Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
MotoGP Official Test Sepang#2 – 24th February 2015
American rider finds eight tenths on third and final day at Sepang to end Malaysian test on a high
The second test of the MotoGP preseason concluded today at Sepang, ending six days of hard work in Malaysia during the month of February. The premier class riders will now take a break until the middle of March, when they will be back on track in Qatar for the final preseason test. Once again the hot conditions made life difficult with up to 60°C on track but that didn’t prevent the riders from improving their lap times. For the second successive day and for the second successive test Marc Marquez was once again the fastest rider in MotoGP although he didn’t manage to break the 1’59 barrier like he did at the previous test. Marquez left his closest rival Jorge Lorenzo behind by some three tenths of a second although the rest of the times were particularly close considering the length of this circuit, suggesting that the upcoming season could be a tight and entertaining affair.
After two days working on the set-up of their machines today was an opportunity for the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team riders to complete race simulations. In total Nicky Hayden completed 49 laps today, clocking his best lap of the Malaysian circuit since signing for the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team. On his fifteenth lap the American shaved eight tenths off his time from yesterday, breaking the 2’01 barrier. Even though he knows there is much work still to be done, Nicky heads home from Sepang in optimistic and excited mood. Eugene Laverty continued his progression over the three days of the test, improving his lap time again today to clock a 2’01.815. A late change to his front suspension improved the Irish rider’s feeling with the bike significantly and he is also now looking forward to the next test in Qatar.
69 – Nicky Hayden 2.00.813 (49 laps)
“To be honest we took a big step forward today. Our position is not spectacular but I have dropped my lap time considerably. We managed to get into the two minutes’ and I tried to go a little bit faster but we just fell short. We have to be realistic – we are competing at a very high level and you have to work hard for every fraction of a second. But we are on the right track, we have improved a lot compared to the first test and this is positive. Also today we were able to do a long run, which helped us to improve. I made a small mistake but in general my pace has been consistent. I am happy with the team because they are working very hard and we have improved in a lot of areas, although we still have a lot of work to do, especially in terms of the electronics. We leave Sepang satisfied although we can’t afford to relax. We have to keep trying to evolve in several areas, principally with the engine braking.”
Eugene Laverty 2.01.815 (61 laps)
“We didn’t manage to improve the lap time as much today as we had hoped but we have made progress with the setup of the bike. Today we completed a long run on used tyres which was very useful to measure our performance. We also learned quite a lot about the performance of the bike over long distance and our pace and lap times were consistent. At the end of the day when the conditions were a little better we made a change to the front suspension which helped us to take another step forward. It was good to finish the test on a positive. The results of this second test here at Sepang give us cause for optimism. We have made quite a lot of progress, we still have a lot of work ahead but every time I ride the bike I feel that we are more prepared and I’m looking forward now to travelling to Qatar and continuing to work.”