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Sepang Test Ends; Viñales Tops; Zarco Impresses; Lorenzo Improves

The first official MotoGP test of 2017 has come to an end after three days at Sepang. New Yamaha team member Maverick Viñales posted the fastest time, while new Suzuki team rider Andrea Iannone was second quickest.

Former champ Jorge Lorenzo finally showed a good turn of speed on his new Ducati by posting a time only 4/10ths of a second off Viñales … roughly the same time posted by the impressive rookie Johann Zarco (Yamaha).

All of the MotoGP riders will assemble again in two-weeks’ time at Phillip Island for another three-day test.  Open this PDF for the combined times for Sepang: 2017 MotoGP Sepang Test – Combined S3

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  1. PatrickD says:

    Rossi manuipulates the press and tries to beat his rivals off the track.
    Expect the same temper tantrums as we saw in 2010 if Vinales beats him regularly, as is quite possible.
    Rossi now races with the hope that others will make mistakes or for favourable conditions (for him). With all the wet weather races we’ve had in the last two years, that he hasn’t won a title means that he probably won’t win one again. That he’s actaully quite fickle with his second bike (his flag-to-flag record is not good) means that he needs at least two other people to have a bad weekend (JL and MM) for his to be strong. We might even add MV to that list now, albeit with JL dropping back week-in-week-out. That still doesn’t push Rossi any further up the rankings.
    He sells alot of hats, but his ego has tripped him up in the past and I dare say will do so again.
    Rossi will have to play a guerilla plan to make headway this year. I think that while we mightn’t see the absolute number different winners as 2016, we’re in for a fascinating season. Last year had a weekend-at-a-time entertainment, but the longer thread of the championship wasn’t in much doubt after five races with the pattern well established. A three or four way battle at the top could be on the cards.

  2. Ellis Tomago says:

    If I had to choose a Spaniard to win the world title in 2017, it would be Maverick Vinales.

  3. wjf says:

    Apart from publicity, Yamaha should have dumped Rossi and gone with the 1 – 2 punch of Lorenzo and Vinales…

    • Curly says:

      Rossi is the single greatest rider for Yamaha PR they have ever had and that includes Roberts and Ago. They would never have given him up for George. Vale and Maverick will do just fine.

      • Dave says:

        Re: “Rossi is the single greatest rider for Yamaha PR they have ever had and that includes Roberts and Ago.”

        This cannot be overstated. In most of the world, Rossi is at a celebrity level an order of magnitude above the sport itself. Hundreds of thousands of people watch MotoGP because of Rossi, not because they like motorcycle racing. The void left by his departure will be similar to that of Michael Jorgan retiring from basketball or Gretzky retiring from hockey.

    • VLJ says:

      There’s also the fact that Rossi has beaten Lorenzo two of the past three seasons, including last season, and it should have been three for three. People seem to forget that even despite his age and ridiculous reputation for “not being as fast as _________,” Rossi has been the most consistent top finisher these past three seasons. While his qualifying efforts have certainly improved in recent years, the bottom line is still what happens when the flag drops on Sunday, and #46 is the one guy you can count on to be there at the end nearly every weekend.

    • Vrooom says:

      Apart from money and success? What happened to Lorenzo last year, he was finishing in 8-10th for a portion of the season. He’s still an alien, but Vinales was an upgrade on him, and Vale beat him 2 of the past 3 years and it would have been 3 of the last 3 had Marquez not run interference for Jorge.

      • wjf says:

        you make a good point there Vrooom, last season there seamed to be some inconsistency with 99…
        and i admit, 99 has the personality of a wet sock, where as Rossi is always a master in this realm

        and i get it, ratings…. however, i wonder how the metric turned out when Rossi was at Ducati a few years back and things were not so good…do wins matter or personality?

    • hh says:

      Apart from the publicity? Pro sport /moto gp is spectacle which means money and that means the impact of marketing/publicity. Rossi’s impact is iconic whereas 99 needs to climb out of being a dispirited champion trying to regain his number one position. Getting past Marquez and maybe Vinales by pushing the superannuated Rossi off his ride is not the way to go. Vinales is the positive investment for Yamaha and moving was in JLO’s best interest too.

  4. hh says:

    whoa Mickey!!!! who doesn’t like Dani P. He is the greatest rider in history not to have a moto gp championship, may have better record than Schwantz or Rainey in victories? and always even in his comments, friendly with the fans, just a quiet guy, not a showman, been around a while and taken for granted, but would be great if he put a season together and got that championship but of course if some veteran rider is going to pull it together then it should be Rossi. Dani winning would be a happy fortunate and quiet moment, Rossi champion again would be epic.

  5. Provologna says:

    As if MotoGP was not popular enough? Man, you can hear Dorna’s cash register across the Atlantic!

    Something weird happened w/my Dorna subscription. When the season ended, they were about to (against my intention) automatically renew my subscription. Dorna offered 99 for renewal with threat that price would be 140 if I purchased later. I emailed Dorna and told them if the price was not 140 later I’d ask for a refund of the difference. (IOW, if the price was 120 I’d want a 20 refund because they lied earlier by that amount.)

    They did not renew me, but just cut bait.

    Of course, now I suspect I’m stuck paying 140. Dumb move on my part! Pity the fool missing this season!

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I’m stuck paying 140”

      no worries, it’s only money. the difference is sitting down between the seat cushions.

  6. downgoesfraser says:

    Bullshit stops when the flag drops, say hello to my little friend….Marc.

  7. brinskee says:

    Well it’s going to be Viñales and Marquez scrapping at the front for at least a few races this year so something quite new and fun to watch. Going to be interesting with so many riders so close to each other. I think Lorenzo will pick up at least a win, possibly Iannone too?

    I wonder how Bradley Smith is feeling after this test… probably a wee bit of regret about the switch. Interesting to see he and Pol come in at the exact same time for their best laps, they must be pretty evenly matched on identical machines!

  8. dt 175 says:


  9. Provologna says:

    So far, Aprilia and KTM bit off more than they can chew. Their respective ad copy writers already authored exit announcement. Two seconds per lap deficit x 30 laps = 60 seconds, about half a lap behind the winner.

    The difference between KTM’s plethora of world dirt bike Championships vs. their so far failed MotoGP campaign, is the difference between a 60hp single w/28cm of fork travel geared for 80mph and a fire breathing 250hp four w/10cm of travel geared for 225mph…or forty years of dirt track database vs. a few years worth of pavement database…or said more succinctly, 2s per lap.

    KTM’s CEO has lots of money to toss away on his big F-U to BMW, but it’s not endless. I give him one more year of burning an estimated $20M/year into the fireplace, then he quits, “…to spend more time w/his family…”

    Honda has forty years of database on these tracks, both four and two wheel. Yamaha is among the world’s biggest OEMs. Suzuki has about a hundred pavement Championships. Challenging the Japanese in this venue is a fool’s errand.

    Yeah, I know KTM has winning Moto3 bikes. I immensely enjoyed Moto3 competition. The bikes corner like their on a rail, w/insane apex velocity.

    But still, the difference in speed and presentation between Moto3 and MotoGP bikes at the track is like the difference between two reptiles in your back yard, one a garden variety lizard, the other is Godzilla.

    I stood 100 feet from JLo, Rossi, and MM at the start line @ Austin COTA. After they disappeared up the hill for the first lap, me and the stranger to my immediate left turned and looked at each other, mouths agape, and said, “Can you believe that?”

    Appropriately geared, does anyone know the maximum velocity for a typical MotoGP bike?

    • mickey says:

      I think Dovi and Pedro have both hit officially timed 217 mph+, but that is geared for a race course. Wonder what one of these would run geared taller for Bonneville?

    • Dave says:

      Re: “their so far failed MotoGP campaign”

      Utter nonsense. It was not long ago that seeing the leaders lap riders into the top-10 in races was commonplace so 1/2 lap is not an emergency. KTM has just begun this project and fully expect it to take time to become competitive. How good was the Suzuki when they resumed GP (with decades of prior experience). KTM’s motocross program wasn’t very competitive when they came stateside, either. Look at em’ now..

      Aprilia is doing quite well. They steadily improved last year and are beating many well developed packages so far.

      • JVB says:

        The more manufacturers the better. History has shown that KTM will cut bait quickly. Look how fast they yanked Filmore’s AMA commitment for superbikes.

        • Dave says:

          Nobody is meaningfully committed to AMA superbike at this point and KTM probably hasn’t enjoyed sales or marketing success with the RC8.

          By contrast, they’ve doubled down in AMA/FIM MX, fielding and supporting several KEM teams, as well as purchasing Husqvarna and fielding factory teams under that flag as well.

    • Pacer says:

      “The difference between KTM’s plethora of world dirt bike Championships vs. their so far failed MotoGP campaign”…

      Is that they have not even begun. Pol appears to be learning his way around. What do you expect a manufacturer to do when entering the highest level of racing. Should they be .4 off of the leader?

    • spokes says:

      You sir haven’t got a clue!

    • Curly says:

      I think they’re doing really well this early in the program. You clearly don’t remember the satellite teams of the 90’s and early 00’s and their frustrating attempts to challenge the big guys. Even King Kenny struggled to field a competitive bike with Petronis backing. Will KTM win the championship this year? No, but who knows they might pick up a rain win on a lucky Sunday.

    • Brian says:

      Agree with others here: gotta cut ’em a bit more slack. As to top speed, I have to imagine it would approach 250 with appropriate gearing and enough room. Kenan Sofuoglu hit 248 from a standing start in under 30 seconds on an H2R, though I’ve never seen much detail on what mods were done to the bike.

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: Appropriately geared, does anyone know the maximum velocity for a typical MotoGP bike?

      A: 88 mph, the established activation speed for “flux capacitance”.

  10. Craig says:

    It’s all practice till someone wins a race, but we know these guys competitive nature won’t allow them to not race for a top time at the end… unless they are really working to hide their potential.

    that said, it never changes when the racing starts usually, unless someone has a new bike. Then all bets are off…

    All said, it’s almost time to go and I can’t wait… ready to see some real action!!!

  11. Vrooom says:

    It would be great if Casey came back, and maybe he’ll ride a few races, but I doubt he’ll reenter a season. He hasn’t lost it, no doubt about that. Vinales is off the charts on his new bike. Lorenzo got up to 10th and that’s a relief for Ducati, but Yamaha has to be overjoyed, young rider on new bike spanks the field. Aprilia making it to 13th is good for them, KTM is way down about 2 seconds slower per lap than the lead. Apparently Smith and Pol are getting everything they can out of the KTM since they’re best laps are identical.

  12. stinkywheels says:

    I hope it’s a good year. Things are mixed well, electronics are stabilized, Suzuki is back, I wish Aprillia and KTM were closer to ready.

  13. Tommy D says:

    Shaping up to be a great year. Vinales will be on the top of the podium a lot this year. He has bucket loads of talent and the focus of a champion. What are the odds he wins the Championship?

  14. Neil says:

    Vinales will be right up there with the other aliens for sure. Ianonne will be fast on the Zook as well. So it should be a good season. The Ducs are right there in the mix.

  15. tbrad says:

    It’s great to see someone else top the timesheets besides the regular “aliens”! Hope Vinales gives Marquez and Rossi a good run for the title this year!

    • Dave says:

      I think barring an unforeseen crash, Vinales will be on top and the others will be chasing him. Everything has gone perfectly and his confidence is grounded in a championship winning team and bike.

      Marquez is always fast, but I think Honda has missed it this year, and they’ll be chasing the right setup on that thing for a little while.

      I noticed another commend on the Aprilia, it was .7sec of fastest time by the end of the test and was steadily marching up the results sheet last year. It’s safe to assume that it (and KTM) have the greatest potential for improvement.

      Also interesting is that the field is now full of 3 years worth of Ducatis and they’re all pretty fast so it appears that the old bike was not beyond fixing.

  16. Jabe says:

    Casey who?

    • vascos says:

      was thinking exactly the same.. 🙂 especially after reading motorcycledaily´s post before this one. Apparently Casey ran out of talent after day one :-D! (eheheh just teasing motorcyledaily editors here..)

  17. mickey says:

    Bodes well for the new Yamaha rider Vinales. Marquez 2nd, Dovi 3rd, Pedro 4th, Rossi 5th, Lorenzo 9th.

    Good to see Pedro mixing it up, hope he has a healthy year. I know most of you don’t like him and that’s a shame. Tough, talented kid.Probably his last year on the factory Honda.

    Marquez and Rossi are right where you’d expect them to be since M is aggressive and won’t settle and Rossi is rarely good at qualifying, he’s just good at racing lol

    Jlo has his work cut out for him, but don’t expect him to stay near the bottom of the top 10.

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