MotoGP: Sepang Test and The 2013 Season On Its Way
So the garages were occupied, the engines were roaring, the leathers were on and Moto GP season is well and truly on its way. But before we get too excited about all that, let’s talk about the 3 days testing and what good and bad news it brought to our Moto GP junkies. I’m sure most of us could guess what the outcome would be, MM up in the mix, JL chasing Dani, Ducati struggling and VR on top form. Well; we guessed right, but just so you have a few details, let’s take a brief run through results.
2:00.100, 44 laps, 244 km.
Firstly lets go with Dani, the Spaniard did fantastic during day 1 of testing, this didn’t really come to much of a surprise to me either. The Honda RC213V is still on top form and pulled the best time on the track. The time, as good as it was, was only a hundredth of a second from his main competitor Jorge Lorenzo, so it looks to me as if the bulls are set to lock horns once again this year and I can’t wait!
2:00.636, 54 laps, 300 km.
But Dani’s new team mate Marc Marquez has been the talk of the off season, and I’m sure he felt the pressure to perform during testing and get the best out of his bike. Well, that’s exactly what he did, the young Spaniard threw himself in to the top three with a time of 2’01.201 which I’m sure both Honda and Marc were pleased with.
Laps 55, Time – 2’00.542
Rossi was back on the Yamaha M1 again and managed a full day on track, On the earlier part of the day Rossi was pulling the fastest times and was top of the leader board which most people assumed would happen already, but it was the later part of the session when other riders started producing there best times, and that’s when Rossi slipped into a comfortable 4th. After the days testing Rossi said: “I’m very happy about the first day of testing with the M1. After two seasons away I was able to come back on the bike and remember the good feeling I always had with it. I am also happy because I was quite fast from the morning. We worked on the settings to make some improvements and we made some good steps. In the afternoon we started to work on the new parts for the season. It’s just the first test but the potential is high and I am in a good position, I am in fourth place but not far from the other three guys. I am very positive that we can improve over the next few days but I’m happy with the start.”
On day 2 of the Sepang test, the weather decided to turn unfavourable and ultimately ended the session earlier than planned. However, this wasn’t much of an inconvenience as the results had been pretty much set for the day, and with not much difference from the previous days testing at all there wasn’t much more to prove.
The front runner was Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who came 0.019 seconds ahead of Yamaha factory’s Jorge Lorenzo who pulled a 2’00.429 . Marc Marquez wasn’t far behind and like yesterday was managing to keep to an impressive 4th place whilst Rossi came in 3rd with a delightful 2’00.542. Crutchlow came in 5th with a time of 2’ 1.311s and Bradl came in 6th with a time of 2m 1.369s
Final day of testing yet again didn’t prove much difference in the results, the final top three were the usual suspects, Dani proving fastest throughout, trailing extremely close to Dani’s backside was Lorenzo, and yes I can hear the round of applause already…Yes, Rossi came in 3rd. Lorenzo did an impressive 60 laps during day 3 and came second in the standings; Jorge also included a race simulation to the day as he made most of the glorious weather and track temperatures. Dani only did half a day on track but still managed to put in 44 laps while Marc felt his first crash landing on the RC213V as he fell at the last corner after losing the front end, but still came 4th in the standings on the final day of testing. Cal Crutchlow came in 5th again and overall had a fantastic performance, his new team mate Bradley Smith was 8th fastest and producde 48 laps.
So there we have it, just exactly what we though, DP JL VR CC and MM all this year’s front runners, and even though this is merely a testing session, it has a great insight to what our season of 2013 will bring and Rossi fans, be warned! Muchos celebrations will be had in parc ferme this year!
What the riders had to say:
I’m very happy, all three days were very good,” “We worked hard on the bike and improved day by day. The third day was the best, we were able to stay less than half a second from pole position and the lap time is higher which is interesting. Today we finished third in the standings, which is theoretically the front row so I’m very happy with this first test.”
“I am very happy with the results that we have had from these three days, above all because I gradually got more consistent with my times”. “This was what we were looking for from this test. Day by day we improved our times, but this is secondary really. The important thing is that we made our first race simulation, which has helped me to understand the class and the bike better and his given us a lot of information for the next test. We also had a first crash, which luckily was fairly light. I lost the front on the brakes, but I was unhurt and the overall verdict on the test is still very positive.”
“I didn’t come here with any expectations but to be eighth is where this bike needs to be” “I am still not getting all of the potential out of the YZR-M1 but I am gaining in confidence with every lap I complete and it has been mission accomplished in terms of coming here and understanding how the bike needs to be ridden. I still need to be a lot smoother but I am happy to be within two seconds of the fastest time. I knew that was possible but the hard work starts now to close that gap even more. The race simulation was amazing to build up my experience but it was seriously hard work. It was the hottest day and it is very physically and mentally demanding to ride a MotoGP bike at that pace over a long distance. It is hard to concentrate but the best thing was on the last lap I did a 2.02.9 and my best lap was a 2.02.5. So I was consistent and while I need to be faster, I’m really happy to be leaving this test having learned so much.”
MotoGP Sepang Final Results 2013:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2’00.100
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’00.429
3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2’00.542
4. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2’00.636
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2’00.734
6. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2’01.003
7. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2’01.502
8. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2’02.093
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2’02.184
10. Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) 2’02.277
11. Katsayuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 2’02.616
12. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 2’02.628
13. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2’02.864
14. Kosuke Akiyoshi (Honda) 2’03.082
15. Michael Laverty (ART) 2’03.874
16. Randy de Puniet (ART) 2’04.066
17. Wataru Yoshikawa (Yamaha) 2’04.137
18. Hector Barbera (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’04.211
19. Takumi Takahashi (Honda) 2’04.288
20. Danilo Petrucci (Suter-BMW) 2’04.531
21. Karel Abraham (ART) 2’04.766
22. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’04.915
23. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’05.107
24. Lukas Pesek (Suter-BMW) 2’05.321
25. Yonny Hernandez (ART) 2’05.407
26. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’05.913
27. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda) 2’05.970
By Tracey Ann Daniels – MotoGP Correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing
In the pictures: Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi
Pictures from the web