2014 Sepang Preseason MotoGP Test Day 3 ResultsThe reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez was once again the dominate force Thursday at the preseason tests at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
The Repsol Honda rider topped the time sheets as he did throughout the three-day test, with the cooler morning session allowing him to lay down a blistering quick lap of 1:59.533. This makes him the fastest-ever MotoGP rider at Sepang during the preseason. Marquez beat Casey Stoner’s quickest lap of 1:59.607 set in 2012, also on a Repsol Honda RC213V.Marquez was over 0.4 seconds faster throughout the first two days, but the grid closed in on him during the final day of testing. Finishing 0.194 seconds back was nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi. The Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 pilot was followed by his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who trailed Marquez by 0.333 seconds.These three factory riders, along with all the others, spent much time at the first preseason test working on tire durability and fuel consumption. Factory bikes are only allowed 20 liters of fuel each race in 2014, down a liter.The new “open” class bikes, on the other hand, will be able to run 24 liters. One open-class rider has impressed throughout the first preseason test – NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, aboard the FTR Yamaha -powered machine.Espargaro finished fourth in Thursday’s test, 0.465 seconds behind Marquez. Aleix was able to lap nearly two seconds quicker than his teammate, Colin Edwards, who finished 14th.The next fastest riders were LCR Honda MotoGP”s Stefan Bradl (-0.579), who suffered a slight fall, and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa (-0.690). The Spaniard also crashed early in the morning, but was able to regain his rhythm and finish sixth fastest.Next up was the fastest Ducati Team GP13 piloted by Andrea Dovizioso; the Italian finished 0.837 seconds back, and was the final rider within a second of Marquez. This was also one of Ducati’s fastest Sepang lap times.His teammate and newcomer to Ducati, Cal Crutchlow, finished 12th. Both riders will pilot upgraded GP13s for the second Sepang test at the end of the month.Like his older brother Aleix, rookie Pol Espargaro also impressed, finishing as the faster of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders in eighth place, 1.122s down on Marquez’ best time. Rounding out the top 10 were Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.Monster Tech 3’s Bradley Smith was 11th overall, though he may not have been shooting for out and out pace on Thursday and will hope to improve his competitiveness if the team can secure access to the Yamaha seamless shift gearbox early in 2014.Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding were 13th and 21st respectively, and will both hope to go faster on the new RCV1000R before the season starts.Suzuki Test Team rider Randy de Puniet will also continue his work throughout the year in testing as he looks to close a three-second gap to the front with the evolving Suzuki machine. He was 17th on the timesheet.The majority of riders broke for lunch shortly before 2pm local time as the heat increased, with more race simulations and longer runs a key focus after the initial morning runs. The data from those longer runs are especially crucial for fuel economy calculations for the factory bikes, due to the fuel capacity.A new Bridgestone tire was also tested by the riders this week – a similar construction to that used in Valencia testing in November, with a compound slightly adapted to suit the Sepang heat. The Japanese tire supplier will therefore hoped to have gathered useful data for improved performance in 2014.2014 Sepang MotoGP Preseason Test Day 3 Results:
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.