Heavy rain in Sepang drastically limited track time for the Fiat Yamaha Team today, as they began three days of testing in Malaysia alongside several other MotoGP teams. With Valentino Rossi still at home recuperating from a broken hand, it is just Jorge Lorenzo taking part in the team's testing program this week, the 20-year old Spaniard riding the M1 for the second time since the end of the season as he prepares to officially join the team in January.
After rain early in the morning it took some time for the track to dry out and Lorenzo did not get started until just after 11am. The MotoGP rookie completed 26 laps as he continued to develop his understanding of his new bike and tires and was looking forward to continuing his work in the afternoon, but another heavy rainstorm after lunch meant the track did not dry out sufficiently again and the team abandoned testing for the day. Lorenzo posted the 9th fastest time of the day with a lap of 2'04.433, with the unofficial time sheets topped by Randy de Puniet, in a time of 2'03.033.Jorge Lorenzo, 9th, 2'04.433, 26 Laps, I's a pity about the weather but overall the first day has been quite positive, even if I haven't been so fast. We managed to do 26 laps before lunch and then the rain came and we weren't able to do anymore, so hopefully it will be better tomorrow because we have a lot to do! All the time I'm feeling more natural on the bike and I can feel the difference from Valencia, but I need to make a few changes to my riding style in order to fully adapt and we're working on this. It's hard for me to use all the power at the moment and I need to learn to be slower and smoother in the corners and to open the throttle a bit earlier. I'm struggling a bit to find the fast lap times but this is normal because there is still so much about the bike that I don't understand. Tomorrow we have some new things to try, including a new fork, and I will just keep on working steadily.
Daniele Romagnoli, Team Manager, today we started with Jorge at what is a very different track to Valencia, so we began with a base set-up from Yamaha while he got a feel for the bike on this track. He is starting to learn and understand more all the time about the MotoGP bike but he needs to improve some things and one of the things he's concentrating on is braking deeper into the corner. He doesn't have the best feeling going into the corner at the moment; he's got some lack of grip and he's not 100% comfortable and so we've been trying some different engine braking settings to try to improve this. We already have some plans about how to improve the package for him but unfortunately the rain stopped us today and so tomorrow we will start again and see where we get to.
Masahiko Nakajima, Fiat Yamaha Team Director, unfortunately we were only able to test for three hours today so we couldn't do very much. There are two main aims for this test; the first is to help Jorge become fully accustomed to a four-stroke bike, especially in relation to the engine braking character, which is very different to what he's used to on a two-stroke. The second thing he has to get used to and understand quickly is the carbon brakes, which are very different to the steel discs he has been using in 250. These are two major factors for the rider to understand and they also influence the entry into the corner, so he has a lot to learn in these two areas. Once he has overcome these factors then we are confident he will quickly be able to develop in other areas so this is where we're focused for these three days.