The second official MotoGP
preseason season test at Sepang saw Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista top the timesheet in Session 1. Bautista posted his best effort, a 2’00.848, on his second-to-last lap of the day, a little more than eight-tenths behind the pole lap set at the circuit by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in 2013. Marquez is unable to participate
in the current test due to a broken leg sustained during dirt track training in Barcelona earlier in the month. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro finished second-fastest followed by his brother, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro.
“We worked very well on the rear end, an area that earlier this month gave us some problems, getting excellent results: Showa has developed a new shock absorber somewhat different compared to the one we used so far, which is suitable for our needs,” explained Bautista. “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 tires
has improved so much and now I feel comfortable when riding.”
Track conditions were dirty and troublesome for the entire grid during the morning, but conditions improved by the afternoon which is when most riders set their fastest lap times.
Aleix focused on developing his second bike and plans to continue work in that area during the second session. Pol stated afterward that it was the first day the Tech 3 team has been able to make use of Yamaha’s seamless gearbox.
“We have a bit more power in every gear and it helps you in many different areas, for example, in the middle of the corner or with the anti-wheelie, it takes a lot of work away from the rider. Altogether it has been a really good day today and the feeling with the bike was just great.”
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso finished the day in fourth followed by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo in fifth. The 2012 World Champion struggled to come to grips with the Bridgestone rubber on hand, saying “both the soft and the hard are not working properly on our M1.” He plans to work on electronics settings during the second session to help address the issue.
Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa finished in sixth. Pedrosa opted to sit out for much of the morning due to the less-than-ideal track conditions. In addition to that he was also reportedly recovering from a nasty case of jet-lag.
Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, scored the seventh-fastest time followed by LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl in eighth and Tech 3’s Bradley Smith in ninth. Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden rounded out the top-10. Hayden’s pace is more than a second quicker than his first session of the previous Sepang test.
“The gap to the top is reducing so that is positive,” said Hayden. “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.”
Dovizioso’s teammate, Cal Crutchlow, took 11th and Aleix Espargaro’s teammate, Colin Edwards, finished 14th. Suzuki was on hand again to continue development of the 2015 machine, with test rider Randy de Puniet posting the 17th-fastest time. Bautista’s teammate and MotoGP rookie, Scott Redding, ended the day in 18th.
MotoGP Sepang Test II Session 1 Results 2014
Nicky Hayden during the second preseason test at Sepang.
1. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2’00.848
2. Aleix Espargaro (FTR-Yamaha) 2’00.900
3. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 2’00.999
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2’01.029
5. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’01.158
6. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2’01.160
7. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2’01.349
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2’01.491
9. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2’01.644
10. Nicky Hayden (Honda RCV) 2’02.227
11. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) 2’02.319
12. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2’02.334
13. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda RCV) 2’02.709
14. Colin Edwards (FTR-Yamaha) 2’02.743
15. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 2’02.823
16. Hector Barbera (Avintia) 2’02.975
17. Randy de Puniet (Suzuki) 2’03.341
18. Scott Redding (HondaRCV) 2’03.553
19. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 2’03.991
20. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 2’04.165
21. Mike di Meglio (Avintia) 2’04.885
22. Karel Abraham (Honda RCV) 2’05.638
23. Nobuatsu Aoki (Suzuki) 2’07.302