Morbidelli and Lüthi both improve in Thailand
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders, Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi both made significant improvements to their lap times during the second day of testing at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
Morbidelli was almost one second faster than yesterday, as he continued to build confidence with his Honda RC213V. The reigning Moto2 World Champion focussed today on adapting his riding style further to better suit the characteristics of the MotoGP bike, with his crew making only small changes to the suspension settings on the bike as the Italian's pace increased.
Morbidelli set his fastest time of the day on a set of used tyres but was unable to improve after switching to new slicks. This is an issue that he will work with his crew to address overnight, before trying the softer option Michelin tyres again tomorrow.
For Lüthi, who is playing catch up after missing the end of season tests through injury, the learning curve remains steep. Previously one of the most experienced riders in the intermediate class, the former 125cc World Champion is effectively having to learn a new way of riding as he adapts to the very different demands of racing a MotoGP machine.
As part of this learning process Lüthi spent the second day of the Thailand test evaluating a range of different settings on the Honda RC213V. The aim was not to find improvements but to give the MotoGP rookie a better understanding of how changes to the set up, whether physical or electronic, affect how the bike works on track.
Franco Morbidelli: 1'31.185
“Today we made a step, I had really good pace on the used tyres and I was having fun. In fact my best time came on the used tyres and, unfortunately, when I went to make the time attack my feeling wasn't great and I wasn't improving. We need to investigate why I can be fast on used tyres but I cannot be faster on new rubber. I also need to learn how to make this time attack because we can see the other guys can improve one second on a new tyre and, at the moment, I cannot and I need to understand why this is.”
Tom Lüthi: 1'31.994
“The goal today was to start with the same feeling that we had at the end of yesterday and to build on that. It was quite a positive day; I managed to follow some other riders and that was a good opportunity while I'm still working on my riding style to see how they get the bike to change direction and which lines they use through the turns. We also tried a few changes to the set up, as well as some of the different tyre options we have here, just to see how this affects the feeling with the bike. This meant we weren't making big steps forward which, as a rider, is a little bit frustrating, but looking back on the day now it was definitely positive.”
Gilles Bigot: Chief Engineer, Tom Lüthi
“The step up from Moto2 to MotoGP is a bigger one than many people realise and I think it can be even more difficult for riders like Tom, who spent so many seasons in the intermediate class. Racing a MotoGP bike is far more complex than racing a Moto2 bike, where there are far fewer variables to consider. There are no electronics; you have only two tyres to choose from and the bikes are not so powerful. MotoGP is another level; different tyres with more options, complex electronics and twice as much power, which means that whatever you do with the throttle has a much bigger impact on the bike as a whole. It's a steep learning curve and one that takes time to conquer and that's something riders moving up to the premier class need to keep in mind. Patience really is a virtue when you're a MotoGP rookie.”