Manufacturers are set to bring a variety of changes and upgrades for their riders in an effort to try and overcome the new challenges brought by Michelin tyres and Magnetti Marelli unified ECU.Championship season is all ready and set to what will be an entirely different proposition to both riders, and teams as well as with manufacturers and sponsors alike. The forthcoming IRTA Tests in Sepang in Malaysia will be seen as the golden edge by MotoGP riders and teams as it will avail both the chance to try on the new challenge posed by the arrival of Michellin tyres in the premier class and the Magnetti Marelli unified ‘spec’ software system. With the unified ECU by Magnetti Marelli. The unification now translates that there will no longer be riders with access to a softer set of tyres. With the tyres and unified software, MotoGP will be a leveled grid come 2016 under the flood illumination in Losail later in March. 2016 will perhaps go down in the books as one of the most level playing fields the MotoGP™ world has seen in recent years with these changes.
YAMAHA Yamaha continue to assess the difference between the more standard ‘central’ fuel tank and the innovative ‘rear’ version. With the Michelin tyres initially appearing to favour the rear, revised bike balance will be a major focus for all the teams. Yamaha sampled the Sepang circuit with Michelin tyres back in February 2015, but since then the French tyre maker has made significant changes to their rubber.
HONDA After a difficult 2015 season, Honda aim to continue to improve their engine and ease power delivery. An overly aggressive engine saw Honda riders struggle with the 2015 frame early in the year. With electronics playing a crucial role in power and engine management, Honda will be working to better understand the Magneti Marelli system’s parameters and how they may help to alter power delivery.
DUCATI The past seasons have seen Ducati come on leaps and bounds, Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone scoring a total of eight podiums between them after 2014 saw Ducati score just three podiums across all their riders. Despite the progress work doesn’t stop, the Italian manufacturer looks set to debut the GP16 during the Sepang test. Casey Stoner spent several days testing the bike in a private test at the Malaysian circuit, getting his first taste of the Ducati on Michelin tyres with spec electronics.
SUZUKI With a strong debut year under their belts, Suzuki aim to continue to build their success with a heavily revised GSX-RR. Maverick Viñales, who showed great pace at the end of season Valencia test, debuted a new seamless gearbox during a private Sepang test late in 2015. During their debut year, Suzuki struggled somewhat for top end speed and better high-end performance will be another focus for the Japanese brand.
APRILIA Aprilia had looked set to debut their all-new MotoGP™ machine in Sepang, but setbacks have made this goal unobtainable. Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl will be in attendance as part of the Aprilia test team, mounted on the 2015 RS-GP to gather more data. A private shakedown of the new Aprilia is planned for later in the month. Aprilia’s 2016 machine looks set to be an all new motorcycle, no longer based off the RSV4 as the 2015 bike was.
Visit motogp.com for video coverage over all three days of testing in Sepang.