Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
MotoGP Official Test Sepang#2, Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia), 23rd February 2015
After two weeks of analyzing data, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo have returned to the Sepang International Circuit for the start of the second official three-day pre-season test. Despite the difficult track and weather conditions the teammates were able to finish today’s session in first and fifth respectively.
Rossi was up for the challenge of repeating his strong ride of two weeks ago. He needed little time to get back into the swing of things and was quick to take over the top spot from his teammate at the start of the eight-hour long session. As the temperature started rising the pace of the field picked up, but the Doctor was quick to respond and cruised back to the top the leader board with an impressive 2’00.414s lap, which kept him sitting on top for the rest of the session.
Teammate Lorenzo had a more challenging start to the second Sepang test. Though he briefly topped the leaderboard with a 2’02.099s lap, he struggled to find the good setup for the slippery asphalt. The Spaniard was pleased with his YZR-M1’s gearbox update and made the most of the available testing time by putting in a total of 51 laps. During his multiple stints he worked on improving the setting and set a best time of 2’01.162s, putting him in fifth place just +0.748s behind Rossi.
Both riders took a break in the afternoon until the worst of the heat passed before returning to the track, but the dry track conditions weren’t to last. Rain flags signaling an approaching thunderstorm were raised and soon the fickle Malaysian weather struck the Sepang circuit.
Not wanting to let the last precious hour of testing time go to waste, Rossi and Lorenzo decided to brave the pouring rain to test their wet setup until, with 30 minutes remaining, the red lights came on, ending the session.
The change in weather meant Rossi and Lorenzo were unable to improve their times and they finished in first and fifth place respectively.
46 – Valentino Rossi 1st / 2’00.414 / 54 laps
“Everybody in our team was curious about the updated gearbox and the first impression is quite positive, so I’m happy. It doesn’t make a huge difference, but it’s a small help in a difficult point where we need to improve. The bike is a bit better in braking and corner entry and I think we need to work to understand the maximal potential, but the first test was good. I am happy to finish in the first position because I was in P1 from this morning, so it’s a good first day. It’s important for us to make some kilometers on the wet. I don’t really like the feeling with the bike on the wet and last year I struggled a bit. We already improved a bit today, but we need to do some more testing and make some more kilometers.”
99 – Jorge Lorenzo 5th / 2’01.162 / 51 laps
Today was a pretty tough day for me. I feel the jet lag and last night I was only able to sleep for just four hours. At the beginning of the session we tried the set-up we used at the first Sepang test but nothing worked. We changed so many things on the bike but the result was the same. I’m a bit disappointed because of the results today but at least the new gearbox works well. We need to adjust it a bit but overall it is quite good, especially on braking where we can get more stability. The track conditions were pretty bad compared to the first test. The asphalt had less grip so we struggled a lot with the conditions. Hopefully we can improve our pace tomorrow and check the new things we need to test again before going to Qatar.”
Massimo Meragalli – Team Director
“For me it has been a positive first day. As with the first Sepang test we don’t have a lot of material, but it is really important that we continue to work to find the right direction. The updated transmission gave both Jorge and Vale a good feeling, and it will continue to develop further. Today’s rain allowed us to obtain a full set of wet data to go with our dry findings so it has had its use. We made the decision to stop early after the rain, and will continue tomorrow.”