Sepang, Malaysia

Sepang MotoGP Test Friday Final Times: Petronas Yamahas Lead Weather-hit Day

Rain disrupted both the middle and the end of the first day of the Sepang test, the riders losing three hours to a damp track. But the busiest riders still managed to record around 60 laps at the track.

Fabio Quartararo ended the day as fastest, just ahead of his Petronas Yamaha teammate Franco Morbidelli. Both riders were on the A-Spec bikes, the evolution of the 2019 machine Morbidelli will be riding in 2020. Alex Rins ended Friday as third fastest on the Suzuki, a quarter of a second behind Quartararo, and a few hundredths ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda.

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Sepang MotoGP Test Friday 2pm Times: Petronas Yamaha Top The Timesheets

The Petronas Yamahas continue to top the timesheets, Franco Morbidelli having crept up on teammate Fabio Quartararo at the 2pm mark. Alex Rins is third on the Suzuki, while Cal Crutchlow and Jack Miller have jumped up into forurth and fifth respectively.

Maverick Viñales had a small crash at Turn 13, losing the front, but it didn't affect his test program much. The weather is currently holding, other than the usual Malaysian heat, so the riders should get a full day of testing on Friday.

Times at 2pm:

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Sepang MotoGP Test Thursday Round Up: Suzuki And Yamaha Launches, Different Specs of Yamahas, And A New Calendar For 2021

The day before the MotoGP test starts at Sepang is not usually so hectic. There have sometimes been launches, but as often as not, it has been a matter of catching up with people you have not seen for a long time, and talking to the few riders scheduled for press debriefs. It is a good way of easing yourself back into the MotoGP season.

The 2020 Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP Livery

Not so this year. Three launches in one day, two of them with the biggest news stories of the off season. The Suzuki launch was interesting; the 2020 livery for the Suzuki Ecstar team is rather fetching in silver and blue, and a homage to the first Grand Prix bike Suzuki ever raced, 60 years ago this year. For more on Suzuki's history, see this outstanding thread on Twitter by Mat Oxley, and if you don't already have his book Stealing Speed, a history of how Suzuki acquired two-stroke technology from the East German MZ factory, you need to buy yourself a copy now.

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Sepang MotoGP Test Preview: What Matters Most To Each Factory

The start of the 2020 MotoGP season is now just a matter of hours away. The entire MotoGP grid will soon be rolling out at Sepang for the start of the first MotoGP of the year. Notably, it is the entire grid: unlike previous years, nobody has fallen of a motocross bike, minibike, or even a mountain bike and hurt themselves.

There is plenty to get excited about. We will soon be able to get a sense of the work done by the various factories over the winter, who looks like hitting their goals, who has found something extra, who is lagging behind. We will see which of the rookies is off to a strong start, how last year's crop of rookies is progressing, which of the veterans has made a step, either forward or backward, and which of the crop of title candidates is looking sharpest.

Yet a note of caution is advised. By Sunday night, we will have a timesheet showing who was fastest over the three days, and we will have a complete list of every lap posted by each rider (helpfully published by Dorna on the official MotoGP website, unhelpfully, in a format which is not easily extracted for analysis).

Sepang vs the season

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Sepang MotoGP Shakedown Test, Day 3: Espargaro Brothers Lead As Lorenzo Makes His Debut

The final day of the Sepang shakedown test has concluded, with a slight changing of the guard. Dani Pedrosa handed the KTM over to fellow test rider Mika Kallio, and Bradley Smith vacated the two new 2020-spec Aprilia RS-GPs to make way for Aleix Espargaro. Meanwhile, Yamaha were out in force, including Jorge Lorenoz, making his return to the Iwata factory.

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Bradley Smith: New Aprilia RS-GP 'Worth The Wait'

2019 was a long, hard year for Aprilia. The hiring of new Aprilia Race CEO Massimo Rivola signaled a year of rebuilding for the Italian factory, as Rivola took over the organizational side of the MotoGP project, freeing up Romano Albesiano to concentrate on building a brand new RS-GP from the ground up, and providing Albesiano with the resources to do so. That project forced Aprilia riders Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone to battle on through the 2019 season with a bike which was struggling to be competitive.

The wait came to an end at the MotoGP shakedown test at Sepang, where Aprilia rolled out the new RS-GP, in the hands of test rider Bradley Smith. "Those six or seven months of waiting were worth it," was Smith's verdict after the first full day of testing on the 2020 prototype.

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Sepang MotoGP Shakedown Test, Day 2: Pedrosa Fastest As Pace Increases

The shakedown test continues at Sepang, in good conditions: track temperatures are staying in the 50s °C, and not venturing into the 60s. KTM Test Rider Dani Pedrosa remains the fastest of the test riders, the Spaniard cracking into the 1'59s along with KTM factory rider Pol Espargaro, though both are a couple of tenths slower than the race record set by Valentino Rossi back in November last year.

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Sepang MotoGP Shakedown Test, Day 1: Pedrosa Fastest As Yamaha Awaits

The first day of the Sepang shakedown test is in the books, and times have emerged for at least some of the riders. Malaysian photographer Hazrin Cric (famous for That Photo) was at the test, and tweeted out the times at the end of Sunday's session.

KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa was fastest, riding the new RC16 chassis, finishing just ahead of Ducati's Michele Pirro. Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli was third quickest, six tenths behind Pedrosa, and a tenth quicker than Repsol Honda rookie Alex Marquez. The younger Marquez is allowed to take part in the shakedown test because he is a rookie. Marquez was three tenths faster than Brad Binder, on the Red Bull KTM.

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