Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo topped the timesheets all day today at a sultry Sepang International Circuit as the first eight-hour session of a busy three-day test program commenced for the entire MotoGP field.
It was not until one hour out from calling it a day that any other rider got close to being within a second of the reigning World Champion. His 2m00.684 marker set on the 32nd of his 37-laps.
Valentino Rossi was only seventh quickest with an hour to go but the 36-year-old picked up his place with 35-minutes remaining in the session, lowering hist best time from 2m02.47 down to 2m01.71, still just over a full-second behind his Yamaha teammate but good enough for second overall.
20-minutes later the traditional Malaysian evening showers rolled in, calling a premature halt to proceedings. So we will not know how much more Rossi had in reserve until tomorrow…
Dani Pedrosa put in 34-laps on the Repsol Honda, surprisingly few considering the work program the Repsol HRC Team have in front of them testing different engine specifications and a myriad other changes on the latest iterations of the RC-213V. Pedrosa was less than a tenth shy of Rossi.
Danilo Petrucci was next best on the Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati, a 2m01.81 the best from his 43-laps today to be ahead of the factory Ducati of Andrea Iannone and Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera. A Ducati 1-2-3 in positions 4-5-6.
Marc Marquez put in 50 laps but never threatened the top of the timesheets, a 2m02.27 the best for the smiling Spaniard. No doubt keeping his powder dry until he comes up with some cracking laps in the latter days of this test.
Scott Redding confirmed his liking for the Ducati to be eighth quickest, and the fourth Ducati in the top ten, ahead of Aleix Espargaro, the Spaniard survived an engine failure on the 2015 spec’ Suzuki to put in a 2m02.53, while Cal Crutchlow rounded out the top ten on the LCR Honda.
Eugene Laverty crashed heavily with just under two hours remaining today, destroying his Aspar MotoGP Team machine and possibly fracturing his hand in the process. The Irishman likely to be ruled out of the rest of the tests.
Bradley Smith was another faller today, but was quickly back on circuit and put in a total of 55 laps on the Tech 3 Yamaha. His best though only a 2m03.02.
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