Petrucci breaks unofficial lap record as Ducati Dominate Final Day at Sepang

by Joshua Close
Danilo Petrucci Breaks Lap-Record at Sepang

Danilo Petrucci set the fastest-ever unofficial MotoGP lap-time at Sepang as Ducati dominated the final day of testing in Malaysia.

The top four positions were all held by Ducati riders, with Petrucci topping the timing sheets with a record-breaking lap of 1:58.239. The previous record, a 1:58:830, was set by Jorge Lorenzo during last year’s pre-season test.

By the end of the final day six riders were able to beat the old unofficial record, including reigning Moto2 champion Francesco Bagnaia. Another impressive display saw the rookie end the day in second, as he continues to gain confidence in the premier class. Bagnaia was top rookie on all three days of the test.

Teammate Jack Miller was next-up in third, despite suffering a crash on his GP19 spec machine late in the session. Last season’s runner-up, Andrea Dovizioso, completed the Ducati domination in fourth. After the session was over, Dovizioso admitted that there was still room to improve mid-corner.

After ending day two on top, Maverick Viñales showed good pace once again to be fifth overall. The Spaniard completed 79 laps, more than anybody else, and showed strong pace during a long 20-lap run.

The final rider to beat the previous lap record was Cal Crutchlow, who appears to recovering rapidly from his ankle injury. The Brit was the fastest Honda rider once again and ended the day in sixth. Despite suffering another crash, Crutchlow was able to complete 61 laps on the final day.

Aleix Espargaro found some improvements on the Aprilia to finish seventh, just outside the old lap record. Franco Morbidelli was the second quickest Yamaha in eighth, just ahead of Takaaki Nakagami – who was inside the top 10 on all three days of the test.

Valentino Rossi had a relatively quiet day, lap-time wise, and could only manage 10th. Marc Marquez completed 39 laps on his way to 11th, ending his day early once again as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

Alex Rins also had a low-key day for Suzuki, compared to the previous two days, and would end the day 12th. His teammate, and premier class rookie, Joan Mir, produced his best performance so far to finish 15th.

With regards to the other class rookies, Fabio Quartararo was 16th, whilst Miguel Oliveira ended the day in 19th for KTM.

The final pre-season test takes place at Qatar towards the end of the month (February 23-25). This will be the final opportunity for the riders to test their 2019 machines before the season opener, at the same circuit, on March 10.

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