Movistar Yamaha Make Positive Start to Sepang Test

Movistar Yamaha Make Positive Start to Sepang Test

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After a long winter wait, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team were back on track today for the first Official IRTA MotoGP Test of the 2018 season, held at the Sepang International Circuit. The first day of the three-day pre-season outing in Malaysia gave both riders a chance to get to know their new YZR-M1s and to start working through a number of test items. The teammates completed their first day back aboard their Yamahas in 6th and 13th place respectively.

The rain in the morning had Rossi venture out on track, keen on working on the wet setting of his bike and confirming the findings the team made in the Valencia and Sepang tests they held back in November. Heading out with a new 2018 pre-season helmet, he ended the morning stint in 12th place.

As his afternoon session got underway, a dry track was waiting for the Italian, who took this opportunity with both hands. With three hours remaining, he put his 2018 bike to the test and set a provisional fastest time of 2'00.799s. As his teammate and various competitors started to pick up their pace towards the end of the session, the pack got reshuffled. Rossi responded by reclaiming first place on lap 44/50 and retired to the pit early. A flurry of activity in the last 15 minutes saw him end up in sixth position with a 2'00.233s, 0.806s from first.

Valentino Rossi

Position: 6th - Time: 2'00:233 - Laps: 50

"I'm happy because in November we did a good job. We got a better understanding, after the confusion we had during the 2017 season. Today's chassis is a new chassis, it's an evolution that's based on the 2016 bike. When I ride with this chassis I feel better: my riding is more natural, I feel the front of the bike better, and when I push I have a good speed. After, we also concentrated on other areas. We tried two different engines to improve the acceleration and they are not so bad, also the top speed is quite good. We need to work on the electronics, especially to save the rear tyre, but the first impression is positive."

Massimo Meregalli

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director

"The first day is done, and we are pleased with the start we've made. The first test in Sepang is always important because you want to set the tone right for the rest of the season. I knew both riders were extremely curious to see how their 2018 YZR-M1s would perform, compared to what they tried during the tests in Valencia and Sepang at the end of last year. We were able to get in a lot of laps and had a positive day. The main focus today was to confirm our findings from November. both riders mainly worked on the electronics and also tried two engine specifications with good feedback. Our first impression of the tyre wear has been positive too. It's very encouraging to see both riders feel comfortable on the bike already. We are looking forward to keep on working over the next two days and make further steps if the weather allows it."