2014 MotoGP Sepang 2 Day 1 Final Times: Bautista Leads Surprise Line Up

Testing is once again underway at Sepang, on a track in far from perfect conditions, due in part to some car testing done in the period after the last test, and in part due to an uncharacteristing complete lack of rain in the region. Mixed conditions gave new faces a chance to shine, with Alvaro Bautista grabbing the top spot in the dying moments of the test, when most of the riders switched to qualifying mode.

Bautista's Showa-shod Gresini Honda was followed closely by the Forward Yamaha Open bike of Aleix Espargaro, and the Tech 3 Yamaha of younger brother Pol. The Espargaro brothers were strong at the first test, and have continued to shine in the second. Andrea Dovizioso was fourth fastest on the factory Ducati, still in Factory Option configuration, rather than as Open, while Jorge Lorenzo set the 5th fastest time, three tenths off the pace of Alvaro Bautista.

Dani Pedrosa ended the session in 6th, though the difference with Lorenzo was negligible, just two thousandths of a second. Valentino Rossi was a couple of tenths slower, ending in 7th ahead of LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl and the second Tech3 Yamaha of Bradley Smith. Nicky Hayden rounded out the top ten, having closed the gap a great deal to the front, Hayden now just 1.4 seconds behind the leader, rather than nearly 2, which happened at the first test.

Times:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Diff previous
1 19 Alvaro Bautista Honda RC213V 2:00.848    
2 41 Aleix Espargaro Yamaha FTR Open 2:00.900 0.052 0.052
3 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha M1 2:00.999 0.151 0.099
4 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP14 2:01.029 0.181 0.030
5 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha M1 2:01.158 0.310 0.129
6 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 2:01.160 0.312 0.002
7 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 2:01.349 0.501 0.189
8 6 Stefan Bradl Honda RC213V 2:01.491 0.643 0.142
9 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha M1 2:01.644 0.796 0.153
10 69 Nicky Hayden Honda RCV1000R Open 2:02.227 1.379 0.583
11 35 Cal Crutchlow Ducati GP14 2:02.319 1.471 0.092
12 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP14 2:02.334 1.486 0.015
13 7 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda RCV1000R Open 2:02.709 1.861 0.375
14 5 Colin Edwards Yamaha FTR Open 2:02.743 1.895 0.034
15 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati GP13 Open 2:02.823 1.975 0.080
16 8 Hector Barbera Avintia Kawasaki 2:02.975 2.127 0.152
17 14 Randy De Puniet Suzuki Test 2:03.341 2.493 0.366
18 45 Scott Redding Honda RCV1000R Open 2:03.553 2.705 0.212
19 51 Michele Pirro Ducati GP14 Test 2:03.991 3.143 0.438
20 89 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha M1 Test 2:04.165 3.317 0.174
21 63 Mike Di Meglio Avintia Kawasaki 2:04.885 4.037 0.720
22 17 Karel Abraham Honda RCV1000R Open 2:05.638 4.790 0.753
23 9 Nobu Aoki Suzuki Test 2:07.302 6.454 1.664

 

Race Details
2014
Testing is once again underway at Sepang, on a track in far from perfect conditions, due in part to some car testing done in the period after the last test, and in part due to an uncharacteristing complete lack of rain in the region. Mixed conditions gave new faces a chance to shine, with Alvaro Bautista grabbing the top spot in the dying moments of the test, when most of the riders switched to qualifying mode.Bautista's Showa-shod Gresini Honda was followed closely by the Forward Yamaha Open bike of Aleix Espargaro, and the Tech 3 Yamaha of younger brother Pol. The Espargaro brothers were strong at the first test, and have continued to shine in the second. Andrea Dovizioso was fourth fastest on the factory Ducati, still in Factory Option configuration, rather than as Open, while Jorge Lorenzo set the 5th fastest time, three tenths off the pace of Alvaro Bautista.Dani Pedrosa ended the session in 6th, though the difference with Lorenzo was negligible, just two thousandths of a second. Valentino Rossi was a couple of tenths slower, ending in 7th ahead of LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl and the second Tech3 Yamaha of Bradley Smith. Nicky Hayden rounded out the top ten, having closed the gap a great deal to the front, Hayden now just 1.4 seconds behind the leader, rather than nearly 2, which happened at the first test.Times:

Comments

QP mode..

So, it's a safe bet that neither Pedrosa, Lorenzo, or Rossi went out for a "qualifying run" during the day?

Exciting to see some new names up front none the less!

Total votes: 17

Live Timing

I was watching the live timing and it appeard that none of JL, DP or VR went for it at the end like the other riders. They simply circulated at much the same speed as they had done the whole session.

Total votes: 16

FTR frame

In use?

Total votes: 13

No FTR yet

Frame still not in use. Both riders have the Yamaha frame still

Total votes: 17

no FTR frame to test

What will happen when the FTR frame is finally available? Will the Open Yamaha teams be expected to suddenly start using it midseason after not being able to test it during preseason?

Or will they be expected to "take advantage" of the unlimited (except by internal team budgets) testing available to them as Open teams and foot the bill for mid-season tests?

Will they have the option to continue using the frame with which they started the season if they want to (or feel the economic need to) avoid disrupting their season's "flow"?

Total votes: 14

Or

Or if FTR and Yamaha are more solidly working together with the Open rules, and FTR prefers it, could FTR choose to "delay" their chassis in order yo use the well established Yamaha one? Hard to beat all that data and beautiful work done w Ohlins et al last year.

Total votes: 10

Closer to the front?

While Nicky may be closer to the "front" - without Marquez present, the front is never going to be quite as far away as it could be! :)

Total votes: 24

yes but I bet

the "front" of Nicky's Honda "feels" a lot closer than the front of the GP13 he rode last year.

Total votes: 16

HA! Nice!

HA! Nice!

Total votes: 14

Questions

Just a few observations from the post test day interviews/times...

It is very exciting to see Espargaro fast again at this test. It really shows that he is a capable rider and real contender on a good bike. I hope that we see him battling for podiums this year. That would also be good for the state of the field/grid if he can generate some real results. My only concerns at this point for him would be consistency. He mentioned that bikes 1 and 2 feel very different and he has less confidence in his second bike. This is common for smaller outfits of course, but could rule him out of contention if things go wrong over the course of a race weekend. Also - how good will the FTR chassis be? It is safe to say that right now he is riding something similar to last years M1 which seems to do well with 24 litres of fuel and the spec software. I'm not a cynic but I expect the introduction of the FTR chassis will pull those times back a bit, if only initially.

Lorenzo has always been vocal with his preferences and it seems that Bridgestone have developed a more 'well-rounded' tire (no pun intended - as a tire that is more round helps JL). It seems to be suitable to more bikes and after the first test, a majority of the field seemed to respond well to the changes Bridgestone made. The last generation of tires clearly benefited JL's riding style and now that things have changed, it will be interesting to see how he adapts. Will he bemoan the shortcomings of the tires throughout the season and fall down in placement or will he be able to ride through the problems that the fuel limits create and show us how good he really is? I suspect the latter. I am hoping for the latter. It just seems that early on things are stacked against him - tires with less edge grip and an engine that is a lot rougher to ride, creating problems not just at corner entry or acceleration out, but mid corner most importantly. Qatar will be important. A track he does really well at, and a MM that is recovering from injury could just give him the early boost he needs to continue the confidence he had finishing the last year.

Rossi? He also complained about the new tires but seems to be pleased with the better braking and seems to have a bit more confidence. I'd be stoked to see something from him this year. Hopefully with Marc slowed a bit to start the season ('slowed' is silly speculation) and Espargaro looking good, it would be great to see Pedrosa, Rossi, Lorenzo, Espargaro and maybe even the satellite Hondas and Yamahas competing for the front. The fuel limits might actually bring the field close together.

I think Ducati moving to go open would be the smart move, but the GP14 is certainly better than the GP13. Good enough for top 6? Probably not - but the open Ducatis would struggle to crack the top 10.

And what's this in the twitter feed? MM wants to practice at Qatar with the non-factory riders...? Heck yea Yamaha will be mad! Interesting to see if that slides...

I'm giddy with excitement for this season!

Total votes: 15

I mostly follow you but

You may want to clarify which Espargaro you are talking about, AEsp or PEsp or this season will get confusing for everyone!

Total votes: 12

Espargaro confusion

I intend to use Pol and Aleix, first names instead of last names, to make it clear which one I am talking about.

Total votes: 16

Bright lights in Sepang

Aleix Espargaro doesn't have the new M1 or even the seamless transmission which Pol and Bradley now enjoy and yet is top rider for Yamaha and only bested by Bautista's factory Honda which is using a new Showa rear shock to "shocking" effect! Honda must be pleased at Hayden's progress as well as the new Bridgestone rear "factory" tires which don't agree with the Yamahas. Lorenzo's comments about these tires echoes the words Casey Stoner spoke in pre-season testing in 2012, almost exactly! Who says the Bridgestone guys don't have a sense of humor!

Total votes: 14

seamless...

Tech 3 does not have the seamless box yet !

Total votes: 16

Yamaha seamless

Pol told the Spanish press he is using the seamless gearbox already.

Total votes: 17

Yup

He said it helps in all areas. Does Smith have it?

Total votes: 10

After watching interviews

Both B. Smith and P. Espargaro have the seamless shift at this test.

Total votes: 10

Open Bikes

I am waiting to hear if Ducati is going open, they seem to be doing MUCH better already looking at Dovi's times. But one rider doing well is not enough. Yamaha seem to have taken the right approach to their Open Bikes. Aleix seems to make all the difference for bikes that are sub par compared to Satellite and Factory bikes. If he does well this year, (which is HIGHLY possible), I think he deserves at least a Tech 3 spot if not factory. So many of the riders complain about this and that, but Aleix lets his riding speak for him. Not saying he does not complain, but he does not let the problems stop him from doing well.

Also wonder if Honda will infuse their Open bikes with more power later on this year. There is no reason for them to have a bike this far down in power. It does not have to have the power of a Factory or Satellite bike, but damn. It could at least be CLOSE to having that same power.

Total votes: 10

Open possibilities

Hernandez is not as good a benchmark as any of the other 3 Ducati riders. Nor is the Ducati as good a benchmark as the Yamaha as it won't benefit so much from the fuel. Ducati has decided to switch and has not announced, and the impact is not as much for the immediate term as for the tide in favor of new regulations. If you don't think Suzuki is benefitting from a move to Open rules over the mid to longer term you are believing too much in press releases. Yamaha? This season is done for the factory Yamaha trying to catch Honda, last year was heroic on JL99's part and this year will pale in sad comparison now that Bridgestone has gone w the stiffer construction fot 2014. Behind closed doors Yamaha is already looking fwd with anticipation to more fuel and motors. It is becoming inevitable, and that is the intent of the Open class rules: make the factory option irrelevant.

Total votes: 13

Given enough rules

Given enough rules variations, anyone can build a bike that is faster than a Factory-option spec bike. That's not the point. The point is, who will participate in the series?

It's so pathetic to see people celebrating the Open option, when the only Open bike that's going fast is built almost exactly to Factory specs ...

Total votes: 18

Thue that...

... but the good thing about the Open category is that it can be whatever, last year's bikes (this is not the first time we see this in motogp as you surely know), the "old" CRT's i.e. non-prototype engine with prototype chassis, or even factories needing the freedom to experiment. Those are things that teams were pushing for (at least the first two), given that an all-factory race would be only 12 bikes. You are asking "who will participate in the series?". The grid is full, isn't it? And Suzuki are on their way in. I think things look good in that respect.

Total votes: 11

Ducati's plan

As I understand it, Ducati's plan was to decide Factory or Open before the Sepang 2 test, and show up prepared to test with their chosen option. So it would appear they have elected to go Factory, unless they have changed the plan to delay the decision. They still have not tested the GP14 in Open configuration, so I'm thinking they have decided to go Factory.

Total votes: 10

I thought it was after S2

I thought they would do both tests and then decide with the most data they can.

Since a lot of the updates on the GP14 are in factory software updates there may not be much reason to test a GP14 in 'Open' configuration with spec software. Also, going to the open software would likely eliminate the seamless shift trans as apparantly there is some electronic trickery going on so that the instant change in output shaft speed does not cause damage.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 13

Does Bautista have the

Does Bautista have the seamless transmission in his Honda? Does Bradl? Did either or both of them have it last year?

Total votes: 7

Inane ramblings

Just watched most of the "big players" interviews. The one thing that stood out most of all is Jorge seems very down in the mouth, all due to tyres. But, it's the same for everyone. I'm a Jorge fan, but now is the time he needs to prove he's worth the #1 at Yamaha. I've no doubt he will. Valentino seems to be doing his usual. Not over playing any part, but acknowledging the good and bad points. But the front end feel he seems to be finding again. Thank goodness.

Interesting that Cal is complaining of rear grip..maybe his style suits the front end of the GP14...I guess time will tell. Dani seemed to be not really that bothered to be honest. He needs a good nights sleep.

Both Pol and Bradley seem very upbeat, particularly now they've got the seemless gearbox. Good signs at Tech 3 right there. One thing's for sure, the Tech 3 boys are gonna work HARD to get it right before Qatar.

Nicky, as ever the consummate professional, getting on with it, I really hope he gets it working for him. I really do.

So, everyone's complained about the state of the track, understandable.

If you were Marc Marquez, would you be THAT worried about what's unfolding in Sepang.....don't think I would.

Total votes: 10

Nicky is in the same position

The switch to the Honda 1000RR has put Nicky in the same position as he was last season-fighting for 8th position.

I hate that the Open Honda was designed to compete with the ART and not the Satellite bikes. I would love to see 12 guys able to get a podium.

B.Smith. I don't think that he will be able to beat his rookie teammate.
Redding... by midseason, he will hand Hiroshi his lunch.

Total votes: 11

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