A weather-hit three-day MotoGP test session at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia ended in positive fashion for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow today.
Torrential rain on the first and second day restricted the track time available to Dovizioso and Crutchlow but both took advantage of hot, humid and dry conditions on the final day to carry out crucial development work on the new Yamaha YZR-M1 1000cc machine.
Dovizioso was in dazzl ing form and the Italian completed 54-laps on his way to setting a best time of 2.00.802 that left him in an outstanding third place on the final timesheets. He was only 0.329s behind reigning World Champion Casey Stoner in first position and he finished the fastest non-factory rider.
Close to full fitness after breaking his right collarbone in a training accident in early January, Dovizioso got through a packed testing schedule, which included experimenting with different riding positions to help him feel more comfortable on the YZR-M1.
He also successfully analysed a revised Yamaha engine spec that improved corner entry and on the final afternoon he comp leted a long run of 15-laps to understand the endurance performance of Bridgestone’s new softer construction tyres designed specifically for the 1000cc machines.
The second Sepang test was also a big success for British rider Crutchlow, who declared himself satisfied with the updated Yamaha engine made available in Sepang.
The 26-year-old set a personal best time of 2.00.986, which was only just over 0.1s slower than factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo and he set the fifth best time to continue his excellent pre-season form for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.
Andrea Dovizioso – 2.00.802 min:
“Despite the rain disrupting the first two days, this has been a really positive test and I am very happy. I did my first laps in the rain on the Yamaha and I had a very positive feeling. The engine was very smooth and I could manage the sliding but one very important area was my physical condition. My shoulder was much better than the first test here and this enabled me to understand the potential of the YZR-M1 machine much more. I am much more confident on the bike and I am happy with the lap time and the position and we have done a very good job understanding many things here. I like the new engine because it helps with the corner entry, and this was already a really strong point of the Yamaha. I did a long run of 1 5-laps today and it was important to learn the characteristics of the bike over a longer distance. It was really interesting to understand about tyre wear and we have some work to do but the potential of the bike is already at a very high level. Now I am really looking forward to the next test in Jerez because it is a completely different track with different temperature and this will be good experience for me to understand the bike even more.”
Cal Crutchlow – 2.00.986 min:
“I am really happy because the weather obviously played a big part the first two days but we were able to get some dry track time today and make some good progress with the bike. I like the new engine from Yamaha and credit to them because they have been working hard and the improvement bodes well for the start of the season. I’m happy with my lap time because this is not my favouritetrack at all and I am fifth fastest and very close to the top three. A major positive too is that I am very consistent and this is something that I have improved from last year. This gives me a lot of confidence and encouragement and I’m really enjoying riding the 1000cc bike. I did a long run of 12-laps and the new tyres were sliding around quite a bit. It made it very physical but quite good but i t looks like tyre management is going to be more important than ever. The bike is working well at Sepang but now I’m curious to see how it performs in Jerez. That’s a completely different track and the weather will be much cooler, so this will give us another indication of the potential of the bike.”