Today the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team completed the first official IRTA test of the 2018 season, held at the Sepang International Circuit. Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales had another go at trying the new aerodynamic fairing, this time in blistering hot conditions. They finished the final day of testing in 8th and 18th place respectively.
Rossi headed out a little after 10 o'clock local track time, eager to pick up where he left off yesterday. He quickly got into the groove again, dropping a low 2'00s lap on his eighth try, before he turned his attention to crossing the last items off his testing list.
After lunch the Italian continued proceedings and didn't stop riding until the very end of the session. He was pleased to complete most of his schedule, giving him a good understanding of the direction to work in. However, a lack of grip held him back from climbing up the timesheets. His fastest lap, a 1'59.449s set on lap 52/54, earned him eighth position, 0.619s from first.
Viñales again showed his great determination and motivation today. He stuck with his plan to ride as many laps as possible in order to prepare for longer runs. The 23-year-old had already completed 140 laps on the first two days, but still worked tirelessly for more than three hours straight, collecting valuable data, before taking a break.
The Spaniard got back into his leathers a little after 3 o'clock in the afternoon, to try out some last fine-tuning of the settings. He improved his time, clocking a day's best of 2'00.547s, posted on lap 70/71, that saw him finish in 18th place, 1.717s from the front.
Though the teammates were unable to improve on their times set yesterday, Viñales' and Rossi's 1'59.355s and 1'59.390s laps, clocked at the end of Day 2, earned them seventh and ninth place respectively in the combined timesheets.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Johann Zarco leaves Malaysia with some great feedback after three productive first days of testing in 2018. Last year's MotoGP Rookie of the Year continued his hard work on Tuesday, concluding the test with further significant improvements, shaving off additional two tenths from his best lap time from the previous day.
Yonny Hernandez displayed his great potential while riding the Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time during this official MotoGP test. The Columbian rider, who was called to replace Jonas Folger in Sepang, increased his feeling on the Monster Yamaha Tech3 machine repeatedly on the final day of testing and was able to improve on his day one pace by nearly one second.
The next MotoGP outing is set to take place at the newly introduced Buriram Circuit, Thailand, where the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team aims to contest with a second permanent rider alongside French star Johann Zarco.
Position: 8th - Time: 1'59.449 - Laps: 54
"It was hard work today, but also good work. First of all, we tried everything and we have pretty clear ideas, but today was the most difficult day. We suffered a little bit more because of a lack of grip and that made us lose a bit in positions, but compared to last year we've improved the pace, also on used tyres. We know it's hard work, we have to improve, but the test at the end was quite positive."
Position: 18th - Time: 2'00.547 - Laps: 71
"Honestly, we worked quite well. Today it's been difficult. I don't know why we lost time, especially in the afternoon - in the morning it went quite well. Anyway, we worked hard, trying to improve, so now we have to check the data and see what we can improve on in Buriram, there we'll know more. I think the new fairing is really positive, because I felt an improvement in acceleration, so let's see. I think the circuit in Buriram has many points of acceleration, so we can test it even better there."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"It was a demanding day today for the team, here in Sepang. The conditions were very hot and that made it more difficult. Vale and Maverick continued to put in hard work, riding many laps, but they didn't have the same feeling they had the two days before. Nevertheless, we almost managed to finish the testing schedule. Overall, this test has been positive, with some good results. We confirmed that we made an improvement in terms of electronics, top speed and tyre life. We will check the data we collected these last few days and work hard over the next two weeks, so we'll arrive prepared at the next test in Buriram."
Position: 9th - Time: 1’59.511 - Laps: 55
"I'm really happy, because in three days of testing we didn't report any crash, which is important to be back with the best confidence possible. Today, I did some good laps. The conditions in the morning were ideal and we tried to use this opportunity to lower the lap time. 59.5 is not bad, although I wanted to be a little bit faster. Yet, I know that I also have to further improve myself. Later on, I did 13 laps in a row and physically I was feeling a lot better than one year ago, plus the pace was some tenths faster on every lap. I should be even quicker, but at least I was truly consistent and saved my energy well. The new aerodynamics package from Yamaha was great, it gives us more stability and therefore, it is less physically demanding. I will work with it during the year, depending on the track, but with it I think we can have a good front contact and stability almost everywhere."
Position: 25th - Time: 2’01.223 - Laps: 31
"Overall, it was a very positive test and a fantastic experience for me. In the course of the last day I was able to improve again, but I think I'm capable to go even faster. After midday, I didn't ride too much, nevertheless, I lowered my lap time and I learned a lot. The two exits today were quite hard, especially as the track conditions were incredibly hot. We tried two bikes and I realized that my feeling with the Yamaha in general was increasing. It goes without saying, that P25 is not the position I want to be in, but I can happily say, that I'm delighted I was able to step forward during these three days of testing."