The Sepang Test action resumed on Saturday in Malaysia after a very intense and hot first day yesterday, which was the first school day of 2023 for the MotoGP ™ class. If rookie Augusto Fernandez continued his progression while working in a different way to his three days of Shakedown Test, the experienced Pol Espargaro rode his GASGAS RC16 for the first time in three months yesterday, with a busy testing schedule on the menu. Unfortunately, the plans faced consequent disruptions today with the rain being part of the party all day. The rainfall from the morning made it difficult for any rider to go out for the first two hours of day 2.
GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro gave it a go at lunch time, and was followed shortly by a few other riders. Before that, only four riders had adventured themselves to the drying Sepang Circuit. Today, he continued to try different settings, some aero in yesterday's continuity, and the trial of a different chassis was in the plans. The Spaniard improved quickly from his Friday’s fastest lap (2’00.078), in 1’59.205. Shortly after, he reached 1’58.881, a time placing him third in the timesheets, 0.042 seconds from the fastest man of the day, Jorge Martin. With two hours to go, an intense rain took over the circuit. Pol went on track to get a few laps in the wet, but the aquaplaning forced team number 44 to call it for a day.
The conditions were not ideal for the Moto2 ™ World champion Augusto Fernandez, in need of as much dry track time as possible. He did not ride all morning and started his programme at 13:30 local time (GMT+8). He continued to progress behind the other MotoGP ™ riders at lunch time, before he was able to get wet track conditions again following his first experience in the Shakedown. Appearing comfortable with the wet Michelin tyres, he registered interesting lap times towards the end of the afternoon under the rain. Just like his teammate, Augusto's side ended the day once the track was too soaked to do anything else relevant. His fastest lap of the thirty-two of the day in 2'00.856 placed him twenty-third of the day. There is only one day left for GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 riders to complete their testing program, so we will be hoping for better conditions on Sunday before heading back home.
"Tricky day today with the weather, especially on the second day which is very important because we have a big programme. We had many things to try today. Unfortunately, we were unable to check all our to-do list, but the few things we worked on were positive. We tried a new chassis and a few new parts. For the chassis, we need to find a balance between the old and the new one, so we will work on that. For the new parts aiming to improve the turns and the top speed, I think that we got good information today. We were a bit behind yesterday because we worked mainly with medium tyres, but today we are in the Top 5. I am happy because we are improving, and hopefully tomorrow we can push more because I have one more set of soft tyres that I did not use today."
"We already had one wet day during the Shakedown Test, but today was a proper wet day because the rain was quite intense. It was very interesting to learn about the Michelin wet tyres, because they are one of the biggest differences with Moto2. I was surprised that we were able to turn and brake more or less in the same way than in dry conditions. We tried different things today, such as settings and electronics, so the time is not as good as yesterday, but I look forward to dry conditions tomorrow so we can continue our progress."