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Feb 26, 2014 - 01:53 PM
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MotoGP Test, Sepang 2, Day 1
Posted by: newsla on Feb 26, 2014 - 01:48 PM
MotoGP Test, Sepang 2, Day 1

Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) was the fastest man on day one of MotoGP’s second Sepang preseason tests, topping the times on a track that was considerably less grippy than it had been earlier in the month.


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In gruelling 35 degree heat, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) was sixth quickest, struggling with the slippery surface and also with jetlag. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) was two places further down the order, while Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was the fastest man on Honda’s new production MotoGP bike. Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) is absent from these tests after breaking his right fibula in a dirt track accident last week.

Bautista was delighted with his progress, following the arrival of a new Showa rear shock. Most riders in MotoGP used Öhlins suspension. The former 125 World Champion found the shock gives him exactly what he needs, allowing him to ride comfortably on the limit.

Today’s disappointing track conditions were attributed to heavy recent use of the circuit by cars, some oil deposits and a lack of rain to clean the surface. The Kuala Lumpur area is currently suffering something of a drought, with many fires breaking out in the forestland close to the circuit.

Pedrosa was not at his physical best after suffering sleep deprivation over the last few nights due to jetlag. The former 250 and 125 World Champion was also aware of the circuit’s lack of grip, so he got through most of the day’s workload during the afternoon, when grip had improved somewhat. Having already made his choice of chassis for the season, Pedrosa will focus on engine mapping and general set-up work during the remaining two days.

Bradl ended the first Sepang tests close to the front and was not worried about today’s eighth position because he spent the day concentrating on improving race-long performance, especially tyre wear, so he never bothered to use a softer tyre to get in one or two hot laps.

Former MotoGP king Hayden made useful forward progress at the start of his second full test aboard Honda’s all-new production MotoGP bike, improving machine stability into corners, though he was held back by a minor electronics issue that his crew will work on tomorrow. Hayden once again revelled in the sweet handling of the RCV1000R and is hoping for a bit more from the engine before the season-opening Qatar GP on March 23.

Team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) ended the day three places behind his team-mate and just behind Andrea Iannone, riding a factory specification Ducati. The former 250 World Champion was unable to ride the way he wanted to, due to the slippery track surface, but he nonetheless did useful work on suspension set-up to improve machine balance and stability.

MotoGP rookie Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) also had a good day, even though his lap times didn’t reflect it so well. The Briton tried different suspension settings and also adjusted his riding position on his RCV1000R. Tomorrow he will aim to improve braking performance.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Honda RCV1000R) had another difficult day, still troubled by the shoulder injury he sustained last year, despite undergoing intensive physiotherapy over the last few weeks.

Honda rider quotes

Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 1st, 2m 00.848s
“It’s been a very positive first day of testing! We worked very well on the rear end, an area that earlier this month gave us some problems. We have had excellent results thanks to Showa developing a new shock absorber, somewhat different compared to the one we’ve used so far, which is very suitable for our needs. In addition to the good lap times, even though the track was worse than the first test, I am especially pleased because my feeling with the new Bridgestone tyres has improved so much that now I feel comfortable when riding. We are on the right path: tomorrow morning we will continue to work hard, focusing also on the front end, while in the afternoon if we get the chance we would like to try a first long run.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda): 6th, 2m 01.160s
“Today was not the best day for testing – the track was dirtier than ever and there was no grip. It was difficult to find a good feeling with the bike, which we only really got at the end of the day. I also had a few problems with jetlag and I haven’t been able to sleep much over the last few days, so I’m not feeling perfect physically. As I say, at the end of the day we managed to go a little better. We’ll see if I can sleep better tonight and we will continue working hard tomorrow.”

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda): 8th, 2m 01.491s
“Today the track condition was not very favourable and we took to the track later in the morning waiting for the grip conditions to improve. After the first outing here two weeks ago, we gathered important data so today we worked again on the base set-up to have a clearer idea about the overall package. We mainly focused on tyre wear to improve the traction in the corner exit, and we set a good pace on the hard compound. I am not worried about the eight position today because our focus was the bike set-up and not the flying lap.”

Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda): 10th, 2m 02.227s
“The gap to the top is reducing so that is positive. This morning we lost a little bit of time due to some technical problems which gave us a little more work than we expected. The bike is basically the same as the one we had here for the first test. We have worked on the set-up, especially on the front fork to try and improve the stability of the bike under braking. We made some slight improvements. In the afternoon we had to solve an electronic issue which was costing us time in corner entry, so we spent most of the afternoon just solving this setback. Tomorrow morning we will continue to work on it and then we have some set up things to try. We still need to get more power out of the bike but the chassis surprises me more each day.”

Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda): 13th, 2m 02.709s
“The track conditions on the first day of the second test here at Sepang were quite precarious because the surface was very dirty. I was hoping that the grip would improve in the afternoon but it didn’t. Anyway, that didn’t stop us from working on the set-up of the bike. Today we focused mainly on suspension and we have found some solutions which have made the bike more stable and more balanced. This helped the lap times come more easily. We can say that we have found a pretty positive base but we still need to find more stability from the front and tomorrow we will continue working to try and improve.”

Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 18th, 2m 02.833s
“Today we worked pretty well, especially at the beginning of the day, trying some suspension solutions and varying bike position. However, it seems that we are stuck on these lap times: at the moment we are not able to find something that allows us to make a significant step forward, therefore our lap times are always the same. We must take into consideration that today the track was not in the best conditions, so it’s good that Hayden went fast anyway: this makes us confident. We are convinced that we can close the gap to Nicky, but we need to find a solution to improve. Tomorrow we will continue to work, especially with regard to braking, while on the electronics side we have already reached a quite good setting.”

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