Alvaro Bautista maintained Honda’s 100% record of topping pre-season testing by setting the pace on MotoGP’s return to Sepang. The GO&FUN Gresini rider pipped the Espargaro brothers, Aleix and Pol, while the expected pacesetters struggled due to tricky track conditions in Malaysia.
The headlines coming into the second Sepang test centred on the absent Marc Marquez with the world champion breaking his leg in a training accident but he wasn’t the only man to miss out with Paul Bird Motorsport also giving this test a miss to develop their 2014 machine back in the UK.
Many riders struggled today due to a lack of grip from the Sepang surface and that was reflected in the times as Bautista’s quickest effort fell 1.3 seconds short of the benchmark from three weeks ago. Aleix Espargaro spent much of the day on top with his open-spec FTR-Yamaha but the Forward Racing rider was edged out in the end by five hundredths of a second. Pol Espargaro was the last rider below 2:01s in third ahead of Andrea Dovizioso who finished a lofty fourth for Ducati, still running their machine in factory spec despite rumours of a switch to open.
Yamaha left the first Sepang test with food for thought with the 2014 specification Bridgestone tyres appearing not to suit them and today seemed to back up that theory with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi fifth and seventh, sandwiching Dani Pedrosa on the sole Repsol Honda.
Stefan Bradl was six tenths off his fellow satellite Honda rider in eighth with Bradley Smith ninth on a day when he and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team tested a new seamless gearbox from Yamaha. Cal Crutchlow was just outside the top ten in eleventh on the second factory Ducati while Scott Redding made a solid start on his open-spec Honda, taking eighteenth, 2.705s behind his teammate out front.
|MOTOGP OFFICIAL TEST – SEPANG (WEDNESDAY 26TH FEBRUARY)|
|1||ALVARO BAUTISTA||HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||2:00.848|
|2||ALEIX ESPARGARO||FTR YAMAHA||NGM MOBILE FORWARD RACING||2:00.900|
|3||POL ESPARGARO||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||2:00.999|
|4||ANDREA DOVIZIOSO||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||2:01.029|
|5||JORGE LORENZO||YAMAHA||YAMAHA FACTORY RACING||2:01.158|
|6||DANI PEDROSA||HONDA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||2:01.160|
|7||VALENTINO ROSSI||YAMAHA||YAMAHA FACTORY RACING||2:01.349|
|8||STEFAN BRADL||HONDA||LCR HONDA MOTOGP||2:01.491|
|9||BRADLEY SMITH||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||2:01.644|
|10||NICKY HAYDEN||HONDA||DRIVE M7 ASPAR||2:02.227|
|11||CAL CRUTCHLOW||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||2:02.319|
|12||ANDREA IANNONE||DUCATI||ENERGY T.I. PRAMAC RACING||2:02.334|
|13||HIROSHI AOYAMA||HONDA||DRIVE M7 ASPAR||2:02.709|
|14||COLIN EDWARDS||FTR YAHAMA||NGM MOBILE FORWARD RACING||2:02.743|
|15||YONNY HERNANDEZ||DUCATI||IGNITE PRAMAC RACING TEAM||2:02.823|
|16||HECTOR BARBERA||FTR KAWASAKI||AVINTIA BLUSENS||2:02.975|
|17||RANDY DE PUNIET||SUZUKI||SUZUKI TEST TEAM||2:03.341|
|18||SCOTT REDDING||HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||2:03.553|
|19||MICHELE PIRRO||DUCATI||DUCATI TEST TEAM||2:03.991|
|20||KATSUYUKI NAKASUGA||YAMAHA||YAMAHA FACTORY TEST TEAM||2:04.165|
|21||MIKE DI MEGLIO||FTR KAWASAKI||AVINTIA BLUSENS||2:04.885|
|22||KAREL ABRAHAM||HONDA||CARDION AB MOTORACING||2:05.638|
|23||NOBUATSU AOKI||SUZUKI||SUZUKI TEST TEAM||2:07.302|