SEPANG, Malaysia – The third and final day of MotoGP’s Sepang test was marked by variable weather conditions, but it didn’t bother Movistar Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
Following an overnight rain shower, the track surface was still damp when the lights went green at 10 a.m., prompting the teams to wait until noon before sending the bikes on the track.
When Lorenzo left his pit box, he immediately made his presence known as he moved to the top of the timesheets with a 2:00.882 lap. After his teammate briefly took over the lead, he returned to the top of the rankings with a 2:00.016 lap time just before rain clouds gathered over the Malaysian circuit again, putting a halt to on-track action.
With a little more than an hour left to go, Lorenzo resumed his testing and headed back out to set the first lap under the 2:00 mark of the three-day test, which only the Spaniard himself could improve on when he set a best lap of 1:59.580. He ended the test 0.976 seconds ahead of the rest of the field, with Rossi second.
“The lap times speak for themselves,” Lorenzo said. “They were very good lap times set with new electronics and a hard rear tires. I‘m very happy with Michelin, because they made a very big step with the feeling with the new front tires. They did a great job, because now the feeling is closer to what we had with last year.
“Anyway, I felt very comfortable and fast during these three days, I‘m still recovering from this illness that I have and for sure in Phillip Island we will be stronger and able to do a race simulation.”
Repsol Honda riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa also made sure to take full advantage of every on-track opportunity.
The two were granted a couple of hours of work before a light rainfall halted them again until 4:30. Following a pause, Marquez and Pedrosa resumed action, riding regularly until 6 p.m.
Despite the breaks, the pair made the most of the available time, continuing to work on the new “evo” engine and their electronics setups, where there is the most margin for improvement, although the team engineers already made a step forward compared to the previous test at Jerez last November.
“The last day went quite well because we improved every day here in Sepang,” Marquez said. “We are still far from where we’d like to be, but I think we have taken a good step forward and slowly we’re getting there. We are working hard and there is room for improvement, which is what we have to focus on.
“Today I worked a lot on the electronics and the chassis, understanding what setup for the bike is best for the new tyres. We also tested various types of front tyres with different profiles. Overall, these three days have been positive.”
The duo was also satisfied with the progress made with the tires, including the hard-spec rear and a new front spec that Michelin had brought to Malaysia. Marquez set the day’s third-fastest time with a best effort of 2:00.883 on lap 44 of 45, whereas Pedrosa’s 2:01.161, set on lap 35 of 48, put him in sixth.