Ducati’s Lorenzo Tops Sepang MotoGP Test: Under Lap Record

2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Results: Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo
Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo

2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Results

The first official MotoGP test of 2018 ended Tuesday at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia with three different factory manufacturers leading the way each day.

Sunday the top time went to Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, and Monday’s to Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Vinales. But it was the man who led day three that the story goes to – and that’s Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo.

The five-time World Champion couldn’t catch the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 and Honda RC213V prototypes during days one and two, but Lorenzo was untouchable Tuesday aboard the Ducati GP18.

2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Results: Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo
Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo

Lorenzo led the way with a best time of 1:58.830. The Spaniard, who joined Ducati in 2017, was the only pilot to post under the 1:59 mark during the test, and also set a new fastest lap at Sepang, ousting the previous record of 1:59.053 held by Pedrosa (2015, Honda).

Pedrosa finished 0.179 of a second behind Lorenzo, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow taking the third overall spot, 0.222 of a second behind.

Unlike Sunday and Monday, riders didn’t deal with rain. Lorenzo completed 48 laps, earning his best time on lap 21. He also crashed early in the test, but was able to quickly regain his rhythm, putting in one of the best performances to date on the Ducati prototype.

Lorenzo said the GP18 is vastly improved over the 2017 GP17.

“The lap is a consequence of having a good bike, feeling well and being in shape,” Jorge Lorenzo told MotoGP.com. “The most important thing is that the bike is working, it is giving me a good feeling and it’s improved a lot of areas compared to last year. As I said on the first day, the bike has improved and it’s more suited to my riding style and I can take profit of my strong points.

“We are at the beginning of how to understand how to get the maximum, there is still some margin to improve, but as a start we cannot be happier than this – always on top, always good pace, and I’m very quick.

“The perfect lap doesn’t exist, so it’s a continuous process of improvement every year and we will get faster and faster. It was not the perfect lap because we had something to test at the start of the day when the track was coldest. After an hour and a half, the track was quite hot, the grip was not perfect, the engine was not in the best condition to be fast but it was a good lap.

“We are closer, but it’s a never-ending process. I will always fight to improve the bike with the engineers and I’m very proud of the teamwork, they’ve done a great job. We can be satisfied but we will never stop working because we know how our competitors can close the gap. I was stronger in other areas with the other bike, but in general I’ve been faster with the Ducati.”

2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Results: Honda's Dani Pedrosa
Honda’s Dani Pedrosa

As for Pedrosa, he completed 58 laps aboard the RC213V, setting his quickest time on lap nine. Pedrosa spent much time working with a new aero fairing on the Honda, which helped bring him within 0.009 of a second of a 1:58 lap time.

“I think we had a positive final day, and a positive test in general here in Sepang,” Dani Pedrosa says. “The team did a very good job, as we correctly planned the work schedule for each day. Today we put together all the best aspects from the previous two days and worked on our speed, improving our fast lap and our pace, and completing a long run of almost race distance on a good rhythm.

“We worked on the engine, aerodynamics, suspension, and tires—both soft and hard specs. You could say we addressed more or less every area of the setup, and we got a good general feeling and collected a lot of data. We have to analyze everything more thoroughly, but the feeling was there. Now we look forward to confirming everything on other tracks.”

Pedrosa’s teammate, the reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez, finished the day seventh after performing 75 laps.

2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Results: Honda's Cal Crutchlow
Honda’s Cal Crutchlow

Finishing behind Crutchlow was the other factory Ducati rider, Andrea Dovizioso. He also crashed, but walked away unharmed. He was followed by Alma Pramac Racing Ducati’s Jack Miller and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins. Rounding out the top 10 were Marquez, nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing Ducati).

The riders now break until February 16 for a test – and debut of 2018 MotoGP – at Thailand’s Buriram circuit.

2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Results: Yamaha's Valentino Rossi
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Results, Day 3

Pos Rider Team Fastest lap Lead. Gap Prev. Gap Laps Last lap
1 LORENZO, Jorge Ducati Team 1:58.830 21 / 48
2 PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team 1:59.009 0.179 0.179 9 / 58
3 CRUTCHLOW, Cal LCR Honda CASTROL 1:59.052 0.222 0.043 18 / 65
4 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 1:59.169 0.339 0.117 16 / 51
5 MILLER, Jack Alma Pramac Racing 1:59.346 0.516 0.177 11 / 36
6 RINS, Alex Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:59.348 0.518 0.002 14 / 52
7 MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 1:59.382 0.552 0.034 9 / 75
8 ROSSI, Valentino Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1:59.449 0.619 0.067 52 / 54
9 ZARCO, Johann Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:59.511 0.681 0.062 16 / 55
10 PETRUCCI, Danilo Alma Pramac Racing 1:59.528 0.698 0.017 49 / 49
11 RABAT, Tito Reale Avintia Racing 1:59.547 0.717 0.019 14 / 36
12 IANNONE, Andrea Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:59.615 0.785 0.068 15 / 62
13 ESPARGARO, Aleix Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:59.962 1.132 0.347 52 / 52
14 NAKAGAMI, Takaaki LCR Honda IDEMITSU 2:00.071 1.241 0.109 19 / 54
15 BAUTISTA, Alvaro Ángel Nieto Team 2:00.205 1.375 0.134 20 / 57
16 KALLIO, Mika KTM Test Team 2:00.464 1.634 0.259 54 / 64
17 MORBIDELLI, Franco EG 0,0 Marc VDS 2:00.526 1.696 0.062 14 / 55
18 VIÑALES, Maverick Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:00.547 1.717 0.021 70 / 71
19 ABRAHAM, Karel Ángel Nieto Team 2:00.574 1.744 0.027 18 / 48
20 SIMEON, Xavier Reale Avintia Racing 2:00.784 1.954 0.210 15 / 30
21 REDDING, Scott Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:00.812 1.982 0.028 56 / 56
22 SMITH, Bradley Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2:00.969 2.139 0.157 71 / 77
23 GUINTOLI, Sylvain Suzuki Test Team 2:01.120 2.290 0.151 5 / 58
24 LUTHI, Thomas EG 0,0 Marc VDS 2:01.126 2.296 0.006 8 / 52
25 HERNANDEZ, Yonny Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.223 2.393 0.097 11 / 31
26 TEST3, Yamaha Yamaha Test Team 2:01.385 2.555 0.162 9 / 17
27 TEST2, Yamaha Yamaha Test Team 2:01.679 2.849 0.294 24 / 30
NC TEST1, Yamaha Yamaha Test Team
NC ESPARGARO, Pol Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
NC PIRRO, Michele Ducati Test Team