A spectacular high speed crash has halted MotoGP testing at the Sepang Circuit today. Loris Baz (Avintia Racing Ducati) was lucky to walk away from the 290 km/h crash on the circuit’s main straight. The cause of the crash is still unclear, but Baz said later he had heard a sound come from the back of the bike in the corner before the fall. Eyewitnesses also reported seeing something fail in the rear of the bike, and photos taken after the crash showed a shredded rear tyre. According to the bike’s data logger, Baz was flung over the handlebars at 290.4 km/h. Remarkably, he was able to return to testing later in the day with only a bruised elbow. Testing was stopped for over an hour while debris was cleared from the track and officials tried to determine the cause of the crash. As a precautionary measure, Michelin has withdrawn the soft compound rear tyre for the remainder of the test and enforced minimum tyre inflation pressures. At the end of the drama filled day, Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing Ducati) held the fastest time of 2:00.095. Petrucci set the time early in the day on soft tyres. Despite crashing earlier, Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was able to set a 2:00.155 on hard tyres in the last thirty minutes of the session. The time put him just 0.060s behind Petrucci. Lorenzo crashed at turn 5 when the front of his YZR-M1 lost grip. Lorenzo was uninjured and the bike wasn’t extensively damaged. He wasn’t the only rider caught out at turn 5. Dani Pedrosa also crashed there and Pol Espargaro fell twice at the same turn. Both riders were unhurt. Most riders improved on their times from the previous day. Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) set the third fastest time of the day at 2:00.387. His time was also recorded on soft tyres before Loris Baz’s crash. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was able to improve his times, ending the day fourth with a 2:00.843. Valentino Rossi achieved his goal of getting within a second of teammate Lorenzo, ending the day in sixth with a 2:01.021. Casey Stoner attracted plenty of attention in his first official test session since 2012. The 2007 and 2011 World Champion set a credible 2:01.103 to end the day ninth fastest. He will test again tomorrow but will stay with the GP15, preferring to leave the GP16 to the factory riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso.
Category: Motorsport News
At the completion of the first day of the official MotoGP test in Sepang, it was Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo on top of the timesheets. Lorenzo set a fastest time of 2:00.684, over a second faster than the rest of the field and only 0.078 second slower than his fastest lap of the race in 2015. Teammate Valentino Rossi clocked the second fastest time of 2:01.717. While many teams were adapting to the new ECU and Michelin tyres, the Yamaha factory team consistently set fast times all day before rain ended the testing with 20 minutes to go. In what must be concerning to other teams, Lorenzo said his times were “relatively easy to achieve”. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) set the third fastest time of the day but teammate Marc Marquez ended the first day of the Sepang test in seventh. Marquez spent much of the day focussed on adapting the new electronics to his riding style. “We still have a lot of work to do, as we have new electronics, a new engine and a few different engine specs to what we used in Valencia and Jerez back in November”, he said. Ducati riders Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Andrea Iannone set the fourth and fifth fastest times. Petrucci, along with Scott Redding, will race the Ducati GP15 in 2016. Andrea Iannone debuted his new Ducati GP16 late in the day, having tested on the GP15 for most of Monday while he dialled himself back in. Andrea Dovizioso also spent much of the day on the GP15 and recorded the 13th fastest time. He only managed to get a handful of laps on the GP16 but said he was impressed with the new bike’s good handling and better precision in changes of direction and corner turn-in. Casey Stoner will join fellow Ducati riders on track on Tuesday on the GP15. Despite concerns there might be a high number of front end losses as we saw in the Valencia test, the day was relatively crash free. Bradley Smith had a small crash at turn 15 on his 2015 Yamaha YZR-M1 but was unhurt. Eugene Laverty (Aspar MotoGP Team Ducati) fell at turn 4 and early reports were that he had broken his right wrist, but X-rays and tests later revealed only tissue and ligament damage. There are two further days of testing to be completed.
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Casey Stoner has made his on track debut as a test rider for the Ducati MotoGP team, beginning preliminary testing in Sepang this weekend. It was the Australian’s first outing on a Ducati since the Valencia GP in 2010. Casey completed 54 laps of the Sepang circuit on last year’s Desmosedici GP15, acquainting himself with the new machine and the vastly different Michelin tyres and control ECU. His best time of 2:02.1 was set during his last stint of the day. Whilst that time is significantly slower than previous test times and the official race lap record of 2:00.6 (Jorge Lorenzo/Yamaha), temperatures were reaching about 40°C and track conditions were not ideal. And given the changes to the ECU and tyre supplier for this year’s season, there are no other times to realistically compare Stoner’s lap time to around the Malaysian track at this time. Casey was happy with his performance but admits he is not yet at his peak. “Lap times for me were surprising. A lot better than I expected”, he said in a post-test interview. “I still need a little more time to return to a competitive level and find the right feeling because I haven’t ridden a MotoGP bike for a year and haven’t been on a race bike for six months.” Stoner admitted the bike felt very different from his past Ducatis, but said “The Desmosedici GP has great potential and I hope to be able to give the right feedback to Gigi and the Ducati engineers to help the two Andreas get some good results this year.” Fellow test rider Michele Pirro debuted the GP16 and focused on testing fuel consumption, but it is not yet clear if Stoner will test the GP16 in Sepang. Stoner is expected to complete two days of testing, and there have been conflicting reports that he may ride at some point during offical pre-season testing which starts on Monday. Casey Stoner is Ducati’s most successful MotoGP rider, winning the championship in his first year with the Ducati factory team in 2007 and taking 23 wins by the time he left the team to join Honda in 2010. His role at this stage is as a test rider, but speculation continues to mount on whether he will compete in the 2016 season as a wild card entry.
2013 World Camp Tom Sykes was the fastest on day 1 of the scheduled Jerez test. Ducati’s Chaz Davies put himself second fastest, just over a tenth slower that Sykes. Then in some exciting news, for us MotoGP fans, Honda’s Nicky Hayden rounded out the top four. The two Hinda’s of Hayden and Michael Van der Mark put the most laps under their belts in the beginning of the day, with Hayden topping the timesheets then being relegated the fourth by the end of the day. All looks good for an always exciting year of World Superbikes kicking off late February.