Yonny Hernández concludes positive Sepang as Eugene Laverty hopes to be fit for Phillip Island
|Colombian rider has improved his feeling with the bike on each day of the test, with Eugene Laverty at least able check the recovery of his injured hand|
The first three days of MotoGP preseason testing in 2016 concluded today, with the riders now not set to return to the Sepang International Circuit until the Grand Prix here in October. Unlike previous seasons when the Malaysian track has hosted two preseason sessions, the next appointment for the teams and riders is another three-day outing at Phillip Island, on the 17th, 18th and 19th of this month. Even though today was effectively cut short by a tropical downpour at around 3pm, the Sepang test has given the first indications of how the 2016 season might shape up. So far it looks like the factory Yamaha remains the package to beat, with Jorge Lorenzo demonstrating exactly why he is World Champion with a consistency and pace that has been unmatched. The Spaniard was almost a second clear of his closest rival today as the only rider to break the two-minute barrier, although his team-mate Valentino Rossi has also shown a consistently high level of performance in second place. Ducati demonstrated that they have nothing to fear this season, their hard work showing with strong representation in the top half of the timesheets, including star test rider Casey Stoner, who has proved that he remains one of the fastest men in the world on two wheels despite having retired from competitive action back in 2012.
It has been a test of contrasting fortunes for the Aspar Team pairing of Yonny Hernández and Eugene Laverty. The Colombian has squeezed every second out of the three days as he works on the new standard electronics and tyres, steadily building a fast and consistent pace whilst refining the traction control and engine brake settings of his Ducati. Yonny is happy with his progress, having finished in 14thposition with a gap of just over a second to Rossi, but still he hopes to work more with the chassis to find extra rear grip, which will be a priority in Australia. Eugene Laverty has endured an unfortunate visit to Sepang, a crash on the first day ruling him out of action yesterday, only for his return today to be limited by a clutch problem with his Ducati, the inclement weather and the pain in his hand.
14th Yonny Hernández 2’01.774 (40 laps): “I am happy with the changes we have made to the bike and with the steps forward we have taken with the electronics. Over the past three days we have done a lot of work with thew traction control, I have worked hard to adapt my riding style to the new tyres and the new electronics. The relationship with the team is building every day and that allows us to quickly deal with any problems that do spring up. Everything we have tried over the past three days has been positive so hopefully we can continue to move forward like this in Australia. We are planning to work on some different traction control mappings and also the power delivery. The Ducati has a lot of horsepower and sometimes it is difficult to control the hard rear tyre. So in Australia we will also be trying to find more grip.”
22nd Eugene Laverty 2’03.519 (25 laps): “Unfortunately it hasn’t been the best test for us, with a crash on day one that ruled me out of day two. I was ready to ride on day three but there was rain in the morning so we waited for the track to dry and then had a problem with the clutch, which meant that I couldn’t complete a full lap. Then the rain came back so it’s been really unfortunate for us! On the positive side I was able to complete some laps and at least check my hand. At first there was some pain but the more I used the hand and kept the glove on it the better it felt. At the end of the day the pain increased again so I decided to stop because I wasn’t able to ride comfortably. Now I need to rest it and hopefully it will be 100% for the next test in Australia.”
I tried a few laps on the final day but the hand was still too painful. I’ll be fit for Phillip Island in 2 weeks 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/pgNLeoKQF7
— Eugene Laverty (@eugenelaverty) February 4, 2016