Chaotic First Day of CRT Test at Sepang Sees Little On-Track Action

The first day of the extra two-day test for the CRT teams laid on to allow the teams using the new Magneti Marelli spec ECU has been almost entirely wasted. A lack of parts and above all, a lack of data with the new system meant that the day was spent mostly in the garage, with very few laps turned out on the track. 

Only CAME Ioda's Danilo Petrucci got in any serious track time, the Italian posting a total of 27 laps. All of those laps were set without any assistance from the electronics, however: with no data, the team had no base set up to work from, and Petrucci was lapping without any electronic aid.  "It's really hard to ride a bike without any electronic controls," Petrucci posted on Twitter afterwards, a fact that is borne out by his times. Petrucci's fastest lap was a 2'06.841, two seconds slower than his best time from the race weekend at Sepang, and four seconds behind the best CRT time set back in October of last year.

Petrucci's problems illustrate that this test was more of a shakedown than a genuine test. Speaking to, Colin Edwards described the state of play as succinctly as usual. "It runs and it burns gasoline," he said of his FTR Kawasaki, but even that was only just true. Edwards had only gotten out for a single hurried lap at the very end of the day, as he and teammate Claudio Corti had sat around all day while his team assembled the bikes with parts that had not been delivered to the team in time to be fitted at the workshop. Once he did get out, he reported that there was still masses of work to do to get the electronics working, reporting a sputter at the bottom end off the throttle.

The Blusens Avintia team had similar issues, despite the bike already having been run on the dyno at their home base in Barcelona. Problems with the wiring loom meant the bike kept cutting out, preventing Hector Barbera and Hiroshi Aoyama from posting many laps. When the bike was running, it was clear that a lot of work still needed to be done on getting the fueling right, before the teams can start work on finetuning the electronics.

Hiroshi Aoyama also spent some time testing the wrist he injured in a motocross training crash a few weeks ago. The wrist was still painful, leaving the Japanese rider to assess the condition of his wrist day-by-day. Aoayama is uncertain of completing the test.

The outing for the CRT teams with the new Magneti Marelli electronics package can hardly be viewed as a test. It was more of an initial shakedown, trying to iron out the problems which arise whenever a system is tried for the first time. On the one hand, it is a good thing that the teams have the extra two days of testing to do the initial set up work on the spec electronics package. But on the other hand, having the package available only ahead of the first test at Sepang puts the CRT teams on the back foot, further increasing their disadvantage over the factory prototypes. A longer lead time would have given the teams more time to do shakedown tests of their own, to iron out the inevitable glitchs. Now, they are doing it in public view, and with just a few short weeks before the season starts.

The CRT teams using the spec electronics package have a mountain of work ahead of them. Colin Edwards told "If we had to race tomorrow, we'd be in really bad shape, so we need to get to that point." Getting to that point requires a huge amount of work gathering and analyzing data, and testing the bikes out on track. As Danilo Petrucci said on Twitter, the team have "no base setup, and about 15,000 numbers to write inside the ECU for complete control." Despite that, the new ECU should be a step forward in the long run. It was "a small step forwards, coming from Bosch, but it's really too early to say," Petrucci told The Magneti Marelli ECU may be better in the long run, but in the short term, things are going to be tough.

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It's not just machinery spec that makes the difference between winners and grid-fillers. At this level, wasting an entire day of practice because parts didn't arrive in time = criminal.

The point in these guys going out to Sepang? It seems the spec Ecu is a P.O.S and supposedly been supplied to the teams that wanted it along with a proper technician to set it up and get them rolling, it certainly doesn't look like it.
The Ecu's should of been sorted out ages ago and given to the teams and then given loads of unlimited track time to get them dialled in and set up to at least give them some sort of chance to beat their last years times etc.
You would of also liked to think they would of been supplied set with some sort of base setting for them to work from but as Danilo says, they have to find and work out the relevant numbers to make them work!! Ezpeleta has not sorted or thought this out properly and now the poor CRT's are going to be in even more shit and be even more slower than last year and get in the way of the factory boys in even lesser laps than before! They all might as well be on the Pigati because this really could signal the end of their careers just like the now ex Pigati riders who have failed to crack that bikes code, with the exception of Rossi who has legged it back to Yamaha

The spec ECU is anything but a POS. The teams chose to use it this year, and it's likely to be an improvement for them eventually. Expecting them to be an improvement the first day is a little unrealistic especially with most (all?) of the teams having other problems as well.

Classic total waste of money. It sounds like all they are doing is getting the basics of the wiring and fuelling worked out, which could be done on a dyno at home base (or nearby, for the really poor teams). Instead, they fly bikes, riders & technicians half way round the world, feed and house them for several days, etc etc.
All that fluff about "cost savings" and they go and do this...

Does this bozo have any foresight? Is there a Board of Directors that can show Ezpeleta the Ass Clown the door?

We have seen the problems teams are having getting sponsors. The winter period is a ‘good excuse’ to set things aside and ‘rest up’, especially if you don’t have the cash to prep and develop things.
Some of the issues here are not related to ECU/software, they are race bike prep.
It’s not good, but perhaps one of the reasons they have these two days is that the programme and set-up requirements were known. At this level you cannot just load a proprietary software package and ‘go race’.
Last year the Paul Bird team was a good example – a team owner with high expectations and a rider who needed time on the bike, yet no private testing whatsoever. If that’s not a cash problem I don’t know what is. Even being a CRT hints at affordability issues.
Also, why is it Dorna’s/Ezpelata’s fault? Dorna faciltitates and guides – when did these people order the equipment? When did MM manufacture/deliver it? When did they do the base programming/how?
I recall Aprilia holding the 'keys' until cheques were cleared....

...torrential rain, it's some travesty such as this.

Just bring on the BIG boys, already.

At least all is well for my beloved Crimson Tide... WOOHOO!!!