Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi has completed the second official test of the 2014 MotoGP season as the fastest rider. Rossi wrapped up the three days of riding at the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia with a fastest time of 1’59.999, one of only two riders to drop under the two minute mark after an impressive fastest lap today.
Whilst still struggling to find a perfect solution to the new Bridgestone tyres, Jorge Lorenzo was able to find a change to make some improvement to set up today. The Mallorcan was still less than satisfied overall with the grip levels on offer from the 2014 rubber. Lorenzo was able to step a little closer to the front than yesterday, wrapping up in seventh, just over 0.6 of a second from his teammate in first.
The Team now move directly to Phillip Island in Australia for a further test before the season kicks off under the floodlights of Qatar on the 23rd March.
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro completed the final day of testing with many positives to conclude, for the beginning of the MotoGP season at the end of March.
Both Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders experimented with various aspects of their Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes in order to find the most suitable set ups which would suit their riding styles.
British rider Bradley Smith ended the test with an overall feeling of satisfaction regarding his performances over the past three days, as he prepares for his second season in MotoGP. Having spent a large quantity of time on refining the front and rear sections of the Yamaha YZR-M1, as well as accustoming himself to the seamless shift gearbox and the new Bridgestone tyres, Smith was content with the developments made. He completed a full race simulation today, which was successfully undertaken and confirmed that all of the changes made during this test were in the right direction. Undertaking a colossal 185 laps over all three days, the young British rider finished the second Sepang test with a best time of 2:00.804 in 9th place.
Young Spanish rider Pol Espargaro finished the session feeling pleased, having spent the past three days learning and mastering his new MotoGP bike. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion, completed over 158 laps around the 5.543 kilometre track, over the three days. He optimised the available time and tested ceaselessly to continue to gain as much knowledge of his new Yamaha YZR-M1 and Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team as possible. The learning curve was steep and despite a small crash yesterday, Espargaro leaves the Sepang test feeling positive. Having gelled seamlessly with the new gearbox, the young Spaniard set the 3rd fastest time on the opening day, before finishing in 10th overall, with an ultimate lap time of 2:00.999.
The next testing session will commence at the Losail Circuit, Qatar on the 7th of March for Satellite MotoGP riders and Open Class MotoGP riders only.
The second 2014 MotoGP pre-season test session ended today with very positive results for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team.
Aleix Espargaró was very consistent along the three days of testing, scoring the 4th best time in the combined lap times classification with a top time of 2’00.101. After having worked on the bike set up in the first two days, this morning he made a long run to check the bike behaviour on the race distance, showing a good pace.
Colin Edwards continued working on the bike set up. He also tested some new solutions in preparation of the race distance. In total he completed 23 laps, Aleix 43.
1st / 1'59.999 / 41 laps
“First of all I am very happy because I am in first position and I did a good lap. I was one of the only ones in the 1’59s which is positive, especially because with the 2014 tyres in the first test we tried a time attack and I was more than one second slower than today. This test we have always been at the top and fighting for the first position so it’s positive. We still have some problems when it’s very hot over long distance with the new tyres, so we still have to work, but we made a good step from the first test. The next test in Philip Island will be very important to understand if also there we improved a lot like here because I am more than one second faster than the second test of last year so we have been working well.”
7th / 2'00.619 / 70 laps
“We found a better solution today to improve our situation and adapt these tyres at this track. The tyres are much harder in the sidewalls. At this track, with this tarmac that is very slippery, it’s not the same as Phillip Island or Mugello for example, it’s impossible for us to be competitive. This tyre is much worse for Yamaha and better for Honda. Our bike is competitive, at a similar level to the competitors but with the tyre we have problems. We tried a simulation today and it was worse and worse every lap. In the edge there is a problem with no grip but also when you pick up the bike it spins. You can improve the feeling a little to get more grip but when the tyre starts to drop the problems get worse and worse.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It’s been a difficult test and really we are not very happy with the result. For the last day Jorge has found some confidence back in the bike. Of course it’s not how we want it but at least he could do a decent long run and be quite consistent. It was very hot today and we got a lot of new information with the new tyres. We are very curious to see how we get on in two days in Phillip Island.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We finished this three day test with some good improvements and were able to make the bike better every day. At the end Valentino was able to make the fastest lap of the day. Jorge continued to have some difficulties, especially because of his riding style. It looks like the new tyre doesn't work very well on our bike, especially at this track. Here at Sepang the problem was increased because of the lack of grip on the tarmac and also the high temperatures. We made some improvements but we are not satisfied 100% and we have to improve over race distance. We look forward to the Phillip Island test now to see what Bridgestone has prepared to solve the issues we had last year and then we are ready for Qatar.”
9th / 2'00.804 / 71 laps
“We tried a lot of different solutions today, especially with the rear of the bike and tried to work the new Bridgestone tyres as much as possible. I found a setting that I was much happier with, which made the bike smoother, and let me ride the Yamaha how it should be. We definitely made the step with rear tyre performance, which allowed me to be much more consistent, compared to the last Sepang test and last year’s race. I did a race simulation, and am pleased as it was during a really hot part of the day, so not perfect in terms of track conditions. At the end of the day, after 70 laps I also did my best time. There are many positives, and I come away from here quite happy. It appears as though the track was slower this time than the previous test, but we are close to my lap time from then. All in all, it has been a somewhat difficult three days, but I am really pleased with the final result. “
10th / 2'00.999 / 54 laps
“It has not been an easy day today. Probably the most difficult one we have had so far. I didn’t feel too well, on one hand maybe because of the crash from yesterday, or on the other hand because it’s really demanding doing several days and so many laps in such hot and humid conditions. However, even if I’m not too enthusiastic about my performance today, I am still just one second from the top of the timesheets which makes me feel much better. Again, we tried different setup solutions, as I still have many things to learn about this bike. I’m really looking forward to trying the bike on a different circuit, in Qatar next week. This will extend my knowledge further, and will permit us to be able to evaluate the information which we collected during this test in a better way. But honestly, all these comments are not as important when you get news like we received today from our Moto2 rider, who is in hospital in France. My thoughts are with him and I hope he recovers quickly.”
4th / 2'00.101 / 43 laps
“I’m very happy with how we progressed in these three days of testing. We started where we left here in Sepang 1 and I could work on the second bike and on the race distance. I’m very satisfied with the data gathered during the long run. We were competitive and now I look forward to confirm my feeling in Qatar, where we will do another test session before the opening race of the season”.
14th / 2'01.748 / 35 laps
“We continued working on the bike set up to improve the feeling with the bike in the corners. We tried several solutions but I still don’t have the right confidence to push as I am used to. We also worked on the electronics with positive results and we focused on the tank to check the fuel consumption as we would like to take advantage of the possibility to use all the 24 liters that the Open class has at disposal. We gathered important data and I’d like to thank my team for the work done during these three days”.
Sepang Test Two, Day Three: Final Times
1. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 59.999s (Lap 13/41)
2. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 59.999s | +0.000s (47/50)
3. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 0.067s | +0.068s (6/36)
4. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-Yamaha) 2m 0.101s | +0.102s (7/43)
5. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 2m 0.164s | +0.165s (12/48)
6. Alvaro Bautista ESP GoFun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 0.506s | +0.507s (9/60)
7. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 0.619s | +0.620s (20/70)
8. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 0.790s | +0.791s (7/62)
9. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 0.804s | +0.805s (69/71)
10. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.032s | +1.033s (6/54)
11. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 1.198s | +1.199s (26/47)
12. Randy De Puniet FRA Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 1.430s | +1.431s (53/55)
13. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 1.497s | +1.498s (51/56)
14. Colin Edwards USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-Yamaha) 2m 1.748s | +1.749s (23/35)
15. Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 1.924s | +1.925s (57/59)
16. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici) 2m 2.029s | +2.030s (8/48)
17. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 2.070s | +2.071s (61/61)
18. Scott Redding GBR GoFun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 2m 2.228s | +2.229s (48/50)
19. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 2.341s | +2.342s (13/54) 20. Katsuyuki Nakasuga JPN Yamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1) 2m 3.115s | +3.116s (3/30)
21. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 3.499s | +3.500s (15/52)
22. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 2m 4.304s | +4.305s (5/29)
23. Nobuatsu Aoki JPN Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 6.482s | +6.483s (3/14)
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.