Mixed Weather Conditions And Fortunes On Sepang’s Opening Day
Team Suzuki Press Office – January 28.
Alex Rins: 11th – 2:00.627 (+ 1.200)
Andrea Iannone: 16th – 2:01.027 (+ 1.600)
Sylvain Guintoli: 20th – 2:01.864 (+ 2.437)
The 2018 MotoGP World Championship season kicked off under cloudy skies and rain, making it difficult for the riders to truly get to grips with their new GSX-RR machines during the early part of the day. Different feelings from the two riders resulted in mixed fortunes, but an overall positive improvement was felt heading into the next two days of testing.
As time went on the track started to dry out, allowing the riders to switch to slick tyres and try some new parts and settings. During the second part of the afternoon, Alex Rins – who put in consistently good lap times – was able to compare a couple of different engine configurations, which gave him good feelings and allowed him to build his confidence. He was able to test during the rain, the mixed conditions, and the dry.
For Andrea Iannone it was a different story and he found he was not yet comfortable under hard braking. After initially struggling with front end feel, and unfortunately suffering two crashes, he felt improvements towards the end of the day and was still able to finish the session in the mid-pack.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR test rider Sylvain Guintoli was on hand to add his input and assess many new parts, completing a productive day on the development side.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“Let’s say we had different feelings from the two riders today, Alex could be quite constant on lap times and thanks to this we collected good information, which I think will be useful, and we have to continue with that tomorrow. Andrea, unfortunately, was struggling all day and was not so comfortable on hard braking. We got some idea from that and we will try to work on tomorrow and see if there are some improvements setting wise. Andrea had two crashes because he always wants to try hard, despite the problems, but luckily there were no consequences. On the first day it’s important for the riders to get back on their bikes and back on the track, so let’s continue to work tomorrow.”
“Well the truth is that the first day has been very positive, and so has trying the new bike. We could see how things are going so far, and we found positive parts and negative parts to work on and fine tune the bike. In the morning it was a bit wet but the feeling was good, and later on it was even better. One of the principal issues we faced last year was corner entry, but that already feels much better. There have also been improvements in the chassis. Physically I feel good, apart from the heat! Tomorrow we will continue to work with the new bike.”
“We didn’t have a lot of time and it was very difficult to understand where the positive feelings and the not so positive feelings are. Tomorrow we have another chance and it’s possible that it will be completely different – we could be first or last! Today everything is new so when you start without a reference it becomes very important to understand the bike and the situation, and especially with the weather the track was difficult. Suzuki worked well during the winter and there are some new feelings, but it’s difficult to compare the ’17 and ’18 bikes at the moment. The priority for us is to continue this improvement. Riders try a bit harder during the tests and this means that crashes can happen, but luckily I’m OK.”
“Today we had new parts and new strategies to assess, we did many laps on used tyres and it was interesting. We also tried a new chassis, and it was a good and productive day.”
Circuit: Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.
Air temperature: 33c
Track temperature: 50c
SEPANG TEST – Classification after Day 1:
1. PEDROSA, Dani – Repsol Honda Team 1:59.427
2. DOVIZIOSO, Andrea – Ducati Team 1:59.770 + 0.343
3. LORENZO, Jorge – Ducati Team 1:59.802 + 0.375
4. PETRUCCI, Danilo – Alma Pramac Racing 2:00.123 + 0.696
5. MILLER, Jack – Alma Pramac Racing 2:00.178 + 0.751
6. ROSSI, Valentino – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:00.233 + 0.806
7. MARQUEZ, Marc – Repsol Honda Team 2:00.290 + 0.863
8. ZARCO, Johann – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:00.421 + 0.994
9. CRUTCHLOW, Cal – LCR Honda CASTROL 2:00.522 + 1.095
10. ESPARGARO, Pol – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2:00.568 + 1.141
11. RINS, Alex – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2:00.627 + 1.200
12. NAKAGAMI, Takaaki – LCR Honda IDEMITSU 2:00.664 + 1.237
13. VIÑALES, Maverick – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:00.714 + 1.287
14. ESPARGARO, Aleix – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:00.866 + 1.439
15. RABAT, Tito – Reale Avintia Racing 2:00.912 + 1.485
16. IANNONE, Andrea – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2:01.027 + 1.600
17. SMITH, Bradley – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2:01.099 + 1.672
18. MORBIDELLI, Franco – EG 0,0 Marc VDS 2:01.161 + 1.734
19. BAUTISTA, Alvaro – Ángel Nieto Team 2:01.728 + 2.301
20. GUINTOLI, Sylvain – Suzuki Test Team 2:01.864 + 2.437
21. REDDING, Scott – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:01.962 + 2.535
22. TEST3, Yamaha – Yamaha Test Team 2:02.044 + 2.617
23. HERNANDEZ, Yonny – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:02.053 + 2.626
24. ABRAHAM, Karel – Ángel Nieto Team 2:02.088 + 2.661
25. TEST2, Yamaha – Yamaha Test Team 2:02.527 + 3.100
26. SIMEON, Xavier – Reale Avintia Racing 2:02.946 + 3.519
27. LUTHI, Thomas – EG 0,0 Marc VDS 2:03.732 + 4.305
28. TEST1, Yamaha – Yamaha Test Team 2:03.786 + 4.359
29. PIRRO, Michele – Ducati Test Team 2:04.767 + 5.340
30. KALLIO, Mika – KTM Test Team 2:05.932 + 6.505