As the second round of testing at Sepang comes to an end, the Repsol Honda Team leave Malaysia with their heads held high as team-mates Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa set the respective first and second fastest lap times...
A flying lap of 2'00.473 saw Red Bull-backed rider Casey Stoner on top (Danny Pedrosa's time of 2'00.648 was just 0.175 off the number-one spot) despite missing out on the second day of testing due to torrential rain.Team Repsol are now primed for the next scheduled winter test at Jerez in Spain from March 23-25.
There was positive progress also for Yamaha Tech 3 riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow as both took advantage of humid and dry conditions on the final day to carry out crucial development work on the new 1000cc Yamaha YZR-M1. Dovi completed 54 laps on his way to setting a best time of 2.00.802 and third-place standing on the final time sheets behind his two former team-mates.
The second Sepang test was also successful for British rider Crutchlow who set a personal best time of 2.00.986. Crutchlow was however denied a higher testing ranking than fifth after fourth-placed Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo came back from an early crash to being just 0.404 seconds behind Casey Stoner.
It wasn't such a great warm-up for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista who suffered a minor crash in the morning of the final day and was unable to get a higher ranking than seventh place. Similarly, Ducati's Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden failed to set Sepang alight with 10th and 11th places respectively.
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) - Repsol Honda Team | 2'00.4732
"Again, we've been unable to profit from the full three days of the test here in Sepang, the first day we only manages about 16 laps before the rain came and then yesterday we weren't able to get out at all. So today it's been good to have some nice weather, get out on track and find some different solutions on the bike. We've tried shortening the wheelbase, aiming to reduce the chattering and we've been successful in decreasing it slightly. The chassis balance feels good, as does the traction on the bike, it's turning well but we really need to get rid of the chatter - in general we are happy with the bike."
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) - Repsol Honda Team | 2'00.648
"We've been working a lot on the chassis at this test. This is a very specific track, so it's important to have clear ideas for the future. We need to keep improving on entry and middle of the corner, but I think that we can expect improvements when we start to work more in-depth with the engine and the electronics, which we will do in the Jerez test."
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) – Yamaha Tech3 2'00.802
“Despite the rain disrupting the first two days, this has been a really positive test and I am very happy. I did my first laps in the rain on the Yamaha and I had a very positive feeling. The engine was very smooth and I could manage the sliding but one very important area was my physical condition. My shoulder was much better than the first test here and this enabled me to understand the potential of the machine much more. I am much more confident on the bike and I am happy with the lap time and the position and we have done a very good job understanding many things here."
4. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) – Yamaha Factory Racing 2'00.877
“This afternoon was one of the hardest race simulations of my career because the 1000 is more tiring to ride and the rear tyre seems to drop a lot after three or four laps. After this, the feeling stays the same but it’s very different to last year, it’s almost like racing in the rain trying to control the rear in the corner exits and acceleration. I managed to finish the simulation with a good pace, so all in all it has been a very positive test."
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) – Yamaha Tech3 | 2'00.986
“The weather obviously played a big part during the first two days, but we were able to get some dry track time today and make some good progress with the bike. I like the new engine from Yamaha and credit to them because they have been working hard and the improvement bodes well for the start of the season. I'm happy with my lap time because this is not my favourite track at all and I am fifth fastest and very close to the top three. A major positive too is that I am very consistent and this is something that I have improved from last year. This gives me a lot of confidence and encouragement.”
8. Ben Spies (USA) – Yamaha Factory Racing | 2'01.432
“Today was good, we unfortunately had a small crash but we learnt a lot and got to test some new electronic settings which were a big improvement. We also tried some different shock settings which were a big step forward. It’s a shame we crashed but we know from this test that the bike has great potential so we can go to Jerez with confidence."
10. Valentino Rossi (ITA) – Ducati Team | 2'01.550
“One small positive note to the day is that we reduced the gap to the front a little bit. It was 1.2 seconds, and now it’s 1 second. It’s also nice that the new electronics work well, but it hurts being down on the timesheets compared to all the others. We tried a bunch of things in order to take a step forward from the first test, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it and were actually worse. It was harder for me to ride well compared to three weeks ago, especially my corner speed. It’s true that this test was more difficult in terms of weather and track conditions, but it seemed to affect us more than the others. Honestly, I expected to do better than tenth... We’re not pleased with how it went this time, but we have to try and work hard and see what happens at Jerez, where the track is very different, with very different weather and temperatures.”
11. Nicky Hayden (USA) – Ducati Team | 2'01.609
“Of course I would prefer to have been closer to the front, but it’s my first real test of the year. The bike feels better on braking and into the corner, and I like the feedback it gives me. Also, the lap times don’t seem as affected when the track gets hot and greasy. We need to work on some chatter and on corner exits. We have plenty of ideas, as there are a lot of things we didn’t get to try this week because of the weather. Toward the end, I lost the front end in Turn 1 and crashed, but it was an easy one and I’m fine. I’m happy with how my shoulder is coming along. I hope that with three more weeks of recovering and rehab, it should be close to 100 per cent for Jerez.”
1 Casey Stoner | Repsol Honda Team | 2:00.473
2 Dani Pedrosa | Repsol Honda Team | 2:00.648 +0.175
3 Andrea Dovizioso | Monster Yamaha Tech 3 | 2:00.802 +0.329
4 Jorge Lorenzo | Yamaha Factory Racing | 2:00.877 +0.404
5 Cal Crutchlow | Monster Yamaha Tech 3 | 2:00.986 +0.513
6 Hector Barbera | Pramac Racing Team | 2:01.231 +0.758
7 Alvaro Bautista | San Carlo Honda Gresini | 2:01.275 +0.802
8 Ben Spies | Yamaha Factory Racing | 2:01.432 +0.959
9 Stefan Bradl | LCR Honda | 2:01.492 +1.019
10 Valentino Rossi | Ducati Team | 2:01.550 +1.077
11 Nicky Hayden | Ducati Team | 2:01.609 +1.136
12 Franco Battaini | Cardion AB Motoracing | 2:03.490 +3.017
13 Colin Edwards | NGM Mobile Forward Racing | 2:03.681 +3.208
14 Yonny Hernandez | Avintia Racing | 2:06.632 +6.159
15 Ivan Silva | Avintia Racing | 2:06.785 +6.312