Testing at Jerez has wrapped up completely, with the final day once again plagued by heavy rain, cold temperatures and high winds. A slight improvement at the end of the day saw the two MV Agusta World Supersport bikes get a little closer to a normal lap time, though both Lorenzo Zanetti and Jules Cluzel were still 4 seconds slower than they were on Wednesday, when the bikes were out on a dry track. Nothing can be read into the times of the World Superbike riders, however, as neither Jonathan Rea, Leon Camier nor Tom Sykes completed more than ten laps, and most of their track time was focused on starts.
Ducati's MotoGP team were also present on the final day, but no reports of their times will emerge, as they were testing the new Michelin tires. Under the terms agreed by Bridgestone when they announced that they would be withdrawing as single tire supplier to MotoGP, the factories are not allowed to comment on the Michelin tires until next year, when the first full year of testing starts ahead of the switch to Michelin in 2016.
Times from Friday:
The LCR Honda team issued the following press release, after Jack Miller completed his three-day test at Sepang:
POSITIVE TEST CONCLUDES FOR MILLER IN MALAYSIA
Today in Malaysia saw the last of the on-track action in 2014 for the CWM LCR Honda Team and their rookie rider Jack Miller, as they concluded a three-day test at the Sepang International Circuit.
The 19 year-old Aussie has made significant progress over the past three days as he prepares the huge step up from the Moto3 World Championship to the elite of MotoGP in 2015. With help from HRC the team are gradually revealing more complex aspects of the Open electronics package on the Honda RC213V-RS, and with more time spent on the bike Miller admitted he felt increasingly comfortable, despite a small lowside spill in the morning.
After having completed a long run out on track in the afternoon the testing session was once again halted, as it had been the previous two days, when rain fell just after 4pm. However the Queenslander had already improved on his best lap of the test, with a quickest time of 2’02.9.
Press releases from teams in the MotoGP, World Superbike and Moto2 teams at tracks across southern Spain:
Rain hampered the fourth day of the combined World Superbike, MotoGP and Moto2 test at Jerez. The circuit in Southern Spain was hammered by rain, high winds and cold temperatures, rendering the times set far from instructive. While the Ducatis continued to circulate without transponders, Tom Sykes was the fastest of the officially timed riders, though he was lapping over ten seconds slower than in the dry, the day before.
Testing is set to continue on Friday, but rain continues to plague the circuit. The Ducati MotoGP team is set to test Michelins, and due to the contractual situation with current single tire supplier Bridgestone, those times will be kept confidential.
Below are the times set on Thursday:
The LCR Honda team issued the following press release after the second day of testing for Jack Miller at Sepang:
MILLER KNOCKS TWO SECONDS OFF BEST LAP
On his second day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, Jack Miller upped his pace by nearly two seconds as he continued his apprenticeship on board the CWM LCR Honda RC213V-RS.
Track conditions were much improved from the first day of testing, and the Australian was able to consistently make progress as he and his team work to adapt the new bike to his requirements.
Dark clouds hung over the circuit for the majority of the day, but before they dropped their payload at 4pm in the afternoon as per usual, Miller was able to complete a best lap of 2’03.1, compared to a 2’04.9 on day one.
CWM LCR Honda’s final test of the year concludes tomorrow at Sepang, with the 19 year-old hoping to get in a couple of long runs to test out his fitness over a race distance.
Jack Miller #43 (2’03.1, 48 laps)
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
MotoGP shakes up the rules
Two weeks from now MotoGP’s Grand Prix Commission sit downs in Madrid to decide the future of Grand Prix racing.
The December 17 meeting will finally rubber stamp the biggest regulations shake-up since the four-strokes arrived a dozen years ago, which the manufacturers and Dorna have been arguing over for what seems like forever. As always, they hold opposite positions: Dorna want low-cost, TV-friendly entertainment, the factories want an R&D-friendly technology race.
The GPC – made up of one representative each from Dorna, the MSMA, the FIM and teams association IRTA – will decide on plans to reduce performance, increase fuel capacity and essentially freeze electronics R&D.
It was a busy track at Jerez, with more teams from various classes having converged on the circuit for the last couple of days testing. While the Suzuki factory MotoGP team has packed up and left, their place has been taken by the Ducati factory team, both MotoGP and World Superbike, along with the Forward Yamaha Open class team and Avintia Ducati. There were a number of Moto2 riders lapping here, rather than joining the Marc VDS Racing team and Gresini at Almeria, the Pons Kalex and QMMF teams taking to the track at Jerez. MV Agusta also started their first couple of days of testing, with Jules Cluzel returning to race in World Supersport, while Leon Camier gave a brand new F4RR a shakedown, starting his first day of work with his new team.
The LCR Honda team issued the following press release after the first day of extra testing laid on for MotoGP rookie Jack Miller:
ROOKIE MILLER BACK ON TRACK AT SEPANG
One half of the CWM LCR Honda Team began the first of three test days at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today, as preparations for the 2015 season continued before the testing ban comes into force during December and January.
As a rookie to MotoGP next season, the team’s new recruit Jack Miller is entitled to extra test days in order to smooth the transition to the premier class, and was joined out on the 5.543 km (3.444 mile) circuit by various test riders. Temperatures were cooler than during the scorching October race at the track, peaking at around 32°C, but with only four riders testing the surface took a while to clean.
The Australian, who joins the motorcycling elite after finishing as the championship runner-up in Moto3, was able to put in 39 laps of the track on his new Honda RC213V-RS until light rain at 4pm brought a halt to any further progress.
Testing continues at Sepang for Miller and the CWM LCR Honda Team on Thursday and Friday, where the 19 year-old will hope for better conditions to carry on with his adaptation to the new bike.
Jack Miller #43 (2’04.92, 39 laps)
QUESTIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
One of the best things about running MotoMatters.com (apart from the opportunity to get so close and learn so much about racing motorcycles and the people who are involved with them) is the interaction I have had with readers. I am regularly complimented by people in the paddock on the intelligence and thoughtful tone of the comments on the website. Indeed, I am sometimes put to shame by them, the comments being far more interesting and insightful than the story which appears above them.
It is not just on the website itself. There is also social media, and interacting with race fans via Twitter or Facebook gives me a real sense of what fans think and what they want to know. From time to time, I will also try to arrange a meet up with fans at a racetrack itself, and talk to people directly, although that is too often very hard to fit in to the hectic schedule of a race weekend.
Alex Lowes has topped the second day of combined testing for teams from both major world championships at Jerez. After another wet morning, the track finally dried out in the afternoon, allowing the riders to post competitive lap times. Lowes ended the day as fastest, the Suzuki rider posting a fast lap right at the end of the day, beating his superpole time from the race weekend here back in September.
Lowes was one of a group of riders who chased a quick time at the end of the day, Kawasaki's Tom Sykes ending just over a tenth of a second behind Lowes, while Leon Haslam put the factory-backed Red Devils Roma Aprilia into third place. Both Aprilia WSBK riders were fast all day, Haslam and possible future teammate Michel Fabrizio dominating proceedings earlier.
Testing is set to continue this week in a range of classes, as bikes take to the track in preparation for the 2015 season. The south of Spain will see the most action, with a group of MotoGP teams being joined by the Crescent Suzuki World Superbike team at Jerez, and a selection of Moto2 teams heading to Almeria.
At Jerez, Suzuki and Aprilia will continue work on their bikes ahead of next season. As new factories, they receive the same concessions as Ducati, which means that they are allowed unlimited testing, more engines, they have the softer rear tire, and they are allowed to develop their engines throughout the season. Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro will be riding the GSX-RR for Suzuki, while Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri will be taking the Aprilia ART out for further testing.
Ducati will also be present at the test, Andrea Dovizioso and new teammate Andrea Iannone continuing work on the Desmosedici GP14.2. They are still eagerly awaiting the arrival of the GP15, but that bike will not be ready until the Sepang tests, and most likely, only at the second test at Sepang.
One of the things I enjoy most about running the MotoMatters.com website is the ability to communicate and interact directly with fans. Here, and as @motomatters on Twitter (and even one day on Facebook, once I get the page sorted out properly), I derive a lot of pleasure from hearing your questions and answering them to the best of my ability.
Of course, the problem with Twitter is that space to give an answer is severely limited, to just 140 characters. That doesn't leave much space to give as full an answer as the questions usually deserve. Similarly, when responding to comments on the website, I often don't have the time to spend giving the answer the full attention it deserves, as most of the questions and comments come during a race weekend.
With the MotoGP factory riders now finished their on-track work for 2014, the teams have time to reflect on their seasons. The Movistar Yamaha team has done so in a pair of press releases, containing interviews with their riders. Last week, we published the interview with Jorge Lorenzo, which means that this week, it is the turn of Valentino Rossi to look back at 2014. It was an outstanding year for Rossi, and he talks about his motivation, how the changes he made at the end of last year affected his performance, and what it takes to remain competitive at 35 years of age. Rossi makes his intention for 2015 perfectly clear: to be fighting for wins and for a title from the start of the next year:
Q: The 2014 season is over. Can you evaluate your performance?
Valentino Rossi: “I am very happy about my performance this season. The balance was very positive. For me this was the key season to decide my future. Last year I wasn’t very happy and I had to decide whether to continue or not. My target was to get to the front, fight with the top three riders and aim to get onto the podium every race. Last year this wasn’t always possible. I am happy that I was able to make it happen this year. I’ve made some big changes at the beginning of the season, but these have worked and I'm happy for that. Throughout this season I’ve always been strong in the race. I had good races and good battles.”
Q: What do you think about this year’s M1? At the beginning of the championship you suffered some lack of performances, but in the second part of the season the M1 won races with both you and Jorge.
VR: "Our M1 has improved a lot during the season, especially thanks to the good job done by both crews. Silvano, Ramon and all the engineers and technicians have worked very well. All together we were able to improve the bike to make it competitive and winning. It's a shame we weren’t able to improve the performance earlier on because most of the gap with Marc was created at the beginning of the season and then it became difficult to recover. If only we could start the season again now, things would go differently, but that's okay. What’s more important is that the bike has improved a lot and that it’s competitive now.”
After the Valencia tests, the Pramac team issued a press release looking back at how the team's two riders, Yonny Hernandez and Danilo Petrucci, fared in the test, and takes a look at what he expects of the two in 2015. The press release appears below:
Pramac Racing Team ready for Moto GP 2015 - Team Manager Francesco Guidotti's analysis
The Valencia week represents the natural division between motoGP 2014 and 2015 seasons. The Grand Prix assigning the world champion title for the three classes passes the baton to the official tests on the base of which the teams will start to build the following season. And it is from the first 2015 tests that important data come to light with regards to structure, analysis and expectations. The Pramac Racing Team ones are run by the Team Manager Francesco Guidotti.
New Pramac Racing Team Structure
"The team's first rider will be Yonny Hernandez, in the Pramac Racing Team for the second year in a row, after becoming official with Ducati. He will manage the Ducati Desmosedici Gp 14.2 that in the last 5 races of the GP 2014 was driven by Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone. Danilo Pertucci will race with the Ducati Desmosedici Gp 14.1 used by Cal Crutchlow during season 2914. The mission of the Team is to create the conditions for a technical growth of our riders. We hope Yonny Hernandez and Danilo Petrucci will be following Andrea Iannone's steps as he has been protagonist of a huge growth over the past two years in the Pramac Racing".