Maverick Vinales got the better of Marc Marquez once again to finish the Sepang pre-season test as the fastest man. Yamaha’s new signing edged out the world champion to top the Valencia test back in November and did so again here on a busy final day, pipping the Honda rider by a tenth of a second.
With each of the first two days disrupted by wet weather, the riders were keen to make the most of perfect conditions early on Wednesday morning. Alvaro Bautista, one of the stars of the week, was the first rider to break the two minute barrier but his benchmark was soon beaten by Marquez who clocked a 1:59.506, comfortably his fastest time of the test.
Vinales would ultimately have the final word, setting a 1:59.368 midway through the day to finish a tenth clear of Marquez, and fractionally faster than Andrea Iannone’s Tuesday time. The Suzuki rider had a mixed final day with a crash at turn one, causing him to finish tenth quickest, but his 1:59.452 from yesterday remains the second fastest time of the week.
Having impressed on all three days, Andrea Dovizioso will be happy with his week’s work, ending the day in third, while Dani Pedrosa eased any fears over Honda’s pre-season struggles by taking fourth, just behind his teammate. Valentino Rossi also joined the ranks in the mid-1:59s on day three to finish fifth, relegating Bautista to sixth.
Casey Stoner returned to action on day three, finishing seventh ahead of Cal Crutchlow and his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, while Johann Zarco rounded off a fine week for Tech 3 in tenth.
KTM will also be largely happy with their week’s work although the test ended on a slightly sour note for Pol Espargaro who crashed on Wednesday. The Spaniard was 23rd overall but team-mate Bradley Smith made a sizeable improvement to finish 21st, within two seconds of the ultimate pace.
2017 MotoGP Official Pre-Season Test: Sepang (Day Three)
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