Morbidelli and Lüthi ready to roll in Sepang
The long winter break is finally over and Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi head overseas this week, to kick off their 2018 MotoGP campaigns with a three-day test at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
For reigning Moto2 World Champion Morbidelli the Sepang test will provide an opportunity to continue his adaptation to Honda's RC213V MotoGP machine, a process he started during four days of testing in Valencia and Jerez at the end of the 2017 season.
While Morbidelli was satisfied with his progress in Spain, the Italian is looking forward to this week's test at the Sepang International Circuit, a fast and wide track that is very different in character to Valencia and Jerez and one at which he will be able to unleash the full potential of Honda's RC213V MotoGP machine.
A leg injury sustained in a qualifying crash during the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend saw Tom Lüthi forced to sit out the final two Moto2 races of the season. The injury also meant that the former 125cc World Champion was unable to test alongside his new Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS teammate Morbidelli in Valencia and Jerez.
Now recovered from the injury, after completing an intensive rehabilitation program over the winter, Lüthi is looking forward to finally making his MotoGP debut aboard the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V in Sepang.
The three-day Sepang MotoGP test gets underway on Sunday 28th January.
“I'm looking forward to getting back on the MotoGP bike in Sepang, after thoroughly enjoying the tests in Valencia and Jerez. It will be important to start at a good pace once again, so we can continue the work started at the end of 2017. We don't go to Malaysia with any specific targets in terms of the bike; first I need to see how the feeling is, both with the bike and myself, on a different track like Sepang. From there we can start to work on adjusting our base set up to better suit the track and the conditions, much as we did at the first two tests in Spain.”
“The main goal over the winter was to get back on my feet as soon as possible, so that I could start training properly again. It was quite a tough time for me, but I made steady progress and right now I feel good. I did some solid training on the MX bike with Julian Simon in Spain and my feeling on the bike was good, so now I'm even more motivating to make my MotoGP debut in Sepang. In Malaysia I think it's really important to stay calm and focus on learning and understanding the bike. For me it's a new challenge, but it was good to see Franco and how he worked to adapt to the MotoGP bike in Valencia, because now I have to do exactly the same. I'm really excited to go to Sepang and start the learning process with the Honda RC213V.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It's been a busy winter break, with a lot of work needed to put everything in place for the 2018 season, so it will be good to finally get back to the racetrack and focus on performance once again. Franco heads into the Sepang test off the back of two successful tests in Spain and with a clear goal; to continue his familiarisation with the Honda RC213V at a track that is very different in character to Valencia and Jerez. So far his approach and progress have been good and already he's built up a solid rapport with his new crew, so I'm confident he will continue to improve with more time on the bike in Malaysia. With Tom we got off to a less than ideal start, as the injury sustained in Malaysia meant he was unable to test at the end of 2017. Over the winter Tom has worked hard to regain his fitness and we've seen from the training we organised for him in Spain that he's now ready to make his MotoGP debut. I hope that we can use the tests in Sepang, Buriram and Qatar to catch up the time lost and that Tom will be ready when we return to Qatar for the first race of the new season.”