These just in from Sepang:
The Frenchman reigns again, now on the new YZR-M1, as Miller takes second and Pedrosa slots KTM into third
Saturday, 08 February 2020
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was once again the man at the top of the timesheets on Day 2 of the #SepangTest, but this time the Frenchman made his mark on the 2020 factory machine as he got a taste of the new YZR-M1 on Saturday. The man he deposed was Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), who was once again the fastest Ducati, after the Australian had held on to P1 for some time. Third was another stellar performance that stole some headlines as Dani Pedrosa – erstwhile master of Sepang – put KTM into the top three and only 0.090 off the top; his 1:58.662 most definitely an eyebrow-raiser.
Day 2 saw the weather play nice, with track time uninterrupted and that proving valuable for many – and many putting in a good number more laps on Saturday. Quartararo’s 72 laps were testament to that and followed up a performance on Day 1 that was impressive but, in some ways, could have been expected – with the number 20 already having shown scintillating speed on the 2019 Yamaha. Getting on the new machine and proving able to put in a 1:58.572 not long after ensured Day 2 was more than a simple rinse and repeat. Teammate Franco Morbidelli was also quick in fifth after 60 laps, 0.259 off the top on an “A-spec” 2020 machine – without the new air intake and reportedly without the new engine. He crashed at Turn 2, rider ok.
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), meanwhile, slotted in right behind the Italian – only 0.062 in further arrears, although he did crash, just as he did on Day 1. The number 12 did 69 laps as both he and teammate Valentino Rossi continued to work with three machines each, and Rossi was tenth overall after 60 laps. ‘The Doctor’’s best was a 1:59.116. Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga suffered a crash, rider ok.
At Ducati, it was Jack Miller who was once again the fastest man on Borgo Panigale machinery. He did 50 laps and only lost out on the top by 0.069, with the positive reports on Ducati’s 2020 machinery continuing. In terms of position it was a “tougher” day on the timesheets for his fellow GP20 riders, however, with Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) in P13 followed by Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in 14th and 15th respectively; all three within a tenth and all three putting in nearly 60 laps. Dovizioso crashed at Turn 6, rider ok, causing a brief Red Flag solely to make sure he was away from the track and racing line.
Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing), meanwhile, beat the laptime he set on Day 1 by over half a second, although he maintained the same position, and Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti Ducati Corse was spotted in the box with the Frenchman. Zarco’s teammate Tito Rabat was just behind him in position but three and a half tenths in arrears.
At KTM, Dani Pedrosa was the star attraction on the timesheets, and the ‘Little Samurai’ did his fastest lap at Sepang International Circuit – no mean feat given his number of premier class poles and wins at the venue. Pol Espargaro sung his praises too. Espargaro ended the day in P8 after nearly fifty laps and was happy with his day despite a tip off at Turn 1 – working on the new chassis and testing it with different setups, citing some key improvements in grip and stability. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) also improved, shaving eight tenths off his day one best and getting closer to fellow rookie Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was P16 at the end of the day after 42 laps, continuing his comeback from injury and after also having taken part in the shakedown. Likewise his rookie teammate Iker Lecuona, who put in 41 laps as he adapts to the premier class, ending Saturday on a 2:00.396, although he did suffer a crash.
Just missing out on the top three after Pedrosa’s late lunge were Suzuki. The tables turned on the timesheets on Day 2 as Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was the leading Hamamatsu factory machine in P4, a 1:58.731 putting him only a tenth and a half off the top after 54 laps. Teammate Alex Rins put in 63 laps, and set his best of a 1:58.978 on the new chassis… citing it as a key step in the right direction. Mir saw it more as a balance of positives and negatives. Test rider Sylvain Guintoli was also on track and he did 58 laps.
For Honda, it was a more muted day on the timesheets, but it was reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who took back the honour of quickest for the factory after Cal Crutchlow’s (LCR Honda Castrol) P4 on Day 1. Marquez was ninth with a best of a 1:59.097 after 47 laps, although he crashed at Turn 3. Rider ok, bike less so. Crutchlow did 64 laps, with his huge workload continuing as he remains on point for test duty, and a best of 1:59.247 put him in P12.
Alex Marquez was top rookie once again although, as stated, had Binder for close company, and Takaaki Nakagami’s (LCR Honda Idemitsu) comeback continued to prove a challenge. He was P21 after 47 laps.
Aprilia’s new 90-degree V4 ended the day in P11 in the hands of Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro, with the number 41 putting in 43 laps and setting a best of 1:59.224. Top speed seems a key area of improvement so far, and test rider Bradley Smith was also out on track working on the project. He did 61 laps.
Now all that remains at Sepang is Sunday Funday, with only one test day left before the paddock packs up and heads for Losail International Circuit in Qatar – so tune in again for After The Flag from 10:30am CET and check out all the reactions on motogp.com!
The Ducati Team ended the second day of testing in Malaysia with Petrucci thirteenth and Dovizioso fifteenth.
The Ducati Team riders took to the track once again today for the penultimate of three days of Official MotoGP Test at Sepang Circuit, in Malaysia.
After a first day deeply affected by the changeable weather conditions, Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci were finally able to take full advantage from the 8 hours of free practices available in which they found a dry surface of the track and acceptable but still scorching temperatures.
With just one month left before the opening Grand Prix of the 2020 season in Qatar, both the riders of the Bologna-based squad resumed their programs from where they left off yesterday, working on different aspects of their Desmosedici GP20 while also improving yesterday’s lap times.
Danilo Petrucci made a big step forward, taking 0.682 seconds off his personal best from yesterday. The rider from Terni ended the second day of testing in thirteenth position overall with a fastest lap in 1’59.257, close to the top of the timesheets.
In the afternoon, Andrea Dovizioso slid out at Turn 6, but the small accident didn’t really compromise his working program. The rider from Forlì was fifteenth overall with a personal best lap in 1:59.342 at the end of Saturday.
Now that the most challenging part of the testing program is completed, the Ducati Team will head back on track tomorrow for the final day of the Sepang Test.
Danilo Petrucci (#9, Ducati Team) – 13° (1:59.257)
“I am not completely satisfied with my ranking today. But still, I am happy because compared to yesterday we were able to make a big step forward and again we are really close to the top. Today we tried different new components, amongst which we also tried a new fairing: we did many laps, and my feeling with the used tyres is good. Tomorrow we will focus more on improving the bike setup, and we will also work with the new tyres to understand what we can do to take full advantage from them”.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04, Ducati Team) – 15° (1:59.342)
“It has been another busy day. We were able to test several new components, like a new fairing, while in the afternoon I had a small crash and we couldn’t end our setup work on the Desmosedici. Now I have some pain in my hand and neck, but fortunately, we could get on with an important part of our program. I hope to feel better tomorrow and be able to take great advantage from the final day of testing”.
The second day of the Sepang MotoGP™ Official Test proved to be a productive one for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, with riders Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli making the most of the good conditions – ending the day first and fifth respectively.
Quartararo was able to jump aboard his brand new 2020 Factory-spec Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time and spent the morning taking the time to acclimatise to the new machine. After a day of tweaking the set up and racking up the kilometres, Fabio set the fastest lap with less than an hour left on the clock. After completing 72 laps of the Malaysian track, Fabio’s best time of 1min 58.572secs was 0.069secs faster than Jack Miller and only 0.269secs off the official All Time Lap Record of Sepang, set by Fabio last year.
Meanwhile team-mate Morbidelli’s focus for the day was maintaining consistency across both bikes, while working through the team’s testing programme. Franco increased his pace throughout the day and bettered his time from yesterday, despite a small crash at Turn 2 just before lunch while testing a new rear tyre. The afternoon also saw the Italian test different chassis components. The fastest of Franco’s 60 laps saw him finish the day fifth overall, 0.259secs down on Quartararo, with a time of 1min 58.831secs.
Testing will resume for the third and final day at the Sepang International Circuit tomorrow morning at 10:00 local time, with the chequered flag closing the action on the first official test of 2020 at 18:00 local time.
I am really positive because this is only our first day with the bike. We know that the Factory team tested on many occasions last season, but I’m really happy with the work of the team because we made so many changes in so few laps. We did 72 laps, which is quite a lot, but I’m so happy to already feel good on the bike. It is difficult to make a new bike really good in one day. We hope to make another step tomorrow. We had quite a lot of laps in the 1min 59secs on old tyres so that’s really positive. We need to improve the pace a little bit because I am not feeling 100% comfortable. We know that with a new bike you have some positive points and some parts that you are struggling a bit, but at the moment I have already found the positives in one day. With the settings we will change tomorrow we hope to find even more positive points.
I’m happy about today’s work, improving yesterday’s lap times. We’ve just been back-to-backing things that we were trying last year, as we wanted to reconfirm them for this year. Tomorrow we will try to make a time-attack, we will probably try to make that in the morning and then we will see what the weather is like. The forecast says it’s going to rain tomorrow but first of all we will do some work, then the time-attack, then continue to try some new things – we have some new ideas that we want to try with the bike.
Cal Crutchlow had another busy day testing on day two of three of official pre-season practice at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on Saturday. The Brit has been given a mammoth list of parts and configurations to work through with his LCR Honda Castrol Team and worked tirelessly throughout the day in scorching conditions.
Working on combinations of 2019 and 2020 specifications of his factory Honda RC213V, Crutchlow provided yet more vital feedback to HRC as they look to define the package for the upcoming 20-race MotoGP season. The 34-year-old clocked up a healthy total of 64 laps, and stopped the clock in a best time of 1’59.247, just thousandths outside his best time from Friday, proving his consistent pace.
Sunday sees the final day of testing in Malaysia, with just one more official session to come before the season gets underway in Qatar in early March.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – 12th
(1’59.247 – lap 59 of 64)
“We worked really hard as a team today to clock up 64 laps, and we ran through a lot of items for Honda including different chassis on the 2019 and 2020 bike. We were trying to find which was the most positive of the two. It was a long list of items that took quite a while to get through, but we made a lot of good laps and I felt quite good on the bike. I wasn’t able to be super-fast over a full lap as such, but I was really consistent throughout the day and so we look forward to the last day of testing here in Malaysia.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were back in action today at the Sepang International Circuit for the second of the three track days that mark the start of the 2020 MotoGP testing season. They continued to work through a number of different testing materials, taking sixth and tenth place respectively in today‘s timesheets.
Viñales was keen to head out and continued working with different items that he evaluated over the course of the day. Getting back into a good rhythm over his first stints, he began to challenge his Day-1 time, even going under the 1‘59s mark. He posted a best lap of 1‘58.893s, on lap 41 out of 69 in total, and concluded the eight-hour session in sixth place, 0.321s from the front.
Rossi was also eager to get back aboard the new 2020 YZR-M1, to get to know it better and further improve its performance level. And he did. He improved 0.4s on his best time of the day before, setting a 1‘59.116s on lap 38 out of 60. Knowing the setting was heading in the right direction, he focused on working down the items on his testing to-do list later in the afternoon and ended the day in 10th place, 0.544s from first.
It went quite well. I’m happy because I felt quite good on the bike and my rhythm seems to be very competitive. At the end we improved some things that were quite important. We understand many other points, and day by day we are getting more ready for the Qatar race. We improved quite a lot since this morning, especially the rhythm, that was the most important for us at this moment. Like I said, the first laps, trying to push on braking, the feeling is very positive. We have improved the top speed. We are at the level of some of the other manufacturers, and that’s always important.
Everybody is very strong, very fast as always. We are not so far from the top. The second day was better than the first day because we worked a lot on the new bike. We need some more experience and some more kilometres, but today we already found something good, especially for the grip, and the pace with the race tyre is positive. For me, the bike has better potential than last year, but we need to work because also the other manufacturers are making steps, and like I said before, they are very strong. So, we need to continue to work hard, but it looks like we‘re heading in the right direction.