Valentino Rossi got the first day of the second MotoGP test at Sepang in the best way possible with the Movistar Yamaha rider ending the day in the top position on the timing sheets.
The Italian rider leaped into the lead in the morning and remained at the top for the day.
Rossi was also using a new updated seamless gearbox at today’s test with the seven-times MotoGP champion confirming his initial feelings with the new part afterwards. Rainfall put a stop to any fast laps late in the afternoon leaving Rossi on top with a best time of 2m 0.414s and ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro in third position.
“Everybody in our team was curious about the updated gearbox and the first impression is quite positive, so I’m happy,” said Rossi who continued, “It doesn’t make a huge difference, but it’s a small help in a difficult point where we need to improve. The bike is a bit better in braking and corner entry and I think we need to work to understand the maximal potential, but the first test was good. I am happy to finish in the first position because I was in P1 from this morning, so it’s a good first day.
It’s important for us to make some kilometers on the wet. I don’t really like the feeling with the bike on the wet and last year I struggled a bit. We already improved a bit today, but we need to do some more testing and make some more kilometers,” he added.
Pedrosa carried his strong form over from the first test in Sepang at the start of the month and focused today on his suspension and engine mapping settings on his RC213V. The Spaniard ended the day with a best lap of 2m 0.543s and speaking afterward he said, “Today we focused on testing different setups for the bike and I think it went well. We have not tried any new parts, instead confirming our findings with what we had at the last test, even though the track was not perfect. It rained at the end, so we could also ride a little in those conditions. Tomorrow we will continue testing some changes to the setup, to see if we can come up with some improvements that allow us to ride more comfortably.”
Espargaro is quickly marking himself as one to watch this season and the Spaniard was fast from the off today and ended with a best lap of 2m 0.876s on the satellite Yamaha. He said, “I am really happy with the progress that we have made today and to finish in third is a great start to this test. We are continuing to work in the right direction and as soon as we started this morning, I knew that we could be quick. At midday it was already 54 degrees on the ground, which was clearly warmer than the first test where it reached a max of 50 and so we weren’t able to ride as many laps. However, the general feeling for today was that it was productive and we focused on trying different electronic settings.
The information that we collected will be very useful and furthermore, it was very good to run some laps in the rain as well. This meant that we could work on the wet setup and I am really pleased with this especially, as there is a definite improvement. The 2015 Yamaha feels great and I know that if I can ride a bit smoother and adjust my riding style slightly, we can be strong. There are a few more things which we have to study in order to improve, but we cannot rush everything and we must take it all step by step,” Espargaro added.