Successful start for Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies in Sepang
The first official test of the 2011 MotoGP season got underway today at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. Yamaha Factory Racing Team riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies were quick to get up to a good pace on track, both riding under last year's race times before the end of their first session despite not having ridden a motorcycle for two months over the winter break. With many parts and electronics to test over the three days, today's objective of familiarising themselves with their YZR-M1's again was a success. Reigning World Champion Lorenzo wrapped up his first session as the second fastest rider of the day, just four tenths from the top. Team mate Spies was just less than four tenths behind him in fifth.
Day two tomorrow will see both riders working on various areas of the 2011 race bike's development along with testing tyres for MotoGP tyre supplier Bridgestone. In advance of the official 2011 Yamaha Factory Racing Team launch at the second Sepang test, both riders took to the track today riding YZR-M1s with plain black carbon fibre fairing. From tomorrow however the M1 of both Lorenzo and Spies will have a special 'one-event' Yamaha Factory Racing Blue de-branded design to be filmed for a Yamaha corporate video as part of the ongoing Yamaha World GP 50th Anniversary activities. This design will only be used for the remaining two days of the Sepang test.
2nd, 44 laps 2'01.977
"It's been a good start today, we tried a few things and it seemed for everything we tried it was a little bit better, not big improvements but as I said in Valencia at the test last year, the 2011 bike seems to have less wheelie so we can open the throttle earlier in the corners and in some corners I have better corner speed as well. Today was my first ride wearing Alpinestars so there were a lot of things for me to get used to. We pushed a bit more towards the end of the session and got faster, we will continue to make the step tomorrow." Jorge Lorenzo
5th, 24 laps 2'02.332
"Today was good. The weather forecast wasn't so great so to get as much time on the bike as we had was good. We set out to not do too many laps to avoid getting tired, it's easy to overdo it on the first day. We did enough to get my head up to speed then relaxed as we have a lot to look at over the next two days for Yamaha and Bridgestone. It's my first day with the new team and they were fantastic, everybody worked together really well. We ended up going faster than we did here last year in the race which shows my confidence in the bike and the team. There's more to come from the bike and from me too, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager for Jorge Lorenzo
"I'm very pleased with our first session here at Sepang. I'm actually quite surprised at Jorge's speed as normally after a two month break it takes him longer to get into the rhythm because he's a very smooth rider, so a break means you miss the rhythm. We had received good information at the end of the day so we have been able to make some steps and reach some decisions. Tomorrow we have some more things to test but for today we are quite satisfied."
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director and Team Manager for Ben Spies
"After a long rest we have to be satisfied with the first session. Our riders used today to get back their speed and we are happy to see they were both consistently fast. Tomorrow we will start to do some work on the bikes and collect further data."