The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team have wrapped up the first official IRTA test of the 2020 season today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales spent the three days working through a number of testing items and confirmed the positive 2020 YZR-M1 development.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales have completed the three-day testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today, concluding it in 5th and 16th place in the combined standings and with positive feedback.
Rossi was a man on a mission today, working hard to give all the testing items a try before leaving the Sepang track. The decision to focus on the 2020 items evaluation meant he wouldn’t be able to put in a race simulation but it resulted in the gain of valuable data and feedback. His schedule also allowed him to put in a time attack which he made good use of. He earned himself fifth place in the Day-3 and combined standings with a fastest time of 1’58.541s, 0.192s from first, on today’s lap 10 of 51.
On the third and final day of the Sepang MotoGP Official Test, Viñales was brave enough to complete a race simulation in the typically hot Malaysian temperatures, to get a clear understanding of the 2020 model’s race pace. He was positive about the YZR-M1’s development, having been able to keep up a good rhythm throughout the 20 laps. The weather turned when he was scheduled to put in a time attack, and it left him 18th in today’s results and 0.820s from first, with a 1’59.169 best lap set on lap 30 of 83. However, his best lap from Day 2, a 1’58.893s, puts him in 16th position in the combined Day 1-2-3 timesheets, 0.544 from first.
The team will now return to Europe whilst the engineers return to Japan to process the data and take their 2020 MotoGP preparation another step further. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will regroup in Qatar from 22–24 February for the second preseason test of this year.
Valentino Rossi: “We are happy with these three days. Today was a good day because I did a very good lap time in the time attack. It’s the first time for me to be in the 1’58s, so this is positive, also because we are in P5 and very close to the top. We worked a lot, also on the pace, and we tried different things. Some were good, others weren’t. We have to work hard because everybody is so fast, but the test was positive.”
Maverick Viñales: “I’m feeling very positive, because today we improved the bike quite a lot, especially the race set-up. I didn’t have enough time left to make one hot lap but, doing things like this, I kept a bit calmer. We were really concentrated on working on the feeling and it seems to be good. On race tyres with a race set-up we had a good pace, I felt quite competitive. But we also noticed points that we are going to try to improve in Qatar. I didn’t set up for one lap just yet. For me, at this test it was really important to concentrate on the feeling and understand what I need to improve on. We are now going to work very hard to accomplish those improvements and we will see if the bike works the same way in Qatar as it did here.”
Massimo Meregalli: “We were able to get what we were after: we definitely got the confirmation that the 2020 bike is a step forward and from now on we will be focusing on this model. We noticed an improvement in top speed, grip, and tyre life. Maverick completed a race simulation today in very hot and critical conditions, and he showed great consistency from beginning to end. Vale didn’t do the race simulation but focused on testing all the items that we needed to try here, and he also did a good hot lap. It’s his first 1’58s lap, so that’s another positive sign that we are moving forward as a team. For Maverick, when the time came to do his time attack, it started raining, so this compromised his position in the Day-3 and overall standings. But we can certainly say that this has been a good three-day test, and we hope that all the information we have been able to collect will be helpful to make another improvement at the next Qatar test.”