Marquez Tops First Day Of Sepang Test
SEPANG, Malaysia – MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez topped the time sheets during the first day of the MotoGP test at Sepang Int’l Circuit.
The Repsol Honda Team rider led the way over Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi and Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, with leading open rider Aleix Espargaro seventh for NGM Mobile Forward.
Following the usual break for lunch in the middle of the day, the final eight hours of testing saw track temperatures drop, which allowed riders to push for quicker lap times. This saw Marquez post 2:00.286, half a second up on Rossi as both the Italian and Marquez’s teammate Pedrosa jumped ahead of Lorenzo’s Yamaha in the final minutes of the day. The top six was completed by GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.
At Repsol Honda, this year’s RC213V features a larger air intake in an attempt to increase top speeds and improve throttle response on the exit of corners, with Marquez posting the leading effort fresh from historically claiming the title in Valencia last year. In the Yamaha garage, Rossi continued to develop his working relationship with new Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera, who first worked alongside the nine-time World Champion for the post-race test after the final Grand Prix of 2013.
Much attention was on Ducati Team, with talk continuing to circulate that the outfit could elect to race under the new open regulations this year; this would allow up to 24 litres of fuel as opposed to the 20 of the Factory Options, as well as working on engines during the season and not being limited by the new engine freeze. Also this season, all bikes in the field are running the spec ECU hardware for the first time. However Factory Options are free to use their own software, whereas opens must adapt the spec software as supplied by Dorna Sports and Magneti Marelli.
The leading open representative on this occasion was Forward’s Espargaro (seventh position), with Factory Option riders Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammates) helping to complete the top ten. Colin Edwards (Forward) overcame early technical difficulties to finish 11th quickest, as Ducati Team filled spots 12 to 14 with Andrea Dovizioso, test rider Michele Pirro and Cal Crutchlow. The leading Honda RCV1000R customer bike was that of 2006 title winner Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) in 17th place.
At Paul Bird Motorsport, Michael Laverty (25th position) suffered a frustrating start to proceedings, plagued first by brake problems and then by an engine failure. All teams were present with the exception of IodaRacing, which plans to make its 2014 track debut at the second Sepang test which is to run at the end of the month.
Testing continues at the Sepang Int’l Circuit over the next two days, running between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time.