2014 MotoGP Valencia Testing Continues

November 12, 2013
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
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Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

Nearly the entire MotoGP grid was on track for Day 2 of testing at Valencia, including 2013 MotoGP World Championship title winner Marc Marquez. The Repsol Honda rider completed the second-highest number of laps in the session and finished as the fastest rider on track with a 1’30.536. He had a momentary scare in the afternoon while rounding Turn 6, coming to the brink of low-siding, but he was able to right the bike with a push from his knee and elbow and merely ran wide through the corner. He and teammate Dani Pedrosa, who notched the third-fastest time, spent the day comparing the 2013 machine against two versions of the 2014 prototype. On hand was the mid-season 2014 machine both riders tested at Misano and an updated “evolution” of the motorcycle. Both Repsol riders will return to continue the testing schedule on Day 3.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo finished second in the test and focused primarily on dialing-in the current version of the 2014 M1. Teammate Valentino Rossi also turned laps on the 2014 machine as both riders worked to find optimal settings to account for the reduced fuel load they’ll face next season. It was the final day on track for the duo as they were able to gather all the information required by Yamaha technicians to move forward.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl paced fourth on the day followed by Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista in fifth. Bautista abstained from testing on Day 1, so had a full schedule working with a new Showa fork and Nissin brakes. The Spaniard plans to focus on developing the 2014 machine on Day 3. Bautista’s new teammate, Scott Redding, ran a reduced schedule owing to persistent pain in his injured right arm. The rookie finished 19th with his best effort coming on Lap 22 of 23.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith made his return to track after taking Day 1 off, placing sixth-fastest ahead of Rossi. Smith registered a total of 78 laps, the bulk of which were spent working with a factory-spec chassis, seat and fuel tank set-up used by Lorenzo and Rossi the previous season. Smith acknowledged a big change in feel with the new equipment, saying in a team release that “On my first run on the new bike I was instantly faster and felt more comfortable in the areas where I have been struggling all season.”

Cal Crutchlow continued work on his new Ducati during Day 2 of testing at Valencia.
Cal Crutchlow continued work on his new Ducati during Day 2 of testing at Valencia.

Smith’s new teammate, 2013 Moto2 champion Pol Espargaro, shaved almost one and a half seconds off his best lap time from Day 1. He tested different Bridgestone compounds and gained better feel for the full carbon brakes, finishing ninth behind Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Dovi’s new Ducati teammate, Cal Crutchlow, ended the day in 11th position after a late session crash forced him to call it quits.

“We didn’t go as fast as yesterday, but would’ve gone faster as we changed the bike really drastically at the end of the day and seemed to have found something, but it was a compromise, as I had rear grip but little front grip and crashed,” explained Crutchlow. “I think we could’ve been in the mid-31s if we had pushed.”

Power Electronics Aspar welcomed new rider Nicky Hayden on Day 2, and the American set to serious work logging 76 laps in total to gain a feel for his new Honda RCV1000R.

“It was exciting to get to work with a new team and a new bike,” said Hayden. “This is a new project and there is a long road ahead but that’s what makes it so interesting. I really enjoyed my first contact with the bike. There is a lot to learn and I need to build a relationship with the mechanics but I am really happy with today for a first shakedown. The team has helped me a lot and I had a lot of engineers around me all day. We can see how much work there is to do but the base is solid. We couldn’t have had better conditions to ride in today. It would have been nice to finish with some stronger lap times but overall we’re happy.”

The NGM Mobile Forward Racing team took to the track for the first time since Sunday’s race, welcoming new rider Aleix Espargaro and the new Yamaha FTR motorcycle. American Colin Edwards is also back and the two riders were forced to share the single mount currently available, with Espargaro logging 18 laps in the morning and Edwards completing 34 in the afternoon. Both were pleased with the initial performance of the machine.

“I am happy to be back on a Yamaha, it feels good, the bike is good,” explained Edwards. “We are still building the bike with FTR, we have some initial comments from today: seating position, handlebar position these are some of the things that when you are building a bike you have to work on but feeling pretty good about it.”

Espargaro added, “I did not expect the bike to be this good right from the start. The first impression is really good, the bike is working well, FTR did a really good job in just four weeks’ time so I am really happy. We have a lot to do in terms of the electronics and in other little things but it being the first day today out on the bike. To be the first day, I was able to push a few laps and it means we are doing things well.”


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