Morbidelli and Lüthi both make a step in Sepang
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS MotoGP riders, Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi, both saw significant improvements in their lap times during the second of three days of testing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Overnight rain meant the riders arrived to a damp track, but with the sun making a welcome appearance the conditions improved sufficiently for Morbidelli and Lüthi to resume testing before the lunch break.
It was a difficult start for the Italian, who lost time when he crashed twice this morning, both times under braking. Undeterred Morbidelli continued to work on refining the set-up of his Honda RC213V before embarking on a qualifying simulation late in the afternoon.
Despite rain showers bringing today's session to a slightly premature end, Morbidelli managed to close the gap to the top of the timesheet after bettering his time from yesterday by half a second.
Lüthi's improvement was even bigger, with the MotoGP rookie improving his time by almost two seconds during his second day aboard the Honda RC213V he'll campaign in Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS colours this season.
For Lüthi the main focus today was on improving front-end feedback, from both the bike and Michelin's front tyre. The Swiss rider worked with his crew to improve the feeling, building his confidence as changes to the set up brought improvements throughout the day.
Morbidelli and Lüthi will return to the track for the third and final day of testing tomorrow.
Franco Morbidelli: 2'00.662 – 36 Laps
“We lost a lot of time this morning because I crashed twice, which created a lot of work for my mechanics. Both crashes were on the brakes and I think were a result of inexperience more than anything. But anyway, we were able to make some work this afternoon, with some small adjustments bringing improvements to the bike. The plan at the end was to do a qualifying simulation – a time attack, come in and then another time attack – but there was a little bit of rain so I decided to do an extra lap on the first run and not come in. It was a good choice because on the third lap it started to rain more. We finished with a decent lap time, we are improving step-by-step and we know in which areas we need to focus tomorrow.”
Tom Lüthi: 2'01.810 – 47 Laps
“I was happy this morning when I saw the sun was shining, even if the track was still slightly damp from the overnight rain. We got out quite early and started to work and it is important that we made progress from yesterday to today. It was an interesting day, most of which was spent working on the front feeling, as it's not so easy to get a good feeling with this front tyre. Throughout the day I was able to get a little bit closer to the limit as the feeling improved, which makes me happy. We made a step forward today compared to yesterday; now we need to continue in the same way tomorrow and make another step.”