Sepang MotoGP Test Day One Times & Quote Machine
by Clem Sturdly
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
HondaRepsol Honda Team continue work at the Sepang Test
Joan Mir and Luca Marini were joined by the entirety of the MotoGP World Championship in Malaysia, the duo ending in 14th and 17th respectively on the factory Honda RC213V machines.
Having already finished a busy two days of on track action during the Shakedown, the Repsol Honda Team were back out for another three days of riding. Conditions remained stable throughout the day with an extended lunch break allowing the majority of MotoGP riders to avoid the worst of the Malaysian heat. Continuing on with a refined testing plan based on the Shakedown saw the pairing of Joan Mir and Luca Marini complete 81 laps.
Mir finished the day as the fastest of the two riders thanks to a best time of 1’58.741, set on lap 42 of 43. The #36 and his team spent Tuesday experimenting with the setup of his 2024 Honda RC213V, continuing to gain valuable information for the upcoming season. Tomorrow, the second day of the official test, offers a chance to further improve his feeling and lap time.
Meanwhile, Marini continued to quickly adapt to life on the Honda and ended just 0.3s off Mir’s best time. Improving his feeling with each and every exit, the Italian remained content with the work he and the team have managed to achieve in the two days of the Shakedown and today. With a number of items to test and work through, there’s still plenty on the agenda for the newest Repsol Honda Team rider.
Two more days of running are still ahead for the Repsol Honda Team as the Sepang Test continues at pace.
“It’s only the first day so I am staying quite calm about everything as there’s still a lot more to come. We were able to improve Sector 3 and 4, our pace is good there. We were faster in the first half of the lap during the Shakedown. Today was about trying some new things and because of that it was the first day I think that we didn’t improve the bike. This can happen when you’re trying a lot of things. As I said, it is not a big problem because we will be back on track tomorrow. Tonight we need to compare our data.”
“We have many things to try but everyone is working very hard and well. I am really satisfied with how the first days have gone because every time I get on the bike the feeling is better. It’s an enjoyable moment, learning the new bike, the new team and the new culture. We found something better in the last few days but of course there is still more to do. The step since Valencia has been good and everyone is working together well. The objective is to keep putting all the pieces together because there are many new things and improvements.”
YamahaToday, new Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP teammates Fabio Quartararo and Álex Rins kicked off the three-day Sepang MotoGP Official Test in Malaysia. The riders got straight to work, assessing electronics and settings tweaks. They ended in 3rd and 11th place respectively in the Day-1 timesheets.
Eager to make a strong start to the 2024 season, Quartararo got to work this morning with a game plan. He was going to dedicate Day 1 solely to fine-tuning electronics and settings. He rode 46 laps over the course of the first day and set a best time of 1'58.228s on lap 36/46 to take third place, 0.277s from the top.
Having spent the winter break working on the rehabilitation of his leg, Rins was reaping the rewards at the Shakedown Test and also today at the Sepang Test. He had a positive day at the office. He rode 46 laps over the course of eight hours of high-temperature testing. He set a best time of 1'58.716s on lap 18/46 and, despite not doing a time-attack, still placed 11th, 0.765s from the top.
I felt great! Basically, today we didn't really test new items. I tested a lot of electronics and settings of the bike. From the outside you can't really see what I tested, but it was a positive day. Tomorrow we will work in a similar way, and I think that it's quite important for us to stay focused because I feel that we have the potential, but we still have to find it. The plan for tomorrow is the same as for today: try to find the best electronics set-up and try to also find the best setting of the bike. This is changing because of the new aero, we have to adjust the balance of the bike. But I'm feeling pretty happy about how we are working in the team.
I'm quite grateful for the work we are doing. We are testing many things. We have also tested in the Shakedown, two full days of work. And the way of working is quite nice – I like it, for sure! I'm getting used to the way they work, and they are getting to know the way I work. Today we tested many things on the electronics side, working on the really used tyre to understand how the Yamaha works, and if I can adapt the bike a bit to my riding style. So I'm quite happy. Let's see tomorrow. Tomorrow we'll have more chance to improve and to test more things, because today we only used one set of new tyres to test the items. So, everything is under control.
Track House Aprilia#88 Miguel Oliveira – spent the day getting comfortable on the Trackhouse Aprilia RS-GP 24 and testing a series of aero developments.
Completed: 54 Laps – 185.9 miles / 299.2 kilometers
Best lap: 1’58.750 (Pos 15th)
Top speed: 207.1 mph / 333.3 kmh
“It was a good day. I was very excited to get the tests going because I didn’t ride for a long time. I think everyone on the grid was excited to start. We did what we had to do; get the first impressions of the bike, start to ride it, try a few things, nothing crazy. We didn’t touch the bike too much. Some things work, some things didn’t, which is normal for a new bike. Immediately, what we feel is a lot of potential, but we still need to put everything together and balance the bike a lot better. The aerodynamic side is quite a bit different, so we need to adjust that. Overall, I felt good, although I had a small crash where I hurt my shoulder plate again a little bit, but it went much better throughout the afternoon and I could go through the complete plan that we had scheduled. Tomorrow we face another long day.”
#25 Raul Fernandez – suffered a massive high-side crash on only his 3rd lap of the day aboard his Trackhouse Aprilia RS-GP 23. Although he managed some running later in the day, medical advice means he will take no further part in the test and flies home, to Spain, to concentrate on recovery for the next test in Qatar, starting on February, 19.
Completed: 21 Laps – 72.3 miles / 118.4 kilometers
Best lap: 2’00.120 (Pos 22nd)
Top speed: 206.5 mph / 332.3 kmh
“First of all, I would like to say sorry to Aprilia and our Trackhouse Racing MotoGP Team. This morning in my first laps I had a big crash because of the track conditions. Honestly, I didn’t expect that coming. But because of that crash, I won’t be able to continue this test here in Sepang. I feel really, really, bad because we won’t have the chance to continue to understand the new bike better and to learn how it feels. For me, it’s just going to be important now to recover well and to rest. To ride the bike like this is not safe for me, so I need to focus on my recovery and try to be at 100% in the Qatar test in order to do all the work we planned to do here. Again, I want to say sorry to Aprilia and the team.”
WILCO ZEELENBERG, TEAM MANAGER
“The first day of testing in 2024 is done. The weather was nice, but we have some bad news. Raul crashed this morning quite hard on a slippery race track with good feeling, but he hurt his hip quite badly. It looks like nothing is majorly damaged, but there was a huge impact on his pelvis and on a bone, that makes it better for him not to test anymore, but to recover and make sure that he is well in Qatar. Another impact could be a disaster. Miguel meanwhile did a lot of things. He tried many parts and pieces for the 2024 bike. He is happy with his feeling with the bike, but of course, we always want more. He did 54 laps and is ready to continue testing tomorrow.”
ROOKIE PEDRO ACOSTA SHINES THROUGH DAY 1 OF SEPANG TEST, FERNANDEZ KICKS OFF 2024 CAMPAIGN
The Sepang MotoGP™ Official Test got underway on Tuesday morning at the Sepang International Circuit as the whole MotoGP™ grid joined the action in Malaysia to start preparing for the upcoming 2024 season, which will kick off in Doha, Qatar on March 8-10, 2024. Amongst those who got to reunite with their bikes after two long months, there was Red Bull GASGAS Tech3’s Augusto Fernandez, officially not a rookie anymore, who got his second campaign in the main class started.
After finishing first overall in the three day-Sepang Shakedown, 2024 sole MotoGP™ rookie Pedro Acosta continued to make the headlines on the opening day of Sepang Test, as he closed the day second fastest rider with a 1’58.220, 0.289 seconds away from 2023 runner-up Jorge Martin. Fabio Quartararo was not far in third with a 1’58.228. The young shark also clocked the fastest speed of the day in 336.4 km/h, tied with Luca Marini and Jorge Martin, in addition to ending the day fastest of anyone in sector 3. Impressive numbers for the nineteen year-old boy, whose main focus today was to try different parts to gather data for the team. Electronics was also on the menu for the young rider, after he felt it was an area which he needed to find more comfort in following Sepang Shakedown.
Officially not a rookie anymore, Augusto Fernandez kicked off his second season with the Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 with his first track day of 2024. After two long months without his RC16, Tuesday was more about getting back the feeling. The morning was a bit rough with a small crash which slowed down today’s game plan, but the afternoon offered Fernandez the opportunity to try the 2024 package, with the carbon chassis. He focused on the set up, and admitted feeling better lap after lap in the second half of the day. After sixty-four laps, he closed the first day with a 1’59.543 (lap 63). The preparation for 2024 continues on Wednesday in Sepang as a second day of testing awaits the MotoGP™ class.
"Even if we did a good lap time in the end, it was not our main focus today, but we orientated ourselves more towards trying different parts and settings. It was a good day, because we improved our pace, and also the way I am riding with used tyres, which is a really important point for the races. I had some parts I was requested to try, so we got on with them, did a couple of laps to get the data in. It was nice to be able to get some work done for the team, and help as much as I could."
"It was not the first day we were dreaming of unfortunately. We had a game plan to follow, but we lost a bit of time in the morning. In the afternoon, we tried the new bike with the new chassis, and that’s when I started to recover a bit, get the feeling back again, but I was pretty slow all day. We have things clear for tomorrow, we know what our package should be for the second day to be at a good pace, so I am looking forward to continuing the work with the team."
— ends —