Rossi & Pedrosa Lead Sepang Drills
The overall pace was not as quick at Sepang this week, with Rossi and Pedrosa’s best laps today being 0.466 seconds slower than the best circulation set last time out by world champion Marc Marquez, who missed this test due to injury.
The Doctor demonstrated his pace once again on Friday as he prepares for a 15th premier class campaign, setting a quickest time on his 13th lap, in spite of some struggles with the 2014 tires being experienced by the Yamaha factory team.
Thursday’s fastest rider Dani Pedrosa was also on the pace, his sharpest time coming on the 47th of his 50 laps, as temperatures dropped slightly.
Pedrosa undertook an impressive 19-lap race simulation in the afternoon with every lap under the two minute and two second mark.
On the other side of the Yamaha garage to Rossi, seventh placed Jorge Lorenzo’s frustrations continued as he was +0.75 seconds slower than at the previous test — where track conditions were better and the riders still had access to a 2013 specification tire.
The Ducati GP14 is showing signs of real improvement and Andrea Dovizioso ended the test 0.068 seconds off the top pace in third, with a lap time 0.3s better than at Sepang1. With the data gathered by him and his fellow Ducati riders the Italian factory made the decision that they will opt for ‘Open’ class participation this season.
Aleix Espargaro was once again quick, his best time of two minutes and 1.01 seconds, leaving him fourth best overall and with a decent race simulation performed for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team on their ‘Open’ Yamaha.
Stefan Bradl wrapped up early having had a solid week, the LCR Honda rider satisfied with his consistently quick times as he found good rhythm on longer runs and ended up fifth overall (+0.165).
The fastest rider on the first day Alvaro Bautista was 0.5 seconds off the pace on the final day in sixth and is happy with progress made with a new rear shock this week.
In eighth Cal Crutchlow made steady headway over the two Sepang tests and has dropped his gap to the frontrunning pace to less than 0.8 seconds compared with a 1.5-second deficit at the end of the previous visit to Malaysia.
The key development for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team this week has been the introduction of the seamless gearbox to their package and their young pair of riders, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, rounded out the top 10.
Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone crashed shortly before 1 p.m., but was unhurt.