2014 MotoGP Preseason TestingFor the first time since the November post-season tests at Valencia, the 2014 MotoGP grid were on their perspective machines for some testing in Malaysia.
Tuesday’s test session at Sepang International Circuit was the first of three days, and leading the pack was the reigning MotoGP Champion, Marc Marquez.The Repsol Honda pilot set a quickest lap time of 2:00.286 while working on engine mappings aboard his RC213V. When the day wrapped up, Marquez would be 0.518 of a second quicker than nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing), and 0.620 of a second quicker than the other Repsol Honda rider, Dani Pedorsa.Attached is a photo gallery of images from Tuesday’s preseason testing, along with rider’s quotes below. For a full report of the first day of 2014 MotoGP preseason testing at Sepang click here.2014 Sepang Preseason MotoGP Testing Day 1 Rider Quotes:Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I’m happy with how this first day went and to have achieved my goal of regaining my feeling on the bike. Of course, at the start I was a little stiff, but gradually I was able to pick up the pace. Today I tested the new rear tyre from Bridgestone and it felt similar to last year.“Tomorrow we will continue with our plan: testing out the setup and beginning to draw conclusions from our findings. We put in a lot of laps today and I’m sure that tomorrow I will feel it; even though we train in the gym over the winter, here you work your muscles in a different way.”Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “It was a very long, hard day. We put in a lot of laps and despite us being fresh as it’s the first day, I’m sure that tomorrow I’ll be feeling it! It was fun, as I had not been on the bike for a long time and was curious to see how I would feel after my operation last year.“In general things went well and we focused on trying out the rear brakes, clutch and engine mapping today. Tomorrow we will work on the chassis and the new tires. The bike seems very similar to last year’s model; we still need more time to work on things, but it appears as if there are no huge differences required in terms of riding style.”Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: I’m happy about the first day, it’s a good start. I feel good and I’m in a good shape. I’m happy because we’ve been very fast and always stayed in the top three positions. We worked a lot on the bike and on the new stuff to try and improve my problems. We already found something. I’m happy because I feel good with the bike and was able to go into the 2’00 minute mark, that was my target. It’s a positive day.”Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “As always it’s difficult to come back again in a good shape after the Winter, some months without training changes you a lot so the first day is always tough! The bike has changed quite a bit compared to last year.“The new regulation of 20 liters fuel allowance makes us change quite a lot of electronics so the bike is not working exactly how I would like. I know we will find a solution in the next two days.” Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “Today was a bit of a strange day, the first day of testing in Malaysia should not be taken with too much importance because you have to find the right feeling again after months of inactivity. We had a different bike to test, but we were not able to do a lot of laps and test everything we had scheduled.“Luckily we’ve got another couple of days here in Malaysia so it won’t be too much of a problem. It was the right decision to start with the 2013 bike to resume where we left off last season, then we immediately switched to the new bike to see the difference, but unfortunately I only managed 27 laps today. I feel sure that things will go a lot better tomorrow.”Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “First and foremost, it was good to be able to get back onto a bike after two and a half months off. We rode the GP13 in the morning and the GP14 in the afternoon, and it’s clear we have some work to do because the bikes are not too dissimilar at all. Most of the changes are cosmetic, but the feeling of the bikes is similar.“The GP14 enters the corner a bit better, which is what we were looking for. We only used two sets of tires all day so now it’s about building confidence to go faster with this bike. We also had a lot of electronics stuff to try so I never did too many runs in the afternoon. Ducati are definitely working hard and I’m excited about that.”Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “Today we tried to continue the work we started in the two days here last week, when unfortunately I crashed on day 2, so today I had to get the feeling with the bike back again, focusing on some new components. All things considered it was quite a positive day, my lap time wasn’t bad but we have to improve and I’m confident we’re going in the right direction, but we need more time. Our rivals are in a better shape than we are, and for us it’s the first time we’ve put the bike on the track.”Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: ”I always feel very excited to jump back on my bike after the winter break. The result of this first day is quite positive: I like the 2014 machine and we gained a lot of data to adjust the bike and to come up with the speed. The sixth place is not impressive but we focused in every single aspect of this new bike to improve in some areas like the traction control and the breaking stability. We have found the base set-up and now we start to fine-tune the bike to get a better pace.”Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini MotoGP) says: “It’s been a very positive first day of testing! It was nice to be back on a MotoGP bike after nearly three months of winter break: in the first laps I had to regain confidence with the bike, re-activate the mechanisms and find the right references, but to be honest it took me not too much, because I immediately found at ease with the new RC213V.“Today I focused basically on regaining the right rhythm, without working on bike set-up; however, tomorrow we will begin to work on the suspension together with Showa, which brought some new items, and also on the Nissin brakes, testing different kind of brakes to try to improve also the braking. Speaking about the new RC213V, I loved it: I think the package of chassis, engine and suspension is already very good, an excellent base on which to work ahead of the first race.”Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini MotoGP) says: “This first day of testing was good, I was really happy to ride again at full strength, without physical problems, although it was hard for me to ride all day because of the weather conditions. The bike was working well, I like riding it, but we need to improve on the electronic and braking. Tomorrow we will focus on set-up, in order to make the bike turn better.”Pol Espargaro (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP) says: “It has been emotional today to be back on the bike and I’m really happy with how we kicked of the preparations to my first MotoGP season. Of course at this stage, my main aim has to be to learn as much as possible about the Yamaha YZF M1 and not to push it to its absolute limit.“Compared to Valencia, I found it more difficult to find the right line on this track as everything is bigger and wider. But my gap to the fastest rider is similar to Valencia and the track is 1,5km longer so I have to be happy with the progress we made. For tomorrow, I really hope that it’s not as hot as today as the conditions are really demanding and especially with the bigger bike it’s hard to keep the concentration always at its maximum. I will continue trying different set up and electronic solutions with the aim to reduce to gap to front steadily”Bradley Smith (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP) says: “First of all it has been a big pleasure to be back on track and I have to admit that especially after the promising result in Valencia the winter season was really long and I was definitely looking forward to be back on the bike. All in all the day has been positive.“Physically I felt much better than last year at this stage, so I’m happy my training seems to have paid off. I also feel very comfortable with the set up of the bike but due to the regulation changes the electronic system is different and we spent the whole day working on it, to make the bike feel it bit more like mine. In generally I’m really happy with how we started today, the majority of my laps was faster than last year as we did a lot of 2.01’s, but we clearly have to improve during the next two days as the gap to Jorge and Valentino is quite big.”Nicky Hayden (Team Aspar Honda MotoGP) says: “We would have liked to be quicker and to have been closer to the front. There are a lot of fast guys on good bikes this year. We have improved the electronics a lot since Valencia (November) to smoothen out some of the flat spots – that has helped a lot. We still need to prove the power and acceleration. That is our focus. Tomorrow we have some stuff to try on the chassis.”
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!