Octo Pramac Yakhnich’s Danilo Petrucci claimed the top time during the second day of MotoGP testing at Sepang. Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo finished second-fastest trailed by Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera in third.
Petrucci made the most of the early portion of the day’s session, setting his fast lap on soft tires during his ninth lap. Soon after Petrucci’s run Barbera’s teammate, Loris Baz, suffered a terrifying crash at more than 180 miles per hour on the start/finish straight. Amazingly he was, for the most part, unharmed, and later explained that he had heard a strange noise coming out of the final turn, thinking it possibly something to do with the engine or gearbox. There was no change to the feel of the bike so he resolved to finish the lap and then come in. Then his rear tire blew, sending him sliding down the tarmac. Fortunately, he avoided any walls, other riders and his destroyed machine and walked away stiff, shaken and only slightly bruised.
“The start of the day was good. We used the soft tire to try to improve the lap times and, although the lap was not incredible, we were able to improve the lap time from yesterday,” said Baz in an Avintia press release. “But then we had a problem with the rear tire and I crashed out at 290 km/h and my bike was destroyed. Fortunately I was unhurt, but you always loose energy after this kind of accident, because even I you don’t have anything serious, you feel all your muscles like if you have been training during 20 hours. My mechanics made a great job to put the bike back on track for the last two hours. It was not bad, but I felt a little bit tired riding the bike and I didn’t want to push and crash again.”
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The red flag was shown for more than an hour as officials sought to determine if any other riders faced the potential of a similar issue, and it was eventually decided to pull all the Michelin soft option tires for the rest of the test.
Riders were then required to make use of the harder option tire, and it proved troublesome for many. Lorenzo suffered an off later in the day at Turn 5, Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro crashed in the same place as Lorenzo on two occasions, Marc VDS’ Tito Rabat went down in Turn 15 and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa went down also.
Lap times didn’t suffer too bad however, with Lorenzo notching his best effort on his final fast run of the day, more than half a second quicker than the previous session. Barbera’s best lap came early on, as did fourth-fastest rider Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda, both improving by nearly two seconds compared to the previous day.
“We’ve taken a step forward on day two,” explained Marquez in a team press release. “Unfortunately during the day we didn’t manage to make steady progress and we tried out a lot of things, but we did make an improvement on yesterday. I think that it will be important to analyze well everything that we tested today, to see what works and what doesn’t, and tomorrow we will continue to try things because we have a lot of work to do. Today we used the same “evo” engine on both bikes in order to have the same reference for the electronics test that we are doing.”
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was the final rider to end the session with a time below 2’01, finishing fifth on the day ahead of Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi. The Doctor was able to complete his planned schedule of tests, focused primarily on the front end of the bike, and later said that “my pace and my best lap improved quite significantly, so for this reason it’s been a good day.”
Petrucci’s teammate Scott Redding finished in seventh ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Iannone in eighth and Ducati test rider Casey Stoner in ninth. Stoner finished just one second adrift of the fastest lap of the day, setting the time on his 37th lap. The Australian then went on to log a handful of laps in the 2’01 range to finish off the day. Consistency of this type on race day would have put him on par with the top-three during the 2015 race at Sepang; Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi the only riders to string multiple 2’01 laps together during the event.
“It’s been another good day today,” said Stoner in a Ducati release. “Being on track with everybody else, with the good track conditions, gave us better indications of what we are feeling in comparison. We had a lot of different things to test, but unfortunately after Baz’s crash we had to change tire compounds and retest everything. We went through a lot of the stack we had to do, and got some very positive input from the electronics, the engine braking, the clutch and in every aspect of the bike, together with a few things we can improve, and we gathered a lot of data to move forward from there.”
2016 MotoGP Sepang Test Day 2 Results
1. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 2’00.095
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’00.155
3. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2’00.387
4. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2’00.843
5. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 2’00.899
6. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2’01.021
7. Scott Redding (Ducati) 2’01.049
8. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2’01.052
9. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 2’01.103
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2’01.107
11. Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) 2’01.421
12. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2’01.475
13. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 2’01.644
14. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2’01.723
15. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 2’01.992
16. Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) 2’02.092
17. Tito Rabat (Honda) 2’02.328
18. Stefan Bradl (Aprilia) 2’02.372
19. Loris Baz (Ducati) 2’02.611
20. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 2’02.691
21. Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) 2’02.876