British duo Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith set the fifth and eighth fastest times at the Sepang International Circuit today to conclude a successful start to the MotoGP winter testing schedule for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. A best time of 2.00.734 ensured Crutchlow finished inside the top six on each day and after improving his pace by over a second throughout the test he finished in fifth position on the final timesheets. Having made improvements with corner entry rear grip yesterday, Crutchlow turned his focus to working on his pace an d consistency on worn tyres today, and he was satisfied with the progress to finish 0.634s away from Dani Pedrosa’s best time.
Rookie teammate Smith produced another fantastic performance and included in his 48-lap stint was an impressively fast and consistent full race simulation, which he completed in searing heat and humidity on the hottest day of the test. The 22-year-old has made a seamless transition from Moto2 to the heavier and more powerful YZR-M1 machine and his race simulation gave him priceless information on where he can improve when the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team returns to Sepang for a further three-day test later this month. Smith ended with a best time of 2.02.093 today, which was within two seconds of the quickest pace set by Pedrosa and he was only a second away from the top six. His fastest time at the test was yesterday’s 2.01.931 that secured him the eighth quickest time overall.
Cal Crutchlow – Laps – 53, Time – 2’00.734
â€œIt has been a very positive week and I am where I expected to be and that’s right behind the top four factory bikes. I can’t really ask for more than that and I’m pleased with my lap times because my bike is almost identical to the bike I rode last year. Today I was doing a lot of laps on old tyres and trying to stay consistent and I’ve improved. I also feel like I’ve made good progress in improving on the brakes, so it has been a productive test and good to be back on track after the winter break. I’ve built up my confidence each day but it is obvious that 2013 is going to be incredibly tough. There is some amazing talent on really good machinery but I am really looking forward to it. I’ll be ready to give it 100% as always and come the first race in Qatar I’ll be ready to challenge. Credit to Bradley as we ll because he has done a fantastic job this week. This was his first proper test in MotoGP and he has got faster and more confident each day. I have been very impressed with him and it is going to be good being his teammate this season.â€
Bradley Smith – Laps – 48, Time – 2’02.093
â€œI am really happy with the way this test has gone and my lap times and final position have already given me a lot of confidence. I didn’t come here with any expectations but to be eighth is where this bike needs to be. I am still not getting all of the potential out of the YZR-M1 but I am gaining in confidence with every lap I complete and it has been mission accomplished in terms of coming here and understanding how the bike needs to be ridden. I still need to be a lot smoother but I am happy to be within two seconds of the fastest time. I knew that was possible but the hard work starts now to close that gap even more. The race simulation was amazing to build up my experience but it was seriously hard work. It was the hottest day and it is very physically and mentally demanding to ride a MotoGP bike at that pace over a long distance. It is hard to concentrate but the best thing was on the last lap I did a 2.02.9 and my best lap was a 2.02.5. So I was consistent and while I need to be faster, I’m really happy to be leaving this test having learned so much. I need a good sleep now to digest all the information I’ve taken on but already I can’t wait to be back on the bike here later this month.â€
Tech 3 Yamaha
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Gulf collection tribute
In an homage to the Gulf collection that graces the cover of the March issue of Motor Sport, reader Maarten Vogels has recreated the photo shoot with model cars.
If you want to see some great pictures of Spa and Zolder, you can find more of his photography on the Belgian Motorsport Facebook page.
Motor Sport Magazine – The original motor racing magazine
Source: Motor Sport Mag
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra-hard. Rear: Soft, Medium,
Weather: Dry. Ambient 27-30Â°C; Track 31-37Â°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Hondaâ€™s Dani Pedrosa posted the quickest time on the opening day of the first
group test of the 2013 MotoGP season at Malaysiaâ€™s Sepang International Circuit.
Pedrosa set his benchmark time of 2â€™01.157 on his penultimate lap today to finish
just eight-thousandths of a second ahead of Yamaha Factory Racingâ€™s Jorge Lorenzo,
while on the other Repsol Honda RC213V, Marc MÃ¡rquez was third on the timesheets with
a best lap time of 2â€™01.201.
All twenty-four riders contesting this yearâ€™s MotoGPâ„¢ championship, along with four
test riders â€“ two each from Honda and Yamaha – took to the track today for a total of
twenty-eight participants. Torrential rain over the previous two days and a lack of
recent activity at the Sepang circuit meant that track conditions for the opening day
were challenging, with some riders remarking that the grip level of the circuit were
below average. Although the rain didnâ€™t affect todayâ€™s proceedings, the overcast
condition did limit track temperatures, with a peak of 37Â°C recorded in the
afternoon, which is unusually cool for this circuit, especially in dry conditions.
The mild track temperatures resulted in tyre selection trending towards the softer
slick options, with twelve of the twenty-eight riders trying the harder front option
and all riders choosing the softer rear options available to them. The cool
temperatures also limited evaluation of the experimental slick tyres Bridgestone
brought to Sepang to just the CRT teams. All the CRT riders assessed the soft
compound rear slick – though only for short stints at this stage â€“ and feedback was
generally positive, with a good improvement in rear grip.
After a productive opening day at Sepang, evaluation of the new hard option rear
slick for the â€˜worksâ€™ bikes is planned to take place tomorrow, while CRT times will
continue to assess the soft rear slick in what are forecast to be similar weather
conditions to today.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
â€œFollowing two days of rain which severely affected the CRT ECU test, thankfully
today we had fine weather which allowed all the riders to do many laps in dry track
conditions. All of the CRT riders tested the softer rear slick which weâ€™ve brought to
Sepang for the first time, and their feedback on this specification of tyre was that
it offered a good improvement in rear grip. Further testing of this CRT-specific
option is scheduled for tomorrow and now that the works teams have had a day to find
a base setup, we hope that the weather conditions are warm enough so that we can test
the experimental rear slicks featuring our revised hard rubber compounds as well.â€
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Thanks to motorsport.com