Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa heads into the two-week break as the man to beat after ending the final day of the Sepang test on top, as riders across the field dropped their laps times once more.
Pedrosa’s rookie teammate Marc Márquez gave everyone a scare in the morning as he crashed in the final turn at speed, although he walked away unscathed and could continue his work on his second bike. He stated that he tried to turn in despite missing his braking marker and lost the front. A record lap set by Spaniard Pedrosa of 2:00’100 was not beaten all day, as Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo ended just over three tenths off, himself focussing on a race simulation later in the day.
His Italian teammate Valentino Rossi also showed that he could get below the 2:01 mark, leaving it until just before lunch to post his fastest time that saw him end the day in third behind his teammate. Spaniard Márquez, despite going quicker again today, was this time unable to finish in the top three as he put in a lengthy run at the end, yet stayed a close fourth, challenged by the impressive Cal Crutchlow, the last rider below the 2:01 mark, on his 2012 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine. The Brit said afterwards he hoped to receive some of the upgrades the factory team is testing, as he feels there is some more speed to be found.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl just missed out on that feat with a time of 2.01’003, although the German looked on good form as he went quicker once more on his RC213V. Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Spaniard Álvaro Bautista improved over yesterday’s time, getting more dialled in to the bike’s geometry and Showa suspension, with British Tech 3 rookie Bradley Smith continuing his steep, but progressive, learning curve in eighth. Smith also undertook a race simulation early in the day before setting his best time.
The Ducati Team will be buoyed by progress, with US rider Nicky Hayden gaining over a second over the three days, as he ended the day in ninth, with Italian teammate Andrea Dovizioso less than a hundredth behind. Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga was the first outside of the top ten, in front of Power Electronics Aspar’s Spaniard Aleix Espargaró, who put in a tremendous effort to place his CRT 12th, and just over 2.5s off the top. He ousted Pramac Team’s Italian rookie Andrea Iannone into 13th, who was without American teammate Ben Spies today, as the Texan decided to sit it out and let his shoulder recuperate before the second Sepang test. He finished the overall standings in 15th.
HRC test rider Kosuke Akiyoshi headed Paul Bird Motorsport’s Brit Michael Laverty, who has improved by nearly 3s over the three days on his MotoGP™ debut. He beat established French Aspar rider Randy de Puniet, who finished ahead of Yamaha test rider Wataru Yoshikawa, Avintia Blusens’ Héctor Barberá and HRC test rider Takumi Takahashi. Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci ended the day in 20th, in front of Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, Avintia’s Hiroshi Aoyama, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti and Ioda’s Lukas Pesek. Rounding out the back of the grid are PBM’s Yonny Hernandez, who is still trying to fix chatter issues, as well as NGM’s Colin Edwards and Gresini’s Bryan Staring. Edwards was left frustrated by the lack of progress, but said that the work had now been done to come to the second test with a much more complete package.
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