MotoGP Press Office:
Quartararo strikes first to go fastest on Friday
A Petronas Yamaha SRT 1-2 locks out the top for the Iwata marque, with Rins putting Suzuki in third
Friday, 07 February 2020
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) began the Sepang Test in an increasingly familiar position: first. The Frenchman was the first man into the 1:58s and his laptime remained largely unthreatened thereafter, although some rain in the afternoon did stop play for a while and limit track time. Teammate Franco Morbidelli was second overall on Day 1 and came the closest to deposing him, only 0.051 off, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) next up as the Spaniard completed the top three on Friday.
Quartararo did 41 laps on Day 1, lapping on the 2019 Yamaha, with a best of 1:58.945 on Lap 22. Teammate Franco Morbidelli was the only man able to get close and he was on 2020 machinery, putting in 50 laps overall – ending the day just 0.051 off Quartararo’s best as the Petronas Yamaha duo proved the only two men able to dip under the 1:59 barrier.
At Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, there was no Jorge Lorenzo out testing on Day 1, with the focus instead on Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi. They both had three bikes each in the garage: two 2020 machines with the new engine and frame and a 2019 version in order to test back to back. Viñales’ best was a 1:59.367 in sixth and Rossi’s a 1:59.569 in tenth.
Rins, meanwhile, put Team Suzuki Ecstar in third after a half century of laps for the Spaniard on Friday. There was aero on the agenda, and plenty under the covers for the Hamamatsu factory to focus on – including more work on the engine and a new swingarm, chassis, electronics… Rins’ best was a 1:59.195 in P3 and teammate Joan Mir took P9 with a 1:59.968 after a similar amount of laps. Test rider Sylvain Guintoli was also out on track to add another 48 laps to the count.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was the fastest Honda on Day 1. The Brit leapfrogged up into the top three briefly before ultimately ending Friday in fourth after 33 laps, but it was a busy day for the number 35 as he spearheads much of Honda’s testing – with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) coming back from shoulder surgery, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) likewise, and Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) making his premier class debut. Crutchlow had three bikes in the garage, one of which was a 2019 machine for back-to-back comparisons. The other two were 2020 machines, although not identical…
Marc Marquez’ best, a 1:59.676 after 37 laps, put him in 12th – with the focus on trying only the essentials as his recovery limits his laps somewhat. Reigning Moto2™ Champion Alex Marquez did a similar number of laps though, and he faced a 0.242 deficit to his teammate by the end of play despite finishing Friday just a position behind him. Nakagami had a steadier start to the test; his best a 2:00.815 as he comes back from injury.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was the fastest Ducati man on Day 1. An improvement on his penultimate lap put the Australian up into fifth with a 1:59.236, behind Crutchlow by just 0.002. He had two 2020 bikes as well as a few “small parts” to try, with positive feedback coming from the Queenslander. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), meanwhile, put in a 1:59.666 and was just outside the top ten, doing 35 laps, with teammate Danilo Petrucci putting in a fastest lap of 1:59.939 after 42 laps. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) was P17, Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing) P19 and Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) P23.
Aprilia were ahead of the game early doors, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) top of the pile after the first hour and ten or so laps. After positive comments on the new 2020 bike following the shakedown test, that seemed to continue on the timesheets on Friday: Espargaro ended the session on a 1:59.427 in P7 after 40 laps, the laptime the same one with which he topped the timesheets earlier in the day. Lorenzo Savadori was also on duty for the Noale factory after the Italian had also taken part in the shakedown test, and he did 30 laps. Test rider Bradley Smith is expected to join the lineup as the test continues.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) led the way for KTM on the first day. The Spaniard ended the test in P8 after a best of 1:59.536, and he put in 50 laps. The Austrian factory worked with their new chassis – on both factory and Tech 3 machines – as well as some aero, and the engine, and Espargaro says there’s more to do on the rear with a new swingarm… as always, it’s a packed program.
Test rider Dani Pedrosa was the next KTM on the timesheets in 15th, with the Spaniard doing nearly 50 laps. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was close though, just over a tenth off Pedrosa and doing a similar number of laps as he comes back from injury that dogged the latter half of his 2019. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) just pipped fellow rookie Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)… but the two were only 0.008 apart in P20 and P21 respectively.
That’s it from Day 1 but there are plenty more videos and rider reactions on motogp.com – check them out and gear up for more on Saturday as the #SepangTest continues.
The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team pairing of Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli ended the opening day of the Sepang Test first and second respectively. The first outing with the new livery was a positive one as the duo racked up the kilometres at the Sepang International Circuit, despite rain holding up proceedings in the afternoon.
Taking to the track immediately at 10:00, Quartararo was quick to make his mark on the timing screens and soon placed his Yamaha YZR-M1 at the top of the standings. The afternoon downpour helped him spend the rest of the day there, finishing the session aboard his 2019 machine with a lap time that was 0.051 seconds faster than his competition. Fabio completed 52 laps of the Malaysian track, with a best time of 1min 58.945secs.
Team-mate Morbidelli focused on testing the latest evolution of the A-spec machine, which he last rode in November at the Jerez test. After spending the first hour getting up to speed with the new improvements, he soon joined Quartararo at the top of the timing screens, just 0.051 seconds behind. Despite the rain restricting track time, Morbidelli completed more laps during the afternoon and finished the day in second, 0.199 seconds faster than Alex Rins, having racked up 62 laps with a best time of 1min 58.996secs.
Testing will resume tomorrow at Sepang International Circuit at 10:00 (local time), when Fabio will be able to ride the Factory-Spec YZR-M1 for the first time. The second day of action will draw to a close at 18:00 (local time), ahead of the final day on Sunday.
Fabio Quartararo 1st (1:58.945)
It feels good after almost three months to be back on track. Today was just about getting used to being back on the MotoGP bike. We used last year’s version just to get a few laps in, and we set a really good lap time with the medium tyre at the beginning of the day. We’re hoping for better weather tomorrow so that we can work even more and I’m looking forward to see what my first impressions of the new bike are. I’m really happy with today, it’s always good to start quickest but it’s only the first day of the test – everybody starts with new bikes, it’s not easy for them. The 2019 bike is one I really know from last year, but of course is always better to be P1 than P10 and I can’t wait for tomorrow to start with the new bike.
Franco Morbidelli 2nd (+0.051)
I feel good, it was a positive first day for us. We were immediately fast and made the right changes to the bike to get the right feeling. We managed 62 laps, which is a good amount for the first day. Some rain came and this slowed down the working process of the afternoon, but we did a good job in the morning and early part of the afternoon. Tomorrow we will try some other small things that we have on the programme to try but overall I am very happy. We are a little bit faster on the straight, so that is a positive and what we wanted. The behaviour of the bike remains the same though so it is still nice to ride and flowing, but we have a little bit more top speed. I’m happy with the work Yamaha has done and I’m happy with what they are supplying me.
Repsol Honda Team back on track at the Sepang Test
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez returned to his RC213V for the first time in 2020 alongside rookie team-mate Alex Marquez as the new MotoGP World Championship season commences with testing in Malaysia.
Proceedings started almost as soon as the track opened in Malaysia, the Repsol Honda Team working for 2020 from early in the day. Unfortunately rain just after lunch limited track time.
Eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez completed a total of 37 laps before stopping just ahead of the lunch break. Having had his right shoulder operated on during the winter and completing 250 hours of physiotherapy, Marc is focusing on the quality of laps rather than the quantity of laps around the 5.5-kilometre-long Sepang International Circuit. Lapping with a best time of 1’59.676, Marc ended the day within a second of the fastest time as he looks ahead to the remaining two days of the test.
With two days of running already under his belt at the Sepang Circuit, Moto2 World Champion Alex Marquez picked up where he left off and continued building his confidence aboard the Honda RC213V. It proved a busy first half of the day for the rookie who completed 38 laps and set a best time of 1’59.918, Alex and the Repsol Honda Team pleased with the progress made so far.
The pair will be back out on track for day two of the Sepang Test, hoping for more cooperative weather.
“It is really important to be back on the bike and I’m happy to be back but unfortunately I felt a little worse than I was expecting. I started with good energy in the first run but I had to calm myself down a little bit to make sure we can finish the day. I just tried to find my rhythm and work on what I needed to. The plan stays the same, 35 laps today, 45 laps tomorrow and see on the final day. The important thing is that the shoulder was stable and in the afternoon the pain wasn’t worse, step by step we just have to be patient.”
“I am happy with how today went. The shakedown test allowed us to get a base and helped a rookie like me to begin to understand a MotoGP bike at this circuit. Today we are still improving, and we made some steps with used tyres. The track is in a better condition than at the shakedown and having more riders on track lets me learn more things from those around us. We still have a lot of work to do, but the team are great and using their experience to give me new things to focus on each run. Every day we have been faster and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Rain disturbs action on the first day of testing in Sepang with Dovizioso eleventh and Petrucci fourteenth.
After having unveiled the new livery of the Desmosedici GP20 bikes on the last 23rd January in Bologna, the Ducati Team has finally taken to the track for the first of three days of Official MotoGP Test at Sepang Circuit in Malaysia.
For both Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, the day started a few minutes after 10 am this morning when the sky was still bright, and the track conditions were perfect to begin the demanding testing program. Eleventh and fifteenth respectively before the lunch break, the Ducati Team riders were hoping to resume their work in the afternoon finding the same weather conditions. But a sudden downpour disturbed the program leaving just two more hours of dry track before the rain started to fall again a few minutes before the session end.
Dovizioso closed in 11th position in 1:59.666, while Petrucci ended the day 14th, just 0.263 s behind his teammate. The first day of testing featured close gaps and quick paces with the top 14 riders within less than 1 second and under the 2-minute lap time. The Ducati Team riders will still have two days available at the Malaysian race track where test rider Michele Pirro concluded the preparations for the test during the Shakedown.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04, Ducati Team) – 11 (1:59.666)
“It has been a hard day. We have introduced a few new items, and we had to focus more on certain aspects of the bike setup. We hope to be able to use our time better tomorrow and to concentrate on the rest of the program. We would like to work on the new rear tyres because we think that this is a fundamental aspect. We are trying to improve the riding style and the bike setup because we believe that these will help us to take the right advantage from the new solutions brought by Michelin”.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 14 (1:59.939)
“I am happy to be back on track. Today we didn’t focus on the lap time, but we worked on trying to rebuild a good feeling with the bike after this long break away from my Desmosedici GP. It had been difficult at the beginning, but in the afternoon, I think I was able to find the right path that will help me also improve in the next days. Today there were mixed weather conditions that made hard to understand our real potential: I always ran with used tyres and with the rain we couldn’t try the new items that we need to test. In general, it was a positive day, and it leaves me confident for tomorrow”.
CAL CRUTCHLOW BEGINS CRUCIAL 2020 TESTS WITH LCR HONDA CASTROL
07 February 2020 | Sepang Test Day One
The first on-track action of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season began at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on Friday, with all teams and riders out in the tropical heat of Malaysia for the first of three days’ testing.
It promises to be a tough first outing for LCR Honda Castrol’s star rider Cal Crutchlow, who has a hefty schedule of testing to do to help HRC fine-tune their 2020 RC213V prototype. Just like Cal’s team-mate Taka Nakagami, reigning world champion and Honda colleague Marc Marquez is also returning from surgery, and with him joined by younger brother Alex in the factory ranks as a rookie, Crutchlow’s valuable input to the project will be more significant than ever before.
The British racer completed a total of 39 laps on day one, with an impressive best lap time of 1’59.234 putting him fourth overall in the standings. Progress was hampered by a heavy downpour in the afternoon, however the hopes are for a fully dry day on Saturday to continue with the planned schedule.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – 4th
(1’59.234 lap 28 of 39)
“It was a shock to the system to get back out there, but it was a good day to be back on the bike. I was very happy to be back working with the LCR Honda Castrol Team again, and it’s always good to see the boys again after a good winter break where I’ve been preparing well over in California.
“Now the work starts. We continue to try and improve the RC213V from last year; we had two 2020 models in the garage and one “sort-of-2019” spec machine which was a bit more half and half. We worked our way through the test programme, with a slight delay halfway through the day when we had to work on the bikes, which is completely normal. Unfortunately, when I returned to the track again it was raining and we could only get in another short stint right at the end of the day.
“Overall, it was nice to get back working with the crew again, but tomorrow will be a longer and tougher day when we’ll learn a lot more about what we’ve got.”