Photography Courtesy of Repsol Honda
SEPANG, MALAYSIA, FEB 5 – Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa spent the first day of the three-day MotoGP test shaking off the winter cobwebs and very narrowly setting the fastest time. Pedrosa lapped the Sepang Circuit only .008 of a second faster than Yamaha’s World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and .044 of a second faster than Pedrosa’s own upstart new teammate Marc Marquez. Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi was fourth fastest at what seemed like a yawning margin – .383 of a second.
Pedrosa said the day was spent getting familiar with the bike he’d last tested in the Valencia at the end of last season. The typically tropical Sepang weather was less intense, which meant there was more grip, and also the heat and humidity was less taxing on the riders. That gave Pedrosa and the others more quality on-track time, which he used testing engine longevity and weight distribution. The Repsol Honda RC213V weighs three kilograms (6.6 pounds) more this season and the team is working to make sure it’s distributed in the most effective place.
Asked where it was, Pedrosa said, “Around, all around. But that’s why we need to feel it’s on the good place or not. That’s quite important for the season.” He added that he could feel the extra weight “on the brakes, you can feel it in the change of direction. It’s not a massive change, of course. But, yeah, it’s important, especially to feel how is the tire feeling this weight for the observing of the bumps, etc.”
Weight distribution is often used to cure chatter, which was a big problem here last year. This year it’s less of an issue, at the moment.
“Today, not massive,” he said. “I think it’s because no sun and the track temperature was low. But I had some runs with some more chatter, so… Basically, we didn’t focus yet on that point, so it should be same.”
Overall, Pedrosa said, “Today was more like a general test, you know, functional test, to see the brakes, the bike, the engine. Tomorrow maybe we can more into the suspension, this link, etc., everything.”