interesting few days here and we have made progress each day. Even so I was hoping to be further up the timesheets and to be a bit more competitive. Looking at the positives we have improved our lap times and our feeling for the bike, especially in corner entry. I know the team is working hard on the things that we know we need to improve and what we need to learn about this bike. We tried the new softer compound tyre at the end of the day and it gave us a bit of help under acceleration. But the biggest improvements have been with the electronics and in corner entry. We clearly need a bit more power too but the strong point of this Honda is that it handles well and it's a smooth ride."
16th Hiroshi Aoyama 2.02.383 (66 laps): "We had planned to do some work with the suspension today but opted to keep our focus on the electronics, which took up a lot of our time, possibly too much. The good thing is that we made some improvements and had some time to do some suspension tests at the very end of the day, which were positive. It has been quite a productive test for us because we have stored a lot of important information, the feeling has improved each day and so have the lap times so we leave Sepang in good spirits. The most important thing is that we have been consistent and we have marked out the path we need to follow in future. We are still a long way off the pace at the front though so the goal for the next test is to close the gap."
Ducati Team take home some satisfaction from first Sepang test
The third and final day of IRTA testing organized at the Sepang circuit saw Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow continue development work on their new Desmosedici GP14 machines in the same perfect track and weather conditions that blessed the Malaysian test session since Tuesday. The main results were that a lot of mileage was notched up on the new bike, useful data was gathered for future development, and some measure of satisfaction was also achieved by the two riders and the mechanics and technicians of the Italian squad.
Once again Andrea Dovizioso made a major step forward, the Italian lowering his time set yesterday by a further eight-tenths of a second, and he then concluded his day early half-way through the afternoon after completing his work load. Dovizioso's time of 2 minutes 00.370 seconds was the best ever recorded by the Italian at the Sepang circuit, on any bike. Cal Crutchlow on the other hand, continued to lap until the 6 pm closure, trying to put in as much mileage as possible on the new bike, with which he will tackle his first season with the Bologna-based manufacturer team.
A major contribution in this early part of the season was made by the Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro, who finished day 3 with another 57 laps to his name and with a best time of 2m01.782s.
All the protagonists of the MotoGP World Championship will meet up again at Sepang for the second session of IRTA tests in three weeks' time, from February 26-28.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #4) - 7th (2m00.370s)
"I am really pleased with these three days of testing because we managed to do a good job and improve a lot. Now we can brake harder, corner entry is easier and quicker, we can accelerate a bit earlier and therefore use more power in the early acceleration phase. We also managed to set some quite fast lap times. In fact, I recorded a time that I had never before managed to do here in Malaysia on any bike, and this makes me happy. We also improved our race pace and so this test was really positive. I didn't expect to be able to improve so much, but we must remain with our feet firmly on the ground because the gap is still far too high for the objectives we wish to achieve."
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) - 12th (2m01.057s)
"I know the position doesn't look too good but I have to say that I'm pleased. I'm a long way from Dovi but overall we're quite consistent and faster than yesterday. We found some good things with the bike, I just did the lap time at the wrong time of the day, at quarter past twelve when it was 15° hotter than when everyone else did their time. I'm not too concerned about the overall time, we seem to have found some things with the bike that enable you to push it a bit more. The limit seems to be a lot more than on the GP13, which is good, and this bike seems to be improving all the time. Overall I'm happy, the lap times I was doing today are not far off last year's on a different bike, it's just that everyone's going a lot faster."
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) - 15th (2m01.782s)
"This final day was really tough the tiredness really started to set in! I also did a long-run at 2 pm to see how my GP14 went with the fuel consumption. In any case I'm pleased with the work we did, we picked up a lot of useful information and let's hope we can improve in the next tests. Here we improved on each day, even in our fastest lap, and so I'll continue to carry out my role with commitment to give as much information as possible to the official team riders and to the Ducati engineers."
Luigi Dall'Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
"I have to admit that I am quite satisfied with the way things went in these three days of testing at Sepang. The climate within the team certainly seemed positive to me, and that's important. It was also vitally important to try and reverse the negative trend that clearly had been created in this team, for this reason it was important to motivate the riders, everyone involved in the development work and all those working on improving the bike. I would even say that, all things considered, both in the lap times and the comments from the riders, a step in the right direction has been taken. For sure there's a lot of work still to be done, and we need to have clear ideas and keep a cool head."
Another step forward for Scott in Malaysia
Scott Redding successfully completed the third and final day of testing at Sepang, aboard the Honda RCV1000R that he will campaign in Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini colours in this year's MotoGP World Championship.
The 21-year-old Briton continued his familiarisation with the MotoGP bike, collecting valuable data in the process for the next test at Sepang later this month.
Scott completed 60 laps of the 5.58km Sepang circuit today, setting his best time of the three-day test, despite unpredictable track conditions due to the extreme temperatures in Malaysia.
Scott will return to action at Sepang for the three-day test scheduled on 26th, 27th and 28th of February, when he will focus once again on refining set-up and dialling in the traction control on his Honda RCV1000R.
Scott Redding // 2'02.833 // 60 Laps
"Today I was able to take another step forward: I am now learning how to slide the bike, to get it turned on exit and, in general, I felt more at ease while riding. Unfortunately, the difficult track conditions in the afternoon didn't allow me to improve my lap time as much as I was hoping to but, overall, I'm happy with how my first real test with the team has gone. Later this month we will return to Sepang for three more days of testing, during which we will continue to work on suspension set-up and refining the electronic system on the bike, in particular the traction control."
More information and high resolution images are available on Scott's website at www.scottredding45.com.
Marquez takes top spot in first official MotoGP test of 2014
Thursday, February 6 2014
Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 28-34°C; Track 35-57°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Reigning World Champion Marc Marquez set a stunning lap time of 1'59.533 earlier today to complete his domination of the first MotoGP? group test of the 2014 season at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit.
Marquez's lap time on the Repsol Honda RC213V was the quickest ever at Sepang and was set on the 2014 specification Bridgestone tyres in the medium compound front and rear. Second quickest overall was a resurgent Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha Factory Racing M1 with a best time of 1:59.727, the Italian finishing just ahead of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo in the overall standings, who set a lap time of 1:59.866.
Aleix Espargaro showed he will be a real threat to the front-runners this season, powering his new NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR-Yamaha machine to fourth overall with a time of 1:59.998 to be the highest-placed Open class rider. Twenty-seven riders - include a total of five test riders from Ducati, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha - took part in the first group test of the year, clocking a total of 3992 laps (22,128 kilometres) on Bridgestone tyres. The gap in lap time from the quickest to slowest rider at the first Sepang test was 6.153 seconds.
Conditions for the test were dry and very hot with a peak track temperature of 57°C; two degrees warmer than the peak recording at last year's corresponding Sepang test. With a lack of recent rainfall in the area, the riders reported that the condition of the Sepang track surface was better than in recent visits to the circuit. This enabled riders to not only set quick times on a single lap, but also show good pace during race simulations. In particular, Marc Marquez did a race distance, twenty-lap run on the new specification hard compound slick, with the total time for this run being twenty-nine seconds quicker than the overall race time at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.
All front and rear slick compound choices were utilised by riders over the three days and although riders could use the 2013 and 2014 specification rear tyres for the first Sepang test, only the 2014 Bridgestone MotoGP tyres will be available for the remaining official tests.
Bridgestone will be back in Sepang for the next MotoGP? official test which will take place from February 26-28.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"We achieved all of our objectives for this test and acquired a lot of data and rider feedback on the performance of the 2014 Factory and Open class machines on our new range of tyres. It was particularly important to assess tyre behaviour on the new Open class machines. Lap times at this time of year are usually quicker than what we see for the race weekend later in the yaer, and riders commented that the track condition was quite good compared to last October. This meant lap times were quite quick during the test, with four riders lapping in the 1'59 bracket. This shows that once again, the combination of new machinery and new tyres has pushed the performance level of MotoGP even higher.
"A lot of the first day of this test was spent helping teams get to grips with the new tyres and now that the test is complete, the general consensus is that our 2014 specification tyres are working well. However, there is still a lot of work to do to help the teams get the most out of our new generation of tyres before the season starts. Overall I am pleased with the outcome of the test and the data we acquired means we can now confirm our tyre line-up for this season. We will be providing Open class riders with rear slicks one step softer than the Factory class this year, and I expect this will create some very exciting MotoGP races in 2014. As well as supporting the next Sepang test, our main priority now is continuing our preparations for the Phillip Island tyre test at the beginning of March."
BRADL CONCLUDES FIRST PRE SEASON TESTING WITH THE 5th FASTEST TIME
Sepang, 6 February: the third and last day of the pre-season testing at Sepang saw Marquez ruling over his rivals with a best lap time of 1'59.533. On the other side LCR racer Stefan Bradl, who made a big step forward yesterday qualifying in 3rd position, produced longer runs today working on tyre durability and fuel consumption. Bradl finished the three days of track running with the 5th fastest lap time overall (2'00.112) and leaves the Malaysian circuit with valuable feedback for the next 3-day test session scheduled from 26th to 28th February.
Stefan Bradl: "We leave Malaysia with a good base set-up and I am quite happy about the overall work we have done in the last three days. There are some areas to improve like the braking stability but I feel good on this new bike. Today we focused on the race simulation but my long run was disrupted by a small issue with the rear brake. However I was able to proceed with my daily programme achieving a good feedback from the new hard compound. I hope that we can continue to improve in the next test".