/Positive start to 2018 for Marc VDS
Tom Luthi at the Sepang Test 2018

Positive start to 2018 for Marc VDS

Marc VDS are leaving Malaysia satisfied with their work in the first pre-season test.

With two new riders for 2018, they have to get used to riding the bike first of all before trying more complex setup.

Franco Morbidelli moves up from the Marc VDS Moto2 team as world champion and Tom Luthi also joins from Moto2. The test proved particularly valuable for Luthi after he missed the test in Valencia due to injury. This was his first experience of his bike for 2018, and he was satisfied with the outcome. Both riders also experiences their first MotoGP crash and survived!

The mixture of weather conditions also provided some valuable wet weather testing. This is invaluable to Morbidelli and Luthi as they familiarise themselves with Michelin tyres for the first time.

On day 3, Morbidelli was suffering from a small hand injury from his crash on day 2 and therefore started later. However, there was no lasting damage and he returned to the track after some painkillers. He spent time working with the medium compound tyre in the afternoon which gave valuable data. Despite attempting a time attack late in the afternoon, the track conditions had degraded so it was not possible to improve time.

The Moto2 world champion said:

When I rode the bike for the first this morning I had some pain in the fingers on my left hand as a result of the crash yesterday, but I was able to continue with some painkillers. This afternoon we made some work with the medium tyre and I was happy with the results. I was able to make a lot of laps and the time was around 2’01 low, which is not so bad with this tyre. Finally we wanted to try a time attack, but the conditions weren’t as good late in the session as they were this morning and I wasn’t able to improve my time. It was the first test of the year, we managed to get a lot of things done and I felt good working with my crew, so I leave here satisfied and looking forward to Thailand.

MotoGP debut for Luthi

Tom Luthi made his MotoGP debut at this test, having missed the Valencia test. He was able to familiarise himself with the bike for the first time, though admits to being disappointed with his lap times. Luthi finished 25th overall in the combined times, however Team Principal Michael Bartholemy admits that the team have no concerns.

The Marc VDS newcomer spent a large part of the final day lapping with used tyres on the bike. This was to simulate race conditions when the tyres degrade towards the end.

Speaking afterwards, Luthi said:

oday we worked mostly with old tyres, to understand better how to ride the bike towards the end of the race when the tyres start to slide. This was quite interesting and I think I learnt a lot today. I also got my first MotoGP crash out of the way, after losing the front at turn four. I almost saved it but then the rear went away and down I went. So now I know what that feels like too.