Riders and Team Managers reflect on Sepang MotoGP Test

2022 Sepang MotoGP Test

Enea Bastianini – P1

It was very exciting to get back on the bike. We were very quick both yesterday and today: if yesterday we had to shake some rust off, today we worked on speed. Due to the rain we only managed to do one time attack, but it went quite well. We also had a look at our race pace these two days as we made a few set-up changes, and we improved a lot despite starting already from an excellent base. Now we need to test a new track – we will all start from zero and we will work for the race: we want to be quick there, too.”

Enea Bastianini
Aleix Espargaró – P2

I must thank the staff in Noale. Albesiano and all the engineers did a good job. From the first time I swung a leg over, during a photo shoot, I noticed how sleek and compact the new RS-GP is, and I know how hard it is to achieve this result. The ergonomics, the frame and all the new features make it extremely agile, letting me improve on corners speed, especially in fast turns. However, we still need to consider that this is just the first test and that we are all extremely close. The current level of MotoGP is absolutely incredible. We’ll keep working and I can’t wait to turn laps on the new Mandalika circuit too.

Aleix Espargaró
Jorge Martín – P3

It was a positive second day, we brought home a lot of information that we will need in a few days in Indonesia. Unfortunately it rained in the afternoon and we didn’t get the most out of the day, but I am very satisfied with this first test.

Jorge Martín
Alex Rins – P4

We’ve concluded the Sepang test, and a bit earlier than expected, but it’s been great to be back on the bike. The first part of today felt like qualifying, we were all out there trying to get laps in before the rain came! We learned a lot during these two days about what works well for us, and what still needs some improvement, but overall we’re going to Mandalika with a very good bike. I’m going to watch some Superbike races to try and understand how the Mandalika circuit is, and I’m really excited to arrive there because my supporters there are amazing.”

Alex Rins
Maverick Viñales – P5

I’m pleased with this first test. I felt extremely comfortable on the bike. I was especially surprised by our race pace, with used tyres, whereas on the flying lap, I am still unable to fully exploit the bike’s potential. When you try to find the limit, and you have to do that often in MotoGP today, the feeling has to be more than perfect, but I am still making a few mistakes. I need to get used to the way this bike behaves when I’m looking for maximum performance and that’s a process we’re working on.

Maverick Viñales
Francesco Bagnaia – P6

I am happy with how this second day of testing went. We are definitely not at the level I aim for yet, but I know we will get there soon. In just two days of working with the new bike, we have taken a big step forward, and with each session, we continued to improve. Now we have to keep working in this direction to be ready for the start of the Championship. These days, I did not concentrate on finding the best time. My priority now is to work on developing the bike, which has shown to have really great potential. I am satisfied and can’t wait to get on track for another three days of testing next week in Indonesia”.

Francesco Bagnaia
Fabio Quartararo – P7

I‘m really happy about my pace. Unfortunately, I kept two tyres to do a time attack, and then it was raining. But this morning I did a great lap! I‘m quite happy because I came from a really old rear tyre, and let‘s say that the gap between them was too big. I couldn‘t really take the benefit from the new rear tyre, but I‘m super happy. I think that we have some margin on one lap, and I think it was a good test. We can be satisfied. In Mandalika we will test again what we have tried at this test, and we‘ll see if there are any positive outcomes.”

Fabio Quartararo
Marc Marquez – P8

I am happy about these two days in Sepang, but also tired! It’s true that it is very positive for us to be here even if I suffered a little bit physically, but we suffer now to enjoy in the season. When I push with the bike, the speed is there, and we are learning a lot about this bike after trying some big things. The bike certainly has potential and today we understood the front feeling better after some changes we made. Pol and Alex were fast in the long ran which is encouraging. I did a few laps in the damp and felt good too.”

Marc Marquez
Johann Zarco – P9

Another positive day for us, I am happy with how we have worked and how I feel on the bike, we also did a wet run to see the feeling and I felt really good. There are still some areas where we can improve but we will make the most of next week’s test to be ready for Qatar.

Johann Zarco
Pol Espargaro – P10

In general I’m pretty happy with how the test has gone, of course it would have been good to do a few more laps but the weather is what it is. We are close to the front with a new bike and this is positive. There’s still some time to find over one fast lap and I made a small mistake on my fastest lap, but on the longer runs we are working well. It will be important to improve the one lap speed because we have seen how tight Saturdays are in MotoGP. We were able to gather good data here and now we have a bit of homework to do before the next test.”

Pol Espargaro
Luca Marini – P11

I am happy with this second day of testing: I am satisfied with the base I found, we are not at 100%, considering that I was forced into the garage yesterday, but it is okay. Today both bikes were perfect, I was fast right away from the pit lane exit and I had a good feeling. To be only the second day in Sepang, we made a nice step on the lap time and we tried something on the setting. In the afternoon the plan included a qualifying simulation, but the storm was unexpected.  A pity, but it’s not the priority at the moment and I’m happy to have been able to ride in the wet at the end of the day.

Luca Marini
Joan Mir – P12

Overall I’m really happy about the last two days here. The bike is working well and my feeling is good. Today felt better than yesterday but we couldn’t put it all together to push for a lap time, anyway, our pace is strong. I understood the potential of the new bike and the new engine and I have no complaints. Both Alex and I feel that we’ve made a step forward, and that’s an important thing. I’m really excited and interested to go to Mandalika next week – the fans there are so supportive and kind, and I’m waiting to discover the track!

Joan Mir
Takaaki Nakagami – P13

We had a really good two-day test here in Sepang and I’m very happy with the step forward we’ve made. From yesterday we were able to improve our confidence on the bike and find a solution. This new bike has really great potential so I’m really happy about that. I want to say a big thanks to my team because these two days for the mechanics are really hard, but they did a great job. I’m looking forward to the next test at Mandalika as it’s a new country and new circuit for us, so I’m really excited”.

Takaaki Nakagami
Jack Miller – P14

I think the potential is there big style. Already yesterday shaking it down, you know, overcoming some of the issues we were having, we were able to improve a considerable amount today. I only got to do one time attack today. I had an issue with the bike so in saying that, to go and push on one tyre and do the time we did, I’m pretty happy with that.

“The pace was there…a bit more today but again, working on the engine character, the way the electronics are working, we’re quite busy and in between that trying new parts and stuff like that. It’s been a busy test. It’s a shame it rained in the afternoon, we kind of needed a little more track time but we can’t change that. Anyway, I think got some really good data. Again, like yesterday, everything we tried or the ideas that we had and worked towards, they seem to get better and better.

Jack Miller

“I’m quietly confident with the bike. It’s growing on me more and more and yeah, I think we don’t need to have the best bike at the first test, you know we need to have the best bike when Qatar rolls around to run and I think we’re well on the way to having that.

“We’re working first and foremost on the way the bikes behaving. The way the tyres are working undeath and also how the bike is turning. We were working on that yesterday but also another big part of it is the throttle connection, from engine brake to positive gas, and that’s been the big recurring thing. We’ve improved it from where it was in Jerez, and we keep improving but we still have some work to do in terms of that. Trying to get it as smooth as possible and we’ve made steps forward on that. The main thing yesterday and today was just working with the complete new package and just trying to get comfortable. Have the bike so where I point, it goes there, because yesterday it was not behaving like a bike I know.

Jack Miller

“I feel good going to Mandalika. I think a new track is what it is. I mean you go and do 10 or 15 laps around it and you know it pretty much and especially just watching the superbike race there last year, it didn’t look like a Texas or something like that, crazy long with a thousand corners. It doesn’t seem all that technical to learn….But for sure, I think, once we get our base setting underway there I’m sure we’ll be able to work on our issues and Mandalika has a few places it looks like with a few slower corners, which is the biggest issue for our bike,s so I think it’s good that we’re going there and I’d prefer to not test at the place we’re doing the first race. I think it’s a bit shitty when you go and do 3,4,5 days testing then you go and race there. Everyone is on pace….and it’s just boring then. You lose the meaning of the whole weekend.

“Yesterday the new bike felt a bit foreign to me…It wasn’t doing….I’d put similar inputs to what I’d normally put in and what I’d expect to happen wasn’t happening so I just had to work on that and work on my set-up, base set-up, basic geometry of the bike as well as adapting yourself around that. Yeah, for sure, the way that the electronics are and the way that bike is delivering the power is the thing we’re working on the most. We have a complete new package this year so, you know, last year, that bike had been worked on throughout 2020 and 2021 so it was pretty well fine tuned by the end of it. Starting from a different base again you need to build up.

“Starting from where we are now, to where the bike should be by the time we get to Qatar, I feel like this package definitely will have more potential once we’ve ironed out all the bugs so that gives me promise.

Jack Miller

“There is so much more workload to do being in the factory team that you don’t get to throw tyres at it and have all that fun that you do at a satellite team, where you can go and break records and what not. At the end of the day Enea is on a fantastic package. I know very well how good his package is, and also he’s riding fantastic. To do a 1m58.1 around here, I honestly thought they were going to go into the 1m57s today and it was making me even more nervous, but they didn’t quite crack it. They’re riding really well. All those boys are riding really good. We’re half a second off and as I said, as a base setting for a new bike I think we can be pretty happy with that. Me and Pecco, and Zarco was a little faster, but we are all very similar on the new package.

Jack Miller
Miguel Oliveira – P15

Progress was there. For sure our pace could have been a bit better but we were still trying things out to maximise what we have. We still feel there is room to improve and that’s important for us. It was good to have the half day today and we made the lap we had here two years ago, without any risk. Positive feelings, and now we move onto a new track. The package is there. We have to take advantage of what we have. This is the focus and what pushes us.

Miguel Oliveira
Marco Bezzecchi – P16

I honestly didn’t expect a lap time like this, I’m happy, we did a great job with the Team, the technicians and Ducati. A shame about this morning: just before my fastest lap, I was long on the last corner, I entered the gravel and I crashed. I went back to the garage and with different tyres I did my best lap time. An impressive time, built step by step from the shakedown. Compared to the first days, I feel better on the bike, at the beginning I was missing something on the front in terms of riding style, then we checked all the data and we managed to make a nice step forward. I can’t wait to get back at work in Mandalika.

Marco Bezzecchi
Álex Márquez – P17

Second day here in Malaysia and I think we did a really good job overall. The most important thing for us at this test was to get to know the bike, do many laps and gather information for the future. We are getting to know the bike more and more and we’re not doing badly. There is still room for improvement, but the base is really good, in terms of set-up and performance.  Today we were able to do nearly race distance with a simulation of 15 laps and the pace wasn’t bad, it was really constant. Unfortunately, the only thing we missed today was a time attack as, when I tried to make one, I had a really small crash, but the most important thing this weekend was the feeling. I want to thank my team for all their work on these two days, now we go to Mandalika with a clear plan of what we need to improve.

Álex Márquez
Brad Binder – P18

These last two days have been a challenge. We needed some more time to make the most out of the package. We have some small changes to the bike and we have the same performance as last year so now we need to explore, try different set-ups and balances to see what works further. Yesterday was about getting up the speed after the break and then we didn’t have that much time this morning before the weather cut things short. I did a few laps in the wet and everything felt good. Overall, I feel we have a lot of potential. We need to work more to extract it.

Brad Binder
Raul Fernandez – P19

We end the test only one second from first position: it is incredible how close the MotoGP category is. All the riders were here on track and it is going to be an amazing championship. KTM did an excellent job this week and I am really happy with all the work done here in Sepang. Step by step, I learn and I get closer to the others so this is what matters for me at the moment. During the tests, everybody is fast, but it will be different during the races, and I am well aware of that. For now, I think that we did a very good job here in Malaysia.”

Raul Fernandez
Fabio Di Giannantonio – P20

These two days have been very important, and we managed to do some significant steps forward towards being competitive. Yesterday things went smooth, while today we experienced some issues, which we were still able to fix with the team. Lap after lap I’m getting to know the bike a little bit better, and at every stop at the garage I’m getting to know the team better. Now we’ll have another three days at the Mandalika circuit, where we’ll work almost exclusively on myself and my riding style. We will also try to understand the tyres better.

Fabio Di Giannantonio
Andrea Dovizioso – P22

We made some progress for sure but I can’t be happy about where we’re at because there are still too many things I don’t have under control. The way I ride the bike is not good enough. I can be faster for sure because this morning I wasn’t able to use the potential of the soft tyre. Apart from that, I’m still not feeling that good. These two days have been very difficult but like always in Malaysia, I think it’s the best track to test some high turns but the condition is over the limit, the grip changes and you don’t have enough tyres to compare. Anyway, I’m very happy to go on a different new track, and I will continue my work with the team to do better.

Andrea Dovizioso
Remy Gardner – P23

It has been a very busy week of testing. Malaysia was fun but I did roughly two hundred laps here, so I have to admit that I look forward to changing the track and going to Mandalika. We tried a lot of different things this week, especially during the Official Test, and we managed to find some interesting points with the bike. Halfway through the day today, we decided to stop because I was struggling with my physical condition and especially with my wrist after four full days on track. it is important for me to focus on my recovery. I still managed to go faster this morning and I improved my lap-time, which I am happy with. We are still a bit far away from the top positions but considering the circumstances, it is not bad at all.

Remy Gardner
Franco Morbidelli – P24

We made good steps also today. We wanted to improve on new tyres, and we did that. We wanted to improve our pace, and we did that too. Unfortunately, we were not able to do the time attack, because in our programme it was scheduled in the late afternoon, but with the rain it wasn‘t possible to do it. The feeling is getting better and better. Every time it‘s getting better with the bike. We‘re setting it up well to be fast and consistent. There is this time attack doubt that I wanted to take away. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until Indonesia for that, but so far, so good. I‘m quite happy.

Franco Morbidelli
Darryn Binder – P25

Yesterday we worked really hard but didn’t get the results we wanted. Today, we came back fresh and used everything we worked on yesterday and put it straight into play immediately. After that I was looking forward to just working throughout the day, trying to perfect everything, learn and keep trying but unfortunately it started to rain. But being a rookie that was great as it gave me a chance to go out on the wet with the bike. In my eyes, it’s been a positive two days.

Darryn Binder
Sylvain Guintoli – P26

Over the past five days – including the shakedown – I’ve done about 250 laps, and it was really good to be back on the bike again, and back in Sepang because I really like this place. The testing programme was quite intense because the team brought many items, but everything seems to be working well so far, especially the engine spec. I also worked on the chassis, the suspension, the aerodynamics, and the ride height device. I managed to set a new personal best lap around here and overall the bike feels really well balanced, it also looks great!”

Team Managers

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

First of all, it was great to be back on track. Especially here, after two years. But I have to say that two days of testing, after the riders not having touched the bike for two months, was probably not enough. Luckily, we are now moving on to Indonesia, where for sure the test will be more productive. We spent the first day getting the riders back up to the speed they were on before the winter stop and having them get back their confidence on the bike. This second day was the most important one. It‘s impossible to make a solid decision already, because we need to test all the items at another track. Luckily, we have the Mandalika Test next week. We tried two chassis specs and different aerodynamic items. We are now going to analyse and study all the information we gathered and compare it with the feedback of the riders. In Mandalika we will try to confirm everything, and there is where we will make our final decision on how we will start the season.”

Fabio Quartararo
Shinichi Sahara – Suzuki Project Leader and Team Director

We came here with 2022 spec. bikes, which we’d already seen promising signs from last year, and we brought some new items to try. Our test riders and race riders found some of the new items were working in good way, but we couldn’t finish checking a few things due to rain this afternoon – we will try them in Mandalika next week. But the overall feeling is that we are more competitive. Our riders and all the team are feeling very positive and motivated to start another test in Indonesia, and to be ready for the first round in Qatar. I would like to say thank you to everyone for giving their all in these tests, and for their help launching our new bike.

Sylvain Guintoli and Tsuda
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

We are pretty satisfied, we brought many items here and we were able to try almost all of them. The weather did disturb our plans a bit and it meant we couldn’t finish everything we wanted to, so we’ll continue the work in Mandalika. The important thing is that the 2022 engine spec. seems to be working well for us, and the riders are feeling quite happy.”

Francesco Guidotti – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager

We had a productive one-and-a-half days here. We collected a lot of information between the four MotoGP riders – as well as our test riders Dani and Mika – and we tested different aero packs and the new engine spec was delivered. There were a few other important items. We have three more days of work in Mandalika next week and those will be important to evolve our ideas in different circumstances to be ready for the first race. A lot of comments from the riders here matched and that’s important in terms of finding the right direction. Hopefully that will be enough to make the ideal combo for the start of the season.

Sebastian Risse – Red Bull KTM Technical Manager MotoGP

Some intensive and productive days for us. First, we blew away the cobwebs from the winter and then focussed on the elements we have to homologate for the season. These are obviously important decisions and we have only two tracks at which to make them. We know Sepang and it’s a place where if something works then it can be transferred quite well to other tracks. It was important to understand the packages we had at our disposal here. We had several different aerodynamic options and we also worked on the engine and then the bike setting. It all had to fit together, and we had a few directions. Finally, we have a bike that is different for the riders, it does not have the same character as before and it is already a step faster and still with some areas to explore.”

Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 KTM Team Manager

The Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team concludes five days of very intensive testing here in Sepang. Our two rookies enjoyed this opportunity to get additional track time and took full advantage of it. I would like to thank them for their hard work, their dedication and their never give-up attitude all week long. All this time spent on track and in the box with their respective teams has provided important feedback to KTM’s engineers, and it will be crucial to get ready for the first race of the season in Qatar in just a month.

“We saw improvement every day for both of them: the lap-times improved as well as the feeling on their KTM RC16 and it was the main target of this test. Although the final positions in the table are not the most exciting, Raul finished just 1.049 seconds from the top, and Remy 1.217, which is an amazing achievement for two rookies as the time-sheet has never been so close! We have to bear in mind that nowadays, we compare the riders with thousandths instead of hundredths as the category has become so much more competitive over the last few years.

“We aimed to gather laps, data, experience, understand the electronics, the engine, the chassis, the Michelin tyres, the carbon brakes, and this is what we did. It is now time to get some rest for the riders and the entire crew, and I believe that after more than two hundred laps each, both riders are looking forward to going to Mandalika and riding on a different circuit.

“I would like to thank both Raul and Remy, as well as the entire crew, who all worked tirelessly all week around to get the job done in a very efficient way, and I believe that KTM’s development team will take advantage of all the information we passed on. I can already say that this is going to be a very exciting season for our team.”

Razlan Razali – Team Principal WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 

In general the last two days has been a positive test for both our riders, both have improved in terms of time. It is still early days and we wait and see for the final test in Mandalika and finally in Qatar. But overall, we are very happy with the first test. We must congratulate Sepang International Circuit (SIC) for being able to allow the MotoGP paddock to come and test here this weekend.

Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 

It has been a very good test, we learned a lot. Of course we are not in the spot and place we want to be, but we have to respect the level of the group. Darryn for sure improved today and again did a step, which was our aim every day to be better and we have been doing that. Today he learned a lot in the rain with the soft and medium rain tyres, going out on half intermediate track conditions that will help in the season when he’s on the grid and it starts to rain. For Andrea, we have been trying to improve the bike, especially on rear grip and traction and we reached a limit, where we need to make more steps in that area. Over the two days, we made a lot of laps and gained a lot of information and now we’re ready to go to Mandalika.

Pablo Nieto – Mooney VR46 Team Manager

I am satisfied with what has been done in this long week here in Malaysia. Well done Luca who found the feeling after a complicated day y. He worked on the set up and things went better. Marco worked hard in the shakedown and collected a lot of data that was then really useful for this second test where he was able to try the new bike even in the wet. We are a young Team, but I am very happy with the whole group, we can’t wait to get back on track in Indonesia.”

Sepang MotoGP Test Combined Times

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
4 A.RINS SUZUKI +0.130
12 J.MIR SUZUKI +0.398
15 M.OLIVEIRA KTM +0.570
18 B.BINDER KTM +0.885
23 R.GARDNER KTM +1.217
27 T.TSUDA SUZUKI +7.547

The previous benchmarks

Fabio Quartararo holds the qualifying lap record at Sepang with a 1m58.303. The top speed record is held by Andrea Iannone at 339.6 km/h. Valentino Rossi holds the race lap record at 1m59.661. Outside of a race weekend, Danilo Petrucci set the previous outright benchmark at 1m58.239 during testing here in 2019 when it was a Ducati 1-2-3-4 atop the time-sheets.

Sepang Test Top Speeds

Pos Rider Bike Speed
9 Johann ZARCO DUCATI 335.4
5 Maverick VIÑALES APRILIA 333.3
14 Jack MILLER DUCATI 333.3
6 Francesco BAGNAIA DUCATI 332.3
3 Jorge MARTIN DUCATI 331.2
8 Marc MARQUEZ HONDA 331.2
12 Joan MIR SUZUKI 331.2
4 Alex RINS SUZUKI 330.2
11 Luca MARINI DUCATI 330.2
18 Brad BINDER KTM 330.2
17 Alex MARQUEZ HONDA 329.2
19 Raul FERNANDEZ KTM 328.2
13 Takaaki NAKAGAMI HONDA 327.2
15 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 327.2
23 Remy GARDNER KTM 326.2
26 Sylvain GUINTOLI SUZUKI 325.3
22 Andrea DOVIZIOSO YAMAHA 324.3
25 Darryn BINDER YAMAHA 323.3
27 Takuya TSUDA SUZUKI 305.0

2022 MotoGP Entry List

2022 MotoGP Entry List
Rider………………………… Team……………………………………………….. Bike
49 Fabio Digiannantonio GRESINI RACING MotoGP DUCATI
72 Marco Bezzecchi VR46 RACING TEAM DUCATI

2022 Provisional MotoGP Calendar

Date Grand Prix Circuit
06 March Qatar Losail International Circuit
20 March Indonesia Mandalika International Street Circuit
03 April Argentina Termas de Rio Hondo
10 April Americas Circuit of The Americas
24 April Portugal Algarve International Circuit
01 May Spain Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto
15 May France Le Mans
29 May Italy Autodromo del Mugello
05 June Catalunya Barcelona-Catalunya
19 June Germany Sachsenring
26 June Netherlands TT Circuit Assen
10 July Finland KymiRing
07 August Great Britain Silverstone Circuit
21 August Austria Red Bull Ring-Spielberg
04 September San Marino Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
18 September Aragón MotorLand Aragón
25 September Japan Twin Ring Motegi
02 October Thailand Chang International Circuit
16 October Australia Philip Island
23 October Malaysia Sepang International Circuit
06 November Comunitat Valenciana Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo

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