Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have started their 2019 MotoGP pre-season testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today. The new bike livery was a hot topic on the first of the three riding days in Malaysia, but for the team the focus lay solely on improving the bike‘s performance. After a full-on day of testing, the team-mates took third and sixth place respectively in today‘s time sheets.
Viñales had been looking forward to riding again for months, and it showed. He headed out of pit lane aboard his no.12 YZR-M1 just after 10:40 (GMT+8), a few minutes after his team-mate. He was quick to put his name towards the top of the rankings, moving up to fourth place on his first run.
Having refamiliarised himself with the Sepang track, he then put his attention towards trying the various testing items, and with success. The Spaniard set a 1‘59.937s for provisional second place on lap 28/63 around midday, before finalising his testing programme. Though he couldn‘t beat his own time in the hot afternoon, he is feeling confident having completed the session in third place, 0.316s from first.
Rossi also didn‘t let any time go to waste on the first day of testing in Malaysia. He was quick to head out on track, to start a packed morning of testing.
Though he was mainly concerned with building on his findings from the previous testing days in Spain, he steadily gained pace in the first two hours on track. His fastest lap from his morning runs was a 2‘00.054s, set on lap 22/56, that initially put him in fourth place. He was unable to further improve his position in the time sheets due to the change in track conditions in the afternoon, but his best effort from this morning kept him in sixth place, 0.433s from the top.
“I'm actually really happy, because I felt good straight away. I trained quite a lot with bikes this winter, so physically I'm OK. I want to do the three days with maximum power, so I can be quite precise, especially on the track. There's room to improve and that is very important if we want to battle for this championship. I would like to improve the acceleration and also a little bit the breaking areas, where we struggled last year, so I'm really focused on that.”
“First of all it is a great feeling to be back on the bike and I enjoyed it even though it was very tough physically, because it was very hot for the first test. The first day is quite positive for us, because I always had a good feeling with the bike and we worked very much on improving the grip and our lap times, especially with used tyres. As it is the first day, I looked a bit at the pace of the strong guys, and we are not so bad. It looks like we made some improvements compared to last year.”
First Laps on Home Soil for Petronas Yamaha SRTFranco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo take 2019 bow with good feelings on their Yamaha YZR-M1 machines in front of the passionate home fans at Sepang International Circuit.
The first day of the 2019 preseason finally arrived today and the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team quickly got to work on a day of testing that saw the two riders accumulate a total of 125 laps. Both riders spent 5 hours on track today, taking a break at midday due to the high temperatures registered at the Sepang International Circuit. In front of a number of excited home fans Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo were able to enjoy their new bikes on a positive first day of three at this test.
Morbidelli clocked up 60 laps (333km) in the intense heat, providing valuable information to the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT engineers. A fastest time of 2’00.460 came on his 58th lap and left him twelfth fastest overall, with the Italian in positive mood after establishing a good feeling with his Yamaha.
His teammate Quartararo continued with his adaptation to MotoGP and his new bike in front of the enthusiastic home support. The Frenchman completed 65 laps of the Sepang International Circuit (360km), with a best time of 2’00.985 on his 45th lap, leaving him 18th on the timesheets.
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT will continue working tomorrow from 10am to 6pm local time, with the test due to conclude on 8th February.
“We are really happy with the first day of the test here at the Sepang International Circuit - the feeling with the bike was similar to the way it was at the end of 2018, even though today we weren’t super fast. We focused this morning on getting back up to speed because it has been two months since I last rode a MotoGP bike. In the afternoon we worked more on the medium and used tyres to see how the bike behaved and gathering data for analysis. We finished up on the soft compound but it wasn’t a real time attack. The Yamaha bike flows well and is very stable, which I think helps me a lot with my riding style. It also suits the characteristics of this track a lot. I am delighted with the support that the factory is giving me and the way they are listening to and analysing my feedback.”
“We were really looking forward to riding again after two months off the bike and we were excited for the first day here at the Sepang International Circuit. It wasn’t easy to get a feeling for a bike with so much power but I thought the first few laps would be more difficult. I am happy because we have taken a step forward, in that [at Jerez] I needed a lot of laps to set a fast time but today we were able to do a qualifying time after just two laps. The test here at Sepang is different to Jerez, which is a much smaller circuit, whereas here we have some very long straights and it is very hot. Tomorrow we need to keep working on the bike and try to find a better feeling under braking, which is where we are lacking. I’m really keen to just keep on learning.”