MotoGP test: Sepang 2 test sees improvements for most

The second Malaysian MotoGP test is over for 2015, and most riders have seen consistent improvement throughout the event, particularly Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.

Marquez, the 2014 champion, was hampered by brake issues on the first day of the test, but led the timesheet on Day 2 and Day 3. His best time was 1’59.115; on the last day, he ran 73 laps, with 16 laps under the 2’01 barrier. Clearly, he’s still the man to beat for 2015.

“We have accomplished all the objectives we had set for this test, and now at the Qatar test our work will be more focused on the Grand Prix and fine tuning the setup of the bike,” said Marquez. “I do not think there are many more new things to try.”

Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa had less success, ending in the seventh slot on the final day.

Second at the end of Day 3 was Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo came into this test knowing he’d have to work hard to have a chance at winning this year. His improved physical conditioning paid off, as he was able to shave two seconds off his time throughout the test and was only 0.3 seconds off Marquez’s pace.

Cal Crutchlow, riding for LCR Honda this year, ended in the third position on Day 3 – an encouraging sign for the Brit rider, no doubt. Crutchlow has to make his bones this year, after a dismal year with Ducati in 2014 where team management threw him under the bus mid-season when he couldn’t win aboard the GP14. Crutchlow nailed a 1’59.658 time on Day 3, a 1.5-second improvement over his first day. He also managed a race simulation on Day 3.

Ducati’s Andrea Iannone was fourth on Day 3. The Ducati factory team seemed to be happy with the performance of the new GP15, although Andrea Dovizioso was in 10th at the end of Day 3.

Valentino Rossi rounded out the top five on Day 3. Rossi was discounted as a has-been after his struggles with Ducati, but since then, he’s consistently proven his capability. He’s said he’s aiming to win this year; he might need some luck, as it doesn’t appear anyone is as fast as Marc Marquez, but he’s wise enough to know how to win with brains, not just speed, and now that the Yamaha factory team has a seamless gearbox, their bike might be fast enough that the Doctor and his grim Spanish sidekick can compete more evenly with Honda.

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