On the second day of MotoGP™ testing in Sepang, which was narrowly cut short by rain, it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo that led an ever-improving grid.
Whilst the two Spanish front runners were edging ever closer to Lorenzo’s record set last year, with Pedrosa posting a 2.00’549, just 0.019s ahead of his compatriot, it was the mid-section and back-end of the group that showed the greatest improvements, with the likes of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s rookie Brit, Bradley Smith, improving by 1.5s over yesterday to come eighth and Ducati Team finding well over half a second more.
But the main contenders remained the same as yesterday, with Pedrosa and his rookie teammate Marc Márquez, who placed third, working on the RC213V’s electronics package and weight balance, whist both putting in impressive times. And it was the same story for Yamaha once more, as Italian Valentino Rossi continued his form from yesterday, improving his time as well, though not making ground on the top three. Lorenzo and Rossi continued to evaluate the 2013 M1, in a bid to decide which parts are an improvement over last year’s title-winning machine.
Behind Rossi in fifth, Tech 3’s British hopeful Cal Crutchlow once again proved he is continuing where he left off last year, finishing just over seven tenths off the top working on corner enrty, whilst LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl had a less than ideal day evaluating his new machine, after doing fewer laps due to feeling unwell in the morning. He finished one position lower than yesterday, albeit still managing to keep Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista at bay in seventh, as he continues on his quest for the best Showa suspension set-up and bike geometry.
Tech 3’s Bradley Smith ultimately came in just over 1.3s below Pedrosa, with Ducati’s American Nicky Hayden and Italian Andrea Dovizioso in tow, as the pair managed to significantly improve their pace from yesterday. Looming just behind were HRC test rider Kosuke Akiyoshi and Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who managed to finish ahead of Pramac Racing’s US rider Ben Spies, who not only put in more laps today after shoulder issues, but also upped his pace significantly. He did however state that he can’t push the bike to the limit, and as such is not touching the settings until he can ride the bike to his full capabilities. Splitting him from his also improved Italian rookie teammate Andrea Iannone, by over 1.3s, was Yamaha test rider Wataru Yoshikawa.
The Power Electronics Aspar pair of Spaniard Aleix Espargaró and Frenchman Randy de Puniet led the CRT field once more, as both riders evaluated a new chassis and swingarm, with Came IodaRacing Project’s Italian Danilo Petrucci, who worked more on the ECU, and HCR test rider Takumi Takahashi in tow. Avintia Blusens’ Japanese entry Hiroshi Aoyama looked had fewer ill effects from his broken left wrist as he improved to 20th, ahead of teammate Héctor Barberá, who was working on the electronics and trying to overcome chatter issues.
Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham, sighting chatter issues with his ART, headed a much-improved Michael Laverty on the Paul Bird Motorsport ART bike, who managed to beat teammate Yonny Hernandez by two places, as the Colombian struggled with chatter as well. Splitting them was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti, with teammate Colin Edwards and Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Bryan Staring completing the line-up.
The test was dry until the final hour, after which rain stopped proceedings for the day. Track time will resume tomorrow morning at 10am local time.
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