SEPANG, MALAYSIA, FEB 6 – Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi was smiling for the second day in a row after improving his lap time on a rain-shortened day two of the MotoGP test at the Sepang International Circuit.
Rossi finished with a fast lap of 2:01.038, which could have been inside the two minute mark had he not made a mistake on his fast lap. Still, he was fourth for the second day in a row and 0.489 seconds behind Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was second and Repsol Honda upstart Marc Marquez was third.
“So, I’m happy and it’s very similar to yesterday,” Rossi said with a smile inside the Yamaha hospitality building in the Sepang pits during the test. “Especially I’m happy because I improve. This is a great feeling. I improve half a second with the new tire on the lap and now the lap time start to be quite interesting. But especially more important I improve my rhythm of more than half a second because today I was able to run constantly in (2:01-) low and this is so important.
“Remain a small bad thing that I want to go in 0.0, and I had the potential, but unfortunately before the rain I did the mistake in the hairpin and I lose 0.2 (seconds). If not, I can stay more or less with the lap time of (Marc) Marquez. But anyway I expect that also (Dani) Pedrosa, (Jorge) Lorenzo and Marquez improve. So they are very strong, they are in a great, great shape. Especially I see Lorenzo from close and I see that he enters into the track and he’s able to do the lap time from the first moment. So he has a great feeling with the bike, like Pedrosa and also like (Marc) Marquez, but maybe Marquez a little bit less.
“But, you know, last year the second part of the season had (Casey) Stoner, but especially had a big power from Lorenzo and Pedrosa, always in front, always in front. So to be fourth, but not so far is positive. But will be important also tomorrow because we will have also some more soft tires to try tomorrow, so if the condition is good I think at the end will be funny.”
What wasn’t funny—he meant fun—was his physical conditioning. Rossi admitted that he didn’t have the stamina to do long runs or a race simulation at the Sepang test.
“Yeah, I’m quite tired, but I’m OK,” he said. “For me, coming better. Yesterday was very bad, today is a bit better and I hope tomorrow I’ll make another step. But anyway, I don’t have enough strength to do longer runs, but three-four laps in a row is not a big problem.”
The big problem is the lack of acceleration compared to the Hondas. It isn’t a new problem, but a solution eluded the team so far at the Sepang test.
“The important area is acceleration, because it looks like the M1 is very good until the acceleration part where it’s good, but looks like if we try to use more power the bike pumps, wheelies, and goes a bit in crisis. I think this is the bigger area,” he said. “I never follow the Honda with the Yamaha. But last year when I followed the Honda with the Ducati and the Yamaha, the difference in acceleration was quite big.”
Rossi knows the Honda engine is brutishly powerful, but what makes it such an effective launching pad is the seamless transmission. The seamless shift transmission produces less wheelies “and for me more than the first part is the second part of the acceleration when you go full throttle.” Unfortunately Rossi's M1 isn't equipped with a seamless-shift transmission at the Sepang test.
The Ducati Desmosedici GP13 has a seamless shift gearbox, but it’s not as good as the Honda’s, Rossi said, having watched the Honda repeatedly last year.
“Eh, seamless is very good. Is an advantage for sure,” he said. “Also for the rider is a lot more easy.”
The transmission is on Rossi’s wish list, but he insisted it wasn’t imminent.
“I’m pushing on Yamaha for this gearbox, but already no, already Yamaha no. But I don’t know. We don’t know if arrive or not.”
MotoGP Sepang test Day Two results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 2:00.549
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 2:00.568
3. Marc Marquez (SPA) Honda 2:00.803
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 2:01.038
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha 2:01.311
6. Stefan Bradl (GER) Honda 2:01.369
7. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Honda 2:01.729
8. Bradley Smith (GBR) Yamaha 2:01.931
9. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati 2:02.110
10. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati 2:02.379
11. Kosuke Akiyoshi (JPN) Honda 2:02.526
12. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (JPN) Yamaha 2:02.701
13. Ben Spies (USA) Ducati 2:03.002
14. Wataru Yoshikawa (JPN) Yamaha 2:03.156
15. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati 2:03.169
16. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) ART/Aprilia 2:03.251
17. Randy de Puniet (FRA) ART/Aprilia 2:03.791
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Ioda/Aprilia 2:04.284
19. Takumi Takahashi (JPN) Honda 2:04.559
20. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) FTR/Kawasaki 2:04.786
21. Hector Barbera (SPA) FTR/Kawasaki 2:04.989
22. Karel Abraham (CZE) ART/Aprilia 2:05.028
23. Michael Laverty (IRL) ART/Aprilia 2:05.417
24. Claudio Corti (ITA) FTR/Kawasaki 2:05.721
25. Yonny Hernandez (COL) ART/Aprilia 2:05.837
26. Colin Edwards (USA) FTR/Kawasaki 2:06.205
27. Bryan Staring (AUS) FTR/Honda 2:06.898
28. Lukas Pesek (CZE) Ioda/Aprilia 2:30.243