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)|
|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|