Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest man after the winter break at Sepang, the factory Yamaha rider the only man to crack the 2'02 barrier. Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa ended the day in 2nd, a third of a second behind Lorenzo, while Monster Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow impressed on his return to a MotoGP bike by ending the day in 3rd, over half a second behind Lorenzo, but just ahead of the factory Yamaha of Ben Spies.
The new Ducati GP12 appears to be working well, with Valentino Rossi posting the 5th fastest time, just under three quarters of a second off Lorenzo. The bike - containing what appears to be an engine which has been rotated backwards to make the bike more compact - has been on track only once previously, with Carlos Checa and test rider Franco Battaini at Jerez, and the team will need to work on a lot of data, but the debut appears promising.
Andrea Dovizioso finished the day in 6th, but was later reported as feeling unwell. The Monster Tech 3 man finished just ahead of Hector Barbera on the Pramac Ducati - the satellite Ducatis are basically the same bike as used by Valentino Rossi at the test in Valencia in November - who was in turn just a few hundredths faster than Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, the Yamaha clearly performing well. Alvaro Bautista made a strong debut on the Gresini Honda, finishing in 9th, just ahead of Nicky Hayden on the Marlboro Ducati, the American still suffering after fracturing his shoulder blade in a training accident during the winter.
The main absentee was Casey Stoner. The Australian had an old back injury play up, tweaking the muscles in his back as he warmed up ready for action in the morning. Exactly the same thing happened at Estoril earlier this year, and it took some time for that injury to subside. Stoner spent the day undergoing physiotherapy to relieve the problem.
The bad news at Sepang was for the CRT bikes. Colin Edwards could manage only a 2'08.240 on the BMW Suter, but the Texan was sidelined with electronics problems for part of the day. The BQR bikes of Ivan Silva and Jordi Torres showed the gap that could exist with some of the slowest riders on CRT machinery, with neither man having impressed on a world stage previously, and questions over the suitability of the Kawasaki engine as the basis for a CRT machine. With times that are slower than the Moto2 bikes set during qualifying last October, much progress will be needed.
Results, courtesy of MotoGP.com:
|1||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha Factory Racing||2:01.657||30|
|2||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda Team||2:02.003||0.346||0.346||48|
|3||Cal Crutchlow||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||2:02.221||0.564||0.218||32|
|4||Ben Spies||Yamaha Factory Racing||2:02.234||0.577||0.013||28|
|5||Valentino Rossi||Ducati Team||2:02.392||0.735||0.158||43|
|6||Andrea Dovizioso||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||2:02.751||1.094||0.359||20|
|7||Hector Barbera||Pramac Racing Team||2:02.773||1.116||0.022||41|
|8||Katsuyuki Nakasuga||Yamaha Factory||2:02.829||1.172||0.056||32|
|9||Alvaro Bautista||San Carlo Honda Gresini||2:02.869||1.212||0.040||45|
|10||Nicky Hayden||Ducati Team||2:03.151||1.494||0.282||33|
|11||Stefan Bradl||LCR Honda||2:03.668||2.011||0.517||44|
|12||Karel Abraham||Cardion AB Motoracing||2:03.781||2.124||0.113||45|
|13||Franco Battaini||Ducati Team||2:04.986||3.329||1.205||35|
|14||Kousuke Akiyoshi||Repsol Honda Team||2:07.163||5.506||2.177||4|
|15||Colin Edwards||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||2:08.240||6.583||1.077||21|
|16||Jordi Torres||Avintia Racing||2:10.671||9.014||2.431||42|
|17||Ivan Silva||Avintia Racing||2:11.267||9.610||0.596||12|