Start is getting closer

Posted on Feb 25, 2014 by Nick Harris

Start is getting closer
With the start of the 2014 MotoGP™ season less than a month away the crucial second three day test session of the season starts tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

Four British riders can’t wait to continue where they left off in Sepang at the beginning of the month with time running out before that first grand prix under the flood lights of the Losail circuit in Qatar on March 23.

For Bradley Smith and Michael Laverty that first three day shake down test was not a new experience but for Cal Crutchlow and Scott Redding they stepped into unchartered waters. Isle of Man based Midlander Crutchlow, who finished fifth in last year’s championship riding for Yamaha, had his first three days with his new Ducati team. Redding, who was runner up in last year’s Moto2™ World Championship, completed his first full MotoGP test for the Go&Fun Honda Gresini team.

For all four riders the next three days are crucial. Crutchlow and Ducati may switch to the new open class to take advantage of the regulations which gives them more testing and engine flexibility. Whatever route the Italian team takes Crutchlow and the machine need as much track time as possible.

Redding, who has recovered from a wrist injury that cost him last year’s world title, is competing in the open class and again needs as much time as possible on the RCV 1000R Honda powered machine after making the switch from Moto2. Typically Smith was smooth and hard working at the first test for the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team but wants to push on after completing much of the donkey work last time. Ulsterman Laverty, who watched his brother Eugene win the first World Superbike race of the season in Australia on Sunday, also needs as much track time as possible as the Cumbrian – based Paul Bird Motorsport team continue to develop their Aprilia-powered machine.

Unfortunately it appears that Leon Camier will again miss a MotoGP test because his Ioda Racing Project machine is still not available.

Bradley Smith:
“I did over 180 laps at the first test and we know where we need to start at Sepang two. All in all I was pleased, even if the position on the timesheet did not seem to be ideal; it was never my main aim to set fast lap times during those three days. We are looking at the big picture, and preparing for the championship and we will try to be ready for Qatar."

World Champion Marquez misses out with broken leg
Twenty – one year old Spanish World Champion Marc Marquez faces a battle to be fit for the first grand prix the season after breaking his right leg in a dirt bike training accident in Spain last week. The Repsol Honda rider will miss the Sepang test this week but is confident of being ready to commence the defense of his title in Qatar.“It was a really unfortunate accident that could happen to anyone at any time," Marquez commented on Thursday. "I was rushed to hospital in Barcelona and Dr. Mir treated me; thankfully there was no ligament damage and it seems like a clean break."

Brazil waits until 2015 and Aragon moves dates
There will be 18 grands prix in this year’s MotoGP World Championship after the proposed race in Brasilia, Brazil has been postponed until 2015. The other change from the original calendar is that the Aragon Grand Prix in Spain will be a week later on September 28.

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