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2018 Sepang MotoGP Test: Tuesday's Quick Takes

Three days in the tropical heat of Sepang always generates so much information, and so much to think about, that it is impossible to encapsulate it all in just a few short hours immediately after the test. It takes time to digest, analyze, and separate the wheat from the chaff. That will happen over the coming days here on MotoMatters.com.

Yet there are clear lines emerging from the murk of testing. Avenues worth investigating, trains of thought worth pursuing. So here is the short version of what I think we have learned from three days of testing in Sepang. The long version – or more likely, versions – are still to come.

Honda – cautiously hopeful

After the Valencia test, Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa were happy about the new Honda RC213V motor. The electronics were roughly in the right place, and it sounded like the only work left was in refining it to turn it into a capable weapon. They were so happy they decided to skip the Jerez test, and left the donkey work to Cal Crutchlow.

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2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Tuesday 2:30pm Times: Lorenzo Still Leading As Riders Focus On Race Simulations

Only one rider has improved his time since noon, as the riders have switched their focus to race simulations. Andrea Dovizioso has moved up from eleventh to fourth, putting both factory Ducatis into the top four. Riders who have completed their test programs are starting to pack up, Jack Miller being one of the first, while others are still on track, Marc Marquez foremost among them.

Times at 2:30pm:

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2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Tuesday 12pm Times: Lorenzo Under Lap Record As Riders Hunting Times

With next to no rain overnight, the MotoGP riders were met with a bone dry and blistering hot track on Tuesday morning, which meant they went straight to work. First order of business was a time attack: with air temperatures still rising, this was the best chance of a fast time the riders had been given during all three days of the test. 

Their attempts were rewarded. Half the field was quickly into the 1'59s, and before noon, Jorge Lorenzo had smashed the existing unofficial lap record of the track set by Marc Marquez in 2015. Lorenzo's time of 1'58.830 was just a fraction under the 1'58.867 set by Marquez, but it is a sign of both how much faster Lorenzo is this year, and how much the Michelins have improved in their first two seasons back in MotoGP.

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2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Monday Round Up: Motor Monday, Miller Monday

The second day of MotoGP testing at Sepang turned out to be Motor Monday. Four of MotoGP's six manufacturers dedicated their day to gathering the data to make a decision on their 2018 engine. All of them have the lessons of 2017 in mind, when the rule on sealed engines caught Suzuki out completely, and Honda to a lesser extent. Make the wrong choice in testing, and you have nineteen races to spend regretting it, much as Suzuki did last year.

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2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Monday 5pm Times: Marquez Takes Over As Riders Put In Final Charge

More changes in the standings as the final hour starts. With the risk of rain increasing at the end of the day, everyone is trying to post a fast lap before the session ends. Marc Marquez is currently fastest, having taken over from Andrea Dovizioso. Jack Miller and Jorge Lorenzo have jumped into the top five.

Times at 5pm:

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2018 Sepang MotoGP Test Monday 4pm Times: Dovizioso Still Fastest As Pol Espargaro Crashes

Just one change in the order since 2:30pm, with Alvaro Bautista having improved his time. Andrea Dovizioso is still fastest, just a fraction quicker than Valentino Rossi, while Marc Marquez is third, all three riders getting into the 1'59s. Alex Rins is fourth quickest, making it four different manufacturers in the top four. Pol Espargaro's seventh fastest time takes that total to five different factories in the top seven, with only Aprilia missing. 

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