The first test of the 2017 preseason has ended today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia with Héctor Barberá and Loris Baz in 16th and 20th place in the combined time sheets after three days. Even though there is still a lot of work left to find the perfect feeling with their bikes before the first race, the test at Sepang has all in all been very positive .
Héctor Barberá had a crash with one hour to go and was left without a chance for a final time attack to improve his lap time. The Valencian rider lost the front on turn 5 at more than 170 km/h, but fortunately he walked away without injuries. The front end was a critical point on his Ducati Desmosedici GP16 over the three days of testing and he needs to continue to work before the first in race in Qatar on March 26th. There are three more testing days scheduled at Phillip Island this month and another three at Losail in early March.
His teammate Loris Baz improved on the last day and finished just 1.5s behind Maverick Viñales, the fastest rider in Sepang. Baz also has work left to do in Australia, but his first impressions of the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 were good.
All MotoGP riders will return to action at Phillip Island in two weeks, with three more days of testing to further adapt to their new bikes.
“I don’t have enough feedback from the front of the bike and at the moment I don’t have the feeling that I would like. That’s the biggest limit I have right now. We’ve been trying many things and I’ve tried to push at the maximum, but at the end I crashed. I normally don’t crash often, but things are different with this bike. I also crashed when I raced it with the Ducati Team last season, I lost the front in both races and today it was the same again. We have to work to improve the feeling with the front. We are trying to work like last year, but this is a completely different bike and we have to reset for the next test in Australia. As far as lap times go, we are just a second behind the fastest rider, which is not so bad. Now we have to find the right direction at Phillip Island and keep improving to be ready for the first race.”
“Overall the test was good. Yesterday we tried several things that were not going as we expected, but today everything went much better and I am happy. I improved my lap times with a tyre that had more than ten laps. It also was at midday when it was very hot, so I think our result is positive. We are not far away and except from the second day, the feeling with the bike was very good. Now we’ll see how things develop in Australia. Phillip Island is my favourite circuit and we still have a lot of things to try, but I’m leaving Sepang, a track that is one of the most difficult for me, quite happy. We still have to continue working on my riding style to be smoother, and we also have to work with the bike to be faster with a full tank, which at the moment it still a little bit difficult.”