Moto GP

Movistar Yamaha Marches to 1-2 on First Day of Malaysian Testing

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The 2015 MotoGP䋢 World Champion continued his championship form, a second clear of the rest of the field as 2016 got underway.

Sepang hosted the first test of 2016 as 21 riders took to the track for the first time since November. The post-race Valencia test gave riders and fans a glimpse at what was to come, but Sepang was the first time that all riders took to the track with the spec ECU and Michelin tyres fitted together.

Despite the unknowns, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‰Ûªs Jorge Lorenzo continued where he left off in 2015 as he dominated the field. A 2‰Ûª00.684 set the Majorcan over a second clear of his closest rival, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Valentino Rossi in second.

Lorenzo‰Ûªs lap was only 0.078s slower than his fastest lap of the race in 2015; with new tyres and new electronics this is a positive start for the five-time World Champion.

It was not just a single flying lap from Lorenzo, the factory Yamaha rider completing seven laps under the 2‰Ûª02 mark, with three being 2‰Ûª00s. Lorenzo fastest lap was his 32nd of 37. Meanwhile Rossi set just a single 2‰Ûª01 lap, but did manage 12 laps inside the 2‰Ûª02s.

"I'm very happy and surprised about the feeling I had today with the Michelin tyres," Lorenzo said.

"The lap times were relatively easy to achieve and every time we exited pit lane we improved something on the bike to understand the electronics better and they adapted very well to the Michelin tyres. I'm very happy with the change, because Sepang, for me, is always difficult. Today I only slept two hours because of the jet-lag and I have a sore throat so I'm taking antibiotics.

"My physical condition is not perfect, but to ride two or three laps, I can do that very well. If I was fitter I could do longer stints," the Spaniard concluded.
Valentino Rossi finished opening day with the second fastest time. Credit Yamaha Racing
Just behind, Rossi completed an incredible 55 laps, his 2‰Ûª01.717 coming on his 52nd lap. Rain had been predicted to fall earlier in the test, but held off until the final 20 minutes which allowed riders to maximize their time on track.

Despite a short break when the session was red flagged due to a crash of Eugene Laverty, the nine-time World Champion was able to tick off most items listed on today's testing schedule. He spent more time on track than any other rider, completing a total of 55 laps, and finished with a solid fastest lap of 2'01.717s for second place.

"The gap to Lorenzo is too big, but it's also true that he was stronger than everybody else, so he was able to have a better rhythm," Rossi explained

"On the other side, my position is not so bad and we worked a lot on the bike. It's just the first day and the total count will be at the end of the third, but we have a lot of things to do. I'm quite happy because the electronics already work quite well. We're not at the same level as last year, but it's already good to ride the bike and especially the Michelin front tyre improved a lot, so the feeling when you ride the bike is more similar to last year.

"These are the two important issues. We had three bikes, but one of them was just meant for doing a few laps, it was the old one. We have two 2016 bikes and I did my fastest lap time on the bike that's more similar to the 2015 model, so it's a little bit half and half, but just because I didn't have enough time to work on the 2016. I did only one stint and it wasn't so bad, we will continue tomorrow and see. Our first issue for this test is to decide which one, so tomorrow we'll try to get a better understanding," Rossi concluded.

Completing the top three was Dani Pedrosa, the Repsol Honda rider continuing to assess two engine specifications. Throughout 2015 Honda riders struggled with an overly aggressive engine, resolving this issue is Honda‰Ûªs primary aim for the three day Sepang test.

Fourth was Danilo Petrucci, 1.127s shy of Lorenzo‰Ûªs best time and 0.101s ahead of factory rider Andrea Iannone. Petrucci, along with Scott Redding, will race the GP15 in 2016. Iannone spent the majority of Monday on the GP15, debuting the new 2016 Ducati later in the day.

Hector Barbera made it three Ducati machines in the top six as the 2015 Open Champion put his Avintia Ducati GP14.2 in sixth. Behind him was fellow Spaniard Marc Marquez, who set a 2‰Ûª02.278 and was over 1.5 seconds behind Lorenzo. Scott Redding, Aleix Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow rounded out the top ten and were all within two seconds of Lorenzo.

Despite the top ten, it was not a perfect day for the Team Suzuki Ecstar rider who suffered an engine failure. Fortunately this was on his 2015 machine and his new bike with the seamless shift gearbox was unharmed.

MotoGP‰ã¢ Rookie of the Year, Maverick Vi̱ales, was 11th and 0.001s faster than Monster Yamaha Tech 3‰Ûªs Pol Espargaro. Both Espargaro and Bradley Smith were on the 2015 spec Yamaha, similar to what Rossi and Lorenzo raced. Smith suffered a small crash at Turn 15 but was unhurt, ending the day in 15th. The Valencia test saw a high number of front end crashes, no such issues appearing in Sepang.

Andrea Dovizioso was down in 13th as he spent a majority of his day on the GP15, completing 40 laps. Behind the factory rider was Aspar MotoGP Team‰Ûªs Yonny Hernandez, the Colombian adapting to the new Michelin tyres. It was an unfortunate end to the test for his teammate Eugene Laverty who fell at Turn 4 and suffered a broken right wrist, ruling him out of the test.

Michele Pirro ended the day 16, the Ducati test rider having already ridden on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile Loris Baz celebrated his 23rd birthday with a 17th place finish, competing 58 laps, just one less than teammate Barbera.

With 53 laps, Tito Rabat continued to adapt to life in the premier class. As teammate Jack Miller is out injured, the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team focused all of their attention on the Spaniard.

Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista rounded out the 21 riders, the Aprilia pair on a lab bike as the reveal of the new 2016 model was pushed back.

It was also announced that Casey Stoner will join the MotoGP䋢 riders on track on Tuesday, Stoner participating in his first official timed session since Valencia in 2012. Coverage again begins at 10am Local Time and lasts eight hours.

Main Photo: Jorge Lorenzo concluded day one on top
Credit: Yamaha Racing
MotoGP Sepang Test 2016
1 LORENZO, Jorge Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:00.684
2 ROSSI, Valentino Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:01.717
3 PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team 2:01.780
4 PETRUCCI, Danilo Octo Pramac Yakhnich 2:01.811
5 IANNONE, Andrea Ducati Team 2:01.912
6 BARBERA, Hector Avintia Racing 2:02.002
7 MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 2:02.278
8 REDDING, Scott Octo Pramac Yakhnich 2:02.338
9 ESPARGARO, Aleix Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2:02.539
10 CRUTCHLOW, Cal LCR Honda 2:02.586
11 VIÌÔALES, Maverick Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2:02.645
12 ESPARGARO, Pol Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:02.646
13 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 2:02.650
14 HERNANDEZ, Yonny Aspar MotoGP Team 2:02.916
15 SMITH, Bradley Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:03.026
16 PIRRO, Michele Ducati Team 2:03.203
17 BAZ, Loris Avintia Racing 2:03.204
18 RABAT, Tito EG 0.0 Marc VDS 2:03.463
19 LAVERTY, Eugene Aspar MotoGP Team 2:03.565
20 BRADL, Stefan Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:03.978
21 BAUTISTA, Alvaro Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:04.075

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