Sepang Test Interviews
Valentino Rossi led the way for the second day running in Sepang today, concluding the first test of the year on top of the standings. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was also on the pace today, finishing the test third fastest behind Casey Stoner.
Rain this morning meant the track did not fully dry out until lunchtime and it was after one o’clock before Rossi left the garage on his 2010 YZR-M1. The World Champion, who turns 31 in ten days time, completed 32 laps and set a best time of 2’00.925, only half a second slower than the record pole time for the track, which he set last year.
Casey Stoner, second fastest overall, was satisfied with the set-up work done with the new bike over the two days in Malaysia and with his physical condition, following what was a very demanding session due to the intense heat and humidity. Hayden, eighth fastest, would have been happier if it hadn’t started to rain just as he was preparing to fit new slick tires but he was pleased to have at least improved on his best time from yesterday and to have set a consistent pace.
Valentino Rossi Speaks… Position: 1st Time: 2’00.925 Laps: 32
"After yesterday this second day has been very good as well, even though we lost a few hours to the rain, and the end we were still able to finish all our work. We worked on the new bike to find a better setting and I was happy to be the fastest overall – even though this is just testing this is important for me! At the next test we will have a few more new things but we’re already happy because we’re fast and strong. There is room to improve of course; Sepang is always a good track for the Yamaha so we will have to wait until Qatar to get a better understanding of our level, but we have made a great start."
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks… Position: 3rd Time: 2’01.680 Laps: 60
"I felt much better today and I was able to be fast straight away. It wasn’t a big problem yesterday, it’s just that after such a long break I forget how to ride a little bit! I need a bit of time, but it was much better today. I’m happy about my performance and about my feeling with the new bike. Yamaha have made good improvements without changing the best parts of the bike and this is the best way. They have made some good modifications to the chassis and the engine and this has already improved our pace. We don’t have many days on the bike until the start of the season so we will make the most of the time here next month to continue our good work."
Loris Capirossi Speaks…
"I was quite happy with the lap-time and the consistent rhythm on the first day, because we know there is still a lot to come from the Factory for this year’s bike. We were able to test two new chassis and we are now much clearer on our direction to improve more. I go to the Suzuki Factory before the next test, so I will be able to give some more direct feedback to the engineering group. I got quite frustrated today, because I always want to go quicker and the work today was really detailed stuff – but we have to improve the bike so I have to do it! I am excited for the next test to see what our guys can come up with, including the new engine spec, and I want to keep improving."
Álvaro Bautista Speaks…
"It was a good test and I managed to learn a lot. This was my first time here on the MotoGP bike after a long time without riding, and it was amazing how much faster everything seemed to happen compared to the 250! Day one just felt like starting all over again! I made steps with my speed and it was a shame we lost some practice this morning due to the rain, but even with this the team improved the feeling of the bike a lot and now I think I can start to push more . I am now looking forward to the next test and we certainly have a good base, and I feel ready to work when we get back to Sepang later this month."
Dani Pedrosa Speaks… 2:01.822 secs. 50 laps
"We got through a lot more testing today and I can say that we improved significantly – and that’s important in terms of finding a good direction to follow. We were working mainly on the rear suspension and we’ve managed to collect a lot of data that should help us for the next test here in two weeks’ time. We were also testing swingarms and at the end of the day I could feel the improvements, and so I’m happy about that."
"Yesterday it took me longer to get into a rhythm on the machine because it was the first day back in the saddle, but today it was much better – though I’m not at 100 per cent yet. To have the second test here in just two weeks time is really good for us. I haven’t asked for new parts because me and the team think it’s better to analyze what we’ve found here and focus on that. I’m going home satisfied."
Casey Stoner Speaks… (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd fastest, 2’01.320 (44 laps)
"We are quite happy with the test. Today didn’t start really well because of the rain and the wet track, which set us back a few hours, but when it finally did dry out we were able to make some progress. We have definitely improved the set-up of the bike, trying some different things with the swingarm. The lap times are still not where we want them to be and we have to work on taking another couple of tenths off on hard tyres, but to be consistently doing 2’01.9 or 2’02.0 laps is a decent pace. Considering that we are using a different engine to the one we’ve had for the last three years and some other new parts that we still need to get the best out of we certainly can’t be unhappy with where we’re at. There is work to do but we have two more test sessions before the season starts for real. In general I am really pleased with how it’s gone."
Nicky Hayden Speaks… (Ducati Marlboro Team) 8th fastest, 2’02.493 (64 laps)
"I am satisfied but I could be happier. These past two days have flown by and the weather hasn’t helped us to make the most of the track time available. Anyway, this morning we got the chance to find a wet setting for the new forks and engine. When we went out in the dry I could feel an instant improvement on yesterday and I set a decent pace but then we didn’t improve further. I would have liked to post a better lap time but just when we put some new tyres in the rain came back. However, it was a very positive test and I can’t wait to get back to work at the next one in a couple of weeks’ time."
Ben Spies Speaks… 5th 2.02.266 – 31 laps
"I rode as good and as hard as I could considering how I’ve been feeling. I’m not wanting to make any excuses but I didn’t feel really good with the jetlag. It was still a good test because I learned a lot about improving my riding and adapting my style to suit the Yamaha MotoGP bike. It is hard to break some of my old superbike habits at the moment but I made some big improvements in a couple of places on the track where I was really struggling, particularly in the braking. It started to feel more natural today and I got down to some decent times on race tyres. I was a second faster than the first day, so we made some good progress but this is a really difficult track to learn. This track is really long and really wide, but I got to a respectable pace. I’ve said it a load of times but it’s a learning process and every lap I’m learning. My guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 though have been brilliant again. We’re all putting in a lot of effort and I’m pleased with the steps I’ve made."
Colin Edwards Speaks… 7th 2.02.479 – 42 laps
"This has been a great test and I’m really happy. The big bonus of the test has been the performance of the engine. Putting it simply it seems they have made the engine with more power and more reliable. Accelerating off the corner was a problem last season but with the new engine it is a strong point. I tried a few things with the chassis and at this stage of the year it is all about crossing off pieces that work and those that don’t. We found a couple of things that improved the bike and gave me more confidence and a couple of things we need to work on. It’s been a great first test and hopefully we can carry this momentum on for the rest of the pre-season and into the serious business of the racing."
Marco Melandri Speaks… ( 55 laps, best 2′ 02" 810 )
"It’s been a very difficult day, continuing our work on the geometry of the bike and trying hard to find the right balance, the feeling in the front end and on corner entry. We found both positive and negative solutions before discovering a setting later on which could serve as a base geometry from which to work in the future. Then we also worked on the suspension, finding considerable improvements, however we still know there is still lots to do. With everything we’ve found we will be able to prepare a good working plan for the next test, it was just a shame about the rain here which cut the test an hour short and stopped us from testing with new tyres. The important thing however was to find the right direction and I think that in the end we’ve managed that so we now leave Sepang extremely confident."
Marco Simoncelli Speaks… (56 laps, 2′ 03" 245)
"The first half of the day was relatively difficult because we couldn’t get the bike to work properly and lost lots of time, then to top it off I had a crash. I had gone out with new tires and after half a lap I came back in because of the same problems. I did a technical check and I went out once more. In the first left-hander although I was really paying attention (maybe not enough) the bike catapulted me off. I hit the asphalt hard and thinking about it now I was lucky just to get a few grazes, it could have been a lot worse. Later we went back to work in the afternoon and things were much more positive as the bike felt much improved and I was able to ride it better than yesterday, the feeling was better and the time I did wasn’t by chance. Now we need to organize our ideas and think about a plan of attack for the next tests so I’m going home with high morale."
Aleix Espargarò Speaks… Pramac Racing rider
"Yesterday we have tried to find a constant pace while today we focused looking for the fast lap. It wasn’t so bad; on the contrary, I am really pleased on how things have gone. This is only my first winter test in MotoGP and I can only improve in the future. The arm on which I had surgery on this past winter doesn’t hurt anymore and my physical condition, notwithstanding the heat of these days, seems to be in good conditions. I look forward to come back on track at the end of the month here in Malaysia."
Mika Kallio Speaks… Pramac Racing rider
"Likely this was just a winter test. We tried many changes on the bike set up, but we had some difficulties to improve the situation and for this reason we lost a lot of time working on our bikes in the garage. We will have to give our best in the next test so that things can change. We are too far from the firsts and our goal is to remain consistently between top 10 riders in every single session."
Randy De Puniet Speaks…
"The first outing on the new bike has been a bit tough for us. The bike looks good but after few laps I felt that the feeling was quite nervous. So we have worked a lot on the set up especially on chassis regulations and suspension settings. After that I could ride with much confidence and we have started a long run gaining a god pace on hard tyres. This morning we have been trying several adjustments… some were good but much work has yet to be done. We rode another long run today (about 17 laps) and, at the end of the day, I went out on soft tyre but the surface temperature was not as good as I expected. I know that the 13th position is not brilliant but we did not look for the ultimate laps time. We gathered important data for the next test session to have clear ideas about the direction we have to follow".
Sepang Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2007) 2’02.108
Best Pole Position: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha – 2009), 2’00.518
Overall MotoGP Test Times Sepang (combined fastest times from the two days)
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team
5. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
9. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
11. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team
13. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP
15. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
16. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
17. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team