The final day of the Malaysian MotoGP test came to a climax 9 minutes from the 6pm cut-off when Dani Pedrosa equalled the time of the already packed and finished Valentino Rossi at 1m 59.999s. This was half a second short of Marc Marquez's benchmark from the opening test, perhaps due to track conditions. Rossi's team mate Jorge Lorenzo was so unhappy that he cancelled most media engagements, (the MotoGP equivelent of throwing your toys out of the pram)! JL finished a lowly 7th, 6 tenths off the pace. Andrea Dovizioso had a good day on the 'open' Ducati in 3rd place with Aleix Espargaro on the 'open' Yamaha 4th. And Ducati have finally declared that they will compete under 'open' rules in 2014. A hot day giving a tantalising glimse of what's to come!
With the cloud and intense haze/smog coming and going throughout the day, and the track cleaning up to a more respectable level, we waited to see if Jorge Lorenzo could get to grips with the new Bridgestone or if Cal Crutchlow would run the 'open' class Ducati. No & No! Dani Pedrosa was predictably on top at the end of the day (2m 00.039s) from Aleix Espargaro, Alvaro Bautista and Valentino Rossi. Who will break 2m tomorrow?
The track was in slippery condition after a recent car test and so it was a steady start with riders getting used to the new construction Bridgestone tyres and Magneti Marelli 'Open' class software upgrades. Hot with a light breeze all day and with differing track strategies saw Alvaro Bautista fastest on 2m 00.848s with Aleix and Pol Espargaro heading off Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo. Expect speeds and the usual suspects to go faster on day two!
It was already hot at 10am to start the final day of MotoGP testing here in Sepang. Marc Marquez shattered the fastest ever bike time around the 5.543km track early with a 1.59.533 chased by a resurgent Valentino Rossi (1.59.727) and Jorge Lorenzo (1.59.866). But, much to the unhappiness of Honda, in 4th place was the 'Open' classed Forward Racing Yamaha of Aleix Espargaro (1.59.996). Man/bike of the test for me - there WILL be repercussions! Then as the heat took it's toll on fast times the teams fell back to the business of race distance runs. Finally, exhaustion! The second MotoGP test is back at Sepang later this month.
Marc Marquez went sub 2 minutes (1:59:926) for a lap of Sepang before the temperature went up at day 2 of the MotoGP test. And despite things cooling a little later, Dani Pedrosa finished 0.410 behind with Stefan Bradl 3rd, proving that Honda's RC213V is the machine to beat with changes to rules this year! Valentino was 4th and the magnificent new boy Aleix Espargaro on the Yamaha framed FTR Open machine finishing 5th ahead of Factory Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo. Bradley Smith improved to 2:00:603 and 7th. Other news; the new Open class Honda RCV1000R is under performing. More from day 3 tomorrow.
Sepang International Circuit reverberated to the sound of MotoGP for the opening official test of 2014 today. The spectacular Marc Marquez ended the day fastest from a revitalised Vale Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. Best Brit was Bradley Smith in 10th. Highlights for me? The Suzuki looked and sounded lovely. Cal Crutchlow muscling a raw carbon fibre clad Ducati round in the 35c heat. Aleix Espargaro on the FTR Yamaha. Early days yet, more from Malaysia tomorrow. Happy holidays!