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de Puniet gets a grip, ends Espargaro’s run
4 March 2013
After being outpaced by Aspar team-mate Aleix Espargaro during all five previous days of testing at Sepang, Randy de Puniet found the rear grip he needed to move to the top of the CRT class on the final day in Malaysia.
Despite inferior track conditions due to overnight rain, the Frenchman beat his day two best by 0.7s to claim 13th on the overall timesheet, just 0.042s ahead of Espargaro.
“We continued to work on the rear grip issues we have found here at Sepang during this test, working with the rear suspension and electronics to try and get more stability under braking,” explained de Puniet.
“We have taken small steps forward on every outing and even though the track was in bad shape again [on the last day] we were able to improve on our lap times from the first test, which shows that we have worked in the right way.
“It has been a positive test here at Sepang and now I am looking forward to going to Jerez, a track where I am usually quick and where we will be able to confirm a lot of the data we have gathered here.
“The 2013 chassis is quite similar to last year but it gives us more options to play around with the set-up so hopefully we can find some more rear grip at Jerez.”
Espargaro, last year's inaugural CRT champion, at least retained the honour of the fastest overall pre-season time, set at the first test.
“The track was really slippery today and we had a lot of trouble with the rear, even though we used the same set-up as the last two days,” began the Spaniard.
“We went back to the configuration from the last test and it felt a little better but we need to work hard in the next test at Jerez to improve it and get more stability.
“Anyway, I am happy with the new chassis, which is an improvement on 2012, and we have more or less found a base set-up we're happy with so it's a case of working on small details and finding more rear grip.
“We have had six productive days here at Sepang and set the fastest CRT lap so we're very satisfied.”
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