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MotoGP™ 2015 field gathers for Sepang 1 test

MotoGP™ 2015 field gathers for Sepang 1 test

The 2015 MotoGP™ grid will be back on track in Sepang as of 4th February for the first test of the year at the Malaysian circuit.

The South East Asian country has been the destination of choice for February preseason tests in recent years and the ‘tradition’ continues in 2015, with the first outing to be followed by another test at Sepang before the end of the month.

It would be no surprise to see the back-to-back MotoGP World title winner Marc Marquez at the top of the timesheets from the word go as the Repsol Honda rider and his colleague Dani Pedrosa look to fine tune any updates to their evolving RC213V prototype in the weeks before the season gets underway in Qatar at the end of March. HRC have been preparing for the return to action with a recent private test at Sepang with former MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner on board.

However, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pair Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will also be pushing their YZR-M1 machine to its limits to ensure that their technical package does not trail behind that offered by their HRC-equipped rivals.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and his new teammate Andrea Iannone will be using a GP14.3 machine - an evolution of the GP14.2 - at Sepang 1. Their new GP15 should be ready for Sepang 2, which commences on 23rd February.

Elsewhere Aleix Espargaro and MotoGP Rookie Maverick Viñales will aim to get as many laps as possible under their belts on their new Suzuki GSX-RR, as the Japanese manufacturer prepares for a return to full-time premier class competition. Espargaro has been working hard in recent weeks to recover his fitness after a knee ligament injury sustained in December in a private training session.

The new-look CWM LCR Honda MotoGP team will give Cal Crutchlow some crucial track time on the factory-specification Honda RC213V bike, whilst Jack Miller reacquaints himself with the Open spec RC213V-RS. Miller rode the bike at Valencia and then again Sepang at the end of November, as he steps up from Moto3™.

Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Team’s Scott Redding will look to get on the pace as early as possible with his new RC213V factory prototype.

Another team with a new structure in 2015 is Factory Aprilia Gresini and they will hope to maximise their performance through the experience of Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri who also began testing their new bike in November. Likewise the incoming NGM Forward Racing pair of Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz will continue their adaptation to unfamiliar machinery as they build up experience on the Open Yamaha, with the package now centred solely around a Yamaha chassis.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s young pairing of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro know they will get good support from Yamaha with their YZR-M1 bikes throughout the season and they will be keen to compare their lap times with those of Rossi and Lorenzo in Sepang.

Elsewhere the likes of Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci, along with Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera and Mike Di Meglio will shakedown their respective Ducati machines. Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez misses the test due to a shoulder injury and will be covered for by Michele Pirro, the official Ducati test rider.

Drive M7 Aspar’s new signing Eugene Laverty will be closely watching colleague Nicky Hayden’s lap times on the Open RC213V-RS, with Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham on the same spec bike. Octo IodaRacing Team’s Alex De Angelis has the task of keeping up with a highly competitive field on his Aprilia ride.

After three days of testing featuring the full 2015 grid on Bridgestone tyres, a fourth day of tests will be undertaken at Sepang by a smaller group of riders on Michelin rubber, ahead of the French brand’s return to MotoGP in 2016.

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