2014 MotoGP Preseason Testing
The second preseason test of 2014 MotoGP begins this Wednesday at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. The three-day test will be the final one of 2014 that contains both Factory teams and the new Open class rivals.
Following the Sepang II test, only the factory riders will participate in a Bridgestone Tire Test at Phillip Island March 3-5, and only the Open class will participate in a test at Qatar March 7-9.
The big news heading into this week’s testing is the absence of the reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez. The Repsol Honda pilot broke his right fibula in a dirt-training crash last Wednesday, and is currently recovering.
The 21-year-old Spaniard will miss this test, and the Phillip Island tire test; his ultimate goal is to be fully fit ahead of the 18-round MotoGP season, which gets underway at Qatar March 23.
This will leave the rest of the grid to work on their perspective prototypes and Open-class machines, and may bring some top times to the others that couldn’t quite catch Marquez in the opening preseason test at Sepang.
The top riders will likely come from Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1 pilots Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, and Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa (RC213V).
The other huge news will be regarding the Ducati Team. The team may make a decision to switch from the use of the GP13 prototypes to open-class machines.
Speaking of the possible change, MotoGP reports “Since the earlier Malaysian test, the Italian outfit has been heavily analyzing all of the data collected from the Open Pramac Racing machine of Yonny Hernandez. Should it decide to go Open, Ducati – now under the technical leadership of Gigi Dall’Igna – would be able to make numerous modifications to its engines during the World Championship season, unlike the Factory Option-entered runners.”
As for other Open-class machines, many will be working on getting closer to the front riders, especially the Honda RCV1000R riders. Former Ducati pilot Nicky Hayden was very aggravated with his Sepang I testing results. The 2006 MotoGP Champion was not impressed with the slow results aboard the Drive M7 Aspar Honda, so he will be looking for much improvement this week.
It’s a different story on the Yamaha side of the Open Class. During the first Sepang test, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro impressed aboard the Yamaha, the Spaniard finishing fourth overall.
All the Open-class machines will also be looking to stay ahead of the satellite prototypes, such as the LCR Honda (Stefan Bradl), GO&FUN Honda Gresini (Alvaro Bautista), along with the Pramac Ducati and Yamaha Tech 3 teams.
MotoGP reports that not all will be in attendance at Sepang. PBM has confirmed that the team will continue preparations in its British workshop before regrouping at Losail, while IodaRacing Project still looks to enjoy its first track outing of 2014. Elsewhere, riders will continue to test the new dashboard warning system, which is used to alert competitors of signals previously only shown via trackside flags and lights.
Testing will run 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. local time Wednesday, February 26, through Friday, February 28.
For the results of the first Sepang MotoGP test, click here.