Rossi was up for the challenge of repeating his strong ride of two weeks ago. He needed little time to get back into the swing of things and was quick to take over the top spot from his teammate at the start of the eight-hour long session. As the temperature started rising the pace of the field picked up, but the Doctor was quick to respond and cruised back to the top the leader board with an impressive 2’00.414s lap, which kept him sitting on top for the rest of the session.
Teammate Lorenzo had a more challenging start to the second Sepang test. Though he briefly topped the leaderboard with a 2’02.099s lap, he struggled to find the good setup for the slippery asphalt. The Spaniard was pleased with his YZR-M1’s gearbox update and made the most of the available testing time by putting in a total of 51 laps. During his multiple stints he worked on improving the setting and set a best time of 2’01.162s, putting him in fifth place just +0.748s behind Rossi.
Both riders took a break in the afternoon until the worst of the heat passed before returning to the track, but the dry track conditions weren’t to last. Rain flags signaling an approaching thunderstorm were raised and soon the fickle Malaysian weather struck the Sepang circuit.
Not wanting to let the last precious hour of testing time go to waste, Rossi and Lorenzo decided to brave the pouring rain to test their wet setup until, with 30 minutes remaining, the red lights came on, ending the session.
The change in weather meant Rossi and Lorenzo were unable to improve their times and they finished in first and fifth place respectively.
1st / 2'00.414 / 54 Laps
“Everybody in our team was curious about the updated gearbox and the first impression is quite positive, so I’m happy. It doesn’t make a huge difference, but it’s a small help in a difficult point where we need to improve. The bike is a bit better in braking and corner entry and I think we need to work to understand the maximal potential, but the first test was good. I am happy to finish in the first position because I was in P1 from this morning, so it’s a good first day. It’s important for us to make some kilometers on the wet. I don’t really like the feeling with the bike on the wet and last year I struggled a bit. We already improved a bit today, but we need to do some more testing and make some more kilometers.”
5th / 2'01.162 / 51 Laps
“Today was a pretty tough day for me. I feel the jet lag and last night I was only able to sleep for just four hours. At the beginning of the session we tried the set-up we used at the first Sepang test but nothing worked. We changed so many things on the bike but the result was the same. I'm a bit disappointed because of the results today but at least the new gearbox works well. We need to adjust it a bit but overall it is quite good, especially on braking where we can get more stability. The track conditions were pretty bad compared to the first test. The asphalt had less grip so we struggled a lot with the conditions. Hopefully we can improve our pace tomorrow and check the new things we need to test again before going to Qatar.”
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“For me it has been a positive first day. As with the first Sepang test we don’t have a lot of material, but it is really important that we continue to work to find the right direction. The updated transmission gave both Jorge and Vale a good feeling, and it will continue to develop further. Today’s rain allowed us to obtain a full set of wet data to go with our dry findings so it has had its use. We made the decision to stop early after the rain, and will continue tomorrow.”
Espargaro shines on first day of Sepang 2
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro began the Sepang 2 test with immediate speed to storm to third place on the opening day of action in Malaysia. The young Spaniard continued working on the 2015 specification Yamaha YZR-M1 as he gears up for the fast approaching 18 round season and made further progress in establishing a strong setup. The 23-year-old Catalan clocked a best time of 2’00.876 which he set on his 17th lap out of 45 to successfully see him finish inside the top three on the first day. Although rain fell in the afternoon, costing the riders the chance to improve their times, it did allow them to test rain setups and Espargaro ran six laps on wet tyres as he now looks to tomorrow to continue his bright start in Malaysia.
On the other hand, Bradley Smith opened his Sepang 2 account with a firm and confidence boosting ride to eighth position in the standings. The young British rider suffered a leg injury during the winter break and after easing back into riding at the first test, this week he returns to Sepang recovered and ready for action. The 23 year old set to work immediately as the session began as he sought to further refine and adjust the 2015 Yamaha YZR-M1 with the season opener in Qatar only a month away. The end result was a best time of 2’01.241, less than a tenth of a second back from fifth which he set on his 22nd lap before going on to complete 51 in total including several laps in the wet. His performance today leaves him fully confident of making further improvements tomorrow.
3rd / 2'00.876 / 45 laps
“I am really happy with the progress that we have made today and to finish in third is a great start to this test. We are continuing to work in the right direction and as soon as we started this morning, I knew that we could be quick. At midday it was already 54 degrees on the ground which was clearly warmer than the first test where it reached a max of 50 and so we weren’t able to ride as many laps. However, the general feeling for today was that it was productive and we focused on trying different electronic settings. The information that we collected will be very useful and furthermore, it was very good to run some laps in the rain as well. This meant that we could work on the wet setup and I am really pleased with this especially, as there is a definite improvement. The 2015 Yamaha feels great and I know that if I can ride a bit smoother and adjust my riding style slightly, we can be strong. There are a few more things which we have to study in order to improve, but we cannot rush everything and we must take it all step by step.”
8th / 2'01.241 / 51 laps
“It’s great to be back here at Sepang again after not such a long wait so that we can carry on getting prepared for Qatar. The track conditions were different today compared to the last time when we were riding here and the circuit was a bit unpredictable with the grip levels. In some corners there was a lot less than in others but I’m happy because I didn’t really lose a lot of time compared to the other riders in these conditions. I’m closer to the front than the last test and I am also pleased because my ankle is much better than it was, although it is still not perfect. We were able to ride in the rain as well which is positive. I didn’t risk too much but I already feel much more comfortable when compared to last year in the wet and the lap time was much quicker. I think we still need to work but we are starting to see what we need to do to carry a good lap time and also to get grip in the wet with the Yamaha.”
Bradl and Baz still on track at Sepang
The first day at Sepang is over for the Forward Racing team and its riders involved in the second official test of the season.
Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz completed respectively 42 and 37 laps each, before torrential downpour interrupted the session in the early afternoon.
The German recorded a best lap of 2.02.410 and ended in 18th position in the time sheet, with Baz claiming 24th position with a personal best of 2.03.316.
The development work in view of the upcoming Qatar GP will continue tomorrow at the Malaysian circuit.
18th / 2.02.410 / 42 laps
“I can’t say that I am really satisfied with the work done today. The track conditions were very different from last test and I struggled particularly at the start of the day. In the afternoon the feeling was better, I was able to push even on worn tires, but then it started to rain and I could not improve my lap time. I am optimistic for tomorrow, I would like to make the most of the day and improve my performance.”
24th / 2.03.316 / 37 laps
“It was a complicated day. I went on track hoping I would find the same conditions as the first test, but the reality was different and I was not able to push as I wanted. I tried some new solutions and I’m fine with them. In the afternoon, the rain started to fall heavily and I was able to complete few laps on the wet track in order to get to know better this bike in these conditions. It was another day of work, we continue to move forward step by step in view of the Qatar GP. I am confident that I will improve tomorrow.”
Test Results - Day One
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 2:00.414
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA), Repsol Honda Team, 2:00.543
3. Pol Espargaro (SPA), Monster Yamaha Tech 3, 2:00.876
4. Aleix Espargaro (SPA), Team Suzuki MotoGP, 2:01.055
5. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA), Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 2:01.162
6. Marc Marquez (SPA), Repsol Honda Team, 2:01.190
7. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), CWM LCR Honda, 2:01.222
8. Bradley Smith (GBR), Monster Yamaha Tech 3, 2:01.241
9. Maverick Viñales (SPA), Team Suzuki MotoGP, 2:01.317
10. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati Team, 2:01.355
18. Stefan Bradl (GER), Forward Racing Team, 2:02.410
24. Loris Baz (FRA), Forward Racing Team, 2:03.316