These just in from Sepang:
BRADL RESUMES TESTING PROGRAMME AT SLIPPERY SEPANG
Sepang, 26 Feb: today the MotoGP grid resume their programmes from the earlier test at the start of February with three further days of action at Sepang race track. World Champion Marc Marquez will be absent, having broken his right fibula, and immediately after Sepang, the riders of Repsol Honda, Yamaha Factory and Ducati Team will travel directly to Phillip Island for their next test before the rest of the teams, including LCR Honda, will regroup for the Qatar test that same week.
Stefan Bradl climbed aboard his 2014 bike early in the afternoon to build his confidence lapping the Malaysian circuit 50 times (8th overall - 2'01.491) but the dirty and slippery conditions of track surface, due to recent bad weather, slightly affected his performance on day one.
Stefan: "Today the track condition was not very favourable and we took the track in the early afternoon waiting for the grip conditions to improve. After the first outing here two weeks ago, we gathered important data so today we worked again on the base set-up to have a clearer idea about the overall package. We mainly focused on the tyre wear to improve the traction in the corner exit and, on the hard compound, we set a good pace. I am not worried about the eight position today because our focus was the bike set-up and not the fastest lap".
Back to Business for Yamaha as Sepang Two Begins
18:00 Local time GMT+8 Sunny Sunny Temperature Air 34°C
Track 55°C Temperature Humidity 59%
Sepang (Malaysia), 26th February 2014
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi returned to work today as the second Sepang test of the 2014 MotoGP pre-season schedule got underway in Malaysia.
The riders were able to further test developments from the first Sepang session a few weeks ago along with some work on the new Bridgestone tyres. Unfortunately the Sepang circuit was much dirtier than the first test following some four-wheeled activity on the track, making it difficult for the riders to replicate their form from the previous visit.
Lorenzo ended the first day in fifth position, 0.310 seconds from first and less than satisfied with the new rubber. The Mallorcan will return to the track tomorrow determined to find a way to make the 2014 tyres work effectively with the YZR-M1.
Following from a very successful first test, Rossi was hard at work today, putting in an impressive number of laps whilst working on improving the balance of his M1. The Italian led the session briefly earlier on, slipping to seventh overall, 0.5 seconds from the front as he too explored set up options with the 2014 tyre choices.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
5th / 2'01.158 / 56 laps
"The new rear tyres, both the soft and the hard, are not working properly on our M1. We tried many things but for the moment we haven't found any solutions. Tomorrow we are going to try something different with the electronics that worked last year to try to improve a little bit because we are not so good today. The tyres don't give me any confidence in the corner entry, in the middle of the corner and on acceleration. It seems Bridgestone will not be providing different tyres this year so we have to adapt to the situation."
46 Valentino Rossi
7th / 2'01.349 / 65 laps
"The track is not fantastic. Especially if you compare it to the first test where it was very good. A lot of cars have used the track and there is some oil in some places, the track is very dirty so it is more difficult to get to a good lap time. In the end we were coming better though. We worked a lot on all aspects; we tried to find a right balance, concentrating on the braking. Especially we tried to make the best setting for the new tyres because in the first test we used old tyres from 2013 that were good for the M1. We have a problem with the 2014 ones so we have to concentrate to take the maximum benefit from them but already at the end of today it was not so bad."
Team Director Massimo Meregalli
"It has been a long day's work and we were able to put together a lot of information. We are still focused on making the new tyre work properly on our bike and we found something interesting compared to the last test that needs to be adjusted. I think we are in the right direction to fix this problem. We have two more days so we expect by the end of the last day we will provide a good performance."
Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg
"The first day is done, we tested a lot of material today to improve our package. The track conditions were not that good so I think we will improve step by step and we will reconfirm tomorrow. There was quite some oil on the track so the circumstances were quite difficult to compare stuff. This upsets the riders a bit as you need to compare things to the last test and it was difficult to be precise. We still have a lot to do over the next two days!"
DRIVE M7 ASPAR RIDERS RETURN TO SEPANG FOR SECOND PRESEASON TEST
Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama start three-day session with improved pace compared to first day of previous test
Just two weeks after saying goodbye to the Sepang circuit following the first test of 2014 the riders were back at the Malaysian track today for the second preseason session. In terms of the weather the conditions were very similar to last time but the track surface is much more dirty, which perhaps explains why the pace was around six tenths slower. The fastest rider of the day was Alvaro Bautista (2'00.848) whilst three of the title favourites - Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi -were in fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively. Notably absent from this test is Marc Marquez, who recently broke his leg in a training accident.
Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama had a busy day yesterday at the presentation of the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team and they were glad to be back to the business of improving their lap times today, resplendent in the striking new green and silver colours of the team. Both riders spent today working on setting up their Honda machines but their pace is already quicker than it was after first day of the first test, despite the unfavourable track conditions. After clocking 55 and 59 laps respectively the American and the Japanese were satisfied with their progress, both riders setting their best lap times towards the end of the session.
10th Nicky Hayden 2.02.227 (55 laps): "The gap to the top is reducing so that is positive. This morning we lost a little bit of time due to some technical problems which gave us a little more work than we expected. The bike is basically the same as the one we had here for the first test. We have worked on the set up, especially on the front fork to try and improve the stability of the bike under braking. We made some slight improvements. In the afternoon we had to solve an electronic issue which was costing us time in corner entry we spent most of the afternoon just solving this set back. Tomorrow morning we will continue to work on it and then we have some set up things to try. We still need to get more power out of the bike but the chassis surprises me more each day."
13th Hiroshi Aoyama 2.02.709 (59 laps): "The track conditions on the first day of the second test here at Sepang were quite precarious because the surfaces as very dirty. I was hoping that the grip would improve in the afternoon but it didn't. Anyway, that didn't stop us from working on the setup of the bike. Today we focused mainly on suspension and we have found some solutions which have made the bike more stable and more balanced. This helped the lap times come more easily. We can say that we have found a pretty positive base but we still need to find more stability from the front and tomorrow we will continue working to try and improve."
Pedrosa back on track in Sepang
Repsol Media Service | Malaysia, Sepang Circuit | Wednesday 02/26/2014
It was a slow start on the first day of the second Malaysian test. The riders gradually took to the track, which was slippery from car racing over the weekend, and as the surface improved so did the times. Dani, who suffered from some jet-lag, sat out for the majority of the morning whilst the track was at it's worst, but then had a busy schedule in the afternoon completing a total of 47 laps, recording his fastest time on lap 46 with 2'01.160.
Having made his final chassis choice for the season, Dani and his team will spend the remainder of the test working on engine mappings and general set up work.
2013 World Champion, Marc Marquez, will take no part in this test as he was forced to stay home due to an injury sustained in training last week in Spain.
2:01.160, 47 laps, 261 km.
"Today was not the best day for testing ‒the track was dirtier than ever and there was no grip. It was difficult to find a good feeling with the bike, which we only really got at the end of the day. I also had a few problems with jet-lag and I haven't been able to sleep much over the last few days, so I'm not feeling perfect physically. As I say, at the end of the day we managed to go a little better. We'll see if I can sleep better tonight and we will continue working hard tomorrow."
Tech 3 Yamaha
Super start for Tech3's Smith and Espargaro at Sepang 2
Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro completed another very strong first day of testing at the second MotoGP test, at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today. Testing was limited at the beginning of the day due to dirty track conditions, which meant that lap times were initially slower. As the day progressed, the circuit cleaned and the riders produced quicker laps.
With two further days of testing to come, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team and riders proceeded with their preparations for the impending start of the season. With the first race on the 23rd March at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, less than a month away, both Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro tested various aspects of the Yamaha YZF-M1 MotoGP bike, predominantly the new seamless gearbox, and aimed to make as much use of the testing time as possible.
The weather itself was hot and humid, with Monster Yamaha Tech3's Smith and Espargaro waiting until the afternoon for the track to cool, to set quicker lap times on the 5.543km Sepang International Circuit, located 50kms south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Pol Espargaro began his third testing programme today, as he gained experience with the Yamaha YZR- M1, which he will contest his first season of MotoGP with. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion, closely working with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, built on the positive progress already made at the preceding test. Espargaro tested the new seamless shift gearbox today, which the young Spaniard responded very positively to. He amassed over 57 laps on the first day of testing, and finished the session in a superb 3rd position with a time of 2:00.999, and only 0.151 of a second behind leading Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista.
Young British rider Bradley Smith, who is entering his second full time season in the premier class, sampled a new seamless gearbox for the Yamaha YZR-M1, in preparation for the 2014 MotoGP season. This was a new feature for the British rider, who seemed overly satisfied with the outcome. The Oxfordshire rider followed on with completing over 54 laps, and finished today's session in 8th position, with a best lap time of 2:01.644.
The Sepang test continues tomorrow between 10am and 6pm (local time - GMT +8) at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.
Pol Espargaro - 3rd - 2:00.999:
"This morning the track was not in the best condition, so we weren't able to start straight away. Near the end of the day the track improved and we managed to get quite a good time. However, we didn't get things wrong, even though I don't think the factory teams pushed to the limit and Marc is also not here, but it's still nice to finish the first day in third position. I want to say thank you to Yamaha as today was the first day we could use the new seamless gearbox, and the feeling is just amazing. We have a bit more power in every gear and it helps you in many different areas, for example, in the middle of the corner or with the anti-wheelie, it takes a lot of work away from the rider. Altogether it has been a really good day today and the feeling with the bike was just great."
Bradley Smith - 8th - 2:01.644:
"Today was the first day of using the seamless shift gear box. I am really thankful for Yamaha, because it was really beneficial for us. It is a very nice system to use, and I think the biggest advantage of the gearbox with be on old tyres in the second half of the race. We have continued working on ideas from the first test, and have found a great front setting which will probably be our base setting for the season. We still need to work a little more with the electronics, and the rear grip. The Bridgestone tyres seem to be better than last time, even though the track conditions were not so great. We also changed the geometry of the bike which consistently works better with the tyres. Tech3 are doing a brilliant job, and I am pleased with the results. I think the track conditions will improve and on day 3 we'll try a race simulation. "
Day 1 of IRTA test at Sepang for Ducati Team
With less than one month to go before the opening round of the MotoGP World Championship in Qatar, a second IRTA test session for the Ducati Team has been getting underway today, again at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, where the first test of the 2014 season took place at the start of February. Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow took to the track on their Desmosedici GP14 machines to try out the updates brought to Malaysia for these tests and continue development work on the bikes.
After evaluating a number of different set-ups in his 47 laps on the track, Dovizioso found a comfortable feeling towards the end of the day. The Italian rider was then able to record his quickest time of 2m01.029s just a few minutes before the end, concluding today's session with an encouraging fourth place.
His team-mate Cal Crutchlow completed a total of 48 laps and his gap from Dovizioso was more than one second at the end of the day. The British rider however had a technical problem that did not allow him to take advantage of the new rear tyre he had just fitted.
The priority of the Ducati Team in this test is in any case to continue with the development of the GP14, and today's results, especially Dovizioso's improvement on a track that is not performing as well as three weeks ago, helped to confirm that the Italian team is working in the right direction.
Track time was also shared by Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro, who was able to try out some new components and electronics solutions. The best time of the Italian rider was not particularly significant as he was not aiming for quick laps, and he focused on his scheduled work programme.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 4th (2m01.029s)
"We started the day when the grip on the track was not particularly good. We did some laps in the morning, but then worked better in the afternoon when the track improved. The first day was positive, because with what we tested we were able to improve the bike, both in the electronics and in set-up. Today we didn't have much new stuff to try, just different set-ups that seemed to work well. I had a really good feeling towards the end of the day, when I put on a good tyre on my final exit and managed to set a good time. Even though the times are not to be considered a reference point, I'm still pretty pleased with the improvement we made today."
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) - 11th (2m02.319s)
"I'm not as pleased as Dovi, that's for sure, but we had a technical issue at the end of the day, and I was unable to capitalize on having a new rear tyre, unlike everyone else. If I had taken off one second like Dovi, I would have been very happy but at the moment we have a lot more issues than that. We're struggling to find a setting at the moment but we did confirm a few things from the last test. Tomorrow we really need to work on finding some rear grip because the track is worse than last time; the front doesn't feel too bad, but we need some more time to understand the bike in these different conditions. I'm not too worried, because we know we should be going faster with the new tyre."
Positive first day at Sepang for Scott
The opening day of the second Sepang test was a positive one for Scott Redding, although the progress made with Honda's all-new RCV1000R wasn't reflected in his lap times.
The 21-year-old Briton successfully tested a number of different suspension options this morning, as well as changes to the balance of the bike, which brought some improvement and saw Redding running inside the top 15 on the timesheet.
Despite the progress, Redding was unable to significantly improve his lap time over the course of the day, partly as a result of less than ideal track conditions, but he remains confident of further improvements tomorrow.
Scott Redding // 2'03.553 // 51 Laps
"Today we worked pretty well, especially this morning when we tested different suspension options and tried changing the balance of the bike. Unfortunately, however, it seems we are stuck on these lap times; we just can't seem to find what it is we need to make a significant step forward. We can take some confidence in the fact that Nicky Hayden was fast today, despite less than ideal track conditions, so we can see what the bike is capable of. We are convinced we can close the gap to Nicky, but we need to find some improvement with the bike if we are to make that next step. With the electronics we've already found quite a good setting, so tomorrow we will focus once again on improving braking performance."