MotoGP: Pedrosa Leads Pol Espargaro in Thursday Sepang Testing

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa

2014 Sepang II Preseason MotoGP Test Results, Thursday

With MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez sidelined due to a broken leg, his teammate Dani Pedrosa has full responsibility of finalizing Respol Honda's preparations ahead of the season opener at Qatar March 23.

And though he was off the top pace Wednesday due to suffering from jet lag, the Spaniard placed the RC213V on top during the second day of preseason testing at Sepang (II).

Pedrosa worked Thursday on tuning in the front end of the RC213V, and also engine mappings. He completed 57 laps, putting in a best time of 2:00.039.

"Things went well this afternoon, even though this morning we were still having some issues and I wasn't able to ride comfortably. I had to stop early in order to make some big changes to the bike, and when we restarted after lunch I felt more comfortable and put in better laps," Pedrosa says.

"We focused on the front end and were able to find a good setup. Tomorrow we will focus on making progress with the rear, because we have to get the new tyre working better and increase grip. If all goes well, then perhaps tomorrow we will be able to do a race simulation."

Aleix Espargaro continued to impress aboard the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Yamaha - the quickest Open-class machine throughout the preseason. He finished second, 0.281 of a second off Pedrosa's time.

Espargaro spent the day in race-simulation mode, monitoring tire wear and engine performance. His teammate Colin Edwards, who turned 40 Thursday, knocked 0.7 of a second off his Wednesday time. The American finished 13h, almost two seconds off the top time. The NGM Mobile Forward team reports it will continue race-simulation testing on Friday, the final day of Sepang II testing.

Wednesday's leader, GO&FUN Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista, finished the day in third, 0.461 of a second behind Pedrosa. The Spaniard continues to tune the Showa rear suspension, achieving better and better results.

Yamaha Factory Racing's Valentino Rossi was next, the nine-time world champion finishing fourth quickest, 0.566 off the top time. Rossi seems to be coming to grips with the new Bridgestone tire compounds, though it's not the same scenario for teammate Jorge Lorenzo.

The two-time MotoGP Champion Lorenzo continues to struggle with grip that affects corner speed - a previous strongpoint for the YZR-M1. Lorenzo ended Thursday ninth quickest, 1.010 seconds off the top time.

The top Ducati was once again the Ducati Team GP14 piloted by Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian finished fifth, 0.748 of a second off the top time. Ducati will decide if it will only field machines in the open class as the season opener gets closer, but it's all contingent on development.

Dovizioso's teammate Cal Crutchlow improved, finishing seventh quickest, 0.913 off Pedrosa's pace. The British rider finished just behind the sixth-place finisher, satellite LCR Honda pilot Stefan Bradl.

As for Ducati Team Test Rider Michelle Pirro, he tested a GP14 with Magneti Marelli software, and finished 19th - 2.760 seconds off the top pace. The other Ducati on the grid - the satellite Pramac Racing machine piloted by Andrea Iannone - was 11th quickest, 1.134 behind Pedrosa.

Pol Esparagaro was the final rider to post within a second of Pedrosa, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha pilot finishing eighth, 0.988 of a second off the top time. Him and his teammate Bradley Smith - who finished 10th - worked with a new seamless gearbox, which the team reports was a positive experience.

The other American on the grid, Drive M7 Aspar's Nicky Hayden, finished 14th, 2.049 off the pace. The 2006 MotoGP Champion continues to struggle with the RCV1000R, though his times are improving.

Suzuki also continues to develop its inline-four machine for its 2015 return. The top time was posted by Randy de Puniet at the controls of the 1000cc GP racer; the Frenchman finished just behind Hayden, 2.1 seconds off Pedrosa's pace.

The Sepang II MotoGP test concludes Friday.

2014 Sepang II MotoGP Preseason Test Results, Thursday:

Pos Rider Team Fastest lap Lead. Gap Prev. Gap Laps Last lap
1 PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team 2:00.039 55 / 57
2 ESPARGARO, Aleix NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:00.320 0.281 0.281 39 / 41
3 BAUTISTA, Alvaro GO&FUN Honda Gresini 2:00.500 0.461 0.180 52 / 55
4 ROSSI, Valentino Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.605 0.566 0.105 9 / 60
5 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 2:00.787 0.748 0.182 8 / 48
6 BRADL, Stefan LCR Honda MotoGP 2:00.902 0.863 0.115 4 / 52
7 CRUTCHLOW, Cal Ducati Team 2:00.952 0.913 0.050 50 / 52
8 ESPARGARO, Pol Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.027 0.988 0.075 12 / 47
9 LORENZO, Jorge Yamaha Factory Racing 2:01.049 1.010 0.022 30 / 57
10 SMITH, Bradley Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.098 1.059 0.049 57 / 60
11 IANNONE, Andrea Pramac Racing 2:01.173 1.134 0.075 23 / 49
12 HERNANDEZ, Yonny Energy T.I. Pramac Racing 2:01.658 1.619 0.485 7 / 50
13 EDWARDS, Colin NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:01.996 1.957 0.338 25 / 45
14 HAYDEN, Nicky Drive M7 Aspar 2:02.088 2.049 0.092 55 / 59
15 DE PUNIET, Randy Team Suzuki MotoGP 2:02.139 2.100 0.051 59 / 60
16 BARBERA, Hector Avintia Racing 2:02.149 2.110 0.010 43 / 45
17 REDDING, Scott GO&FUN Honda Gresini 2:02.652 2.613 0.503 38 / 54
18 AOYAMA, Hiroshi Drive M7 Aspar 2:02.786 2.747 0.134 70 / 72
19 PIRRO, Michele Ducati Test Team 2:02.799 2.760 0.013 25 / 45
20 NAKASUGA, Katsuyuki Yamaha Factory Test Team 2:02.802 2.763 0.003 47 / 48
21 DI MEGLIO, Mike Avintia Racing 2:03.946 3.907 1.144 50 / 51
22 ABRAHAM, Karel Cardion AB Motoracing 2:05.198 5.159 1.252 4 / 25
23 AOKI, Nobuatsu Team Suzuki MotoGP 2:07.462 7.423 2.264 19 / 20


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