Rossi tops final day of the 2nd MotoGP Pre-Season test

  The world’s best two-wheel racers have descended on the Sepang track for the scheduled second pre-season test in preparation of the new Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) Championship season, which is slated to kick off on the 21 – 23 March weekend at the Losail circuit, Qatar. Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Alvaro Bautista each captured fastest lap times over the 3-day test at the world’s hottest track. (click to enlarge)

Rossi finally beat Honda riders’ dreadlock by topping the time sheets on the third and final day of the 2nd pre-season test. The 9-time Champion’s quickest lap time of 1:59.999 put him as one of only two riders to drop under the two minute mark; the other was Pedrosa, who finished the session with the second quickest time. Andrea Dovizioso landed in third spot for Ducati, overcoming FTR rider Aleix Espargaro, Stefan Bradl, Bautista, Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow. Meantime, the two Yamaha Tech 3’s of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro homed in with the ninth and tenth quickest times.

Rossi expressed his gratitude after topping the time sheets on the final day’s session, “First of all I am very happy because I am in first position and I did a good lap. I was one of the only ones in the 1’59s which is positive, especially because with the 2014 tyres in the first test we tried a time attack and I was more than one second slower than today.”

Although Yamaha was able to better Repsol Honda for the first time in 6 test sessions, Rossi felt that the bike’s new 2014-spec tyres  still carried some issues over  long distance in the heat.  His team mate struggled to find a quick pace through the 3-day session and ended up seventh quickest. Whilst still struggling to find a perfect solution to the new tyres, Lorenzo was able to find a change to make some improvement to set up. The Spaniard was still less than satisfied overall with the grip levels on offer from the new rubber. 

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Bautista and Pedrosa dominate first two days of 2nd pre-season test

Bautista was fastest on the first, while Pedrosa nailed the quickest lap on day two. The Honda Gresini rider overcame a considerably less grippy track to top the first day’s session, beating the two Espargaros in the process. Dovizioso slotted in in fourth, then came Lorenzo and the Repsol Honda of Pedrosa. Bautista tested the new Showa rear shock on his RCV and found the new shock to be very much to his liking. It allowed him to ride comfortably on the limit and to the top of the time sheets. MotoGP Reigning Champion Marc Marquez is absent from this second pre-season test due to a broken right fibula sustained at a dirt track event last week.

Lorenzo and Rossi struggled to overcome their sluggish start at the second pre-season test. Lorenzo dipped from fifth to ninth, while Rossi improved slightly from seventh to fourth, within a day. On the first day, both factory riders fell behind a certain Pol Espargarò of the Yamaha Tech 3 outfit on the time sheets. Espargaro came in third fastest behind Bautista and Aleix (Espargaro).

The Yamaha Tech 3 riders Espargaro and team mate Bradley Smith tested various aspects of the YZF-M1, predominantly the new seamless gearbox. Espargaro and Smith went third and ninth quickest on the first day, and eighth and tenth on the second day.

Lorenzo ended the first day in fifth position, 0.310 seconds from first and less than satisfied with the new tyre. His problems with the shods continued into the second day’s session where he dipped to ninth. Rossi, meanwhile, put in a number of laps and worked on the balance of his M1; the 9-time champion got the seventh quickest time on day one and actually led the first day’s session briefly in the early going, but slipped down the time sheets in the later part of the session. Rossi had a better session on day two, recording the fourth fastest time of 2:00.605.

Dani Pedrosa leaps from sixth to first place on day 2

Pedrosa went from sixth quickest to tops in the first two days. The Spaniard, though, struggled to find his pace on day one due to the track’s slippery surface and jetlag. Having already made his choice of chassis for the season, Pedrosa stayed focus on engine mapping and general set-up work through the 3-day test session.

Amongst the non-factory Honda riders, Bradl obtained eighth on the first day and jumped to sixth on the second day. The German concluded the third and final day’s session in fifth overall, thanks to an improved track condition and effective new tyres.

The MotoGP teams now move directly to Phillip Island for a further test before the season kicks off under the floodlights of the Losail Circuit on 23 March.

MotoGP second pre-season test times

Day three
1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:59.999
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 1:59.999
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team 2:00.067
4 Aleix Espargaro FTR 2:00.101
5 Stefan Bradl Honda 2:00.164
6 Alvaro Bautista Honda 2:00.506
7 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2:00.619
8 Cal Crutchlow Ducati 2:00.790
9 Bradley Smith Yamaha Tech3 2:00.804
10 Pol Espargarò Yamaha Tech3 2:01.032

Day two
1 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 2:00.039
2 Aleix Espargaro FTR 2:00.320
3 Alvaro Bautista Honda 2:00.500
4 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2:00.605
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 2:00.787
6 Stefan Bradl Honda 2:00.902
7 Cal Crutchlow Ducati 2:00.952
8 Pol Espargarò Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.027
9 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2:01.049
10 Bradley Smith Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.098

Day one
1 Alvaro Bautista Honda 2:00.848
2 Aleix Espargaro FTR-M1 +0.052
3 Pol Espargaro Yamaha Tech 3 +0.151
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati +0.181
5 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha +0.310
6 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda +0.312
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +0.501
8 Stefan Bradl Honda +0.643
9 Bradley Smith Yamaha Tech 3 +0.796
10 Nicky Hayden Aspar +1.379