Positive Sepang test for Morbidelli and Lüthi
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi declared themselves satisfied with the progress made during the first test of the new season at Sepang, after again improving their lap times on the third and final day.
Morbidelli lost time this morning after experiencing pain in his left hand as a result of his crash yesterday. The reigning Moto2 World Champion had the injury assessed at the medical centre, but an x-ray of the fingers revealed no fractures and he was able to return to testing having been prescribed painkillers.
Morbidelli spent the afternoon getting a better feel for Michelin's medium compound tyre, before heading out late in the session for a time attack. The Italian was unable to improve on his time from the morning however, as the expected increase in grip failed to materialise in the cooler conditions.
While Morbidelli got his first MotoGP crash out of the way yesterday, Tom Lüthi waited until the third and final day before experiencing the same; going down in a low speed crash this morning after losing the front into turn four.
Uninjured, and with the bike suffering little damage in the low side tumble, Lüthi quickly resumed his testing program. The Swiss rider spent most of the day on used tyres, to get a feel for how the bike demands to be ridden towards the end of a race when tyre performance has dropped off.
Both riders will return to testing action on 16th February at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand, a new addition to the MotoGP calendar for the 2018 season.
Franco Morbidelli: 2'00.526 – 55 Laps
“When I rode the bike for the first this morning I had some pain in the fingers on my left hand as a result of the crash yesterday, but I was able to continue with some painkillers. This afternoon we made some work with the medium tyre and I was happy with the results. I was able to make a lot of laps and the time was around 2'01 low, which is not so bad with this tyre. Finally we wanted to try a time attack, but the conditions weren't as good late in the session as they were this morning and I wasn't able to improve my time. It was the first test of the year, we managed to get a lot of things done and I felt good working with my crew, so I leave here satisfied and looking forward to Thailand.”
Tom Lüthi: 2'01.126 – 52 Laps
“A good day again today, with another step made with the bike and tyres. The conditions were different today; normally it's fast in the morning and then again in the afternoon when the temperature starts to drop, But today the grip level wasn't there this afternoon, with no real fast times at the end. Today we worked mostly with old tyres, to understand better how to ride the bike towards the end of the race when the tyres start to slide. This was quite interesting and I think I learnt a lot today. I also got my first MotoGP crash out of the way, after losing the front at turn four. I almost saved it but then the rear went away and down I went. So now I know what that feels like too.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“For me this was a positive test. With Franky we saw constant improvement each day, so he's working in a good way. On Tom's side, he seems a little disappointed with the lap times, but from our perspective he's doing a good job also. Already we can see many things that he's doing quite well with the MotoGP bike and if he can make the same progress during the next two tests then I think he'll make up for the testing time missed at the end of last year ahead of the first race in Qatar. And of course both riders had their first crash in MotoGP, so that's also done. Now I'm looking forward to going to Thailand.”