Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa had a slow start in MotoGP
test Session 2 at Sepang, turning just 15 laps, thanks to the last legs of jet-lag that had stymied his efforts the previous day. Bike set-up issues also played a part but by the afternoon the Spaniard was back on his game setting the fastest lap of the day as the session drew to a close. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro cut almost six-tenths of a second from his Session 1 time, finishing second-fastest, followed by Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista in third.
“When we restarted after lunch I felt more comfortable and put in better laps,” explained Pedrosa. “We focused on the front end and were able to find a good setup. Tomorrow we will focus on making progress with the rear, because we have to get the new tire working better and increase grip.”
Repsol Honda also confirmed that Pedrosa’s teammate, Marc Marquez, would be sidelined until the opening round of the 2014 season in Qatar due to the broken leg he suffered during dirt track training. He’ll miss out on the final preseason test at Losail March 7-9.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi finished in fourth position, six-tenths off the lead pace. The Doctor, like his teammate Jorge Lorenzo who finished in ninth, continues to be frustrated by the performance of the Bridgestone tires
“The main issue for this test is to try and improve our M1 with the new 2014 tire,” said Rossi. “We tried some things but at the end of the day we are not very happy. I am in fourth place, the lap time is quite good but we are half a second behind the other guys. We are suffering with this tire; our bike becomes difficult to manage. Tomorrow we will try again but we have not so many options.”
Lorenzo added, “Today I am very disappointed, especially in the tire behavior. Nothing has changed compared to yesterday. I still don't have the confidence to ride as I want to.”
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso finished fifth followed by LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl in sixth. Dovi’s teammate, Cal Crutchlow, took seventh.
The Ducati effort, which also includes test rider Michele Pirro, worked with both Factory and Open class ECUs during the day. Dovi commented that, “There are a few different controls with it (the Open ECU) and it obviously doesn’t work as well as our Factory software, but tomorrow we’ll do some more tests.” Ducati’s final decision on whether to go Open is due by February 28, the final day of the current test.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro finished Session 2 eighth-fastest and struggled to find a consistent rhythm. In the afternoon he suffered a minor crash, but was able to walk away unhurt. He’s the only rider in the top-10 to not have improved his lap time over Session 1.
Pol’s teammate, Bradley Smith trailed Lorenzo in 10th followed by Pramac Ducati’s Andera Iannone in 11th. Aleix’s teammate, Colin Edwards, celebrated his 40th birthday by cutting nearly one second from his Session 1 lap time, finishing 13th in Session 2. Suzuki’s Randy de Puniet shaved more than one second from his best effort the previous day to finish in 15th.
MotoGP Sepang Test II Session 2 Results 2014
NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Colin Edwards celebrated his 40th birthday during testing at Sepang.
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2’00.039
2. Aleix Espargaro (FTR-Yamaha) 2’00.320
3. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2’00.500
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2’00.605
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2’00.787
6. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2’00.902
7. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) 2’00.952
8. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 2’01.027
9. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’01.049
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2’01.098
11. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2’01.173
12. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 2’01.658
13. Colin Edwards (FTR-Yamaha) 2’01.996
14. Nicky Hayden (Honda RCV) 2’02.088
15. Randy de Puniet (Suzuki) 2’02.139
16. Hector Barbera (Avintia) 2’02.149
17. Scott Redding (Honda RCV) 2’02.652
18. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda RCV) 2’02.786
19. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 2’02.799
20. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 2’02.802
21. Mike di Meglio (Avintia) 2’03.946
22. Karel Abraham (Honda RCV) 2’05.198
23. Nobuatsu Aoki (Suzuk) 2’07.462