Sepang MotoGP Test | Honda’s Pedrosa Leads Day 1

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa

2013 Sepang MotoGP Preseason Test Results, Day 1

Following the usual winter break, the first official MotoGP preseason test session of 2013 got underway Tuesday at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

The CRT teams spent Sunday and Monday testing ECUs, but Tuesday’s test was the first official one for the entire 24-rider lineup (half prototype, half CRT).

As expected, the 1000cc prototypes were running tight, with the top seven riders posting within eight-tenths of second of each other, and the top three within a few hundredths of a second.

Leading the pack on day one of three was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who posted a 2:01.157 aboard his Repsol Honda RC213V. Pedrosa spent the day working with their engines in preparation of the 2013 rule that only allows five engines to be used for the entire, 18-round series.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “It’s the first day back testing after the winter break. We’ve spent three months off the bike and the feeling from the first day testing is positive. The track was in good condition and we were able to put in a lot of laps at a good pace, thanks to it not being especially hot. I haven’t ridden since the November test in Valencia, so today has been a first step to getting back on the pace. We didn’t play about with the setup today, but we will move onto that in the remaining two days of testing.”

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo was next, piloting his YZR-M1 to a 2:01.165, which was only 0.008 of a second behind Pedrosa. The reigning MotoGP Champion, who holds the fastest lap record at Sepang with a 2:00.334 (2012), worked on setting up his Yamaha for better acceleration out of corners.

Lorenzo was followed by his fellow countryman Marc Marquez, who posted a 2:01.201, making for three Spaniards in the top three. Like his teammate Pedrosa, Marquez also worked on engine prep for the new rule.

Fourth fastest was the star of the show, Valentino Rossi, who returns to the Yamaha Factory Racing Team following two years with Ducati. The nine-time World Champion trailed Pedrosa by 0.427 of a second, the Italian posting a 2:01.584. Rossi spent the day getting comfortable with the YZR-M1.

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I’m very happy about the first day of testing with the M1. After two seasons away I was able to come back on the bike and remember the good feeling I always had with it. I am also happy because I was quite fast from the morning.

“We worked on the settings to make some improvements and we made some good steps. In the afternoon we started to work on the new parts for the season. It’s just the first test but the potential is high and I am in a good position, I am in fourth place but not far from the other three guys. I am very positive that we can improve over the next few days but I’m happy with the start.”

But just two-tenths of a second behind Rossi was LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl. The German was piloting a bike that had the same spec as the Repsol Honda used at Valencia last season. During the opening day of MotoGP testing at Sepang, Bradl worked on traction control, suspension and brakes.

Bradl was trailed 0.092 of a second back by Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, who was competing on a 2012-spec YZR-M1. The final rider to post within a second of Pedrosa was Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, the Spaniard 0.824 of a second back while setting up the Showa suspension aboard his Honda RC213V.

Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga and HRC test rider Kosuke Akiyoshi finished ahead of the man in 10th, Nicky Hayden. The American was the highest-placed Ducati rider, but was 2.179 seconds behind Pedrosa.

Finishing just behind Hayden was Yamaha test rider Wataru Yoshikawa. Monster Tech 3 yamaha’s British rookie Bradley Smith was getting used to his machine, ending the day in 12th, around 2.3 seconds off the front, in front of Ducati’s Italian hopeful Andrea Dovizioso, and the Power Electronics Aspar Team of Spaniard Aleix Espargaró and Frenchman Randy de Puniet, MotoGP says.

Pramac Team’s Italian rookie Andrea Iannone made steady progress on his Desmosedici making it into 16th by the end, ahead of US teammate Ben Spies, who put in a few hours on his new Ducati this morning, although had to stop due to shoulder pain, MotoGP says.

HRC test rider Takumi Takahashi headed Avintia Blusens’ Héctor Barberá, who was focusing on electronics, as well as Paul Bird Motorsport’s Colombian Yonny Hernandez, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, Avintia Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti. MotoGP newcomer Michael Laverty lapped on an ART bike to get used to the Bridgestone tyres and carbon discs, and was followed by Ioda’s new Czech rider Lukas Pesek, Bautista’s Australian teammate Bryan Staring, whilst NGM’s Edwards suffered bike issues and finished the day last, putting in only 25 laps, MotoGP says.

The 2013 MotoGP grid will return on the Malaysian circuit on Wednesday for the second of three days of testing.

2013 Sepang MotoGP Test, Day 1 (Tuesday) Results:

PosRiderTeamFastest lapPrev. GapLead. GapLapsLast lap
1PEDROSA, DaniRepsol Honda Team2:01.15748 / 491:08.174
2LORENZO, JorgeYamaha Factory Racing2:01.1650.0080.00857 / 581:15.264
3MARQUEZ, MarcRepsol Honda Team2:01.2010.0360.04460 / 622:49.561
4ROSSI, ValentinoYamaha Factory Racing2:01.5840.3830.42730 / 561:17.950
5BRADL, StefanLCR Honda MotoGP2:01.7890.2050.63243 / 591:15.188
6CRUTCHLOW, CalMonster Yamaha Tech 32:01.8810.0920.72446 / 642:31.099
7BAUTISTA, AlvaroGo & Fun Honda Gresini2:01.9810.1000.82452 / 591:10.581
8NAKASUGA, KatsayukiYamaha Factory2:02.9680.9871.81150 / 581:11.728
9AKIYOSHI, KosukeHRC Test Team2:02.9720.0041.81546 / 691:21.686
10HAYDEN, NickyDucati Team2:03.3360.3642.17922 / 622:27.475
11YOSHIKAWA, WataruYamaha Factory2:03.4560.1202.29914 / 461:11.666
12SMITH, BradleyMonster Yamaha Tech 32:03.4600.0042.30353 / 561:10.044
13DOVIZIOSO, AndreaDucati Team2:03.5350.0752.37835 / 482:15.588
14ESPARGARO, AleixPower Electronics Aspar2:03.7820.2472.62554 / 581:08.855
15DE PUNIET, RandyPower Electronics Aspar2:04.2830.5013.12642 / 561:13.859
16IANNONE, AndreaEnergy T.I. Pramac Racing Team2:04.5000.2173.34353 / 571:17.551
17SPIES, BenIgnite Pramac Racing Team2:05.0860.5863.92919 / 211:24.065
18TAKAHASHI, TakumiHRC Test Team2:05.1540.0683.99768 / 701:16.207
19BARBERA, HectorAvintia Blusens2:05.4690.3154.31237 / 412:10.880
20HERNANDEZ, YonnyPaul Bird Motorsport2:05.6560.1874.49939 / 501:14.180
21ABRAHAM, KarelCardion AB Motoracing2:05.6940.0384.53730 / 541:15.855
22PETRUCCI, DaniloCame IodaRacing Project2:05.7530.0594.59627 / 291:24.072
23AOYAMA, HiroshiAvintia Blusens2:05.9190.1664.76247 / 481:18.850
24CORTI, ClaudioNGM Mobile Forward Racing2:06.4260.5075.26929 / 381:33.227
25LAVERTY, MichaelPaul Bird Motorsport2:06.5070.0815.35042 / 432:41.841
26PESEK, LukasCame IodaRacing Project2:07.0150.5085.85840 / 461:23.864
27STARING, BryanGo & Fun Honda Gresini2:07.0440.0295.88733 / 4132:51.073
28EDWARDS, ColinNGM Mobile Forward Racing Team2:08.2061.1627.04924 / 251:23.998