Pedrosa heads day two in Sepang

Dani Pedrosa was the fastest rider on the second day of the Sepang test.
Dani Pedrosa was the fastest rider on the second day of the Sepang test.

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa was the fastest rider on Day Two of the second Sepang test, ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista.

Pedrosa lead the field by 0.2 seconds, as he continued his work with longer runs, before putting a soft tyre in and posting a fast lap.

“Things went well this afternoon, even though this morning we were still having some issues and I wasn’t able to ride comfortably,” Pedrosa said after the day.

“I had to stop early in order to make some big changes to the bike, and when we restarted after lunch I felt more comfortable and put in better laps. We focused on the front end and were able to find a good set-up. Tomorrow we will focus on making progress with the rear, because we have to get the new tyre working better and increase grip.

“If all goes well, then perhaps tomorrow we will be able to do a race simulation.”

Second place was once again the stunning Aleix Espargaro. The surprise of seeing Espargaro this high up the timing sheets isn’t so much of a surprise now, and even on a day when Espargaro was testing new electronics and runs on worn tyres, his pace was still stunning.

Speaking after the test, Espargaro said: “Today we worked on the set up of the two machines and I’m very confident because last year I never succeeded to have the same confidence on both bikes. Here in less than two days I have found a good feeling and I’m very satisfied. In the afternoon I tested the new Magneti Marelli software, which is a step forward especially when the tyres start to drop.

“I hope we can do a long run tomorrow and check how the bike work on the race distance.”

Alvaro Bautista backed up his strong performance yesterday, by ending the day in third position. Bautitsta improved his time despite falling to third position. Much like Espargaro, Bautista focused on race simulation and work on worn tyres.

“Today we completed a good race simulation. Having done it in the afternoon, the track was not in the best condition, but all in all we are pleased with how it went,” Bautista said.

“We have gathered important data and we have seen an improvement with regard to the durability of the rear tyre,” said Bautista. “Compared to what happened in last year’s race, especially thanks to the new Showa rear suspension items, the bike moves less when the tyre starts to wear out.

“The front tyre instead starts to slip a little bit after about 15 laps, and this leads to losing the ideal line, therefore we will work to improve this aspect. At the end of the day I also set a very good lap time, the best ever for me on this track, but I’m especially happy for the good work we were able to do. Tomorrow we will continue to work on chassis set-up and refining the electronics, but we are definitely in a good shape.”

Valentino Rossi improved to fourth position, and just over half of a second off the pace of Pedrosa. The Yamaha’s are still faced with tyre issues, and will have to continue to work hard to rectify the issues ahead of the Phillip Island test. Rossi is now worried at the state of affairs with his new M1.

“Today was not so bad, I am fourth, but I am a little bit worried because with the new tyres we are in trouble,” said Rossi. The bike has become more difficult to ride and gives us more problems with understeer and not so much grip in acceleration. We tried a lot of different things today but we don’t fix the problem.

“The Honda was very fast and it looks like this with tyre our bike suffers most, so we have to try to fix the problem. With the Yamaha we have to try to do the lap time with the corner speed but with this tyre the bike moves and we lose time.”

Andrea Dovizioso tested the factory GP14 and the Open class potential entry today.  He ended the day 0.75 seconds behind Pedrosa, but gave the new open class settings a run out for the first time today. He tested with the standard Magneti Marelli electronics package, as well as with 24 litres of fuel today. He didn’t use the new soft tyre, but only found the new electronics slightly worse than what they are already using.

“It [Open software] is a little bit worse than our Factory [software] so we have to work and tonight we will have a meeting. It is not too bad but our own software is better,” said Dovi. “The difference is a little bit everywhere. The anti-wheelie is a little bit worse. The traction control a little bit worse. But nothing really bad.

“The engine feels a little better with more fuel, but the difference is not so big.

“Tomorrow we have to make more comparisons.”

Andrea Iannone also tested the Open Class electronics, however Cal Crutchlow didn’t.

Stefan Bradl was sixth fastest as the German focused on long run pace rather than qualifying simulation, once again testing some new parts for HRC in Marquez’ absence.

Crutchlow on the factory Ducati was seventh, and just under a second off the pace of Pedrosa. Whilst Pol Espargaro was eighth and the last of the riders within a second of the Repsol Honda.

The surprise of the day and the test is Jorge Lorenzo’s struggles. Lorenzo continues to struggle with the new tyres on his M1, and was so frustrated with it all, that refused to speak to the press, not wanting to repeat everything he said yesterday.

Bradley Smith rounded out the top ten, just 0.049 second behind Lorenzo’s quickest time of the day, and once again Smith worked on race simulation.

Birthday boy Colin Edwards was 13th fastest, having troubles like the Factory Yamaha team with the new tyres.

Nicky Hayden was 14th, as his concerns about yesterday were shown today. Yesterday Hayden said that once the track cleans up, and the fast riders lap quicker he will remain some way off the pace, and that is how it turned out, with Hayden ending the day just over two seconds off Pedrosa’s fastest lap.

De Puniet continued to test the new Suzuki, with a new engine for Sepang, and he was 15th, just behind Hayden, as De Puniet and Suzuki continue to work ahead of the 2015 return.

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