Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi shared the top of the timesheet at the second MotoGP pre-season group test at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, after the two riders set an identical lap time of 1’59.999.
Both Pedrosa and Rossi set their best lap time using the combination of the medium compound slicks front and rear on the final day of testing. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso finished third overall with a personal best lap time of 2:00.067, ensuring three different manufacturers were represented in the top three. In a carbon copy of the first Sepang test, Aleix Espargaro was once again the quickest open-class rider, placing fourth overall on the NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR-Yamaha with a best lap of 2’00.101. The gap in lap time from the quickest to slowest rider at the second Sepang test was 6.483 seconds.
Weather conditions for the test were similar to the first Sepang test; very hot and dry, although the grip level of the tarmac was at a lower level when compared to the previous test in February. The peak track temperature recorded over the three days was 60°C; 3 degrees warmer than the highest measurement at the previous Sepang test. All front and rear slick compound choices were utilised by riders over the three days, with only the 2014 specification tyres being made available to riders at this test.
Bridgestone now heads to Phillip Island for a three day test from March 3-5, and will also be present at the final MotoGP pre-season group test at Qatar’ Losail International Circuit from March 7-9.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Compared to the last test at Sepang, the track conditions over the last three days weren’t as favourable making grip harder to come by for the riders. This was the main reason why the lap times weren’t as quick at this test compared to the last time we were at Sepang. On the final day of the test the conditions were particularly extreme with track temperatures reaching sixty degrees Celsius, however some riders did race simulations in the tough conditions so we were able to acquire a lot of good data about our tyre durability at this test.
“For this test we only offered our 2014 specification slick tyres for the riders to use, so our engineers spent a lot of time working with the teams to get them up to speed on this new rubber. As is usual when we introduce new tyres, some teams and riders need more time to adapt then others, but I believe everyone has made progress over the last three days. It was promising to see four different types of machine; Yamaha, Honda, Ducati and an open-class Yamaha set lap times within a tenth of a second of each other at this test, as this bodes well for a competitive season. We are now heading straight to Australia for a three day test at Phillip Island next week with some Ducati, Honda and Yamaha riders to test the new tyres we developed for the Australian Grand Prix in October.”
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.