Lorenzo bites back on day two in Sepang

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Jorge Lorenzo jumped to the top of the timing sheets on day two of the second official MotoGP test at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia with the Yamaha Factory Racing rider moving ahead of main rival Dani Pedrosa who had another highly productive day on his Repsol Honda RCV213V machine while moving into third place today was the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine of Cal Crutchlow who had a very good day on board the satellite bike.

I could be strong from the start; a second and a half quicker.

Jorge Lorenzo

The second day saw the track conditions improve for the riders after a first day of slippery tarmac due to heavy rainfall on the run up to the test. High track temperatures made for somewhat difficult riding in the afternoon but this didn’t stop the majority of the riders from improving their overall times. The main factory teams had a large testing and set up schedule for day two that saw most of the riders completing around 60 laps while the satellite and CRT riders completed an average of 45 laps.

The fastest riders of the day were once again the Spanish rivals Pedrosa and Lorenzo who swapped the top times before Lorenzo recorded a time of 2m 0.282s that enabled him to stay ahead of Pedrosa who set a best lap of 2m 0.651s with Crutchlow close behind setting a 2m 0.907s lap time. Marc Marquez wasn’t too far away from the top three men once again with the Repsol Honda rookie setting a best lap of 2m 0.992s while Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi finished today in 5th place (2m 1.065s) and Alvaro Bautista was close behind for the Honda Gresini team with a 2m 1.208s.

Finishing day two in 7th on the timing screens was Germany’s Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) who set a best time of 2m 1.485s while the Ducati Team pairing of Nicky Hayden (2m 1.778s) and Andrea Dovizioso (2m 1.803s) finished in 8th and 9th respectively. The final spot in the top ten today was filled by the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith who continues to impress and set a best time of 2m 2.023s. The top CRT rider was once again Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro with a best time of 2m 2.905s.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Hazrin Yeob Men Shah

Lorenzo was pleased with his performance and surprised at how much grip there was on the Sepang circuit. He said, “A pretty good day, the track was much better than yesterday, I was surprised in the beginning it was so different. I could be strong from the start; a second and a half quicker and I think I beat my record time here in Malaysia. We improved the setting on the bike and I feel stronger than the first Sepang test so I’m quite satisfied. Tomorrow if the weather is good I would like to try a long run of maybe 24 laps to see what happens with the tyres.”

Pedrosa completed his testing schedule for day two and was happy with his performance saying, “I’m satisfied. Today we were able to put in a lot of laps and we focused on testing things out with the front and rear suspension. It was a hard day, due to the high temperatures, but despite the heat we completed various tasks that we had scheduled in. Now we have to recuperate ahead of the final day tomorrow, in which we will continue to improve the bike.”

Crutchlow remained focused on the testing at hand when speaking about his third fastest time and said there is more work to do. He said, “There didn’t seem to be a lot of grip out there again today although the lap times have improved a lot. We tried something different with the front fork setting, which was in a similar direction to what Jorge (Lorenzo) uses and there were some good and bad points like with most things you test. I’m happy with my pace because we’ve tried a couple of different settings and we need to work on fine-tuning the best one. The main goal has been trying to stop the front of the bike lifting so much when I change direction on the throttle.

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Hazrin Yeob Men Shah

The bike feels quite heavy so we need to reduce how much the fork comes up without sacrificing too much in another area like the braking. I’m sure if I had put in some new tyres at the start of the day I could have gone faster. But I waited to use mine around lunch and I still went faster, even though the track temperature was much higher at that point. I’m not really too concerned about the times though. I’m just concentrating on making the package we have got better for the first race in Qatar,” Crutchlow added.

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Stoner reveals V8 contender

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Stoner will debut his Holden this weekend in Adelaide.

Stoner will debut his Holden this weekend in Adelaide.

Casey Stoner today revealed his 2013 V8 Holden ahead of this weekends first race as the formed MotoGP world Champion prepares to embark on his new career.

The two time MotoGP world champion who retired at the end of the 2012 season revealed his #27 Red Bull Racing Holden Commodore VE (the 2010 version that Craig Lowndes drove).

Race fans won’t have to wait long with the car and Stoner in action this weekend on the streets of Adelaide in the Clipsal 500 race, after recently taking part in private tests at both Bathhurst and Willowbank.

Practice begins tomorrow, and Stoner’s first race is on Friday, and the Aussie is slightly nervous about it all.

“Slightly nervous, with the walls. I’ve never been on a track with walls so close,” said Stoner.

“I think it should be a lot more fun than (nervous) really I have been looking forward to trying out a lot of different tracks in this car – I’ve only really driven two.

“It’s going to be a big learning curve in a short amount of time but I’m looking forward to being able to rip around the streets and it being legal.

“At this point we have no benchmark, we have no expectations of where we can be or thoughts on what we can achieve for the weekend.

“I haven’t got any expectations on results or anything like that, I just want to have fun and rub panels with a few guys.I really just want to try and enjoy this year and have a bit of fun racing – get back to what racing is all about. Then we’ll see what happens after that.”

Stoner has only signed a one year deal in the V8 supercars to race at all seven rounds, and has very much said this is a learning year, and a bit of fun.

“There’s no long term plans. I’ve had that for too many years so I don’t want to look too far ahead.”

Rossi looks ahead to Texas

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Valentino Rossi thinks the COTA test in March will give a better insight into the 2013 bike.

Valentino Rossi thinks the COTA test in March will give a better insight into the 2013 bike.

Nine times world Champion Valentino Rossi has cited the private test at the Circuit of the America’s in the middle of March as the most important test of the 2013 pre season schedule.

The Doctor is currently with the rest of the paddock testing in Malaysia, and despite a problem forcing him to test on the 2012 M1 today, he thinks that his M1 can improve a little before the first race of the season in Qatar, but is targeting COTA as a real insight as to where the bike and he stands.

“I think what will be the most significant in Texas,” said Rossi speaking to GPone.

“Yamaha has always gone well here and even in Jerez. Austin instead is a new track and those tests will be very important.”

This is also confirmation that Yamaha will be making the trip across the Atlantic, despite no official word from the team it was widely known they would be attending, but now it seems confirmed they will be in Texas.

Yamaha still running without seamless shift

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Jorge Lorenzo let it slip that they aren't currently using one.

Jorge Lorenzo let it slip that they aren’t currently using one.

The Factory Yamaha team is currently still running without a seamless shift on their gearbox despite rumours they were set to introduce one for their 2013 machine.

The team is currently in Sepang for the second of the official IRTA tests, and it has emerged that they are still running without the part which helped Honda and their RC212V so significantly for the 2011 season.

The rumours started to emerge when world Champion Jorge Lorenzo said that ”we have not released the seamless change, nor do we know when we will.” Yamaha as ever remain silent on the subject refusing to comment on whether the part is on their M1.

The part is believed to cost around 600,000 euros according to HRC, but Yamaha are understood to be looking into ways to introduce the part using their single clutch, as the double clutch is prohibited in MotoGP.

With the advancements and testing required for any new part the Yamaha duo look unlikely to be racing with the seamless shifter until at least half way through this 2013 season.

Casey Stoner to SBK wildcard?

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Could Nakamoto convince Stoner to wildcard in the World SBK series?

Could Nakamoto convince Stoner to wildcard in the World SBK series?

HRC vice President Shuhei Nakamoto has said that he would like Casey Stoner to wild card in a World SBK round to help motorcycle development.

“It would be a good idea to have Casey Stoner as a wildcard rider in the World Superbike Championship,” said Nakamoto speaking to German media.

“But Casey is not cheap. It would also be nice if he could help us in the motorcycle development. Who knows … “

It seems a far fetched idea from Nakamoto, with no Japanese round, and the Australian round come and gone already there is no outstandingly obvious round that Stoner could wildcard at either.

But with Casey Stoner you never know what he is thinking, and maybe a competitive SBK field could be the spark he needs to fall back in love with motorcycle racing.