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MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP CONCLUDE SUCCESSFUL SEPANG TEST

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have completed their testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today. The third and last eight-hour session was crucial to collect some final data, as the team-mates tried new aero parts. They rode until the very end of the session, not letting any time go to waste. They ultimately took fifth and tenth place respectively in today’s timesheets as well as in the overall 2019 Sepang MotoGP Official Test results.

This morning Viñales picked up where he left off, working on the race spec of his YZR-M1 and the acceleration. He was quick to show the bike’s nimble character again, dropping a 1’58.644s on lap 8, to slot into provisional fourth place in the rankings.

As the session progressed, the order changed slightly with the Spaniard being pushed to fifth in the second hour of riding. However, Viñales was more concerned with finalising his testing programme than putting in a time attack. He completed a 20-lap race simulation and kept riding until the very end when the chequered flag came out. The no. 12 rider completed 79 laps in total and held his fifth position in both today’s and the overall results.

Rossi filled the final day of riding in Malaysia with further evaluating new tyres for Michelin and continued working on the stability in braking and the smoothness of the acceleration, and in the process he also improved on his best time from Day 2 by nearly half a second.

Similar to team-mate Viñales, the Doctor was solely putting his attention towards enhancing his bike’s setting. His fastest lap was a 1’59.155s, set on lap 9, putting him in tenth place for the majority of the day, 0.916s from the top. With a little more than 14 minutes on the clock, the Italian was committed to improving his position in the timesheets but was unable to do so and stayed in tenth place in today’s and the combined timesheets.

The team will now return to Europe whilst the engineers return to Japan to process the data and take their 2019 MotoGP preparation another step further. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will regroup in Qatar from 23 – 25 February for the second preseason test of 2019.

Friday, 08 February 2019 18:27 Published in Rider and Team Releases


Viñales obliterates the opposition on Day 2

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) got within just 0.067 of Jorge Lorenzo’s fastest ever lap of Sepang on Day 2 of testing, with the 1:58.830 set by Lorenzo last season – although not an official lap record – now surely under threat on Day 3. Viñales had been hovering in third for much of the latter part of the day and left his vie at record-breaking late as the final few minutes saw time attacks light up the timesheets. More than three tenths up before the final sector, the Spaniard eventually crossed the line 0.527 ahead of nearest rival Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), setting both a supreme lap and a serious benchmark.

That built on a positive first day on the timesheets for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP and Valentino Rossi in sixth added to the good vibes. The veteran Italian did 51 laps and was only two tenths off second, although the distance to his teammate stretched out from there. The Iwata marque confirmed they have a busy agenda, with different winglets and chassis items on the menu. Happy with progress since November, Team Director Massimo Meregalli says the biggest focus from Sepang is the last part of the corner and specifically, acceleration.

Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli ended the day in P14 and P15 respectively – and they both completed a valuable 58 laps.

Alex Rins was the man who lost his top spot to Viñales after seeming set to end the day fastest, but the Spaniard’s 1:59.424 was nevertheless an incredible lap time and he did 61 laps on Thursday. Team Manager Davide Brivio said it’s going well and they have different swingarms, new aerodynamics with both riders and some different combinations; engine mapping, clutch, “things like that” – as well as an exhaust to try on Day 2. The Italian said their focus is fitting together the “puzzle” correctly for the first race, and the timesheets seem to bode well for Rins despite the Hamamatsu factory losing their concessions in 2019. Rookie teammate Joan Mir ended the day in P21 after 64 laps.

On Rins’ tail was the fastest Ducati on Day 2 and once again it was an Independent Team rider – this time Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing). The Australian was a late mover like those above him and was only a tenth off Rins by the end of play, putting in 49 laps. Just behind him came Andrea Dovizioso, who was the fastest Mission Winnow Ducati and looked set to top the day’s action until the late flurry of fast laps saw him pushed down to fourth. Initially, the number 04 was working on frames and Team Manager Davide Tardozzi confirmed that teammate Danilo Petrucci was focused on finding a better connection between the throttle and the rear tyre – working on the electronics and engine. Roles were then reversed, and Tardozzi also confirmed the Borgo Panigale factory also had some work on aero planned. That’s expected tomorrow. Today, it was two red machines in tandem as the two were on track together on some longer runs in the afternoon, with Petrucci saying he has “more to learn” than his teammate and ending the day in ninth. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) pipped him on his GP18 to end Thursday in P7, with Francesco Bagnaia fastest rookie in P12 for Alma Pramac Racing.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) put in a good showing on Thursday to take fifth overall and end the day as fastest Honda. The Brit is returning from a badly broken ankle sustained at Phillip Island last season but managed 53 laps to end the session within just 0.004 of Dovizioso. He also suffered a crash; Rider OK. Next up for Honda was eighth-placed Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who downed tools early once again and put in 37 laps on Day 2 – although some of those were a longer run in the afternoon. The team confirmed they’re on schedule despite the lighter lap load for the reigning Champion, too – with Marquez routinely having done over 90 laps per test day last season – and were working on the new bike, new engine and electronics, with a lot to get through including some different fairings. Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) took P10 after 60 laps, with Stefan Bradl (Honda Test Team) taking P16 after 59 laps.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing saw some tables turned on Day 2 as Johann Zarco ended the day as fastest Austrian machine for the first time since his switch to the marque. He said he outstripped his expected progress for the day and it made him smile to dip below the 2 minute mark for the first time, and he ended the day in P11 after 58 laps. Teammate Pol Espargaro was P17 and just over three tenths off. KTM test rider Mika Kallio was a couple of places back, and just pipped Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rookie Miguel Oliveira. Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin had a tougher day, outside the top twenty.

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, meanwhile, had a race simulation fairly early on Day 2 for Aleix Espargaro as Andrea Iannone remained focused on adaptation. Bike balance, electronics and torque control were a focus for the Noale factory. Espargaro ended the day in P13 after 54 laps, Iannone in P18 after 39. Romano Albesiano, Technical Manager, also confirmed that it’s not just the immediate future the marque are working towards, with plans made to make some big changes in testing in order to set up some more radical development later in the season.

Thursday, 07 February 2019 13:13 Published in Reports, Results & Points


SPOILER ALERT! Results from MotoGP Argentina

MotoGP™ has a tendency to keep making history of late, and the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina was no different - as Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) became the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the first two races of the year, taking a stunning win as drama hit the grid behind. Teammate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) created another miracle in P2, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow completing the podium in style as top Independent Team rider.

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It was reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who leapt into the lead from pole, with Rossi another electric starter from seventh on the grid. In the rush for Turn 1, it was Marquez leading Crutchlow as the pack shuffled behind, with the reigning champion then making a stunning break for it as the Brit backed up the chasing Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pairing of Viñales and Rossi.

Viñales soon attacked Crutchlow to take P2, before the first of the high drama hit up ahead and Marquez suddenly hit the floor at Turn 2 – having been almost two seconds clear.

That left Viñales in P1, with Crutchlow and Rossi on the chase and the gap holding steady just above half a second - before the man of the moment began to pull away. The ‘Doctor’ was left to hunt down Crutchlow, with the two holding station until Rossi struck with 7 laps to go, getting past the Brit in style at Turn 5 and pulling away for a second consecutive podium – in his 350th World Championship start.

There was all-out war for P4 as Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) battled to get past Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) getting in the mix. After a short and spectacular duel between Pedrosa and Zarco, the Spaniard broke free to set the fastest lap – before disaster struck for the ‘Baby Samurai’ as he crashed out of the race in the same place as teammate Marquez had done a handful of laps earlier.

Even then, the drama wasn’t done as ‘DesmoDovi’ went wide at Turn 5 soon after, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) taking the inside line and then losing the front – sliding helplessly into the Italian and both out the race.

Behind and including Crutchlow, it was another fantastic day for the Independent Teams as the dust settled, with Bautista taking fourth and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Zarco and Jonas Folger taking fifth and sixth. Petrucci, after running out of rear grip, crossed the line in a solid P7 – ahead of a good fight back from his teammate Scott Redding at the head of the next group.

Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) enjoyed another top ten result in ninth behind Redding, with front row starter Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) completing the top ten only tenths ahead of Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) after the Frenchman was forced wide early on.

Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was P12 in front of Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing), with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing pairing Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith incredibly close to the two men ahead in P14 and P15 respectively. The Austrian manufacturer is now a points scorer with both riders, opening their account early in only round two.

After a great start from a difficult grid position, it was disaster for Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo on the first lap as the five-time World Champion crashed out early after contact with old nemesis Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – the ‘Spartan’ thankfully escaping unhurt, and Iannone continuing. The ‘Maniac’ was also given a ride through penalty soon after for a jump start, dropping him down the order and out of contention to cross the line as the final finisher.

For full results, click here.

Austin, Texas now awaits – a chance for Marquez to strike back at a venue he has always ruled, and a chance for Viñales to change that statistic as we head into round three.

Monday, 10 April 2017 10:29 Published in Reports, Results & Points


SPOILER ALERT: MotoGP Qatar Race Report!

Rain, delays, uncertainty and a decision for a slightly shortened race distance prefaced the 20 laps that then blew the drama out the water: MotoGP is back for 2017, and in some style.

Monday, 27 March 2017 10:45 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Vinales tops Friday MotoGP qualifying; surprises abound in top five

Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) kept his top spot on the combined timesheets after FP3 at Losail International Circuit, with his Friday best unchallenged by the grid. The Spaniard also suffered his first crash on the Yamaha in an official session earlier in the day, escaping unscathed. Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was the late superstar of the session, moving up from P17 to second and just beating reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).

Behind Marquez was an impressive dash from reigning Moto2™ Champion Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who took over from his teammate Jonas Folger as fastest rookie.  Folger is eighth on combined times, and also goes safely through to the Q2 qualifying session.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completed the top five overall after the three sessions, ahead of FP2’s fastest man Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing). Redding also suffered two incidents in FP3 – with damage to his fairing followed by a late crash. Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa was seventh fastest, only 0.028 off the Brit.

Behind Folger was fellow crasher LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, who took ninth despite the late incident. Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) just completed the top ten by 0.021 - the last of those graduating automatically to Q2.

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) had a tougher second day, ending twelfth on combined times and missing the cut by only half a tenth. The 'Spartan' will be a big threat in Q1 as he looks to fight at the front in his first weekend in red.

The grid head out for FP4 at 19:55 local time (GMT + 3) on Saturday evening, before Q1 chooses two more graduates for Q2 – and the first grid of the year gets decided.

Friday, 24 March 2017 19:05 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Exclusive MotoGP Season Preview: Is Vinales Ready?

The 2017 racing season gets fully underway this weekend under the lights, in the desert at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, at the first of 18 scheduled MotoGP rounds. After a crazy 2016 season with an unprecedented nine race winners, attention at the top tier of motorcycle racing is steadily building.

Friday, 24 March 2017 11:51 Published in Feature Stories