Texan rider Spies wrapped up his three day test at lunchtime today having completed 32 laps in the morning session. Although the team had kept back four sets of soft tyres for this final day, only two were used in less than ideal conditions to set a faster lap time. Despite this he managed to record his fastest time of 2'00.678, his personal best for the circuit and 0.86 under the pole position time of his team mate Lorenzo from last year's Malaysian Grand Prix race.
Lorenzo's final afternoon session was played out in dramatic fashion, the World Champion completing a 20 lap race distance run under dark skies split by forked lightening. The Mallorcan kept a consistent pace throughout, confirming the improvements of his M1 and, as with his team mate, lapping consistently under last year's race times and beating his pole lap of last season's Mal aysian GP race by 0.534 seconds.
Yamaha Factory Racing Rider, 5th, 2'00.678, 32 laps
"It was a productive test, we got through a lot. I had one small mistake but on the plus side we had a lot of stuff we accomplished so it's all good. We still have some work to do obviously but we're not too far off race pace. We need to figure out how to get the bike a little bit quicker for a few laps, definitely for qualifying and the beginning of the race. It wasn't the most ideal conditions today for a quick lap, I did go to put in a few this morning and was pretty pleased with the time. I'm looking forward to a few days rest now in cooler temperatures at home before Qatar! The team have been awesome again, I'm really pleased with how we're working together."
Yamaha Factory Racing Rider, 7th, 2'01.003, 48 laps
"I feel quite tired, after two and a half days of testing I've finished with a long 20 lap run. The results have been quite good, we had a very consistent pace and I was happy to have improved some things with the bike. I think we've made some big steps forward with traction and feel, although we still need to improve our lap time."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
"It was a good day today to wrap up, I am satisfied with the results of the long run. Jorge was very consistent and the grip didn't drop that much towards the end, he kept a good pace which is a strong point for him and important that we didn't lose that. Of course we saw our competitors were very fast this morning but it's only the second test of the year, I think Qatar will be a very different story. We've improved the package compared to the last time we were here racing here which was our goal. Of course we have more work to do a nd we will continue to work on it."
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
"We've definitely had a good test, we've improved the traction of the bike a lot and also the handling. Compared to the last test Ben's improved by a considerable time so he's quite satisfied with the set up. There is still a gap to the fastest riders but in terms of long runs we are very competitive so we will go to Qatar knowing we can achieve a good result. Jorge found a good set up this afternoon and achieved a really good long run so we have achieved the targets we set before we came here, I am very satisfied with the team and how we have performed."
Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow make big progress in Sepang
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow declared themselves satisfied with the progress at the end of a hugely productive three-day MotoGP test session in Malaysia today.
Edwards was thrilled with his work over an exhausting three days as typically searing hot and sunny conditions dominated the test at the 5.5km Sepang circuit.
The experienced American, making final preparations for his ninth MotoGP campaign, spent the entire test working on a range of different geometry settings to find the maximum turning performance with a new YZR-M1 chassis he first evaluated earlier this month in the first Sepang test.
Edwards was also delighted with significant progress in improving rear grip as he concentrated on fine-tuning his set-up to suit the harder option Bridgestone rear tyre rather than pushing for an outright fast lap time. He finished in sixth position overall with a best time 2.00.966 to finish just ahead of reigning World Champion and fellow Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.
Crutchlow was able to show his true potential on the final day after a difficult start to the test, which is the second of three pre-season outings for the British rider. Crutchlow had to overcome a nasty bout of food poisoning picked up on his way to Kuala Lumpur that left him a weakened physical state for the entire test. Two crashes on the first day were quickly forgotten as he concentrated on making progress with consistency on the hard compound Bridgestone tyre with a range of set-up changes. He also focused on perfecting his riding style and made big strides in adapting to the b raking technique of the Yamaha YZR-M1 machine to finish in 14th position.
Edwards and Crutchlow will be back on track under the spectacular Losail International Circuit floodlights for the conclusion to the winter testing schedule on March 13/14.
6th - 2'00.966:
“This test has been awesome for us and I've had a lot of fun, even though the conditions have been really extreme with the heat. I've got a lot of experience and I've been riding motorcycles forever, but even I'm still learning a lot and I've really enjoyed coming here and changing the bike to see what does and doesn't work. I've figured out a lot of things with the new bike and the Bridgestone tyres and I've also learned that for an old guy, I'm not finished yet. I spent most of the test working on the new chassis, mainly experimenting with geometry and we made a lot of progress. My team is really smart and together we played around with a few ideas and got the bike to a point where I'm really satisfied. We improved front feeling compared to the last test and we can finish the corner a lot better. I'm really happy with the progress with rear traction too. Yamaha has done a great job and we leave Malaysia tired but with a lot of confidence. I'm now looking forward to getting Qatar and starting the racing.”
14th - 2'02.034:
“It has certainly been an eventful week and the good thing is that it ended in positive fashion. The food poisoning I picked up on the way to Sepang didn't help my preparations and I've felt weak all through the test as a result. Two crashes on the first day didn't help my confidence and day two was a struggle to be honest. We made a lot of changes to the bike without helping me feel more comfortable. My team have b een fantastic though and given me great support and the last day was much better. For the first time I was able to do a decent lap time, but the important thing is I was able to be more consistent and feel more confident with the bike. We made improvements to the front and rear of the bike and I'm pretty happy with a low 2.02. The front felt more stable and while I'd like a bit more rear grip, we've made progress in that area as well. Qatar will be another big learning curve for me because I know the track, but I haven't ridden a MotoGP bike there and I've never raced under the floodlights. I'm confident with the set-up changes we made here that I'll be competitive in Qatar too.”
Todays Test times:
Casey stoner Honda 1'59.665 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'59.803 Marco Simoncelli Honda 2'00.163 Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2'00.541 Ben Spies Yamaha 2'0 0.678 Colin Edwards Yamaha 2'00.966 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2'01.003 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 2'01.194 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 2'01.328 Hector Barbera Ducati 2'01.346 Valentino Rossi Ducati 2'01.469 Nicky Hayden Ducati 2'01.469 Loris Capirossi Ducati 2'01.493 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 2'02.034 Randy De Puniet Ducati 2'02.155 Tony Elias Honda 2'02.410 Test rider Yamaha 2'02.457 Karel Abraham Ducati 2'02.506 Test rider Yamaha 2'03.016