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MotoGP Pre-Season Test: Bagnaia Tops the Charts at Sepang
Under a cloudy sky, providing cooler conditions for the start of track action, it was two-time MotoGP world champion Francesco Bagnaia who set an impressive time of 1m56.682s that remained unbeaten throughout the day.
Despite several challengers attempting a single lap attack, no one could come close to toppling Bagnaia’s incredible pace. Jorge Martin came closest with a lap time of 1m56.854s on his Pramac Ducati, securing second place on the timesheet.
Enea Bastianini, who topped yesterday’s timesheet, slipped into third with a lap time of 1m56.915s on his factory Ducati bike.
The real surprise came in the form of Alex Marquez from Gresini Ducati who joined the fray with an impressive lap time of 1m56.938s putting him in fourth place overall.
Unprecedented Lap Times:
Incredible laps were seen today at Sepang during MotoGP pre-season testing. For the first time ever in this circuit’s history, riders managed to go under 1 minute and 57 seconds! This accomplishment is truly remarkable as it showcases not only their skill but also how optimal track conditions can contribute to such outstanding performances.
Pace and Consistency:
Bastianini showcased exceptional long run pace compared to Martin’s sprint race-style runs by finishing half a second quicker. Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, despite being over a second further adrift, also demonstrated impressive consistency during his runs.
Rookie sensation Pedro Acosta managed to outperform Bagnaia over a nine-lap dash to secure a remarkable fourth place in the overall rankings.
Aprilia Makes an Impression:
Aleix Espargaro emerged as the standout rider for Aprilia on their 2024 RS-GP bike, securing fifth place overall. The Italian squad had mixed results with Maverick Vinales struggling at 12th and Miguel Oliveira at 18th.
Marc Marquez Finds His Pace:
Marc Marquez made steady progress adapting to life at Gresini after initially experiencing difficulties during the test. He ended the final day in sixth place overall, within six-tenths of a second behind Bagnaia at the top.
Fabio Di Giannantonio showcased resilience by bouncing back from his crash at Turn 9 and securing seventh place on his VR46 Ducati.
Commanding Performance by Joan Mir:
Joan Mir led Honda’s charge with an impressive ninth-place finish as they continue rebuilding their RC213V for this season. Meanwhile, Brad Binder represented KTM well by rounding out the top ten just ahead of Yamaha’s top rider Fabio Quartararo who finished in eleventh position.
Franco Morbidelli and Raul Fernandez missed today’s test action due to injuries sustained prior to the event. Morbidelli is recovering from a heavy fall suffered riding in Portimao last month and will be unable to participate in both official pre-season tests. Meanwhile, Fernandez was sidelined after a crash on the opening day of the Sepang test.
Final Preparations in Qatar:
MotoGP now takes a short break before their final official pre-season test in Qatar on February 19-20. Teams and riders will utilize this time to analyze data, make adjustments, and fine-tune their preparations for the upcoming season.