HRC Sepang Private Test: Bautista Fastest As Rain Cuts Testing Short
Rain continues to plague MotoGP testing, this time severely curtailing testing for the Honda teams out at Sepang. Dani Pedrosa's decision to sit this test out may well prove to be sensible, with rain looking likely to severely restrict testing over all three days at Sepang.
The first day of the test saw Marc Marquez, Alvaro Bautista, and Honda test riders Kousuke Akiyoshi and Takumi Takahashi sit out part of the morning session, waiting for the weather to clear and the track to dry. It eventually did, giving the Honda men a couple of hours' dry track time after noon before the rain cut the test short again at 2pm local time. The temperatures, humidity and rain left the track dirty and lacking grip, but that did not prevent Alvaro Bautista from getting close to the existing race lap record at the Malaysian circuit, though the Go&Fun Gresini rider was nearly 2 seconds off pole time. Bautista had spent the day testing uprated suspension supplied by Showa, in an attempt to allow him to close the gap to the Ohlins runners.
Marc Marquez continued his adaptation to MotoGP, but once again, just as it had been at Valencia, his time on the track was extremely limited, putting in just 26 laps at the circuit. In contrast to Valencia, his times were well off the pace, his best lap near a second and a half behind the time of Bautista. Given the conditions, and his assignment (learning to riding a MotoGP bike using Bridgestone tires), his lack of pace should perhaps not be a surprise. His task will not get any easier, however, as rain is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday as well. Stefan Bradl, like Dani Pedrosa, has chosen to sit out the test, as he is undergoing surgery in Barcelona.
The Ducati men look like being a little luckier. Nicky Hayden, Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone and Ducati test rider Michele Pirro all head to Jerez, to join a group of World Superbike riders who are testing at the circuit. The weather in southern Spain looks perfect, a little cold, but still dry and sunny.
Times, courtesy of the official MotoGP.com website: