2017 Sepang MotoGP Test, Day 2: Suzuki’s Iannone Untouchable

2017 Sepang MotoGP Test, Day 2: Suzuki’s Iannone Untouchable
Sepang MotoGP Test, day 2: Suzuki's Andrea Iannone

2017 Sepang MotoGP Test, Day 2 Results

2017 Sepang MotoGP Test, Day 2: Suzuki’s Iannone Untouchable
2017 Sepang MotoGP Test, day 2: Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone

When the first official MotoGP test of 2017 began Monday at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, Ducati Team test rider Casey Stoner was quickest, posting a 1:59.681 aboard the Desmosedici GP17.

The time impressed, but things got much quicker Tuesday during the second day of the 2017 Sepang MotoGP test. This time it was former Ducati rider Andrea “The Maniac” Iannone who dominated the 3.44-mile circuit, the Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR pilot over two-tenths of a second faster than Stoner’s Monday time.

Iannone finished the day, which was delayed for many due to early morning rains, with a 1:59.452. To put this time into perspective, the circuit’s fastest lap is a 1:59.053 set by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa in 2015. Iannone finished 0.406 of a second ahead of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Vinales, and 0.766 ahead of Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista.

“I’m very happy with today, although we had a short time due to the track conditions, we could do much work and, most importantly, made a step forward. In the early runs we started with some configurations that didn’t make me feel totally comfortable, then when we tried some changes I found much more confidence and the lap times got a huge benefit,” Iannone says.

“They were not radical changes, more small improvements, but they proved to be very effective. We are working very well, I am finding an excellent feeling with my team, they are working very hard and very professionally and this gives me a positive attitude that allows me to ride with confidence. Today is a result of this, we improved a lot since yesterday and it is important for us to have found positive improvements.”

2017 Sepang MotoGP Test, day 2: Yamaha's Valentino Rossi
Sepang MotoGP Test, Day 2: Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

The Movistar Yamaha YZR-M1s were fitted with a new fairing that featured “internal winglets”—a solution to the ban on external winglets used throughout 2016 MotoGP. Vinales was quickest out of the Yamaha riders—the only other one to post under 2:00—but his teammate Valentino Rossi also performed well. The nine-time World Champion finished the day fourth, 0.802 of a second behind Iannone, and 0.089 of a second ahead of the quickest rookie, Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco.

“I‘m feeling 100% fit again. Yesterday when I went to sleep I still had a headache, but today when I woke up I felt better so I was able to put in some good work and at the end it was a good day,” Rossi says. “This morning we lost a lot of time waiting for the conditions to improve, but in the afternoon I could do more than 50 laps. We had some important stuff to try and more or less everything was positive. My pace was quite good and at the end I did a time attack and I‘m in fourth position, so top five is OK. We have a different frame and it was good, I like it. We haven‘t decided yet, but the first impression was positive.”

Reale Esponsorama Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera joined Bautista in the top positions aboard an Independent Team Ducati. Barbera finished sixth, 0.899 off the pace. He was followed by the Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso (-0.989) and Jorge Lorenzo (-1.032).

As for Lorenzo, the three-time MotoGP Champion did much better than his 17th on Monday as he becomes acquainted with Ducati machinery. Despite the rain, Lorenzo got in 66 laps aboard the GP17.

“I’m very happy with the progress we made today. Now I understand the bike a lot more and I managed to improve my performance, even though I’m still some way from my limit,” Lorenzo says. “We also improved the general set-up of the Desmosedici GP and in addition I could see that what I thought yesterday was correct: I only need a bit more time and to do a lot of laps to get even closer to the top and to my limit with this bike.”

2017 Sepang MotoGP Test, Day 2: Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo
2017 Sepang MotoGP Test, Day 2: Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo

Rounding out the top 10 were Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Jonas Folger and the reigning MotoGP Champion, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.

Despite suffering a crash, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro finsihed 11th, just ahead of LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing pilots progressed over Monday, Pol Espargaro finisshing 20th, 2.073 seconds off the pace, and Bradley Smith 25th, 3.065 seconds behind. The final day of 2017 Sepang MotoGP testing concludes Wednesday, with riders on track at 10 a.m. local time.

2017 Sepang MotoGP Test, Day 2 Results

1. IANNONE, Andrea – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1:59.452
2. VIÑALES, Maverick – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1:59.858 +0.406
3. BAUTISTA, Alvaro – Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 2:00.218 +0.766
4. ROSSI, Valentino – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 2:00.254 +0.802
5. ZARCO, Johann – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 2:00.343 +0.891
6. BARBERA, Hector – Avintia Racing – 2:00.351 +0.899
7. DOVIZIOSO, Andrea – Ducati Team – 2:00.441 +0.989
8. LORENZO, Jorge – Ducati Team – 2:00.484 +1.032
9. FOLGER, Jonas – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 2:00.495 +1.043
10. MARQUEZ, Marc – Repsol Honda Team – 2:00.531 +1.079
11. ESPARGARO, Aleix – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 2:00.609 +1.157
12. CRUTCHLOW, Cal – LCR Honda – 2:00.692 +1.240
13. RINS, Alex – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 2:00.877 +1.425
14. PEDROSA, Dani – Repsol Honda Team – 2:00.886 +1.434
15. REDDING, Scott – Octo Pramac Racing – 2:00.972 +1.520
16. ABRAHAM, Karel – Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 2:00.981 +1.529
17. PETRUCCI, Danilo – Octo Pramac Racing – 2:01.124 +1.672
18. BAZ, Loris – Avintia Racing – 2:01.227 +1.775
19. PIRRO, Michele – Ducati Test Team – 2:01.383 +1.931
20. ESPARGARO, Pol – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 2:01.525 +2.073
21. MILLER, Jack – Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 2:01.557 +2.105
22. LOWES, Sam – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 2:02.058 +2.606
23. RABAT, Tito – Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 2:02.190 +2.738
24. TSUDA, Takuya – Suzuki Test Team – 2:02.266 +2.814
25. SMITH, Bradley – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 2:02.517 +3.065
26. NAKASUGA, Katsuyuki – Yamaha Factory Racing – 2:02.893 +3.441
27. NOZANE, Kohta – Yamaha Factory Racing – 2:03.052 +3.600