Motorcycle Racing News Yamaha MotoGP Wraps-up Sepang Test

Yamaha MotoGP Wraps-up Sepang Test

Sepang Test

Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies spent the three days on track evaluating a number of development steps for the 2011 YZR-M1 ahead of the motorcycle race season which kicks off next month.

The final session of the first official MotoGP test of 2011 at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia saw the reigning champ from Spain, Jorge Lorenzo, focused on a series of shorter runs as he continued evaluating the various developments.

Lorenzo finished the day in third position, in 3rd position just 0.088 seconds off the top of the time sheets as the space walker looks to claim additional land this season while retaining the MotoGP from the ambitious likes of Casey Stoner (Honda), Dan Pedrosa (Honda), Valentino Rossi (Ducati), and quite possibly his American teammate Ben Spies.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha M1) says: "I’m very happy after the three days, it has been one of the best winter tests, normally we have more issues to feel good. The bike feels better but we still need to improve some points. I think the next test will see us take the next step.

"This afternoon when it was really hot on the track I still managed to put in a few fast laps which has given me the confidence that we are heading in a good direction. Ben is doing a very good job, I spoke with him yesterday and we discussed many things about the bike, he’s a good teammate."

Wilco Zeelenberg, Jorge’s returning team manager, explains to Ultimate Motorcycling that the field is more competitive this year and that many MotoGP riders will be able to challenge Jorge for the podium so he think it’s going to be a very exciting season.

New factory rider Ben Spies, who was promoted from the Yamaha Tech3 satellite team after just one season in MotoGP, was again among the fastest riders on track for the majority of the day three.

Spies worked through various electronic settings on his Factory Yamaha M1 race bike. This MotoGP test also marked the first time for the Texan rider’s complete crew have worked together. All and all Spies finished fifth fastest after 60 laps of testing.

Ben Spies (Yamaha M1) says: "For the second and third day we did very consistent times so I’m very happy with it, it shows the consistency of the bike. There are some things we still need to work on.

"We tested two configurations of engine and we know which direction we want to go in now which is great. We also worked on some electronics for fuel consumption without compromising lap times and we found a good solution for that as well. We’ll come back with some different goals in two weeks to look at being a bit faster and also test some different tires.

We’ve definitely done what we needed to do here. It’s been good riding alongside Jorge, we’ve both worked hard to deliver important information which the team can now take away and work with."

Massimo Meregalli, Ben Spies new team director for 2011, explains that he is pleased with the teamwork on both sides of the garage. He was also confident the Spies team would be able to make another step forward in our development for the 2011 MotoGP bike before the start of the season.

The Factory Yamaha MotoGP riders are now in Thailand for public appearance in Bangkok, then heading home for a rest in advance of the second official test at Sepang scheduled to be held on Feb. 22., 2011.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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