After a long winter wait the Yamaha Factory Racing riders were finally back on track today for the first official ride of the 2014 season at the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia. The first day of the three-day IRTA test gave riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi a chance to blow off the cobwebs and stretch their muscles on a bike again as they worked through a number of test items for the 2014 YZR-M1.
Rossi, the first Factory rider to venture out on track, was also the first to find a quicker pace on his M1, slotting quickly into the top three and leading briefly before the lunch break. As the afternoon session continued the Italian was joined by his teammate Lorenzo who moved up into second, just 0.3 off front man Marc Marquez. A flurry of fast laps towards the end of the session re-shuffled the pack a little, Rossi ending the day in second, 0.518 from the top and Lorenzo in fourth, 0.796 seconds from first.
The Yamaha Factory riders were enjoying their 2014 bikes in full livery, featuring recently announced sponsors Eurasian Bank, Fiat Professional and SuisseGas.
The bikes also had a special sticker stating ‘Yamaha Lends a Hand to Yolanda Victims’ to promote Yamaha’s campaign to support victims of the typhoon in the Philippines.
The day’s testing was followed by a special press conference hosted by Yamaha Motor, introducing Yamaha’s Global 2014 Racing Program. The event was also attended by Takaaki Kimura, Senior Managing Executive Officer and Representative Director of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
2nd / 2’00.804 / 61 laps
“I’m happy about the first day, it’s a good start. I feel good and I’m in a good shape. I’m happy because we’ve been very fast and always stayed in the top three positions. We worked a lot on the bike and on the new stuff to try and improve my problems. We already found something. I’m happy because I feel good with the bike and was able to go into the 2’00 minute mark, that was my target. It’s a positive day.”
4th / 2’01.082 / 47 laps
“As always it’s difficult to come back again in a good shape after the Winter, some months without training changes you a lot so the first day is always tough! The bike has changed quite a bit compared to last year. The new regulation of 20 litres fuel allowance makes us change quite a lot of electronics so the bike is not working exactly how I would like. I know we will find a solution in the next two days.”