The second MotoGP pre-season test at Sepang ended with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa reclaiming the top spot on the timesheet, 0.081 seconds ahead of his teammate, Marc Marquez, in second. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo finished third-fastest with his teammate, Valentino Rossi, close behind in fourth.
Conditions were damp in the morning when riders first took to the track, giving many a chance to test full wet set-ups at the Malaysian circuit. Pedrosa continued to dial in his suspension in the afternoon once the track dried, and ended the session pleased with his progress.
“This morning we were able to try out the wet weather setup; it was only for a short time, but nevertheless we were able to put in some laps with it,” said Pedrosa. “In the afternoon, with the track dry and with slicks, we continued working on suspension settings. Overall, it’s been a positive three days. Now we’re off to Austin, and this is going to be an interesting test for the team and for myself. We’ve never ridden there and it’s a new track.”
Marquez went down twice during his 54-lap test, once in the morning and later in the afternoon. Luckily, he was able to walk away from both incidents unharmed. He posted his best time on the final lap of the day.
“In the morning we rode in the wet and I felt very good on the bike, even though I had a small crash,” said Marquez. “I clipped the white line and lost the front, but neither myself nor the bike were affected at all. When the track dried out we went back to our work on the electronics and with the bike setup —above all with the front.
“On the initial laps I didn’t feel completely comfortable with the front end and had another small crash at the hairpin when I was forcing it a bit too much. In the final hour we set the bike up the way we had been fastest at this test, and I think that we got a good time again with it.”
Lorenzo put in a full race simulation during the final day while Rossi focused on improving the balance and performance of his M1 on worn tires.
“This test at the end is positive because we are in fourth place and not so far from the front,” said Rossi. “We are struggling a little more than the first test though; we were unlucky and suffered a little electrical problem that lost us some time and some other little problems. We tried to improve our performance and we fixed some problems but not all. The balance is positive; we have had another three days with the bike, and ridden more kilometers to take the bike back to the top and closer to the limit.”
Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista wrapped the final day in high spirits, finding a set-up that provided the best feel yet aboard the Honda. He finished fifth with a lap time of 2’01.062, just half-a-second off the lead pace set by Pedrosa. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow came through in sixth and continued to work to find a configuration to allow for better braking performance going into turns without compromising grip. He was followed by LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl in seventh. The German rider chose not to ride during the morning, but once on track in the afternoon made improvements to his front suspension settings and traction control maps to improve performance in the corners.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso ended Day 3 in eighth ahead of teammate, Nicky Hayden, who finished ninth.
“I’m quite happy with the work we’ve done here,” said Dovizioso. “Yesterday we tried some rather radical changes to the setup and were able to understand something about the way for the future, while also improving my feeling. I’m now able to brake harder and enter corners faster, although we’re still not quick enough in the middle of the corner.”
Crutchlow’s teammate, Bradley Smith, rounded out the top-10. The GP rookie abstained from the late-session push for improved time, choosing instead to continue moving in small steps toward better performance on the M1.
“I sat in the garage when everybody was in time attack mode at the end and pushing for a fast lap on a new tire,” said Smith. “It is not that I didn’t want to go for the lap time but we are just trying to go step-by-step at the moment and look at the bigger picture. I still don’t believe that we have a base setting for me to ride but at least we have a direction of which way I prefer. Luckily for us it is towards the way Andrea Dovizioso went last year and that’s positive because we have got a whole load of data and experience from working with him. This is only day two of really modifying the set-up of the bike, so in terms of development we still have a lot to do.”
Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone finished in 11th followed by Ducati Test rider Michele Pirro in 12th. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet led the CRT charge in 13th and was followed by Iannone’s teammate, Ben Spies, in 14th. Though Spies failed to break the top-10 during the three days at Sepang, he leaves satisfied with his progress.
“I am not yet at full condition but considering the situation of three weeks ago I am satisfied with what has been done in this second phase of the winter tests,” said Spies. “I could not ride the last hour of the day because of a small problem with the fork, but I have some more specific ideas about what changes should be made. I rode consistently focusing on the reactions of the bike in a variety of settings.”
MotoGP Sepang Test 2 Day 3 Results 2013:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2’00.562
2. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2’00.643
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’00.992
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2’01.062
5. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2’01.078
6. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2’01.094
7. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2’01.309
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2’01.650
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2’02.070
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2’02.314
11. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2’02.566
12. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 2’02.773
13. Randy de Puniet (ART) 2’02.863
14. Ben Spies (Ducati) 2’03.055
15. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 2’03.154
16. Hector Barbera (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’03.155
17. Wataru Yoshikawa (Yamaha) 2’03.357
18. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 2’03.423
19. Karel Abraham (ART) 2’04.066
20. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’04.102
21. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’04.512
22. Michael Laverty (ART) 2’04.546
23. Lukas Pesek (Suter-BMW) 2’04.674
24. Danilo Petrucci (Suter-BMW) 2’04.686
25. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’04.718
26. Yonny Hernandez (ART) 2’04.722
27. Takumi Takahashi (Honda) 2’04.749
28. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda) 2’05.313