The first winter test for 2015 MotoGP at Sepang, of what seems to be slightly cool morning that turned into a scorching hot and sunny afternoon. Besides the injured Pramac Yonny Hernandez, we sees a full grid of MotoGP 2015 riders in action.
Came with a special Sepang Test Helmet, Rossi is clearly eager to get going back aboard his YZR-M1. It took Rossi 3 hours to battle to the top against his teammate Jorge Lorenzo and rivals the reigning double world champion Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa. Rossi clocked an impressive 2’00.380s lap on his 27th of 57 laps. The last test he recorded in Sepang in 2014 was 0.9 seconds quicker of 1’59.533s.
Riding on a similar YZR-M1 machine was his teammate Lorenzo. On his 30th out of 55 laps, the Spaniard booked progress and made it provisional Yamaha 1-2 when he clocked 2’00.521s.
Yamaha’s joy was killed by reigning Double World Champion Marc Marquez who clocked Day 1 fastest at his 62nd out of his 63 laps clocking 2’00.262s. His teammate Dani Pedrosa who crashed out at turn nine without consequences came in 0.483s behind in fifth place.
HRC came with full force, bringing along numerous bikes for the factory riders and their test riders to use – the 2014 machines for comparison purposes and 2015 prototype for development.
Marquez stated, “I’m glad to finally get back on the bike. It’s been a hard day and at the same time very positive, because on the first day after the winter break you have to regain confidence with the bike and adapt to the feeling of the MotoGP machine again. We tried three different bikes today, and this has been very important. I focused on testing them thoroughly and deciding which bike was the ideal one to continue working with at this test, and then this afternoon we focused more on one of the machines. I was able to start riding better and feel more comfortable on the bike. There are still many things to try at this test, so we have to remain calm like we did today and keep working.”
Pedrosa added, “I’m happy with the work we have done today on the first day of testing, because we were able to get back on the bike and we had a good pace. It went pretty well and I think we have improved the bike compared to the one we tested it at Valencia. We had a lot of work to do and it has been positive to have a good first day: it was important and we are happy with what we have achieved. There is still more to do, but we have taken a good first step. Tomorrow we’ll see if we can continue moving things forward.”
Rossi commented, “It’s a positive first day and I’m very excited to be back on the bike. Today has been really good because I was consistently fast in both the morning and afternoon. We worked a lot on trying to improve our pace with a used tyre, but it’s already quite good. The bike is good and with the new tyre we were able to attack and ride a good lap time. At the end I was in second place just behind Marquez, but not by far. It looks like the bike has improved in different areas. We still have a lot of work to do but the first day was ok.”
Lorenzo added, “It’s a completely different story from last year, when we had a lot of problems, to now arrive here and feel comfortable on the bike and also with our position in the classification lap time-wise. This year we’ve been at the front from the beginning, in first three positions, and that means that the bike is working. My physical condition is very good. I feel strong, but the first day is always difficult. You have to use different muscles that you don’t usually use at the gym or during your preparations, so you always get tired. However, compared to the normal pre-season I’m feeling well. Sepang is not our best track, but to have two Yamaha’s in the top three is a good signal.”