With the absence of Marc Marquez from the second Sepang MotoGP test, due to a broken leg suffered in a training accident, another Honda rider took his place at the top of the time sheets, though it’s not who you might think. Alvaro Bautista on the Gresini Honda set the fastest time at the end of the first day with a 2:00.848.
The time is 1.3 second slower than the fastest time Marquez set at the last Sepang test. Recent weather conditions have left the track dirty and slippery, according to the riders. As track conditions improve, we can expect the times to improve again tomorrow. Bridgestone has a new rear tire compound for this year, and in this Bautista was working heavily with his engineers developing the correct shock, swingarm, and linkage configurations to work with the tire.
Aleix Espargaro is again impressing everyone in the paddock aboard the Open class Forward Yamaha. He sat at the top of the time sheets for much of the day, but ultimately his time of 2:00.900 was second best on the day. Having the benefit of a softer Bridgestone rear tire specifically for Open class machines helped Espargaro set the fast time, but the team is still looking to prolong that pace throughout a race.
Third fastest on the day was Pol Espargaro (2:00.999), younger brother of Aleix, the MotoGP rookie aboard his Tech 3 Yamaha. Pol’s time is also impressive considering his lack of experience on a premier class machine. He focused on testing different electronics and various small engine parts throughout the day.
Fourth fastest was Andrea Dovizioso aboard the Ducati GP14, with a 2:01.029. He and new teammate, Cal Crutchlow, worked on general bike setup while management decide whether the team will run as an Open class or MSMA. The former will allow 24 liters of fuel (vs. 20 for MSMA entires) and 12 engines per year (vs. five). As opposed to the MSMA machines, which are required to “seal” their five engines at the start of the season, Open entries will not have this requirement. The obvious benefit for the struggling Ducati team if it were to run as an Open entry would be the ability to constantly develop throughout the season. However, Open entries are forced to use the Dorna specified electronics package, whereas MSMA entries are free to use proprietary systems.
The Yamaha team were surprisingly absent from the top of the time sheets, Jorge Lorenzo fifth (2:01.158) and Valentino Rossi seventh (2:01.349). Both riders were working on proper setup with the new Bridgestone rear.
Nicky Hayden clocked the 10th quickest time, his 2:02.227 the best of the customer Honda teams.
Day 1 testing times:
|1||Alvaro Bautista||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||2:00.848|
|2||Aleix Espargaro||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||2:00.900|
|3||Pol Espargaro||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||2:00.999|
|4||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||2:01.029|
|5||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha Factory Racing||2:01.158|
|6||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda Team||2:01.160|
|7||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha Factory Racing||2:01.349|
|8||Stefan Bradl||LCR Honda MotoGP||2:01.491|
|9||Bradley Smith||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||2:01.644|
|10||Nicky Hayden||Drive M7 Aspar||2:02.227|
|11||Cal Crutchlow||Ducati Team||2:02.319|
|12||Andrea Iannone||Pramac Racing||2:02.334|
|13||Hiroshi Aoyama||Drive M7 Aspar||2:02.709|
|14||Colin Edwards||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||2:02.743|
|15||Yonny Hernandez||Energy T.I. Pramac Racing||2:02.823|
|16||Hector Barbera||Avintia Racing||2:02.975|
|17||Randy De Puniet||Team Suzuki MotoGP||2:03.341|
|18||Scott Redding||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||2:03.553|
|19||Michele Pirro||Ducati Test Team||2:03.991|
|20||Katsuyuki Nakasuga||Yamaha Factory Test Team||2:04.165|
|21||Mike Di Meglio||Avintia Racing||2:04.885|
|22||Karel Abraham||Cardion AB Motoracing||2:05.638|
|23||Nobuatsu Aoki||Team Suzuki MotoGP||2:07.302|