2013 Sepang MotoGP Friday Round Up: Pedrosa's Speed, The Brain As A Complex Organ, And Honda Flying In Moto3
Is Sepang a Honda track or a Yamaha track? On the evidence of the first day of practice, you would have to say it is definitely a Honda track. Or more specifically, a factory Honda track, according to Valentino Rossi. The Italian veteran told reporters that the factory Hondas seemed to have something extra at Sepang, even compared to the satellite RC213Vs. Having lighter riders meant they did better on the long straights, consumed less fuel and could therefore use more power, Rossi said, but there was more to it than that. They were also better on corner entry, especially in the tight corners, where HRC appears to have found something extra. The only place the Yamahas had any kind of advantage was in the longer faster corners, Rossi said. Through turns five and six, Rossi could catch Dani Pedrosa. Once they left that section, Pedrosa was gone.
If the bike is good, then Dani Pedrosa is outstanding. His lap in the afternoon was exceptional, the 2'00.554 just a couple of tenths slower than Jorge Lorenzo's pole lap record from last year. Nobody else could get anywhere near him. His only rival was teammate Marc Marquez, forced to give half a second away to Pedrosa. A brace of Yamahas followed, Cal Crutchlow 3rd fastest despite suffering badly with his still damaged right arm swelling in the tropical heat, ending a tenth ahead of Valentino Rossi, the first of the factory Yamaha machines. Both Crutchlow and Rossi were clear where they were losing out: three tenths of a second on each of the two long straights at Sepang, according to the Tech 3 man. Rossi concurred, though he was less inclined to put numbers to his disadvantage. The Yamahas are having to make up through the fast corners what they are losing in the long straights.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Sepang:
Previews of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:
Below are the FIM press releases announcing the punishments imposed by Race Direction on Marc Marquez after the incident with Dani Pedrosa in the MotoGP race at Aragon, and Sandro Cortese after the incident with Alex De Angelis in the Moto2 race at Aragon:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's racing at the Motorland Aragon circuit:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Aragon:
Preview press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams at Aragon:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the weekend's races at Misano:
If half a second is a long time around Misano, seven tenths of a second is almost a geological era. Jorge Lorenzo was lacking grip and braking stability on Saturday; on Sunday morning, Ramon Forcada stiffened the front to improve Lorenzo's braking, and the factory Yamaha man crushed the opposition in the warm up. Four hours later, the reigning world champion did exactly the same again in the race, destroying his rivals in the first three laps, and holding on for a victory that was both overwhelming and important.
The first three laps? Lorenzo probably won the race in the first 100 meters off the line. Lorenzo had fluffed his practice starts on Saturday, bogging down and not really getting off the line. On Sunday, he was so fast away off the line that he had two bike lengths before he had even changed up into second gear. By the time he crossed the timing line at the end of the first sector, he was already 0.4 seconds ahead. By the end of the first lap, he was 1.2 seconds ahead. It was already game over.
There was the small matter of the remaining 27 laps, of course, but Lorenzo controlled the race imperiously. Every time one of the Repsol Hondas chasing him got a little closer, Lorenzo responded, upping his pace to match either Dani Pedrosa or Marc Marquez, depending on who was leading the chase. The gap climbed to three seconds, dropped to two seconds, climbed again to four before Lorenzo crossed the line nearly three and a half seconds ahead of Marquez. It had been a typically Lorenzian performance, ruling the race with an iron fist, crushing the opposition before it even had a chance to consider trying to put up a fight.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Misano:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Misano:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's round at Misano:
While the MotoGP seats - at least, the MotoGP seats on factory prototypes, or as we must now call them, factory option bikes - were filled quickly after the summer break, and the former CRT seats set to follow suit over the next two rounds, there has been little movement in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes so far. This is hardly surprising: negotiations for Moto2 and (especially) Moto3 seats tend to start at the end of the season rather than the middle, with some Moto2 seats dependent on who moves up to MotoGP. Yet after Silverstone and ahead of Misano, the first big moves started to be made.
The early news was the signing of Tito Rabat with the Marc VDS Racing team, taking the place of Scott Redding who departs for MotoGP. With both Rabat and Pol Espargaro leaving - the younger of the Espargaro brothers had been signed by Yamaha for the Tech 3 team in MotoGP earlier in the year - Sito Pons' Moto2 team, Tuenti HP 40 Pons was left with only Sito's son Axel Pons left on the payroll for 2014. At Silverstone, Pons penned a deal with current Moto3 championship leader Luis Salom for the next two seasons, and shortly afterwards, he also signed up Maverick Viñales, also for 2014 and 2015. The two Spaniards will contest Moto2 on board the Kalex Moto2 machines left behind by Rabat and Espargaro.
The 2013 Moto2 rider line up is proving to be rather fluid. The latest in a series of changes to the line up is the departure of Toni Elias from the Blusens Avintia Moto2 team, after a season of disappointing results: the 2010 Moto2 champion's best finish this year was a 9th place at Jerez.
Elias is part of a chain reaction encompassing three different paddocks, and stretching into 2014. The catalyst was Michel Fabrizio, who is leaving his Red Devils Roma team in World Superbikes with immediate effect. Fabrizio has had a positively mediocre season so far, his only podium coming at the season opener at Phillip Island, a great disappointment as the Italian started as an outsider for the title. After financial disagreements with the team, which arose at the Silverstone round of World Superbikes, according to GPOne.com, Fabrizio and the team decided to part ways before the season was over, rather than at the end.