Pedrosa Leads Tight Pack On Opening Day At Sepang

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Dani Pedrosa ended the first day of official MotoGP testing as the fastest rider although the closeness of the lap times suggest a competitive season may lie ahead. Just 0.044s separated the top three riders with compatriots Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez matching Pedrosa while Valentino Rossi announced his return to form with the fourth fastest time.

The unsettled weather which disrupted the two-day ECU test for the Claiming Rules Teams stayed away on Tuesday, allowing the teams to get straight down to business. As a result, the official circuit record was beaten before lunchtime with Valentino Rossi breaking into the 2m01s bracket on the factory Yamaha. Shortly after the break, Marquez moved ahead of the man fourteen years his senior with a 2:01.357, only to see Pedrosa, winner here in October, demote him straight down to second.

The Hondas continued to up the pace during the afternoon with Pedrosa closing with a 2:01.157, a mere four hundredths faster than his rookie teammate, but reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo saved his best for last and split the RC213Vs, ensuring he’d edge out Valentino Rossi in the process. Nevertheless, the seven-time premier class champion had sent out a message that his speed hadn’t diminished in his testing Ducati spell, finishing just four tenths off the pace by virtue of his morning effort.

There was plenty to encourage the satellite squads as Stefan Bradl, Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista all finished within eight tenths of the leaders, Bradl even topping the timesheets mid-morning on his Valencia 2012-spec Honda while Crutchlow also shone on the bike he raced here last season.

The levels of optimism won’t have been matched at Ducati though as the team made an underwhelming start to pre-season testing. Nicky Hayden was the quickest of the four GP13 riders, trailing Yamaha and Honda testers Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Kosuke Akiyoshi in tenth. The position won’t have worried the Bologna outfit anywhere near as much as the time deficit, a full two seconds between Hayden and Dani Pedrosa.

Andrea Dovizioso was even further back in thirteenth behind Wataru Yoshikawa and British rookie Bradley Smith while the Pramac Ducatis were sixteenth and seventeenth, lagging behind the Aspar CRT machines. There were mitigating circumstances for Spies though, the slower of the two, who called it a day after 21 laps due to shoulder pain.

Today also saw Michael Laverty’s debut in a MotoGP official test with the Ulsterman lapping on an ART motorcycle to introduce him to the Bridgestone tyres and Carbon discs, ending the day 25th out of 28 riders. Come Qatar, he’ll be racing on Paul Bird Motorsport’s home-built chassis.


Official MotoGP Test – Sepang (Tuesday 5th February)
Pos Rider Nat Team Time Laps  
1 26. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 2:01.157 49 Report
2 99. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 2:01.165 58 Report
3 93. Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 2:01.201 62 Report
4 46. Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing 2:01.584 56 Report
5 6. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda MotoGP 2:01.789 59 Report
6 35. Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.881 64 Report
7 19. Alvaro Bautista Go & Fun Honda Gresini 2:01.981 59
8 T2. K Nakasuga Yamaha Factory Racing 2:02.968 58
9 72. Kosuke Akiyoshi HRC Test Team 2:02.972 69
10 69. Nicky Hayden Ducati Team 2:03.336 62
11 T1. Wataru Yoshikawa Yamaha Factory Racing 2:03.456 46
12 38. Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:03.460 56 Report
13 04. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team 2:03.535 48
14 41. Aleix Espargaro Power Electronics Aspar 2:03.782 58
15 14. Randy de Puniet Power Electronics Aspar 2:04.283 56
16 29. Andrea Iannone Energy T.I. Pramac Racing 2:04.500 57
17 11. Ben Spies Ignite Pramac Racing 2:05.086 21
18 37. Takumi Takahashi HRC Test Team 2:05.154 70
19 8. Hector Barbera Avintia Blusens 2:05.469 41
20 68. Yonny Hernandez Paul Bird Motorsport 2:05.656 50
21 17. Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 2:05.694 54
22 9. Danilo Petrucci Came IodaRacing Project 2:05.753 29
23 7. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia Blusens 2:05.919 48
24 71. Claudio Corti NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:06.426 38
25 33. Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport 2:06.507 43
26 52. Lukas Pesek Came Ioda Racing Project 2:07.015 46
27 67. Bryan Staring Go & Fun Honda Gresini 2:07.044 41
28 5. Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:08.206 25


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