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.
The final day of the Sepang shakedown test saw more action, with Aleix Espargaro joining the fray for Aprilia, and Jonas Folger resuming his role as Yamaha test rider. Stefan Bradl didn't ride, his work being done, and Andrea Iannone was also absent for Aprilia.
The second day of the MotoGP shakedown test at Sepang was a busier affair than the first, with a Yamaha and the factory and satellite KTM riders joining the testers who had seen action on Friday. Hot, dry weather made life relatively easy, the riders able to get a lot of laps in with no interruptions for rain.
The honors for most laps during the day were shared by Johann Zarco, Bradley Smith, and Pol Espargaro. Zarco topped the endurance charts with a grand total of 67 laps on the Red Bull KTM, Aprilia test rider Smith racked up 62 laps spread between four different bikes, while Pol Espargaro bagged the fastest time in the process of lapping Sepang 60 times. To put that into perspective, it is three times race distance, in temperatures of over 30°C, and track temperatures rising to over 50°C in the middle of the day.
All six factories took to the track on Saturday, with Katsuyuki Nakasuga finally turning laps on the Yamaha M1. Stefan Bradl was there for Honda, as was Bradley Smith for Aprilia, Michele Pirro for Ducati, and Sylvain Guintoli and Takuya Tsuda for Suzuki. KTM had the biggest contingent, with factory riders Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco, and Tech3 riders Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin joining test rider Mika Kallio on track.
Despite the fact that normally, there is no timing at the Sepang shakedown test, timing screens appeared in the media center on Saturday, giving some sort of insight into what is happening on track. And thanks to screenshots posted to Twitter by Crash.net's Peter McLaren, the times have been shared publicly. Not all riders and bikes were lapping with transponders, however, so the times do not show the full picture.
Pol Espargaro is the fastest rider on the second day, the KTM rider leaping ahead of Stefan Bradl at the end of the day. Aprilia's Bradley Smith was busy, setting the third fastest time, while Katsuyuki Nakasuga made a late appearance on the Yamaha to set the fourth quickest time ahead of Michele Pirro on the Ducati.
The first day of the shakedown test at Sepang is over, and it was very much a shakedown as it is meant to be. The MotoGP bikes shared the track with the factory Superbike machines being readied for the Suzuka 8 Hour race in July, but all of the factory test riders bar Yamaha got some laps done in preparation for the official test which starts on Wednesday.
It was Ducati's Michele Pirro and Aprilia's Bradley Smith who were busiest, both riders paving the way for their factory riders. The urgency is highest for Smith, as Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone are set to take the track on Sunday, the last day of the shakedown test.
Mika Kallio was paving the way for KTM, the Finnish rider forced to switch numbers from 36 to 66, Suzuki's Joan Mir having taken precedence for #36 as a full-time contracted rider. Kallio had a lot of work to do, ensuring that the bikes were ready for all four KTM riders at the test. In the end, he rode seven different bikes on Friday, including test bikes and the factory Red Bull and satellite Tech3 machines, he told Crash.net's Peter McLaren.
Stefan Bradl was turning laps for Honda, while Sylvain Guintoli was busy for Suzuki. Bradl was mostly running short exits, according to Italian website GPOne.com.