Sepang MotoGP Test: The MotoGP Bikes Up Close, by @colmobri

This selection of photos from the Sepang test were taken by Colm O'Brien, a photographer who works with CormacGP's Cormac Ryan Meenan. You can follow him on Instagram at @colmobri.
After every race, will be publishing a selection of Tom Morsellino's photos of MotoGP bikes, together with extensive technical explanations of the details by Peter Bom. subscribers will get access to the full resolution photos, which they can download and study in detail, and all of Peter's technical explanations of the photos. Readers who do not support the site will be limited to the 800x600 resolution photos, and an explanation of two photos.

Valentino Rossi's Yamaha M1
David Emmett: The Yamaha M1 barely seems to change from year to year. In recent seasons, even the livery has remained almost identical. Yamaha's philosophy is one of evolution and refinement, and that is not always obvious from the outside. Despite the lack of outward change, there are some major changes to the 2019 Yamaha M1. Yamaha is continuing along the path of moving weight to the rear of the bike, and the bike has new chassis parts (including a new frame) to help with tire life. The biggest changes have been on the electronics side, optimizing the Magneti Marelli spec ECU software.

Marc Márquez' 2019 Honda RC213V prototype
David Emmett: Honda had a couple of variants of their 2019 bikes at Sepang. This is the bike referred to as 'the prototype' or 'the black bike', for obvious reasons. Key identifying detail for the 2019 bike is the black cover close to the headstock (and below the Honda tank badge). That contains various wires and minor electronics components which have been moved out from under the tank cover, to make room for larger airbox and direct air intake. Honda are playing with exhaust systems, and this bike has the older, squared-off tailpipe on the top exhaust. The newer version has a tapered cone on the exhaust. The carbon swingarm is a telltale giveaway that this is Marc Márquez' bike.

Danilo Petrucci's Ducati Desmosedici GP19

Hafizh Syahrin's KTM RC16

Aleix Espargaro's Aprilia RS-GP

Getting ready to start Cal Crutchlow's Honda RC213V

Aprilia's engine starter

KTM's engine starter

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Thank you David. I love these photo/explanation sequences you've added to your content in the last year. It makes me even more pleased to contribute to your excellent website!

That Aprilia looks quite a bit different from the 2018 version. Much longer side exhaust, almost like the megaphones in the 1960's and the early 70's MV's. Nice! Also the tail section is very different in shape, much flatter than last year. Actually I was hoping for a RSA250-shaped RS-GP, that organic shape would be so cool. And good for top speed too, but maybe too 'stabilising' at high speeds... I'm curious to see what colour scheme they'll give the new RS-GP; I quite like the leathers of the riders during these testing days, with those typical black-and-red Aprilia colours. A mainly black bike with a red lower fairing would look awesome I think.

I love these peices on the tech. Great stuff and fascinating insights.

Awesome work David Thank you.

No pics of the best-looking bike on the grid..? (Completely subjective description, I know)

Unfortunately, Colm didn't get a shot of the Suzuki, that I know of. I will try to track a photo down.

I thought it was just a hiccup/accidental omission. Not meant to put you on a quest for photos...

While you are at it though, maybe some comparison pics of the 2018 and 2019 version of Andrea Iannone would be fascinating too.

So Honda finally caught up to US flat track racing from the 80s? I've seen home made crank shaft starters on Rotax flat track bikes forever. You'd better be ready when you pull the trigger. The torque on those will break your wrist if you're not prepared.

Aleix Espargaro:
"I requested the salad box. Aprilia cannot afford. But a nice pizza crust can now be rolled out on our flat fuel tank cover with the detachable exhaust silencer. Smith has used it (he will do anything for the Wildcard rides). Iannone is quite focused on a "Bon Apetit" magazine cover shoot...he keeps saying something in Italian about housewives and sausage."

(These are great, thanks David and Colm)
P.S. great commentary job at the test Neil! Hope you do more.

Andrea Iannone is focused his bella figura, buon appetito not buon gusto. Sadly like "the No show" it seems A.I.29 is another waste of talent.

that KTM starter unit is one nice piece of kit
we race Laverda triples in the BEARs series in Aussie and use a Pingel remote starter direct on to the crankshaft but it runs on 24 volts and lugging a pair of batteries around everywhere is a pain, would love one of those units



Hey Redax, I would be taking your starter to a battery supplier offering Li-Ion batteries for a lightweight battery alternative. Else do a wanted ad in Gumtree for a Li-Ion Powerwall DIY'er to knock one up for you.

Happy birthday Valentino Rossi !

Thanks for the tweet yesterdy David, that link was broken. I did catch up with Billy Bragg's Valentine's Day Is Over, cool & thanx again.

I do hope Valentino Rossi's day aint over. Dr Vale will be forty tomorrow. I've just finished reading his book "What if I'd never tried it" Loving Rossi again, hoping for a good season for Yamaha & Ducati, expecting Marc Marquez to win the majority of races & the chip.

Off season almost over now, riding down to P.I. next Thorsday thank Chrysler for WSBK !

" you'll find your things all stacked out on the landing "


As excited about Beautista and the sorted V4 Ducati as me? Think they can do the business? Is Lowes going to arrive on the next step?
What are has you piqued?

Yamaha getting more wins, V.R. proving that old blokes rule, even if he only wins one this year. hoping for more than that sir Shrink.

Happy birthday Valentino Rossi !

I wanna see Danilo Petrucci win his first MotoGp race after being very close on previous occassions.

KTM & Zarco could provide some extra new spark.

Aprilia Andrea's antics, more of a sideshow than the main event, but may be amusing.

Eugene Laverty, Chaz and Alvaro on the V4 at Phillip Island next weekend. Eugene's tash & talent could make a difference. I think the Ducks may do well at P.I. Marco Meladrama won both races last year. Anything can happen "that's why they line em up on Sunday" and Saturday.

Having met Alex Lowes & his parents at Donington last year I would love to see Alex & Magic Michael do well and pick up more wins, sure to get podiums, there is only one J.R. Yes i am a Ducati nut, but I do have two Yamahas in the shed.

Yes Motoshrink I think it will be another gear, another year of the current Golden Age of motorcycle racing.