DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider Eugene Laverty finished the three-day test at Sepang in positive spirits despite finishing the session towards the foot of the time sheets.
The Irishman, who joins the series from WSBK, improved his lap time again yesterday to clock a 2’01.815 lap, putting him in a lowly 23rd position. However, a late change to the front suspension of his Open Class Honda RC213-VS racebike improved the rider’s feeling with the bike significantly and he is now looking forward to the next test in Qatar.
He said: “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 learnt 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.”
Maverick Vinales is happy with his progress after a strong finish to the third and final day of official testing at Sepang.
Viñales tested a variety of parts and set-up options on the GSX-RR, completing 43 laps and setting a fastest-lap of 2:00.604 to place him 14th on the time sheets.
The Spanish rookie said: “I leave Sepang with a very good feeling and satisfaction and we did a very good job without any major issues. I managed to improve my times a lot, both in the fast laps and the overall pace. I’m learning more and more about the bike, we made some changes in terms of set-up and electronics and I’m learning how to exploit them.
“Today I tried to get a good single lap time, but didn’t want to push too hard like I did yesterday when I crashed, so we focused more on consistency and we worked on the pace; we also got very important feedback from the bike which we can work on. I’m still a rookie, so I still need to understand so many things about the bike, but I’m performing well and my performance is improving day by day.”
Scott Redding continues to improve on the Factory Honda and set his best lap time in final session at Sepang to finish the test 16th on the time sheets.
Having finished less than a second off the fastest time yesterday, Redding was disappointed that a fast lap from Marc Marquez late in the final session today increased the gap again, but the 22-year-old Briton leaves Malaysia happy that his confidence aboard the Honda RC213V he’ll race this season is much improved.
Redding, who posted a 2’00.695 lap, said: “I was a little bit disappointed that the gap to the front increased today; yesterday we were under a second away, but today we’re 1.5s off. On a more positive note, I’ve learnt a lot about the bike and my riding style, especially under braking and on corner entry, and my lap times have been consistently in the two-minute bracket. I was lacking traction out of the slower turns; I felt good in the fast corners, but exiting the last corner for example I was struggling to find grip and lost a bit of time. My target for this test was a lap time of 2’00.4 so we missed that by a few tenths, but I’m happy enough with what we’ve achieved over the three days here”
Redding and his crew will now analyse all the data collected during the three-day test in Sepang ahead of the next test, which takes place at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, starting on Saturday 14 March.
Reigning world champion Marc Marquez has finished pre-season testing on a high after topping the time sheets at Sepang.
Marquez laid down the fastest lap with his time of 1’59.115 on lap 13 of 73 – the most laps by any rider today – and this time remained unbeaten for the remainder of this final day. Marquez spent the day testing two chassis options on the RCV213V and worked on engine mapping before completing a very positive race simulation this afternoon with only three laps above 2’00.
Marquez said: “I’m happy because this morning we set a good lap, which is something important, but mostly I am pleased that we have completed all the work we had left pending from the first day. We’re finished today with our homework done and I even had time to do a race simulation this afternoon, with a track temperature of 49°C. We have accomplished all the objectives we had set for this test, and now at the Qatar test our work will be more focused on the Grand Prix and fine tuning the setup of the bike. I do not think there are many more new things to try.”
Teammate Dani Pedrosa spent this final day concentrating on electronics settings instead of lap times and completed 51 laps, with his fastest time of 1’59.912 on lap 49 placing him 7th overall.
Pedrosa said: “Overall this second test went well. Today we were trying many different combinations for the electronics setup and we have managed to take a few positive steps forward. Obviously we still need to improve some things, but the good thing is that we are clearer about the setup we have to use and the areas in which we need to make further progress at the next test. It’s been a pretty intense few days and now we have to try to adapt our findings in the best way we can, in order to continue progressing at the next test and the races.”
Tomorrow the Factory riders will remain in Sepang for their first outing on Michelin tyres in preparation for the 2016 season, before returning to Europe for some recovery time ahead of the final test in Qatar, scheduled from the 14-16 March.
Guy Martin says he is fully focused on securing his maiden TT win and that he now has the bike under him to make his dream become reality.
The enigmatic Kimington rider, who will be riding a Tyco BMW S1000RR on the roads this year, admitted retirement was the last thing on his mind ahead of what could be his last ever season between the hedges. He said: “I always give one hundred percent effort, no matter what I’m doing but I’m not going to make any stupid predictions for the year ahead. I’m confident that the Tyco BMW Motorrad bikes will make all the difference this year. It really does look mint.
“People have been asking questions about the retirement story that was in the press, but all I’m interested in is going to the TT and trying to win on this new bike. I’ll only start to think about what I’m doing after that when I’m on the boat home. I wouldn’t even consider turning up if I wasn’t fully prepared. It’s not about money for me, or waving at the crowd and picking up cheques. Stuff that. I go to the TT to try and win and I believe with the same effort as before, and with these guys behind me, the Tyco BMW will be good enough for the job. I will be well prepared.”
Suzuki MotoGP factory rider Maverick Vinales took twelfth place in the standings during day two of testing in Sepang as he continues his meteoric rise to the top.
Vinales completed 61 laps on the GSX-RR and his best lap time of 2:00.731 left him just 0.887 seconds from top-placed rider Marc Marquez. Vinales suffered a small crash but no damage was suffered by rider or machine.
Vinales, who is making the jump to MotoGP after a season in Moto2, said: “It was another positive day. I did many laps and I’m becoming more-and-more familiar with the bike and the setting opportunities. I had a little crash but it wasn’t bad, I’m OK and so is the bike, I simply slid off.
“My main objective is still to find out the most effective riding style, even if we are introducing new technical modifications in every run to let me understand how the machine reacts to them. I also tried a small race simulation, just to start approaching the long runs, but tomorrow we will do more testing on this side.”
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider Eugene Laverty is slowly getting to grips with the customer Honda one class bike after posting his best ever lap around Sepang during day two of testing.
Laverty spent the day working on engine braking and chassis, improving his braking and corner entry, and his efforts were rewarded with his best ever lap time of 2’01.944, leaving him in 19th position on the time sheets.
He said: “Today was another very positive day. We have made some progress with the chassis set-up and now I feel like I can brake really hard. I still have to adapt my style for the faster corners because I am washing too much speed off into some of the turns. It is good that I can brake hard but I also have to be able to keep enough corner speed. The weather held off for us today and we were able to get a lot of work done and lower the lap time. We worked on improving the engine braking and now that I am starting to understand the electronics package I like it. I felt comfortable today, so tomorrow the aim is to complete a long run and see where we are.”
The second day of testing at Sepang proved a positive one for Scott Redding as the British hotshot improved his pace to finish the day 13th and less than a second off the fastest time.
Redding struggled initially to get the rear tyre working for him this morning, when track conditions were at their best for fast lap times, but the 22-year-old Briton was immediately back on the pace following a tyre change on his Marc VDS factory Honda RC213V.
Together with his crew Redding focussed today on refining set up to improve feedback from the front tyre, giving him more confidence as his pace increased. This work was rewarded with Redding’s fastest lap time of the test so far, which placed him just 0.5s off a top three position at the end of the day.
Redding, who finished the day in 13th place after posting a lap time of 2.00.762, said: “We struggled for most of the morning, during the time when the track conditions were at their best, as we couldn’t get the tyre to work for us. When we switched tyres then the lap time came immediately, so I guess we were just unlucky with that particular tyre. I’m still learning; changing the set up a little to try and get more feeling from the front, because I’m starting to push the the front more now I’m going faster. I was quicker today than I was at the last test, even though the track conditions aren’t as good, and I’m less than a second off the fastest guys, so I’m happy with that. Every lap gives me a better understanding of the bike; a lot of these guys have more experience on the bike, so they know what to expect, but I’m still on a steep learning curve with the Honda RC213V. We have a target, but I don’t want to get fixated on the lap time, for me it’s better to continue the learning process here in Sepang.”
Honda’s Marc Marquez stormed back to the top of the time sheets after a setting a blistering lap during day two of testing at Sepang.
Marquez put yesterday’s braking woes firmly behind him as he became the first rider to break the two-minute mark just before midday. He spent the day working on electronics and recorded his fastest lap of 1’59.844 on lap 22 of 63, and although he had a small crash in the afternoon at turn four, he escaped unscathed.
Repsol teammate Dani Pedrosa finishing the day in fifth place and set his fastest lap of 2’00.275 on lap 36 of 57.
Reigning champion Marquez said: “I’m happy because today was a positive day. After what happened yesterday, we tried to make up for lost time and tried out quite a few things. Tomorrow we have to continue testing things out, in order to continue developing and eliminating anything that is not going to be useful. Today we focused on electronics and tomorrow we will work more on the chassis. I’m happy with how things went today and with the pace that we have achieved. We’ll see if tomorrow the rain holds off all day, because we need good weather.”
The three-day test will conclude tomorrow and will be followed by the first test by Factory riders on Michelin tyres in preparation for 2016.