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MotoGP, Sepang Shakedown Test: Ducati advance slowly, evolution without revolution

A lot of data collection work for all the teams on the track, on aerodynamics, cooling, tyre temperatures and engine performance: testers lapping without going for fast times

MotoGP: Sepang Shakedown Test: Ducati advance slowly, evolution without revolution

Details are currently what everyone is working on at Sepang in the shakedown tests reserved for testers. In addition, of course, to the work of checking and shaking down the bikes which will then be taken over by the regular riders from the 12th of the month.

Each motorcycle destined to be taken to the limit after assembly must be checked in every component. This doesn't mean, however, that you don't have the time to check some new details. As was the case for Michele Pirro who rode a Desmosedici with a slightly different fairing bellypan.

We have only been able to examine it from the action photos, as it is not yet possible to look closely at the bikes in the pits, but it seems to be a air duct, perhaps to better cool some internal components.

A NACA-type air intake would have been cleaner for such a job, a sign that something different was also sought. Or they simply wanted to check the effect of the air flow channelled in that way.

No mention has been made of times but rather feelings and data to be analysed. However, due to the high temperatures of 32 degrees and the dirty asphalt, the times were about three seconds higher than those seen in the Malaysian GP at the end of October.

Cal Crutchlow, who has three YZR-M1s at his disposal, is also on the track: two 2023 prototypes and a Yamaha with a 2022 specification for comparison.

Cal jokingly said that he has a list of components to test as long as his legs... but the British rider doesn’t exactly stand out for this characteristic, so a bit of British irony is in order. However, Crutchlow appeared happy and even amiable: as a character he is a great loss for this championship.

As we know, the engine of the M1 is under scrutiny above all, since when horsepower is sought the engine very often becomes more aggressive and less rideable. And then when you work on the power curve, the extra power disappears.

The focus was above all on the new Yamaha in-line engine, modified and more aggressive. As is well known, in the Valencia tests in November the engine delivered less power than on its debut at Misano in September.

In any case, in these conditions Cal came close to 330 km/h, a few more than that achieved so far by the M1 on this track.

The only rookie of the season, the Moto2 world champion Augusto Fernandez, was also back on track, under special observation by Francesco Guidotti, but his job is only to adapt to the MotoGP bike.

In a certain sense, this is also what Jonas Folger is doing, the German regaining confidence with the category and with the Sepang track. Dani Pedrosa, who is followed by the technical team of newcomer Jack Miller and crew chief Cristhian Pupulin during the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team shakedown, is therefore the only test rider really involved in development. Among the tests he was seen riding a motorcycle equipped with an external sensor to monitor the temperature of the front tyre. Fundamental this season where, after the introduction of a minimum pressure tolerance, it will be necessary to fully understand the behaviour of the front tyres.

For Honda the former Moto2 world champion Stefan Bradl has two RC213Vs at his disposal in the pits. The Bavarian tested a model with an aerodynamic redesign, as well as the new Akropovic exhaust system and the Kalex aluminium swingarm, already seen at the Misano GP. The 2023 prototype has not yet been seen.

A lot of work also for Lorenzo Savadori who tested six Aprilias on the first day to prepare the bikes for the IRTA test (from 10 to 12 February), those of Aleix Espargaró, Maverick Viñales, Miguel Oliveira and Raúl Fernández.

As Romano Albesiano jokingly confessed to us during our TGPone, at 3:40, the chest shape of the fairing - already widely copied by the competition - is ugly but it works!

 

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