Reigning World Champion Marc Marquez set a stunning lap time of 1’59.533 earlier today to complete his domination of the first MotoGP™ group test of the 2014 season at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.
Marquez’s lap time on the Repsol Honda RC213V was the quickest ever at Sepang and was set on the 2014 specification Bridgestone tyres in the medium compound front and rear. Second quickest overall was a resurgent Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha Factory Racing M1 with a best time of 1:59.727, the Italian finishing just ahead of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo in the overall standings, who set a lap time of 1:59.866.
Conditions for the test were dry and very hot with a peak track temperature of 57°C; two degrees warmer than the peak recording at last year’s corresponding Sepang test. With a lack of recent rainfall in the area, the riders reported that the condition of the Sepang track surface was better than in recent visits to the circuit. This enabled riders to not only set quick times on a single lap, but also show good pace during race simulations. In particular, Marc Marquez did a race distance, twenty-lap run on the new specification hard compound slick, with the total time for this run being twenty-nine seconds quicker than the overall race time at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.
All front and rear slick compound choices were utilised by riders over the three days and although riders could use the 2013 and 2014 specification rear tyres for the first Sepang test, only the 2014 Bridgestone MotoGP tyres will be available for the remaining official tests.
Bridgestone will be back in Sepang for the next MotoGP™ official test which will take place from February 26-28.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department: “We achieved all of our objectives for this test and acquired a lot of data and rider feedback on the performance of the 2014 Factory and Open class machines on our new range of tyres. It was particularly important to assess tyre behaviour on the new Open class machines. Lap times at this time of year are usually quicker than what we see for the race weekend later in the yaer, and riders commented that the track condition was quite good compared to last October. This meant lap times were quite quick during the test, with four riders lapping in the 1'59 bracket. This shows that once again, the combination of new machinery and new tyres has pushed the performance level of MotoGP even higher.
“A lot of the first day of this test was spent helping teams get to grips with the new tyres and now that the test is complete, the general consensus is that our 2014 specification tyres are working well. However, there is still a lot of work to do to help the teams get the most out of our new generation of tyres before the season starts. Overall I am pleased with the outcome of the test and the data we acquired means we can now confirm our tyre line-up for this season. We will be providing Open class riders with rear slicks one step softer than the Factory class this year, and I expect this will create some very exciting MotoGP races in 2014. As well as supporting the next Sepang test, our main priority now is continuing our preparations for the Phillip Island tyre test at the beginning of March.”