Photography By: Gold & Goose
MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo got the upper hand on his rival Dani Pedrosa in the second day of MotoGP testing at the Sepang International Circuit, the Spaniard taking nearly a second and a half off Pedrosa’s best from yesterday as grip improved on a hot and humid day in Malaysia.
Lorenzo was fast straight out of the box in the morning and he got down to a best of 2:00.282 to best Pedrosa’s best from today – a 2:00.651.
“A pretty good day,” Lorenzo said in a team release. “The track was much better than yesterday. I was surprised in the beginning it was so different. 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.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow ended the day in third with his 2:00.907 – 1.3 seconds faster than he’d been on day one. The Brit spent most of his time working on different front fork settings and he experimented with a similar set-up used by Lorenzo in an attempt to make his M1 change directions quicker. The 27-year-old was satisfied with the progress made in his 59-lap stint.
“There didn’t seem to be a lot of grip out there again today although the lap times have improved a lot,” Crutchlow said. “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.”
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez ended today’s session fourth fastest with his 2:00.992, the youngster turning in some 64 laps on the day.
“It was a pretty good day for us,” the MotoGP rookie said. “Today we did something that is a little harder for riders, which is trying out a lot of things to give information to the technicians. It’s tough, but it is an important job when it comes to deciding which way to go with the setup. We did a good job on the 64 laps that I rode today. Now we have to compile the data and prepare as well as possible for the final day of the test – in which we will continue to put the laps in and look for the best direction to follow this preseason.”
Following Marquez was Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi in fifth, the Italian losing some time in the morning session with a mechanical problem.
“I’m happy, the feeling is quite good,” Rossi said. “Today was a very long day; I did more than 60 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 percent 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.”
Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, the Ducati pairing of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith rounded out the top 10 today.
Sepang Test Day 2
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:00.282
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:00.651
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2:00.907
4. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2:00.992
5. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2:01.065
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2:01.208
7. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2:01.485
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2:01.778
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2:01.803
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2:02.023
17. Ben Spies (Ducati) 2:03.460
23. Colin Edwards (NGM) 2:04.656