2014 MotoGP Preseason Testing Tire Analysis
Reigning World Champion Marc Marquez set a stunning lap time of 1:59.533 earlier Thursday to complete his domination of the first MotoGP preseason test of the 2014 season at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.
Marquez’s lap time on the Repsol Honda RC213V was the quickest ever at Sepang, and was set on the 2014 specification Bridgestone tires in the medium compound front and rear.
Second quickest overall was a resurgent Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha Factory Racing M1, with a best time of 1:59.727. The Italian finished just ahead of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo in the overall standings, who set a lap time of 1:59.866.
Aleix Espargaro showed he will be a real threat to the front-runners this season, powering his new NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR-Yamaha machine to fourth overall with a time of 1:59.998 to be the highest-placed Open class rider.
Twenty-seven riders – including a total of five test riders from Ducati, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha – took part in the first group test of the year, clocking a total of 3992 laps (22,128 kilometres) on Bridgestone tires. The gap in lap time from the quickest to slowest rider at the first Sepang test was 6.153 seconds.
Conditions for the test were dry and very hot with a peak track temperature of 57°C; two degrees warmer than the peak recording at last year’s corresponding Sepang test. With a lack of recent rainfall in the area, the riders reported that the condition of the Sepang track surface was better than in recent visits to the circuit. This enabled riders to not only set quick times on a single lap, but also show good pace during race simulations.
In particular, Marc Marquez did a race distance, twenty-lap run on the new specification hard compound slick, with the total time for this run being twenty-nine seconds quicker than the overall race time at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.
All front and rear slick compound choices were utilized by riders over the three days and although riders could use the 2013 and 2014 specification rear tires for the first Sepang test, only the 2014 Bridgestone MotoGP tires will be available for the remaining official tests.
Bridgestone will be back in Sepang for the next MotoGP official test which will take place from February 26-28.
Shinji Aoki (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Department) says: “We achieved all of our objectives for this test and acquired a lot of data and rider feedback on the performance of the 2014 Factory and Open class machines on our new range of tires.
“It was particularly important to assess tyre behavior on the new Open class machines. Lap times at this time of year are usually quicker than what we see for the race weekend later in the year, and riders commented that the track condition was quite good compared to last October. This meant lap times were quite quick during the test, with four riders lapping in the 1’59 bracket. This shows that once again, the combination of new machinery and new tires has pushed the performance level of MotoGP even higher.
“A lot of the first day of this test was spent helping teams get to grips with the new tires and now that the test is complete, the general consensus is that our 2014 specification tires are working well. However, there is still a lot of work to do to help the teams get the most out of our new generation of tires before the season starts. Overall I am pleased with the outcome of the test and the data we acquired means we can now confirm our tire line-up for this season.
“We will be providing Open class riders with rear slicks one step softer than the Factory class this year, and I expect this will create some very exciting MotoGP races in 2014. As well as supporting the next Sepang test, our main priority now is continuing our preparations for the Phillip Island tire test at the beginning of March.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 28-34°C; Track 35-57°C (Bridgestone measurement)