2015 MotoGP Sepang 2 Day 1 Final Times: Rossi Leads As Weather Calls A Halt To Proceedings

Valentino Rossi has topped the timesheets on the first day of the second Sepang MotoGP test. In a day marked by the weather, the Movistar Yamaha rider set a quick lap in the morning, before the extreme heat became too oppressive, to finish ahead of Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda and Pol Espargaro on the Tech 3 Yamaha.

The weather played a major role all day at Sepang. The day started hot, the heat increasing towards the afternoon, causing the track to be greasy and prompting complaints of a lack of grip. That left a lot of riders stuck in their pit boxes to sit out the hottest part of the day, in the hope of doing more work at the end of the day. The weather gods were not inclined to be merciful, however, and heavy rain started falling around 4:30pm, just as riders were taking to the track once again. Rain and thunderstorms played havoc with the rest of the day, a couple of lightning strikes causing the session to be red-flagged, then restarted.

The difficult conditions left the timesheets looking a little less than representative. Rossi leads, but the Italian did not match his best time from the first day of the previous test, ending ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Pol Espargaro. Aleix Espargaro posted a creditable 4th-fastest time, the Suzuki rider nearly matching his best time from the first test at Sepang. Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez take 5th and 6th, the two title favorites three quarters of a second behind Rossi, and separated by just a few hundredths of a second, with Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith just behind them. Maverick Viñales continues his impressive adaptation to the MotoGP class - the rookie benefiting from time on wet tires - ending just ahead of Andrea Dovizioso. 

Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone spent some time on the Ducati GP15, but they were mostly concentrated on finding a set up. The lap which put Dovizioso into 10th on the timesheets was set on the Ducati Desmosedici GP14.3, the old bike which the two factory riders have to use as a reference for the new machine, but Iannone's fast lap was set on the GP15. It is still very early days for the new Ducati, with much improvement still to come.

Times at the end of the day:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 2:00.414    
2 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 2:00.543 0.129 0.129
3 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha M1 2:00.876 0.462 0.333
4 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 2:01.055 0.641 0.179
5 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha M1 2:01.162 0.748 0.107
6 93 Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 2:01.190 0.776 0.028
7 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 2:01.222 0.808 0.032
8 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha M1 2:01.241 0.827 0.019
9 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki GSX-RR 2:01.317 0.903 0.076
10 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP15/GP14.3 2:01.355 0.941 0.038
11 45 Scott Redding Honda RC213V 2:01.592 1.178 0.237
12 19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 2:01.740 1.326 0.148
13 8 Hector Barbera Ducati GP14 Open 2:01.926 1.512 0.186
14 69 Nicky Hayden Honda RC213V-RS 2:02.062 1.648 0.136
15 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP15/GP14.3 2:02.142 1.728 0.080
16 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP14 2:02.225 1.811 0.083
17 17 Karel Abraham Honda RC213V-RS 2:02.394 1.980 0.169
18 6 Stefan Bradl Forward Yamaha 2:02.410 1.996 0.016
19 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati GP14 2:02.606 2.192 0.196
20 50 Eugene Laverty Honda RC213V-RS 2:02.730 2.316 0.124
21 63 Mike Di Meglio Ducati GP14 Open 2:02.941 2.527 0.211
22 43 Jack Miller Honda RC213V-RS 2:03.006 2.592 0.065
23 51 Michele Pirro Ducati GP14.2 2:03.105 2.691 0.099
24 76 Loris Baz Forward Yamaha 2:03.316 2.902 0.211
25 T1 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha M1 Test 2:03.337 2.923 0.021
26 15 Alex De Angelis Aprilia ART 2:03.966 3.552 0.629
27 33 Marco Melandri Aprilia 2:04.000 3.586 0.034


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The weather was not conducive to chasing fast laps. It was the first day, and both Yamaha and Ducati have masses of work to do with new stuff. So with little time to focus on an ideal lap, and lots and lots of other work to be getting on wth, the times are a very long way from being a true representation of the comparative strengths of the riders. Don't read too much into them.

From what I can see in a quick laptime comparison with Sepang I, Álvaro Bautista is the only rider who has already improved on his previous best effort this year. Only by about two tenths, but still in what seemed to be considerably less favourable conditions than Sepang I and while everyone else has been going quite a lot slower so far.

Any clues as to what Aprilia might have brought out in terms of material this time around which could explain his quick improvement on the first day? Another chassis? Engine upgrades? Reasons for hope?