MotoGP Sepang 2 Test Day 2: Lorenzo Moves to the Front

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Jorge Lorenzo has topped the second day of testing at Sepang during the MotoGP class’ second visit to the circuit, the factory Yamaha man finding the three tenths of a second he was seeking on day 1 of the test. Lorenzo was quick right out of the gate, setting a blistering mid-2:00 lap on his first exit, a time nobody would better except himself before the afternoon break.

Even more impressive than his time is his consistency, however: Lorenzo is seemingly able to crank out mid-2:00 laps at will. The Spaniard’s performance so far has been eerily similar to the test last year, where he laid the foundation for his 2012 title by grinding out lap after lap at race pace.

With Lorenzo on top of the timesheets, Dani Pedrosa was forced to settle for second, over a third of a second behind his main rival for the title. Pedrosa had spent most of the day working on suspension settings for Honda RC213V, but had been hampered by a problem with one of his bikes. Tomorrow, he told reporters, his team would try to put the best of what they’d found at the test together.

An impressive Cal Crutchlow set the 3rd fastest time of the day, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man six tenths off the pace of Lorenzo on the factory bike. The lap by Crutchlow is close to his best time around the Malaysian circuit, and given the disparity between his satellite-spec M1 and the factory bike of Lorenzo, all the more admirable.

Crutchlow also held off both Repsol Honda’s rookie revelation Marc Marquez and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, though Crutchlow’s margin over the two was slim. Marquez’ gap to his Repsol Honda teammate remains around three tenths of a second, a gap that is sure to close as the Spaniard gains more experience.

Rossi’s second test at Sepang is not going entirely to plan. After losing a good part of the first day to a technical issue, the Italian had a lot of ground to cover, Rossi finding himself uncharacteristically among the leaders in terms of numbers of laps put in. Rossi’s target is his teammate, but with Lorenzo in his current form, that’s a tough target.

The two satellite Hondas occupy the 6th and 7th slots on the timesheet, Alvaro Bautista getting the better of Stefan Bradl on Wednesday, and this time by a decent margin. Behind the Hondas, signs of improvement from Ducati, benefiting from the revised weight distribution, with the tank placed under the seat helping to centralize mass and the electronics moved to the forward part of the bike, underneath the front section of the tank.

Both men are still a second and a half off the pace of Lorenzo, but their times are inching towards being respectable. There is still a mountain of work to do for Ducati, but it is getting done, albeit very slowly.

The improvement is not just visible with the factory Ducatis. Andrea Iannone made some progress with the Pramac bike as well, moving up into 11th slot, and finally getting ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the Aspar Aprilia, Espargaro continuing to dominate the CRT class despite suffering massively with jet lag. Iannone is still nearly six tenths behind Bradley Smith, however, the Tech 3 rookie continuing to make steady progress in the class.

While one Pramac bike moves closer to the front, Ben Spies is losing ground. The Ignite Pramac man struggled to a 17th time on Wednesday, over three seconds behind Lorenzo and two seconds slower than his best time from last year on the Yamaha. Whether Spies is still suffering with his shoulder remains to be seen; a heavy fall on Tuesday cannot have helped.

The weather had been kind to the riders at Sepang, with the rain holding off all day, despite dark clouds continually threatening the track. The hope is that this will continue for Thursday, and the final day of testing.

Results from Day 2 of MotoGP’s Second Test at Sepang, Malaysia:

Pos. Num. Rider Team Time Diff. Prev.
1 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2:00.282  –  –
2 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 2:00.651 0.369 0.369
3 35 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 2:00.907 0.625 0.256
4 93 Marc Marquez Honda 2:00.992 0.710 0.085
5 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2:01.065 0.783 0.073
6 19 Alvaro Bautista Honda 2:01.208 0.926 0.143
7 6 Stefan Bradl Honda 2:01.485 1.203 0.277
8 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati 2:01.778 1.496 0.293
9 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 2:01.803 1.521 0.025
10 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha 2:02.023 1.741 0.220
11 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati 2:02.608 2.326 0.585
12 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia ART 2:02.905 2.623 0.297
13 51 Michele Pirro Ducati Test 2:02.920 2.638 0.015
14 T2 Katsayuki Nakasuga Yamaha Test 2:02.946 2.664 0.026
15 T1 Wataru Yoshikawa Yamaha Test 2:03.354 3.072 0.408
16 8 Hector Barbera FTR Kawasaki 2:03.428 3.146 0.074
17 11 Ben Spies Ducati 2:03.460 3.178 0.032
18 14 Randy de Puniet Aprilia ART 2:03.518 3.236 0.058
19 7 Hiroshi Aoyama FTR Kawasaki 2:03.990 3.708 0.472
20 9 Danilo Petrucci Suter BMW 2:04.279 3.997 0.289
21 17 Karel Abraham Aprilia ART 2:04.350 4.068 0.071
22 37 Takumi Takahashi Honda Test 2:04.512 4.230 0.162
23 5 Colin Edwards FTR Kawasaki 2:04.656 4.374 0.144
24 68 Yonny Hernandez Aprilia ART 2:04.671 4.389 0.015
25 71 Claudio Corti FTR Kawasaki 2:04.709 4.427 0.038
26 67 Bryan Staring FTR Honda 2:05.439 5.157 0.730
27 52 Lukas Pesek Suter BMW 2:06.206 5.924 0.767
28 33 Michael Laverty PBM Aprilia 2:07.721 7.439 1.515

Records and Times from Previous Tests at Sepang:

2013 Sepang 1 test Dani Pedrosa Honda 2:00.100
2007 Race record Casey Stoner Ducati 2:02.108
2012 Pole record Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2:00.334
2012 Sepang 2 test Casey Stoner Honda 2:00.473

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Yamaha Racing

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.