Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone logged the fastest time on the second day of MotoGP preseason testing at Sepang International Circuit. Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales trailed in second position while Pull & Bear Aspar Team’s Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top three on the timesheet.
Heavy rains overnight meant that the day was slow to start as riders waited for the track to dry thoroughly. By the afternoon conditions were clear and riders pushed through the schedule during the final few hours. For Iannone, this meant running comparisons between the old and new engine configurations and sampling a revised Ohlins fork.
“I’m very happy with today, although we had a short time due to the track conditions, we could do much work and, most importantly, made a step forward,” explained Iannone in a Suzuki release. “In the early runs we started with some configurations that didn’t make me feel totally comfortable, then when we tried some changes I found much more confidence and the lap times got a huge benefit. They were not radical changes, more small improvements, but they proved to be very effective. We are working very well, I am finding an excellent feeling with my team, they are working very hard and very professionally and this gives me a positive attitude that allows me to ride with confidence.”
Vinales explained afterward that his focus for the day was on improving his race pace and turning consistent laps on used tires. While the Spaniard’s time was an improvement over the previous day, Yamaha made more of a splash for its revised fairing, which featured an internal design aimed at improving downforce. MotoGP.com describes the feature as “internal winglets” and a photo caught by GPOne.com of Yamaha test rider Kohta Nozane clearly shows the new design. Team Director Massimo Meregalli commented in a team press release that both Vinales and Valentino Rossi, who finished the day fourth, “tested and compared the new fairing and new frame” and that the feedback had been positive.
Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco placed fifth-fastest, making him the quickest rookie rider of the day. He spent the early part of the day growing accustomed to the machine in wet conditions on rain tires before pushing for time in the afternoon. “I improved my personal best and also myself,” said Zarco in a team release. “I felt confident and was able to ride consistently.”
Reale Esponsorama Racing’s Hector Barbera placed sixth trailed by Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso in seventh. Dovi and Ducati test rider Casey Stoner were two of the fastest the day before but Stoner didn’t ride on Day 2, ceding the testing role to Michele Pirro, who finished 19th. Dovi was pleased with the work though, as was his teammate Jorge Lorenzo. The Mallorcan improved his lap time by nearly one second compared to the previous day, finishing eighth on the timesheet.
““I’m very happy with the progress we made today,” said Lorenzo in the Ducati press release. “Now I understand the bike a lot more and I managed to improve my performance, even though I’m still some way from my limit. We also improved the general set-up of the Desmosedici GP and in addition I could see that what I thought yesterday was correct: I only need a bit more time and to do a lot of laps to get even closer to the top and to my limit with this bike.”
Tech 3’s Jonas Folger placed ninth with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez following in 10th. The defending World Champion expressed some frustration with the proceedings of the day in the team release, explaining that much of his time was spent in the garage addressing set-up and electronics issues. “It’s okay, as this is the pre-season and it’s better to work and solve all these issues now, but of course this takes time,” said Marquez.
The day was not without it’s crashes either. Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro took a tumble, as did Octo Pramac Yakhnich’s Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci and Barbera’s teamamte, Loris Baz. Team Estrella Galica 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat suffered the worst incident however. The 2014 Moto2 World Champion went down in the final hour of testing in Turn 11, lacerating his knee and sustaining injuries to his right wrist and the toes on his left foot. He was taken to the hospital in Putrajaya for examination and will miss tomorrow’s test. Team Principal Michael Bartholemy said that after his initial assessment in Malaysia, Rabat will return to Europe for “treatment and rehabilitation.”
Testing continues for the rest of the grid on Wednesday.
2017 MotoGP Sepang Test Day 2 Results
1. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) 1:59.452
2. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 1:59.858
3. Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) 2:00.218
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2:00.254
5. Johann Zarco (Yamaha) 2:00.343
6. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2:00.352
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2:00.441
8. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) 2:00.484
9. Jonas Folger (Yamaha) 2:00.495
10. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2:00.531
11. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 2:00.609
12. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 2:00.691
13. Alex Rins (Suzuki) 2:00.876
14. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:00.886
15. Scott Redding (Ducati) 2:00.972
16. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 2:00.981
17. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 2:01.124
18. Loris Baz (Ducati) 2:01.227
19. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 2:01.382
20. Pol Espargaro (KTM) 2:01.525
21. Jack Miller (Honda) 2:01.556
22. Sam Lowes (Aprilia) 2:02.058
23. Tito Rabat (Honda) 2:02.189
24. Takuya Tsuda (Suzuki) 2:02.267
25. Bradley Smith (KTM) 2:02.516
26. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 2:02.893
27. Kohta Nozane (Yamaha) 2:03.052