2013 MotoGP Sepang 1 Test, Day 3 Round Up: Rossi, Pedrosa, Ducati — Joy…

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Ducati 250 Mark 3 D

2013 MotoGP Sepang 1 Day 3 Round Up: Rossi, Pedrosa, — Joy, Determination,

Submitted by David Emmett on 2013-02-08 01:34

Joy, and despair. If you had to choose three to describe the first test of the MotoGP season, these are the you would choose. Joy: for Rossi and his crew at finally a bike that Rossi can and his team understand how to work for HRC, at seeing both hopes and their expectations of Marquez’ ability confirmed; for Smith and Michael Laverty, at such rapid progress on early days in the class.

for Dani Pedrosa and Jorge both working hard at for their assault at a title either could win. For Marquez, focused on learning he can to add the consistency he needs to his raw speed, if he is to Pedrosa and Lorenzo.

Despair: for the Ducati riders. Sepang the bike is uncompetitive, and with few left to explore with the in its present state, despair at they have many of hard, dispiriting work of them before they can start to turn the situation

The test confirmed several that we already knew: and Lorenzo are favorites for the title, and are just as fast and focused as Valentino Rossi has lost of his speed, immediately getting to spitting distance of the pace of the two Marc Marquez is as good as expected, though it would be to say Marquez did more than expectations.

He is not just as good as expected, he is as good as everyone Maybe, just maybe, better than they

Pedrosa finished the final day of at Sepang on top of the timesheets, well of Jorge Lorenzo. The Repsol man lapped under Casey outright pole record, but he that fact off as irrelevant. He is not to chase lap times, he said, he is to test the RC213V, and turn in the best possible weapon which to launch his 2013 challenge.

He did that. Pedrosa got through all of the which HRC had scheduled for him shortly midday, and decided to call it a day The stresses of riding a MotoGP at a high-speed circuit like for three days after a of nearly two months are such everyone is complaining of stiffness and muscles at the end of each day.

In circumstances, a mistake is easily and as Pedrosa knows, mistakes can be costly.

That meant Pedrosa did not do a race simulation, Jorge Lorenzo. Both and factory Yamaha teammate Rossi got a lot of parts tested, chassis and engine upgrades for the season, but Lorenzo tacked on a simulation towards the end of the day. The got in 13 laps before the first or rain appeared and cause him to off the run.

It was impressive indeed: followed up a string of 8 laps in the low with a sequence of 5 in the 2:00s. is the kind of punishing pace brought him the 2012 title, and he has lost none of his touch.

Lorenzo’s pace beyond — new old (or is that old new) Valentino Rossi told magazine Solomoto that he that Lorenzo was perfect he never makes mistakes, and has a high level of concentration the problem which both men face is that the M1 is starting to lag behind the Honda RC213V. The factory riders tried chassis and engine parts at reducing the pumping at the rear of the which is causing them to time in acceleration.

The two of them stepped up the pressure on Yamaha to a seamless gearbox to match of the Hondas, but so far, Yamaha has cagey on a schedule for its introduction. It definitely help, but Lorenzo is not that far behind Pedrosa.

Nor is Rossi. The huge question which hung over the after his time at Ducati has answered, at least in part. ended the day four tenths than Pedrosa, but the sheer joy and he radiated all throughout the test in everything he did; in his riding, in his to the media, in his body language in the Even his crew are the same, the joy over onto social platforms like Twitter, some of his crew are present.

as sandboys, the energy in the garage can be halfway across the planet.

The gap to belies how strong Rossi’s is. He is still slower than Pedrosa and Lorenzo, but look at the timesheets, and you see Rossi consistently mid- to low 2:01s, which be enough to hang with and Pedrosa if they were to go tomorrow. Matching them may be beating them will be another, though. Rossi may regained his old pace, but Lorenzo and have moved the game on the Italian was last on a Yamaha.

The old dog have to learn a few more

Rossi’s time on Thursday he ended the test ahead of Marquez, no doubt much to his Marquez has made a sensational impressing both friend and foe Fast on the first day, the spent Wednesday and Thursday on his consistency, work which off in the race simulation he did towards the end of the

Putting in nearly full distance, Marquez ran consistently in the mid lower in the first half of his a little higher in the second his lap times constantly within a or so of each other.

Marquez passed another key milestone. The had his first crash, losing the of his Repsol Honda on the final and sliding off into the gravel, the tumbling end over end. walked away unscathed, physically and mentally, and got back on to an even faster time on his trip out of the pits. He knew a would happen, he said the fact, and that at least he had found where the limit

I know what NOT to do when the moves like that braking, Marquez told

He had spent a lot of his time at this trying to understand the electronics, and had impressed his boss Shuhei Speaking to the press about the being made on Honda’s racer (see separate ) Nakamoto explained that had been riding with the turned down as much as like Stoner. He wants to the bike, Nakamoto said.

was already sliding the bike, and former crew chief was making comparisons between the The Spaniard has a similarly sensitive on the throttle, able to control the spin with his right rather than needing

While most of the media was on the factory men, Cal Crutchlow was sneaking up on the front four. The Tech 3 Yamaha man got within a of Marquez, and two tenths of Rossi, and was running the kind of pace to stay close to the front Crutchlow was, as usual, to point out that he is riding a bike, a machine which is in spec to the factory bikes.

He not have very many of putting pressure on Yamaha to him with a better spec of but his performance speaks volumes.

Crutchlow would like is Stefan Bradl has: a spec machine, with the to make it fast enough to a chance to stick with the runners. Though Yamaha is supportive of the Tech 3 team, do not operate in the same way as Honda, and so finishing well ahead of the Crutchlow will likely in vain for some help Yamaha.

Operating in the shadow of the big four may been a bit of a disadvantage for Crutchlow, it helped his Tech 3 teammate Smith. The Oxfordshire youngster had criticism from some at being given the Tech 3 but the past three days proven Hervé Poncharal’s to put Smith on the M1 to have been the one. Smith has made leaps forward day by day, new lines, but above all, comfortable on the bike.

Ducati 250 Mark 3 D

The gap of just two seconds to Pedrosa may look but in reality, he is exactly on target for a coming into the series or rather, a rookie who does not the extraterrestrial ability of a Marquez. Smith’s first test at with that of Stefan debut in 2012 shows to be matching or bettering the German’s outing on the LCR Honda MotoGP Smith has proved he belongs in

Another man who has proved he belongs in is Michael Laverty. The Irishman the question of the Laverty brothers’ is a vexed one, with its in the 12th Century invasion by the French kings who conquered and Wales, and far too complex for a piece on racing — is riding Hernandez’ spare Aprilia ART and has positively astounded insiders the speed at which he adapted to the Many had their doubts Laverty.

He had so much to learn: the the Aprilia, carbon brakes, the tires. He came from the background, riding a Superbike in the BSB on user-friendly Pirelli tires, tight and twisty circuits. He is too old to Laverty will be 33 years of age summer, an age at which most riders are considered to be entering the of their careers.

Laverty confounded expectations, as second fastest CRT machine, and than a second off the Ducati satellite bike of Andrea An impressive debut indeed.

As as Laverty’s day was, getting to a Ducati is less of an achievement as it was. The Bologna factory is in a deep hole indeed: Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso are 9th and behind all of the Hondas and Yamahas, and two seconds behind Pedrosa. is not a distance that is bridgeable a new swingarm and a few set up tweaks, especially not the bike is essentially unchanged the second half of last

Ducati was already in trouble the slow and difficult process of taken over by Audi got midway through 2012. on the bike ground to a halt, as the old were shuffled about and new installed.

After the test at both factory Ducati were frank about needs to be changed. In a word, We need to consider radical not just small steps Hayden said on Thursday.

Dovizioso agreed. Unfortunately, we to try something big, and in MotoGP is not a lot of time. The current bike not do, both Hayden and Dovizioso a point of saying that had run through just about possible set up permutation without Almost every avenue of had been pursued, and something new had to be

A new bike, designed from the up, was what was needed, not new parts at the existing machine.

This, will take time, even longer to wait for and Hayden. Data is being and analyzed, but building something new is not something that can be done in a few months. Having the support of will help, but the scale of the should not be underestimated.

Could the Japanese factories be to lend a hand? In the late and early ’90s, when were struggling, Yamaha in to help, providing advice helped make the bike During his press conference Honda’s production racer, Nakamoto was asked about situation, and the precedent set by Cagiva. Honda be willing to step in and a struggling Italian factory, as Japanese factories had in the past? But is not an Italian factory!

Nakamoto Having Audi behind can also work against

The teams are now heading home, and the back to their factories, to the data collected and tweak the of their bikes in preparation for they return here in weeks’ time. The first at Sepang is really just a up, where everyone is more on evaluation than on working on set up and for a fast time. At the second test, the factories will with bikes that are closer to their final ready for the season start.

return with the confidence of one under their belt, and spent some time the muscles which had hurt so after their first on the bikes. And the teams return track data analyzed, and set up options ready to test. 2 is a much better measure of how the will play out.

But then, there is work to do.


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