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Yamaha Makes a Strong Start in Sepang

The long winter wait was finally over this morning as the 2013 MotoGP field took to the track in Sepang for the first official test of 2013. Reunited Yamaha Factory Racing teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were quick to blow off any cobwebs from the winter rest. Rossi was initially the fastest rider during the majority of the morning session, clearly taking little time to re-bond with the YZR-M1 that has brought him so much previous success. Reigning World Champion Lorenzo was not far behind, the Mallorcan’s typically methodical approach to testing seeing him steadily work through a number of different items that the two were unable to fully test in Valencia at the end of last year. By the time riding stopped for the day, Lorenzo had risen to second, just 0.008 seconds from first with Rossi in fourth, less than half a second from the front. Both riders will be back on track at 10am local time tomorrow and again on Thursday for the final of the three days of the test.

Jorge Lorenzo – Laps 58, Time – 2’01.165

“This morning I had to get the feeling again for the MotoGP bike but it didn’t cost me so much time as it did last year. When I got up to a good pace we tried some things we couldn’t try in Aragon, we need to work on it more. Some parts I liked, some things need more work. Tomorrow we are going to keep trying the things we tried today and also some new parts. Times are very close between Yamaha and Honda so we will try to improve our bike to be even better. We are still working on acceleration, we improved a lot last year but it’s still not our strongest point. I think now at this point consistency is one of my strongest points and I hope to continue that this year.”

Valentino Rossi – Laps 56, Time – 2’01.584

“I’m very happy about the first day of testing with the M1. After two seasons away I was able to come back on the bike and remember the good feeling I always had with it. I am also happy because I was quite fast from the morning. We worked on the settings to make some improvements and we made some good steps. In the afternoon we started to work on the new parts for the season. It’s just the first test but the potential is high and I am in a good position, I am in fourth place but not far from the other three guys. I am very positive that we can improve over the next few days but I’m happy with the start.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager

“So, we’ve started 2013, our target today was to get the riders into a rhythm. Two and a half months without riding a bike like this is difficult. You have to get into a rhythm and up to speed otherwise you are not able to able to confirm and recognise new materials. We also tried a new engine specification today that was quite interesting. We need to adjust some areas but our target is to improve acceleration. So far we are quite enthusiastic.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“Today was the first of the three test days; the riders were able to get back into their rhythm after a long break from the season. Unfortunately in November we weren’t able to finalise a few items that were for us very important but today we started to work on fixing that. The weather forecast is quite tricky for tomorrow and the day after but hopefully it will remain dry and we will be able to get all the information we are looking for. On Vale’s side he was able to understand today that he still has the speed, I could see he was very satisfied, which for us is a great thing. I think he was really looking for this test because as he said many times he had some doubts to settle. Jorge is pretty satisfied with the first day, he was very motivated and enthusiastic about the new items we tested. We’ll keep working and see how we will finish the test in two days time.”

Crutchlow and Smith kick off 2013 preparations in Sepang

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith enjoyed a positive and productive start to the 2013 MotoGP winter testing campaign at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today. After a successful winter training camp in California, Crutchlow arrived in Kuala Lumpur raring to start his third season in MotoGP and the 27-year-old wasted no time in getting down to competitive lap times. The British rider got his first opportunity to evaluate an upgraded Yamaha YZR-M1 engine today and he also worked on improving his braking technique in hot but dry conditions th at defied forecasts of heavy rain. Crutchlow completed the first day of track action in 2013 with a best lap of 2.01.881, which secured him the sixth best time on a final leaderboard that saw Yamaha’s new YZR-M1 occupy three out of the top six places.

Today’s action presented rookie Smith with the perfect opportunity to build up his experience on board the YZR-M1 and the 22-year-old was able to complete 56 fast and consistent laps that were closing to placing him inside the top 10. Rather than experiment with different settings, Smith concentrated purely on learning more about the riding technique required in MotoGP and acquitted himself superbly to clock a best time 2.03.460. That encouraging pace put Smith ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and only a fraction behind Nicky Hayden’s pace, and the 125cc Grand Prix winner is confident he can cut t he gap to the leading group and challenge for a top 10 result in the remaining two days of the test.

Cal Crutchlow – Laps – 64, Time – 2’01.881

“It was good to be back on the bike again after a couple of months away. I’m happy enough because initially it is all about getting the feeling back after a while off the bike. It is difficult for me coming to Sepang because it is not my favourite circuit but I am pleased and it has been a good start. I haven’t got too many updates to try on the bike but hopefully I’ve got some things to try later this week. I’ve been working more on tweaking my style a bit more today, particularly in the braking area to get the bike stopped better, which was an area I know I have to improve on for this season. It is clear looking at the top of the timesheets that it is going to be a fantastic season in MotoGP. I think any of us that finished in the top seve n today will have a shot at winning a race and I think the fans are going to be treated to some fantastic racing.”

Bradley Smith – Laps – 56, Time 2’03.460

“When I started getting warmed up this morning at 9am and it started raining, my heart sank and I thought it was going to be a Valencia experience all over again. Luckily it didn’t last and I got out on track and I am very satisfied with how today went. The idea for this test is to keep it very simple and be consistent, so each time I go out I learn, understand and enjoy it and get some confidence. Each exit from the pits I wanted to get to the lap time I did before and then try and beat it by a little bit. I managed that and for that reason it was a positive start. This test is all about me learning how to ride the M1 rather than worrying about anything else like big set-up changes and we made good progress with every e xit. All we’ve been doing is trying to make the bike as easy as possible to ride so I can understand the bike, the tyres and how the chassis works. We are keeping the bike very user-friendly just to help me understand the right lines. I’m still using Moto2 lines but being able to analyse Cal, Jorge and Valentino’s data is a big help because you can easily see what you are doing good and what you are doing bad. All I’m doing is learning and trying to gain some confidence before we try and make any big steps with changes, which we probably won’t until the next test back in Sepang at the end of the month.”

Day One Test Times:

1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Honda (RC213V) 2m 1.157s (Lap 48/49)
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha (YZR-M1) 2m 1.165s (57/58)
3. Marc Marquez ESP Honda (RC213V) 2m 1.201s (60/62)
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha (YZR-M1) 2m 1.584s (30/56)
5. Stefan Bradl GER Honda (RC213V) 2m 1.789s (43/59)
6. Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha (YZR-M1) 2m 1.881s (46/64)
7. Alvaro Bautista ESP Honda (RC213V) 2m 1.981s (52/59)
8. Katsayuki Nakasuga JPN Yamaha (YZR-M1) 2m 2.968s (50/58)
9. Kosuke Akiyoshi JPN Honda (RC213V) 2m 2.972s (46/69)
10. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati (GP13) 2m 3.336s (22/62)
11. Wataru Yoshikawa JPN Yamaha (YZR-M1) 2m 3.456s (14/46)
12. Bradley Smith GBR Yamaha (YZR-M1) 2m 3.460s (53/56)
13. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati (GP13) 2m 3.535s (35/48)
14. Aleix Espargaro ESP (ART CRT) 2m 3.782s (54/58)
15. Randy De Puniet FRA (ART CRT) 2m 4.283s (42/56)
16. Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati (GP13) 2m 4.500s (53/57)
17. Ben Spies USA Ducati (GP13) 2m 5.086s (19/21)
18. Takumi Takahashi JPN Honda (RC213V) 2m 5.154s (68/70)
19. Hector Barbera ESP (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 2m 5.469s (37/41)
20. Yonny Hernandez COL (ART CRT) 2m 5.656s (39/50)
21. Karel Abraham CZE (ART CRT) 2m 5.694s (30/54)
22. Danilo Petrucci ITA (Suter-BMW CRT)* 2m 5.753s (27/29)
23. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 2m 5.919s (47/48)
24. Claudio Corti ITA Forward (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 2m 6.426s (29/38)
25. Michael Laverty GBR (ART CRT) 2m 6.507s (42/43)
26. Lukas Pesek CZE (Suter-BMW CRT)* 2m 7.015s (40/46)
27. Bryan Staring AUS Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT)* 2m 7.044s (33/41)
28. Colin Edwards USA Forward (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 2m 8.206s (24/25)
* Control ECU.