Valentino Rossi leaves the second Sepang test as fastest overall, after finding a burst of pace early in the day to crack the two-minute barrier. So happy with his progress in testing this year was the Italian that he told the press afterwards he was already seriously considering a contract for 2015 and 2016, as long as his results during race weekends improve along the same lines as his pace in testing.
Dani Pedrosa took second spot, finishing with the same time as Rossi after chasing a time at the end of the day. But the Repsol Honda man had to cede top spot to Rossi, as Rossi had posted faster times during the day.
The clear progress Ducati have made with the GP14 was evident from Andrea Dovizioso’s time, the Italian setting the fastest ever time on a Ducati around the Sepang circuit. Clear improvement on braking and corner entry have made a big difference to the performance of the bike.
Dovizioso set his best time using the factory software, though he later did a long run using the Open configuration, running a string of laps in the high 2’01s and low 2’02s.
Aleix Espargaro was 4th fastest, just a tenth slower than Rossi. Espargaro also posted a long run, in around the same pace as Dovizioso on the Ducati. From the timesheets, both riders appear to have suffered a bit of a drop in tire life at the end of their long runs, the later laps slower than the early laps.
Stefan Bradl took 5th spot, the first of the two satellite Hondas, though a third of a second quicker than Alvaro Bautista. Jorge Lorenzo continues to struggle, though not as badly as on the first two days, closing the gap by half a second. The gap is stil six tenths of a second, though, and that was with Marc Marquez being absent from the test.
Cal Crutchlow also made steady progress with the Ducati, eight tenths behind Rossi, but ahead of the Tech 3 Yamahas of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro. Smith saved his honor in the battle for Tech 3 supremacy, posting a quick lap at the end of the day to get ahead of his teammate Pol Esparagaro.
The factory teams and satellite teams now pack up and go their separate ways. The factory teams head south to Phillip Island, while the satellite and Open teams ship west to Qatar. The two groups will have their own separate tests, ahead of the start of the 2014 season on March 23.
Overall Times from the Sepang (2) MotoGP Test:
|1||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha M1||1:59.999||-||-|
|2||Dani Pedrosa||Honda RC213V||1:59.999||0.000||0.000|
|3||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati GP14||2:00.067||0.068||0.068|
|4||Aleix Espargaro||Yamaha FTR Open||2:00.101||0.102||0.034|
|5||Stefan Bradl||Honda RC213V||2:00.164||0.165||0.063|
|6||Alvaro Bautista||Honda RC213V||2:00.506||0.507||0.342|
|7||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha M1||2:00.619||0.620||0.113|
|8||Cal Crutchlow||Ducati GP14||2:00.790||0.791||0.171|
|9||Bradley Smith||Yamaha M1||2:00.804||0.805||0.014|
|10||Pol Espargaro||Yamaha M1||2:00.999||1.000||0.195|
|11||Andrea Iannone||Ducati GP14||2:01.173||1.174||0.174|
|12||Randy De Puniet||Suzuki Test||2:01.430||1.431||0.257|
|13||Yonny Hernandez||Ducati GP13 Open||2:01.497||1.498||0.067|
|14||Colin Edwards||Yamaha FTR Open||2:01.748||1.749||0.251|
|15||Nicky Hayden||Honda RCV1000R Open||2:01.924||1.925||0.176|
|16||Michele Pirro||Ducati GP14 Test||2:02.029||2.030||0.105|
|17||Hiroshi Aoyama||Honda RCV1000R Open||2:02.070||2.071||0.041|
|18||Hector Barbera||Avintia Kawasaki||2:02.149||2.150||0.079|
|19||Scott Redding||Honda RCV1000R Open||2:02.228||2.229||0.079|
|20||Katsuyuki Nakasuga||Yamaha M1 Test||2:02.802||2.803||0.574|
|21||Mike Di Meglio||Avintia Kawasaki||2:03.499||3.500||0.697|
|22||Karel Abraham||Honda RCV1000R Open||2:04.304||4.305||0.805|
|23||Nobu Aoki||Suzuki Test||2:06.482||6.483||2.178|
Photo: Yamaha Racing
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.