More from the MotoGP riders on day 1 of testing at Sepang

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2013 Sepang Test Day 1

We’ve got more rider quotes from the first day of MotoGP testing at Sepang, where luckily the weather held out, but the grip level was lower due to the rain during the ECU test, so lap times were higher than last year’s test.

Despite having said “the shoulder reacted very well, however I need to regain strength”, Ben Spies did just 21 laps today and may not be able to continue testing. According to Italian website Gpone.com, Paolo Ciabatti confirmed that Spies is undergoing issues with his still healing shoulder, but that a final decision has not been made as to whether he will continue testing. The new Pramac Ducati rider told Cycle World in an interview published yesterday that his injury is 100 percent healed, but his shoulder strength is 70 percent and cardiovascular fitness is only 50 percent.

Stefan Bradl - 5th

“I am very satisfied about this first day of test. The weather and the asphalt temperature were perfect and we could easily complete out test program. Thanks to my new winter training I feel fitter in these conditions and I found the guys very motivated and even more technically prepared. Actually we started our 2013 campaign on a higher level. Today was mainly a test for myself, to get used to the bike again, recover the feeling, feel the throttle and the brakes after a long time off. We combined a lot if things from Öhlins suspension to swing-arm lengths and rear grip feeling. Doubtless there’s more work to do especially on used tyres: I must improve my riding style on used rubber to match my competitors pace during the races and we will focus on this point in the near future.”

Cal Crutchlow - 6th

“It was good to be back on the bike again after a couple of months away. I’m happy enough because initially it is all about getting the feeling back after a while off the bike. It is difficult for me coming to Sepang because it is not my favourite circuit but I am pleased and it has been a good start. I haven’t got too many updates to try on the bike but hopefully I’ve got some things to try later this week. I’ve been working more on tweaking my style a bit more today, particularly in the braking area to get the bike stopped better, which was an area I know I have to improve on for this season. It is clear looking at the top of the timesheets that it is going to be a fantastic season in MotoGP. I think any of us that finished in the top seven today will have a shot at winning a race and I think the fans are going to be treated to some fantastic racing.”

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Alvaro Bautista - 7th

Being back on track after the long winter break is always nice, but it’s challenging because you have to take the right rhythm. Fortunately, the weather conditions here were helpful and it was a lot easier. We worked hard during the day on the setup of the suspension and at the end I was satisfied. Of course, there’s still so much work to do and we have planned for the remaining two days of testing. I’m glad to be back with my team and to have started a new season with them.

Nicky Hayden - 10th

“I would not say that we have a lot of new parts to test, but we have options and ideas. There’s always stuff to try when you’re this far off. Obviously you’d like to be closer but we knew what to expect here. The bike is the same, we knew that. the bike has more potential than we showed today and I hope to be within a second.”

Bradley Smith - 12th

“When I started getting warmed up this morning at 9am and it started raining, my heart sank and I thought it was going to be a Valencia experience all over again. Luckily it didn’t last and I got out on track and I am very satisfied with how today went. The idea for this test is to keep it very simple and be consistent, so each time I go out I learn, understand and enjoy it and get some confidence. Each exit from the pits I wanted to get to the lap time I did before and then try and beat it by a little bit. I managed that and for that reason it was a positive start. This test is all about me learning how to ride the M1 rather than worrying about anything else like big set-up changes and we made good progress with every exit. All we’ve been doing is trying to make the bike as easy as possible to ride so I can understand the bike, the tyres and how the chassis works. We are keeping the bike very user-friendly just to help me understand the right lines. I’m still using Moto2 lines but being able to analyse Cal, Jorge and Valentino’s data is a big help because you can easily see what you are doing good and what you are doing bad. All I’m doing is learning and trying to gain some confidence before we try and make any big steps with changes, which we probably won’t until the next test back in Sepang at the end of the month.”

Aleix Espargaró - 14th

“We started very early this morning; I think we were the first out on track. We tried a swingarm and also had the new chassis ready, although I decided not to use it today and instead have today as a more general ride. Our starting setup was the same as for the final race of last year. I wanted to regain my feel for the bike after the winter break. The first morning stint was hard, as after so long away it felt strange to be back on a GP bike. However, from the second stint on I began to feel much more comfortable. We did a lot of short runs of no more than 5 laps. I am happy to have been the fastest CRT here, as it is our obligation to continue on top like last year. The difference between us and the rest of the riders isn’t huge, so I am satisfied.”

Randy de Puniet - 15th

“We started off with the base setting from last year. I tried out the new 2013 swingarm again, which I had been able to test out in Valencia and liked a lot. Here, however, I found it more difficult to get a good feeling with it. As a result, we went back to the standard swingarm and I felt more comfortable. We stopped afterwards in order to attach the 2013 chassis, which in theory only worked with the new swingarm but which we were able to combine with last year’s. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow with this combination. Just like in October, we felt a lot of chatter with the front end at certain points on the track. The aim for the remaining two days is to get rid of that. We made the most of today from start to finish, the feeling is good after the winter break and I am very pleased to be back riding.”

Andrea Iannone - 16th

“We suffered the first day on the track, like the rest of the first day of testing. I’m struggling to understand where and how to improve the bike, but I am confident that the next two days of work will allow me to figure out the right direction.”

Ben Spies - 17th

“After 4 months of inactivity I didn’t want to force too much in order to be more concentrated and performing in the coming days. The shoulder reacted very well, however I need to regain strength.”

Karel Abraham - 21st

“The first impression of the bike is great and that´s very important thing. We had some problems at the end of today´s testing, but it was because we were changing a lot of things in the course of the day to try as many things as possible. The results are not so important at the moment. The difference in engines plays some role, but I can´t rely on it. Espargaro is one season ahead of me and it is clearly an advantage. It´s up to me now to erase it.“

Danilo Petrucci - 22nd

“Today I practiced just the last two hours according our plan. We have worked on the suspension and on the chassis because the new ECU has a problem to the firmware of the traction control, but the Magneti Marelli staff is working hard to solve this problem as soon as possible. Tomorrow will be my day and if the traction contol will be ok, we will start to develop the new ECU”.

Lukas Pesek - 26th

“It was a good day, I did many laps and I’m getting the first feeling with my new bike. There is still a lot of work to do but for being the first real day of test it was not so bad”.

Bryan Staring - 27th

I’m happy to have made my debut in MotoGP, but at the same time I feel sorry for the trivial fall that I had. Unfortunately, I touched the kerb in a corner, lost control and crashed to the ground. Of course, the difference with the bike that I rode previously is significant, but mostly I’ll try to adapt my driving style to the power of the Go & Fun Team Honda Gresini CRT. Today we did a good job during the 41 laps and I got on very well with members of the team. I realized that that might be very helpful for my growth in this challenging category.

Photos © Getty Images

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