Valentino Rossi - Monster Energy Yamaha - 2019 MotoGP- Sepang- Preseason Test
News News 8 February 2019

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Conclude Successful Sepang Test

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP wrapped up the first official IRTA test of the 2019 season today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had a lot of work to do. They spent the three days trying a number of testing items as well as new Michelin tyre compounds. The team-mates secured fifth and tenth place respectively in the overall standings.

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.

Maverick Viñales

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - P5 - 1'58.644

“The test was really good. I actually missed one time attack in the morning which I planned to make in the afternoon, but finally it was so hot that the tyre was sliding a lot, so I couldn‘t improve my lap time from the morning. Anyway, I‘m happy because on the race simulation I felt really good. I was really tired, but I felt good on the bike. Day by day the bike was working pretty similar, as in the last test. You always get positives and negatives testing new items. Now we have to come to a conclusion to see if we should bring the new fairing to Qatar. I also made some laps behind our rivals, so I could compare how our bike is working, and it‘s not bad. There are just some small details left and that‘s the most important. Last year they were some steps ahead, and now we are closer.”

Valentino Rossi

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - P10 - 1'59.155

1'59.155“I'm half happy because some things worked well and we improved our performance, other things from which we expected a lot unfortunately didn't bring us what we need. So, for me, it's good, because it's the first test and we improved some things, but we have a lot of work to do. The gap is quite big, so we need time. I'm happy about the atmosphere and especially about the ideas inside the garage, it looks like Yamaha are very much concentrated on improving, so this is important.”?

Massimo Meregalli

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director

“It has been a very positive and productive test, under extremely hot conditions. We had three days without problems, during which we could evaluate all the items that were prepared over the winter. Most of them gave positive results, improving the smoothness of the acceleration, the stability on braking and accordingly the turning. Our speed, pace, and consistency has been there for both riders throughout the entire test and this is very significant for us. Maverick was able to do an impressive race simulation. An important aspect is that both he and Vale are improving and are working in the same direction. Another significant aspect is that we deliberated on the engine specification. It will be important to get the same response in Qatar in two weeks‘ time, where for sure, based on this test, we'll have another update available to us.”

Petronas Yamaha SRT Squeeze Maximum from Sepang Test with Morbidelli in Top Ten

Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo complete another positive test in eighth and sixteenth place respectively, with the team learning even more than they’d hoped.

A three-day test at the Sepang International Circuit ended on a high today for the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, with Franco Morbidelli, Fabio Quartararo and the whole team having made the most of the available track time as they clocked up 2,128km on their Yamaha YZR-M1 machines and making great progress throughout. Morbidelli and Quartararo improved their lap times on each day of the test, edging into the 1’59s today to finish up in eighth and sixteenth place respectively.

Morbidelli kicked his day off with an impressive time attack that saw him make a notable improvement on his lap time and move into the top ten positions, where he remained for the rest of the day. The Italian experimented with a completely different front-end set-up on his Yamaha YZR-M1 in an attempt to improve turning and he was satisfied with the results. Franco’s best overall effort of 1’59.141 came on lap 8 of 66 completed today.

His teammate Fabio Quartararo also started out with a time attack that also saw him break the 2’00 barrier. The Frenchman also completed his first simulation on a MotoGP bike, reporting a good feeling with the bike over 18 laps. After that, Fabio and his team continued working with the front suspension to try and find further improvements in braking and his line through the final corner. The rookie finished the test in 16th position after clocking his best time today on lap 13 of 77 completed.

After this successful test here at Sepang International Circuit, the next appointment for the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team will be the Qatar test on 23, 24 and 25 February, two weeks before the season-opening Grand Prix at the same venue.

Franco Morbidelli

Petronas Yamaha SRT - P8 - 1'59.141

“The last day here at Sepang International Circuit has gone really well. We have managed to complete the programme we set out yesterday, which was to improve our pace and top speed. I wasn’t able to do a race simulation because we had a lot of things to get through but we will do that at the Qatar test. What I did manage to do for the first time was a good time attack. We also tried some different tyres, including the super soft, and gathered some useful data. We still have work to do because we want to be closer to the front but we are on the right lines and working hard to keep going in that way.”

Fabio Quartararo

Petronas Yamaha SRT - P16 - 1'59.497

“Today was another positive day at the Sepang International Circuit. This morning we did a pretty good lap time, dipping inside 2’00, but our weak point remains that I am struggling to do a qualifying lap. Despite that I am very happy because on my first ever race simulation on a MotoGP bike I felt physically really good. To me that was another step forward - with the heat here and the track temperature at 60º it is very difficult - and we coped quite well. After the race simulation we went back over a couple of things and made a slight improvement at the end of the day. In Qatar we will have to work on braking and the first turn there will be a good place for that because it is really hard on the brakes. That will be our focus because in the fast corners we are in good shape.”

Wilco Zeelenberg

Petronas Yamaha SRT - Team Manager

“We have had a very positive test here at a special circuit for us, even more positive than we expected in terms of the lap times and the number of laps we have been able to complete. We have learnt some good and interesting things about the 2019 bikes – like I said, more than we expected. As for the riders, we can be very happy with Fabio’s [Quartararo] progress and with Franco [Morbidelli] we would have liked to finish a little higher up but considering the odd setback we have had over the test, to set a 1’59.1 today was quite incredible. Lap time aside, the way he is riding and what we are learning about the new YZR-M1 thanks to his feedback is another big positive. The next objective for the Qatar test will be to build on what we have learnt here. Obviously, Yamaha needed to try some different options at Sepang to define certain configurations before the season starts for real, so now we will look to confirm that we are going the right way at a different circuit.”