• Suzuki complete Sepang test; Seamless gearbox debuts

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    Maverick Viñales and Suzuki have completed their two day test at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, where they tested the new seamless gearbox amongst other things.

    The two-day test was the perfect opportunity to test the new seamless shift gearbox as they bid to close the gap to the top. The long straights and heavy breaking zones make the SIC a logical choice to test the latest additions to the 2016 GSX-RR.

    During 2015 Suzuki were the only manufacturer to not use a seamless gearbox which allows riders to change gear without using the clutch lever to get through the box without losing drive.

    Along with the new gearbox Viñales and Suzuki test riders Takuya Tsuda and Nobuatsu Aoki were working with the new standard electronics package, as well as once again working with the new Michelin tyres and new a chassis.

    “These two days have been very intense; we tested many many things and I’m happy because I could try the 2016 electronics,” said Viñales who didn’t use the new electronics during the Valencia test at the beginning of the month.

    “The first touch was positive and it left me with the feeling that it has a great potential, but we still have so many things to work on and there’s room to improve. I’m also happy I could test the new seamless, we were expecting it and my impression is very positive. The track was not really clean which meant I couldn’t push really hard, but for our team the testing was good.

    “Now we have plenty of information to work on during the winter and get ready for the next test in February. To go for the winter break with such a good feeling is positive and it gives me great hopes for the further improvements. Now I can take a little rest and then start training again to be ready for the next tests in February.”

    Despite not releasing any times from the test, Suzuki team-manager Davide Brivio was happy with the work of his young rider and with his test riders after the miles put in despite the absence of second factory rider Aleix Espargaro.

    “These have been two very intense days but the outcome of the test is positive. We had few things to test, among which we managed to test the new seamless gearbox and I am happy that Maverick had a first positive impression,” he said.

    “We also had the chance to compare some chassis parts and gathered important information for the winter development. We also started to work with the 2016 unified software – the test team already started with it in Valencia a couple of weeks ago – and we also gave it to Maverick.

    “On this area we still have much work to do but the start was positive. For us this test has been very important to give the directions to work-on in the winter that we were called to do. We also tested new tyres for Michelin and found some good improvements to be worked on further in the future.

    “In February we will be testing here again for the first IRTA test and we will try to finalise then even further improvements, especially in electronics.

    “Unfortunately, Aleix could not join us so he will have a chance to test those items in February, hopefully after further improvements. We also had the support of our test riders Tsuda and Aoki who ran many laps to further investigate the new software and fine-tune the seamless gearbox.”

    Photos via Suzuki-Racing.com

    The post Suzuki complete Sepang test; Seamless gearbox debuts appeared first on GPxtra.

  • Miller survives first MotoGP crash; finishes Sepang test

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    Jack Miller survived his first crash as a MotoGP rider today in the final day of testing in Sepang.

    Miller, who has been in action for the three days in a private test in Malaysia is making the leap from a Moto3 bike to a MotoGP machine for next season, and has been progressing rapidly in Malaysia.

    The 19 year old Australian was back on his new Open Class 2015 Honda, and knocked the better part of one and a half seconds off his best time from the first day of the test. Miller’s best time of the day was a 2’02.9, compared to his 2’04.2 from Wednesday.

    The 2014 Moto3 runner up once again only managed to get 33 laps in as the rain fell around 4pm prematurely end the test.

    “In general I was really happy with how the bike went, we made more improvements today and every time I get on it I feel more and more comfortable, and that means I’m getting faster and faster,” explained the Aussie.

    “I can’t thank the CWM LCR Honda Team enough for their hard work, and Honda too for their support, they are all teaching me really well how to ride in MotoGP.”

    Miller’s first MotoGP crash was a small spill, rather than an aggressive highside as James Toseland and Marco Simoncelli did before their MotoGP debuts.

    “We had a small crash in the morning, but it was nothing serious and there was no real damage to the bike, as it was at slow speed carrying a bit too much lean angle over a couple of bumps. All in all, I would say I’m very happy how the bike worked during the whole test. It has been positive.”

    “Jackass” also acknowledged that he needs to work, and improve his strength and conditioning ahead of his next test, when the whole MotoGP paddock will join Miller in Sepang, in early February. 

    “I’m looking forward to the off-season now, and I’ll be training hard and getting my body in the physical condition needed for MotoGP,” he noted. “We managed a long run today and whilst it was really hard, my body stood up to it, so I look forward to coming back even stronger in February.”

    Miller will now fly to back to Europe, to undergo surgery an on older injury. He will fly to Barcelona to be operated on by the rider favourite Dr. Xavier Mir, in the Dexeus University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. He will have four screws removed from an old collarbone injury, and the operation shouldn’t have any detrimental effects on his pre-season preparations.

  • Dorna exploring the idea of punishing tow seeking riders

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    MotoGP race director Mike Webb is investigating ways to punish riders who deliberately go slowly, waiting for a tow to aid them in practice and qualifying sessions. 

    In both Australia and Malaysia, riders were seen coasting around the track, waiting for a faster rider to come past, so they can latch onto the back of them to gain an advantage. 

    Jack Miller was very animated in Australia, when he had multiple laps ruined by riders going slowly on the racing line, noticeably around Lukey Heights and on the run down into MG corner. A week later in Sepang the back straight was filled with over half of the Moto3 grid all going slowly on the back straight, waiting for a fast rider to come past.

    It drew criticism from all quarters of the paddock, with MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow calling for fines and penalties to be handed out to riders who consistently do it. 

    Whilst it can give a Moto3 rider in particular a huge advantage in such a close field, it can be extremely dangerous, and seeing riders have to brake suddenly or throw a lap away isn’t an uncommon sight in qualifying. 

    Despite the dangerous nature of what they are doing, they technically aren’t breaking any rules. Rules state that somebody has to be significantly disadvantaged, and in Sepang, all the riders were going slow, meaning nobody was officially to blame. This doesn’t mean that Dorna aren’t looking into ways to change the rules however.

    “I’m incensed,” said a very angry Mike Webb told CycleNews after Moto3 qualifying in Sepang.

    “I’m hatching a new rule that will allow me to penalise riders as I see fit.

    “Over half of the field was going slowly on the straight. Not one rider was going fast, so under current rules nobody could be penalised… and I strive for consistency. No one was disadvantaged but we have to stamp it out.”

    Whilst any potential change would invariably improve safety which remains at the forefront of everybody’s mind, any potential change in the rules and potential punishments will have to wait until they are enforced, due to the time taken to amend a rule with the FIM and IRTA both needing to approve any changes.

  • Lorenzo admits to getting his preparation wrong

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    Jorge Lorenzo has admitted to getting his training ahead of the three fly away races wrong, meaning he nearly fainted after yesterdays Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

    Lorenzo had closed the gap down to just three points ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. He lost five to his closest rival Valentino Rossi in Australia, and another four this past weekend in Sepang, when a combination of fitness issues and a wrong front tyre choice, cost him a chance of challenging Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi.

    It’s not the first time Lorenzo has had issues with his fitness this season. The Mallorcan came into the 2014 season very under prepared, describing it as his worst pre-season to date. He was behind on his preperation for the season, due to off-season surgery. It wasn’t until the summer break, which he worked relentlessly through, that he felt back to his best, and his results so something we expected.

    “For these three consecutive races I decided to do a lighter training programme, so I was not too tired. It was probably a bad choice,” he now admits, talking to GPone.com

    “The conditions under which we raced were very hard, and I suffered more than the other riders. At first I pulled ahead and I pushed hard, but then I had a lack of energy. I wasn’t fit enough.”

    It wasn’t just fitness that had let Lorenzo down in Sepang. He also elected for the harder front tyre, and he was the only front runner to do so. Both Marquez and Rossi elected for the softer compound, medium tyre, and both had better grip than the two-time MotoGP World Champion throughout all of Sunday’s race.

    “Valentino was very fast today. It will be interesting to see how he managed to get such big improvements from Saturday. As for the tyre, I have nothing to regret. It’s strange, because usually I’m always focused on softer options, and this weekend was the opposite. However, I don’t think, that if I had made ​​a different choice, I could have done better.”

    Lorenzo now has just the final race of the season in Valencia to overturn a 12 point deficit if he wants to avoid he worst finish in the World Championship since his rookie year in 2008. 

  • Alex Marquez: I want to think the race first, then the championship

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    Alex Marquez can win the Moto3 title this weekend. If he wins the Malaysian Grand Prix, regardless of wherever Jack Miller finishes, he will be the 2014 Moto3 World Champion. 

    Despite standing on the edge of his first world title, the young brother of MotoGP World Champion, Marc Marquez, insists he is concentrating on the race before the championship.

    Speaking to Marca.com, Marquez said he was confident, especially with the long straights favouring his Honda over his competitors KTM. 

    “I think the Sepang circuit is very favourable to us, and last year we saw the Honda FTR going well there, thanks to its chassis,” said the 18 year-old.

    “In this next race we have our first match, but I’m thinking about the race rather than the championship. I know that on Sunday we have the opportunity to be champions, but I don’t want to obsess with it.I just want to work as I have been doing in recent races and try to stay ahead of Jack Miller and Alex Rins.”

    He continued, “the whole Estrella Galicia 0.0 Team will try to work as we have been doing all season: giving everything from the first day, being very focused and trying to do my best in every workout.”

    Despite sitting with a 20 point lead over his nearest competitor, Valentino Rossi used today’s pre-race press conference to say that if Marquez stays out of trouble, he should be OK.

    “For Alex it is more difficult because he has less advantage but it is still a good advantage,” explained the 1997 125cc World Champion. “So he can calculate. In Moto3 always, especially in the last races, the battle is always very hard, with a lot of riders in the first group. So he has to try to stay out of problems, try to stay in front and try to gain some points on Jack.”

    Whilst elder brother to Alex, Marc, said that Alex just needs to relax and do the same as he has been doing all along, if he does that, then he should get the result he needs.

    “In Moto3 the advice is that you must always do the same. It’s easy to say, but you must push like in every race. Because the problem is that if you try to relax or you try to calculate, you can finish fifth, sixth or seventh, as there are always six riders fighting for the victory,” explained the 2010 125cc World Champion.

    “You need to be aggressive and you need to push. The perfect thing would be for him to finish in front of Miller, but if Miller finishes in front of him it’s not the end of the world. The advantage that he has is that Miller, in this case, cannot make any mistake. The pressure is on Miller to finish in front or to win the race if he wants to win the championship.”

    If Alex Marquez wins the race, out scores Jack Miller by 6 points, or finishes ahead of Jack Miller, whilst finishing in the top ten, then he will be crowned Moto3 World Champion this Sunday in Sepang.

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