Times at the end of the first day of testing at Sepang:
The track has been almost silent since around 1pm, with bikes only circulating occasionally. Apart from Marc Marquez going fastest, there have been few changes. One note: the time noted for Andrea Iannone was actually set by Bradley Smith, who took the Italian's Aprilia out for a shakedown run. Iannone crashed on his first flying lap, and so did not set a time.
Times at 3pm:
Times sorted by manufacturer, comparing riders on the same bike:
With the heat increasing and track temperatures now well over 50°C, activity in Sepang is slacking off, the teams and riders taking a break to skip the heat of the afternoon. At 1pm, it is Alex Rins who is fastest, leapfrogging past Maverick Viñales to top the timesheets. Rins and Viñales are the only riders currently under the 2'00 mark, while Danilo Petrucci is third quickest.
Times at 1pm local:
The Sepang MotoGP test is underway, and the first hour and a half has already seen a very busy track, with everyone Mika Kallio, Bradley Smith, and Takuya Tsuda turning laps, taking advantage of cooler conditions in the morning.
Though bikes have been circulating at the Sepang circuit already, the MotoGP season only really gets underway once the full field of full-time contracted riders takes to the Malaysian track on Wednesday. After the long winter break, we finally get to see where everyone stands as the 2019 season approaches.
Well, almost everyone: injuries always play a smaller or larger role, as riders recover from surgery, or suffer new injuries while training for the coming season. Injuries have hit Honda hard so far this year, with Jorge Lorenzo absent after breaking his left scaphoid just three weeks before the test, Marc Márquez still recovering from major surgery to fix a shoulder with a tendency to dislocate, and Cal Crutchlow coming back from a massive crash at Phillip Island which shattered his ankle.
The Sepang test will be a little different this year, as a result of the tweaking of the testing rules. With two official tests in November, at Valencia and Jerez, rather than the official Valencia test and a private test elsewhere, all of the factories have followed the same preparation in late 2018. What's more, with them all having ridden at Valencia and Jerez, they have a clearer idea of how their engines will react on tighter circuits in colder conditions, where more horsepower is more difficult to contain. November has become engine preparation month, with Sepang now being used as a verification.
After a day of prevarication, Yamaha (with the blessing of the other factories) finally cracked down on the media presence at Sepang, locking the gates to pit lane as well as the side of the track. Anyone who wasn't a member of a team wasn't getting in, and the factories could work in peace. All except Honda, who had packed up on Saturday, giving Stefan Bradl an extra day's rest ahead of the official test starting on Wednesday.
Aleix Espargaro joined the action, riding the Aprilia RS-GP alongside test rider Bradley Smith, though Andrea Iannone sat out the day with what was reported to be a minor health issue with his teeth. Jonas Folger also took to the track for Yamaha, but as he and Yamaha's other test rider, Katsuyuki Nakasuga, swapped between the two test bikes, it was hard to tell who was setting which times. Both riders looked pretty fast, and Nakasuga was doing so with the benefit of an extra day's experience. Jonas Folger had a crash in the middle of the day, causing a red flag, though Folger continued testing after the flag appeared.