It’s February and that can only mean one thing – MotoGP Winter Test in Sepang! Fans of this exhilarating, gravity-defying sport will be kept at the edge of their seats as these young and handsome speed demons race their bikes on the tarmac track for the best lap time.
Despite a forecast of rain on the first day of MotoGP Winter Test in Sepang International Circuit, it was only hot and humid throughout the whole day, thank goodness.This was definitely a prayer answered, for both the riders and the photographers. The testing started at 10 am with most of the teams going out to test their gears for the new season. It was definitely exciting especially with all the changes of top riders in teams for 2013.
This season we see Marc Marquez replaces Casey Stoner in Repsol Honda Team, Andrea Dovizioso joins Nicky Hayden in Ducati Team, rookie Bradley Smith teams up with Cal Crutchlow for Monster Yamaha Tech 3, and emergence of several new teams, but the most talked-about news is certainly the reunion of Valentino Rossi with Yamaha Factory Racing after two somber years of poor performance with Ducati Team.
I bet in those two years, if not for never-ending support from his massive fan base, Rossi would’ve been diagnosed with depression. Well now with him rejoining Yamaha, we all know that would mean one thing: last year’s champion, Jorge Lorenzo, is his teammate. So, our question is: Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, can they really be teammates? Is this an A-Team or an internal personal competition between two world champions?
On the first day, Valentino Rossi went out quite early in the morning session to work on the bike settings. His bike is still the same fluorescent yellow on dark grey test bike he used in Valencia. As predicted, the Yamaha M1 was like an old friend who never disappoints. One thing noticeable on the first day test was whenever Rossi went out, Lorenzo stayed inside the pit, and vice versa. What does that tell you eh?
Though DaniPedrosa nailed the best lap time, intense best time competition between Lorenzo and Rossi was much anticipated and enjoyed by everyone. It wasn’t mentioned but we could feel the heat between these two ‘teammates’.
The 19-year-old champion of Moto2 last year, Marc Marquez was impressive on the first day test, proving he’s qualified to replace the retired Casey Stoner in Repsol Honda Team. He finished third in an all-Spanish top threewith Repsol Honda Team’s all new bike design which emphasizes white on orange.
Another worth mentioning rider is Stefan Bradl; he was consistent throughout the whole day, with elbow to curb lap action at most corners. The German looked comfortable riding the Honda machine and started strong on the first day posting the 5th fastest lap time behind Valentino Rossi.
However, Ducati Team can only be happy with a 10th position by Nicky Hayden, whom quoted as saying “the departure of Valentino Rossi from Ducati will allow the team to make a ‘fresh start’ with ‘fresh ideas’ ahead of the 2013 MotoGP season”. Perhaps this is the reason why the pits of Yamaha and Ducati are at different ends of the paddock building, to keep the ‘fresh start’ from getting stale with Rossi nearby.
The timesheets of the first day test was clearly telling fans that this season is going to be a fantastic one. Any rider at the top seven will have a chance of winning a race looking at the time consistency throughout the whole day.
The test continues until Thursday and will continue with the second test on late February. The first race of the year will take place under the floodlights in Qatar on 7 April.