MotoGP Champion Marquez Leads Opening Day of Sepang Testing

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez

2014 Preseason MotoGP Test at Sepang

The reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez wasted no time Tuesday during the opening day of official preseason testing at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

The Repsol Honda rider, who became the youngest rookie at 20-year old to ever take a premier-class title, ended the day with a 2:00.286 lap time. To put this time into perspective, the circuit record lap at Sepang is a 2:01.415, which Marquez set last season.

Marquez finished the first day of three 0.518 of a second ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, and 0.620 of the other Repsol Honda rider, Dani Pedrosa.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo was about to finish third, but in the final minutes of the day, Pedrosa was slightly quicker. By day’s end, Lorenzo finished fourth, 0.796 of a second behind his rival Marquez.

Fifth went to GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who was the final rider to post within a second of Maruqez, trailing by 0.954 of a second.

The quickest rider in the new “open” class, which replaces the CRT field in 2014 MotoGP, was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro; he finished seventh, 1.133 behind Marquez.

Following is the detailed report from MotoGP.

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 liters 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 Aleix Espargaro (seventh position), with Factory Option riders Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3 team-mates) 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 will continue Tuesday at Sepang International Circuit.

2014 MotoGP Preseason Test Times – Sepang, Day 1 (February 4):

PosRiderTeamFastest lapLead. GapPrev. GapLapsLast lap
1MARQUEZ, MarcRepsol Honda Team2:00.28652 / 62
2ROSSI, ValentinoYamaha Factory Racing2:00.8040.5180.51858 / 61
3PEDROSA, DaniRepsol Honda Team2:00.9060.6200.10273 / 75
4LORENZO, JorgeYamaha Factory Racing2:01.0820.7960.17626 / 47
5BAUTISTA, AlvaroGO&FUN Honda Gresini2:01.2400.9540.15848 / 52
6BRADL, StefanLCR Honda MotoGP2:01.3201.0340.08031 / 61
7ESPARGARO, AleixNGM Mobile Forward Racing2:01.4191.1330.09919 / 26
8IANNONE, AndreaPramac Racing2:01.5381.2520.11938 / 44
9ESPARGARO, PolMonster Yamaha Tech 32:01.6341.3480.09642 / 48
10SMITH, BradleyMonster Yamaha Tech 32:01.8761.5900.24254 / 55
11EDWARDS, ColinNGM Mobile Forward Racing2:02.4832.1970.60725 / 26
12DOVIZIOSO, AndreaDucati Team2:02.4972.2110.01421 / 27
13PIRRO, MicheleDucati Test Team2:02.5522.2660.05547 / 48
14CRUTCHLOW, CalDucati Team2:02.8602.5740.30816 / 38
15HERNANDEZ, YonnyEnergy T.I. Pramac Racing2:02.8912.6050.03128 / 49
16NAKASUGA, KatsuyukiYamaha Factory Test Team2:03.1262.8400.23514 / 35
17HAYDEN, NickyDrive M7 Aspar2:03.3193.0330.19353 / 56
18AOYAMA, HiroshiDrive M7 Aspar2:03.3283.0420.00949 / 51
19DE PUNIET, RandySuzuki Test Team2:03.8933.6070.56547 / 75
20AKIYOSHI, KosukeHRC Test Team2:04.2673.9810.37427 / 64
21REDDING, ScottGO&FUN Honda Gresini2:04.4314.1450.16441 / 48
22BARBERA, HectorAvintia Racing2:04.9224.6360.49134 / 44
23DI MEGLIO, MikeAvintia Racing2:05.8255.5390.90350 / 51
24PARKES, BrocPaul Bird Motorport2:05.8895.6030.06432 / 40
25LAVERTY, MichaelPaul Bird Motorsport2:06.0705.7840.18114 / 14
26ABRAHAM, KarelCardion AB Motoracing2:06.7556.4690.68521 / 41