Bautista Shows Good Potential At Day 2 of Sepang Test

alvaro_bautista_sepang_testRizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista made good progress but lost a large amount of test time at Malaysia today due to a severe headache that sidelined the Spanish star.

Bautista (35 laps), had already started today’s wide-ranging programme and had tested new Marchesini wheels, Ohlins rear shock damping specs, and electronic mapping strategies before the pain and dizziness made it unsafe to test further. He received attention at the Clinica Mobile and rested for a few hours. Thereafter, he was able to continue with the day’s testing and to set his fastest time of the day – which was 0.2 seconds better than yesterday’s best.

Nobuatsu Aoki was again on hand to continue with his own test programme at the 5,548m Sepang circuit. He completed another 46 laps to give yet more data for Suzuki to use as it prepares for the new season. Honda’s Casey Stoner was again the quickest rider at the test.

Bautista will be hoping to be back to full fitness tomorrow as the pre-season test schedule reaches its final third. The last day at Sepang will give the teams only three more days testing – with the final two at Qatar in two weeks’ time – before the 2011 MotoGP season kicks off on Sunday March 20th, also at Qatar.

Alvaro Bautista:

“It seems like at this moment the bike has better durability than the rider! This has been bad luck to get sick at two consecutive tests – I feel very drained but I am confident that I will be ok tomorrow after maybe 12 hours sleep! But there was also some positive points today – we tested a new rear swing-arm which improved the rear grip by a reasonable step and also a new engine map which helped the bike punch off the corner better. My best lap was with race distance already completed on the tyres, so for sure I can go quicker with new tyres but today my condition was not the best for a ‘qualifying’ style lap. I’m frustrated but happy – we have improved the Suzuki quite a lot since the end of 2010.”

Rizla Suzuki Day 2 at Sepang

  • 10th Place – Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) +1.864.
  • 19 place – Nobuatsu Aoki (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) +4.411.

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Rizla Suzuki, Alvaro Bautista, Set for Second Sepang Test

alvaro_bautista_at_sepangAlvaro Bautista and the Rizla Suzuki squad are back in Malaysia for the penultimate pre-season MotoGP test of 2011 with another comprehensive test schedule ahead of them.

Bautista had an impressive first test of 2011 at the Sepang circuit, despite missing the final day due to illness. He recorded his fastest ever time around the 5,548m circuit earlier this month and is in a determined mood to continue with the work he has already begun.

The team has another busy workload during the three days which will see Bautista test new and updated chassis parts, as well as significantly revised electronic control strategies. This is a very important test as it will be the last time that Suzuki’s engineers will have significant time following a test to scrutinise the data and make any further changes in readiness for the start of the season. The final test – at Qatar – is just a few days before the first race, so Bautista and the team will be looking to get every last bit of track-time and information from these three days as possible.

Suzuki’s MotoGP test rider Nobuatsu Aoki will also join the Sepang test with his own GSV-R and support crew, and will be concentrating on refining the newly-developed strategies as well as confirming the base specification for 2011. He will fly in from Japan having tested at Suzuki’s private test track last Saturday, where he was joined by long-time Suzuki Factory racer and tester Yukio Kagayama for his first feedback on the 2011 GSV-R prototype.

Rizla Suzuki will take to the track on Tuesday March 22nd to continue its countdown for the 2011 MotoGP season, which gets underway next month, with the first scheduled race at Losail in Qatar on Sunday March 20th.

Alvaro Bautista:

“I am eager to get to the test and continue with what I started earlier this month. I tried many new things in the first test, but didn’t finish the whole schedule because I was ill on the last day. I am sure the engineers at the factory will have some more updated parts for me to check out in Sepang, because with even missing the final day we still did lots of laps and I’m sure they’ve put the data to good use. I know after the first test that we can be more competitive and fight for podiums at some races – I feel very positive about 2011. As I am the only rider in the team it’s great feeling to know that a Factory like Suzuki is working just for me! We know the bike works well in hot conditions – like we have in Malaysia – but in this test we will be trying lots of components and strategies that should make it work better in other situations.”

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Rizla Suzuki]

Yamaha Factory Team Unveils 2011 MotoGP Livery in Malaysia

Defending champion Jorge Lorenzo and teammate Ben Spies helped unveil the Yamaha Factory Team’s 2011 MotoGP livery today in Malaysia. The Yamaha team, which is defending it’s third consecutive MotoGP championship, unveiled the 2011 YZR-M1, which was dressed in a Yamaha corporate blue color scheme, and incorporated the iconic Yamaha speed block design.

The Yamaha Factory Team will continue preparations for the 2011 MotoGP season tomorrow at the testing session at the Sepang track.

“I’m very happy to be here again preparing to start another season riding with Yamaha,” said Jorge Lorenzo. “Winning the World Championship last season was an incredible feeling, but now we start again. I have a great crew and with the hard work of the Japanese engineers over the winter I feel confident we can fight for more success this year.”

This is Yamaha’s 50th year of MotoGP racing, and both Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo will work hard to bring Yamaha one more title.

“We worked really hard last year to earn the seat with the Yamaha Factory team so it’s a great feeling to be here alongside Jorge,” said Ben Spies. “It’s obviously a special year for Yamaha with the 50th Anniversary of GP racing celebrations so I’m really stoked to be par t of it. The bike’s feeling really good, we’ve got a few days more of testing now to really shake it down and fine tune the set up and we’ll be ready to go. I’m loving the corporate blue colour scheme, I’m a big fan of the design.”

The Yamaha team will have one more testing session before the start of the 2011 MotoGP season. After Sepang, the Yamaha team will travel to Qatar for one last session before the season starts on March 20th.

“I’m proud to be here for the 2011 Yamaha Factory Racing launch and the start of a new era for the team,” said Lin Jarvis, Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing Srl. “This is an important year for us being our 50th anniversary of involvement in Grand Prix racing and we start the season not only with the reigning MotoGP World Champion but also welcoming Ben Spies, last year’s Rookie of the Year to the Factory Team. It’s fitting that we will line up for the start of this special year in our corporate colors.”

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Rossi Improves Time on Day 2, Finishes 13th

Valentino_Rossi_-_SepangValentino Rossi continues to concentrate on his shoulder instead of speed during the first official testing session of the 2011 MotoGP season. Rossi finished in 13th today, but was happy with how his shoulder performed.

“Being able to ride again today is important because the shoulder isn’t getting worse under the continued strain,” Rossi said. “Everything is fine while riding under 2’03”, then when I try to take another second off the strength diminishes and the pain increases. It needs more time, without doubt. The situation will improve, but it will be a wait until May. Only then will we be able to work extensively on the bike, because everything we do now could be thrown into doubt when we record more competitive times, when my physical condition is perfect.”

Rossi was able to shave .8 seconds off of his day one time, but still wasn’t able to put in a competitive lap. Today’s winner, Dani Pedrosa, finished more than two seconds ahead of Rossi. But Rossi is happy to have the chance to test out the GP11, even though he isn’t able to push the bike to its limits.

“Today we tried a lot of things, especially with the aerodynamics,” Rossi said. “We focused on comparing fairings and riding with and without wings, and I’m more inclined towards the latter option. The fact is that I’m not in the best physical condition and with the wings I find more resistance in corner entry, which is not good for my shoulder. One of the things we need to improve is going through the turns, because I can’t turn the bike as I would like to. Tomorrow we’re going to continue working with the same enthusiasm as we had today, and at the end of the test we’ll leave with a lot of information.”

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Repsol Honda Team At the Top on Day Two in Sepang

repsol_hondaThe Repsol Honda team continued to put in fast laps around the Sepang track today. The three Repsol Honda riders, Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, and Andrea Dovizioso, held three of the top four spots at the end of the second day of testing for the MotoGP riders in Malaysia.

Casey Stoner led the practice session yesterday, but today it was his teammate Dani Pedrosa who took the top honors. Pedrosa was the first, and for the time being the only rider to set a lap time below 2’01”.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve ridden so fast on this track, but you’re just fresh in the morning and I did four very good first laps,” said Pedrosa. “I was not looking for a time, but I saw that the track conditions were good and I pushed. The closer you get to the limit, the clearer the changes you are doing on the bike become, which lead you in the right direction.

“Today I tried the new engine, which has improved from Valencia, some chassis configurations and rear shocks. Tomorrow the plan is to continue comparing both bikes and it would be great to come away with the chassis and engine decided for the next test.”

Stoner was the next across the line, more than a half second behind his teammate.

“Yesterday we really didn’t expect the best time, today we expected a bigger difference with the soft tyre – but with the chassis we chose we just couldn’t get the best out of the tyre,” said Stoner. “Tomorrow maybe we can focus a little more to compare the chassis again and then see which direction to go from there. We’ve got a few other small things here and there but they can wait until the next test. Now I’m starting to understand the bike a bit better and when I ride it, it feels more like home.”

Ben Spies took the third place spot today in Malaysia, but was followed by another Repsol Honda rider. Andrea Dovizioso claimed the fourth place spot, and was able to do some further work on the RC212V.

“I’m satisfied with the work done today, Dovizioso said. “We have a good base that works well on different tracks. We started comparing the 2010 and 2011 front fork again and decided to stick to the 2011 version because it allows me to brake harder even if a small vibration still remains in the middle of the corner. I’m very happy with the pace I had today, but I am still not happy with my ability to improve my lap time when I try to push harder on the softer tyre.”

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