MotoGP Sepang Test Day 2 report – Lorenzo jumps to the top

Reigning MotoGP champion heads the leaderboard as track conditions improve and lap times drop; Pedrosa, Crutchlow, Marquez, Rossi follow

2013/02/27 - mgp - Test - Sepang - MotoGP - Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda - RC213V - ActionAndrew Northcott

The tropical rains finally stayed away on Day 2 of the official MotoGP test at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia, allowing the track to get cleaned off and rubber laid down from the field being able to put in a full day’s worth of testing that resulted in lap times dropping substantially from yesterday. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo took advantage of the improved conditions in the morning to record a 2.00.282 lap before the lunch break that was nearly 1.5 seconds quicker than the top time set by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa on Tuesday. Pedrosa looked to counter Lorenzo’s time before the track became too hot in the afternoon, but came up 0.369 seconds short.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow managed to storm up to third on the MotoGP Sepang test timesheets with a time that slipped under Marc Marquez’s time of 2:00.992 by 0.085 seconds, with Marquez the last rider in the 2:00 range. Valentino Rossi put in a good number of laps (60) as he tried to make up the time lost from yesterday when an engine problem kept his 2013 Yamaha M1 in the pitbox; Rossi ended up fifth quickest, just ahead of Honda satellite riders Alvaro Bautista on the Honda Gresini entry, and LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl. The factory Ducati team of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovisioso also made some good progress, keeping the gap to the leaders from getting any larger.

Lorenzo was pleased with his day, as he not only set fast time, but also strung a substantial number of laps together under the 2:01 mark, something not even Pedrosa was able to accomplish. “A pretty good day, the track was much better than yesterday, I was surprised in the beginning, it was so different,” said Lorenzo of the track conditions on Day 2 of the MotoGP Sepang test. “I could be strong from the start; a second and a half quicker and I think I beat my record time here in Malaysia. We improved the setting on the bike and I feel stronger than the first Sepang test so I’m quite satisfied. Tomorrow if the weather is good I would like to try a long run of maybe 24 laps to see what happens with the tires.”

Although his time was impressive considering the difference between the factory machine of Lorenzo and the satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1, Crutchlow still felt the track conditions on Day 2 of the MotoGP Sepang test weren’t optimum. "There didn't seem to be a lot of grip out there again today although the lap times have improved a lot,” said the Brit. “We tried something different with the front fork setting, which was in a similar direction to what Jorge (Lorenzo) uses and there were some good and bad points like with most things you test. I'm happy with my pace because we've tried a couple of different settings and we need to work on fine-tuning the best one. The main goal has been trying to stop the front of the bike lifting so much when I change direction on the throttle. The bike feels quite heavy so we need to reduce how much the fork comes up without sacrificing too much in another area like the braking. I'm sure if I had put in some new tires at the start of the day I could have gone faster. But I waited to use mine around lunch and I still went faster, even though the track temperature was much higher at that point. I'm not really too concerned about the times though. I'm just concentrating on making the package we have got better for the first race in Qatar.”

“I’m happy, the feeling is quite good,” said Rossi after a tiring Day 2 at the MotoGP Sepang test, despite losing some time again with an issue with his 2012 machine. “Today was a very long day; I did more than sixty laps because we had a lot of work to do. We lost some time this morning with a small electrical problem that we fixed. We continued to work to increase the rear grip and traction, especially when the tire has a lot of laps on it. We found something but we are still not 100% happy as we lose a little balance of the bike. Tomorrow the target is to improve the traction without losing the balance and then the bike will be very good.”

MotoGP Sepang Test Day 2 results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 2:00.282
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 2:00.651
3. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha 2:00.907
4. Marc Marquez (SPA) Honda 2:00.992
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 2:01.065
6. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Honda 2:01.208
7. Stefan Bradl (GER) Honda 2:01.485
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati 2:01.778
9. Andrea Dovisioso (ITA) Ducati 2:01.803
10. Bradley Smith (GBR) Yamaha 2:02.023
11. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati 2:02.608
12. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) ART/Aprilia 2:02.905
13. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati 2:02.920
14. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (JPN) Yamaha 2:02.946
15. Wataru Yoshikawa (JPN) Yamaha 2:03.354
16. Hector Barbera (SPA ) FTR/Aprilia 2:03.428
17. Ben Spies (USA) Ducati 2:03.460
18. Randy De Puniet (FRA) ART/Aprilia 2:03.518
19. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) FTR/Aprilia 2:03.990
20. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Ioda/BMW 2:04.279
21. Karel Abraham (CZE) ART/Aprilia 2:04.350
22. Takumi Takahashi (JPN) Honda 2:04.512
23. Colin Edwards (USA) FTR/Kawasaki 2:04.656
24. Yonny Hernandez (COL) ART/Aprilia 2:04.671
25. Claudio Corti (ITA) FTR/Kawasaki 2:04.709
26. Bryan Staring (AUS) FTR/Honda 2:05.439
27. Lukas Pesek (CZE) Ioda/BMW 2:06.206
28. Michael Laverty (IRL) ART/Aprilia 2:07.721