Under cooler conditions Thursday at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia during the first official test of 2015 MotoGP, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo was the man to beat.
The two-time MotoGP Champion spent the second of four test days setting up his YZR-M1’s electronics and new components for longer tire life throughout a race. En route to the testing, Lorenzo became the first rider to post under the 2:00 mark, the Spaniard setting the pace with a 1:59.963.
This was over a half-second quicker than his test time from Wednesday’s sessions that were led by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. When the test wrapped up Lorenzo finished 0.052 of a second ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, and 0.183 of a second ahead of two-time MotoGP Champion Marquez.
Speaking after the test, Lorenzo says “1’59 is a good lap time. The other riders couldn’t do it because the track seems to be a bit more slippery and bumpy and that makes it more difficult to achieve good lap times. Our bike improved a lot over this last year and I feel ready both physically and mentally.
“All together, we’re in a good shape. In the first four hours in the morning I was quite comfortably riding 2’00’s. In the afternoon it seemed that the track condition was a bit worse and I couldn’t ride as many fast laps. The goal for tomorrow is to repeat the pace that I had today and maybe do even better.”
As for Lorenzo’s teammate, nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi was sixth fastest, 0.713 of a second behind his teammate.
As for Ducati Team’s Dovizioso, he set his best time aboard the GP14.3 earlier in the day, but remained second fastest for the remainder of the day. Dovi improved more than sixth tenths of a second over his Wednesday time. Equally impressive was Dovi’s teammate’s Andrea Iannone; the Italian improved by over a second from Wednesday. He finished Thursday in fifth, 0.428 of a second behind Lorenzo.
Third went to Marquez, who suffered a crash later in the day. Marquez, who finished 0.183 of a second back aboard his RC213V, walked away unharmed. His teammate Dani Pedrosa followed in fourth, 0.297 of a second behind. He tested three prototypes, and Marquez two.
From the official MotoGP report:
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Pol Espargaro crashed unhurt at Turn 9 towards the end of day two in Sepang, following a light crash on day one. The Spaniard ended up seventh on the timesheet after working on two chassis variations.
CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow is working on rear stability on corner entry and eliminating chattering, tweaking weight distribution and engine braking with the RC213V. He was eighth best, 1.095 seconds behind Lorenzo.
Pol Espargaro’s colleague Bradley Smith was riding through the pain of an ankle injury sustained in training and finished just inside the top ten.
NGM Forward Racing’s Stefan Bradl finished in 11th place again as the top Open rider. Bradl continued to work his settings and understanding the new Open electronics package, though he is still using a 2013 Yamaha engine. A new engine will be delivered before the first race of the year.
Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Team’s Scott Redding also pushed hard on the RC213V factory prototype, finishing the day 14th.
On the second day in Malaysia, Spaniard Alvaro Bautista led the way for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, ending up in 17th place. He has decided to discard the current 2015 frame design, judging it to be too rigid and not performing well with the electronics. He prefers the 2014 version which he also rode in November with the evolving pneumatic valve engine.
Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro is also focusing on chassis development and he was able to improve his best lap from Wednesday by around a second to finish tenth on the Thursday timesheet overall.
Talented MotoGP rookie Maverick Viñales, meanwhile, is lapping as much as possible and working on understanding how to ride a MotoGP bike to its limits on used tires. He finished 15th fastest, improving his time by well over a second and getting 56 more laps under his belt.