2013 MotoGP Sepang 1 Test, Day 1 Times: Pedrosa Leads, Marquez Impresses, Rossi Returns, Ducati Disappoints

Dani Pedrosa has ended the first full day of MotoGP testing at Sepang at the top of the timesheets. The Repsol Honda man was fast throughout the day, finally setting a time that would not be beaten with an hour left of the test. 

Though Pedrosa's best time would not be beaten, it was challenged, Jorge Lorenzo using the final minutes of the session to post his fastest lap of the day, falling just eight thousandths short of Pedrosa, but still right on the pace. Most impressive performance of the day goes to Marc Marquez, who was fast out of the box, led the session at one point and finished the day less than five hundredths of a second behind his teammate. Marquez had been expected to make a strong start, and be within a few tenths of Pedrosa and Lorenzo, but getting within a few hundredths can be classed as exceptional.

Valentino Rossi's return to Yamaha was a happy one: the Italian was fast and smooth, leading the session at one stage and ending the day in touch with the leaders, four tenths behind Pedrosa, just under four tenths slower than Jorge Lorenzo. Stefan Bradl also impressed on the LCR Honda, now in factory spec, taking 5th spot behind Rossi, and just under a tenth ahead of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man Cal Crutchlow, who ended the day in 6th. Alvaro Bautista was the last man within a second of Pedrosa, the Gresini Honda man eight tenths off the pace of the Repsol rider.

It was a tough day for Ducati. Nicky Hayden was the fastest Ducati man, as was to be expected, but the American was over two seconds behind Pedrosa, and over a third of a second slower than the Yamaha and Honda test riders, Hayden ending the day in 10th. Andrea Dovizioso was 13th, just behind MotoGP rookie Bradley Smith on the second Tech 3 Yamaha, while the satellite Pramac Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies ended the session behind the Aspar Aprilia CRT machines of Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet. 

The weather, which had looked like disrupting the test, held off all day, leaving the MotoGP field to get in a full day of testing, with all of the riders getting plenty of laps under their belt. The hope is that the weather will continue to smile on MotoGP for the next two days, allowing the riders a chance to get a full and useful first test in at Sepang. Testing continues on Wednesday.

Times at the end of day 1:

Pos   Rider Team Time Diff Prev.
1 26 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 2:01.157    
2 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 2:01.165 0.008 0.008
3 93 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 2:01.201 0.044 0.036
4 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing 2:01.584 0.427 0.383
5 6 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda MotoGP 2:01.789 0.632 0.205
6 35 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.881 0.724 0.092
7 19 Alvaro Bautista Go & Fun Honda Gresini 2:01.981 0.824 0.100
8 T2 Katsayuki Nakasuga Yamaha Factory 2:02.968 1.811 0.987
9 72 Kosuke Akiyoshi HRC Test Team 2:02.972 1.815 0.004
10 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati Team 2:03.336 2.179 0.364
11 T1 Wataru Yoshikawa Yamaha Factory 2:03.456 2.299 0.120
12 38 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:03.460 2.303 0.004
13 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team 2:03.535 2.378 0.075
14 41 Aleix Espargaro Power Electronics Aspar 2:03.782 2.625 0.247
15 14 Randy de Puniet Power Electronics Aspar 2:04.283 3.126 0.501
16 29 Andrea Iannone Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team 2:04.500 3.343 0.217
17 11 Ben Spies Ignite Pramac Racing Team 2:05.086 3.929 0.586
18 37 Takumi Takahashi HRC Test Team 2:05.154 3.997 0.068
19 8 Hector Barbera Avintia Blusens 2:05.469 4.312 0.315
20 68 Yonny Hernandez Paul Bird Motorsport 2:05.656 4.499 0.187
21 17 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 2:05.694 4.537 0.038
22 9 Danilo Petrucci Came IodaRacing Project 2:05.753 4.596 0.059
23 7 Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia Blusens 2:05.919 4.762 0.166
24 71 Claudio Corti NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:06.426 5.269 0.507
25 33 Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport 2:06.507 5.350 0.081
26 52 Lukas Pesek Came IodaRacing Project 2:07.015 5.858 0.508
27 67 Bryan Staring Go & Fun Honda Gresini 2:07.044 5.887 0.029
28 5 Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team 2:08.206 7.049 1.162

Lap records and 2012 Sepang 1 times:

Pole Record 2012 Jorge Lorenzo 2:00.334
Lap Record 2007 Casey Stoner 2:02.108
2012 Sepang 1 Day 1 fastest Jorge Lorenzo 2:01.657
2012 Sepang 1 Overall fastest Casey Stoner 1:59.607


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2013 looks promising to be a cracking season if the times of the top six remain this close. I don't think DP and JL will have it all their own way either, very impressive times from MM and good to see VR at feeling home on a motorcycle again and I'm sure those few extra tenths will come back to him. Bradl and Crutchlow are where they should be and impressively neither too far off the top four.

Are Ducati standing still or actually going backwards because they are now behind the Japanese test riders in the timesheets? I know it's early days but I think AD and BS are now just finding out actually how bad that bike is, and they now know that they are in for a very very tough season.

Although the CRT Aspars are mixing with the Dukes it's still a 2 tier championship, and what on earth has happened to CE? I hope it's teething troubles with the new bike holding him back and not a lack of motivation.

Dont forget Spies hasnt ridden since October , and according to CE's twitter he has a pinched nerve in his neck ( old injury flareup)

just some clarification on bradl's bike dave...is it a full factory spec like the repsols or was he getting it from next year...coz I think this year he's having the same bike as alvaro's?

Bradl gets the factory-spec RC213V for 2013, so that's this year. Similar set up as Simoncelli in 2011.

Ducati stood still. Everyone else moved forward. They've said as much, that the bike hasn't changed at all since the end of season Valencia test. Mystifying why they didn't try to do anything. You can't stand still during an offseason and expect to become more competitive. All 4 of these riders are about to waste a year of their careers.

Ducati had some internal shuffling during the break, during which there was virtually no development on the bike, which is supposedly to let two or three of their four-rider roster come to grips with where the bike actually is right now, since they are complete foreigners to the Desmo. Two of the four riders also had some kind of health setback that didn't let them do the post-season tests. I believe Ducati's development plan at this point is to chip away at the problem(s), rather than throw massive updates/upgrades en masse.

I'm not entirely sure why anyone would expect big strides from Ducati on the very first pre-season test.

If Dovi and Spies ARE now realizing just how bad/different the Desmo is from what they've previously known, then good. That will give them some direction to go or work away from.

Ducati's going to chip away, so we'll just have to wait and let the chips fall where they may.

Troy Bayliss
Alex Barros
Toni Elias
Sete Gibernau

Not exactly a listing of the junior varsity squad as all are former world champions or motogp race winners. All but Capirex on this list failed. Essentially all said they could not ride the bike due to the inability to feel and turn.
I am willing to bet there are reams of data. I am willing to bet there is a common problem described too.
Why is Ducati bringing last year's bike again?

& it's only getting worse. Over the off season I was watching the 2006-2008 seasons. In 2006 the Ducati wasn't half bad. Front row starts, wins, podiums, more than one rider doing well. Even Bayliss as a one off wildcard jumped on it and trounced the field in Valencia. Unimaginable now. 2007 seemed to be when it started to go pear shaped. There was that early season straight line power advantage and Bridgestones seemed to work well but Loris went from title challenger in 2006 to lost in 2007. Only Stoner as the Ducati whisperer could use it to advantage but by 2008 you could see even he was having problems with the bike. Early 2008 looked like he was in trouble until they figured something out at Catalunya where he started a charge and finished the season well. 2009 he was ill but so seemed the Ducati and by 2010 it almost seemed like on any given race he'd either win it or bin it. Most telling is Hayden's trajectory on it. Hayden is a serious talent but not as peculiar to understand as Casey and the Ducati. Hayden started out rough getting to grips with it but by the middle of his first Year on Ducati he was in the top ten on all occasions he finished except two and even got a podium. 2010 he improved and was top 8 in all finishes but one and had a string of 4th places. 2011 started the slide back for him where he only placed higher than 7th three times. 2012 he was top 5 only once and mostly hung around the 7th place. All of this from a former world champ and Ducati's most consistent rider apart from Stoner. It doesn't look good. You can see Hayden really has to work hard at putting a positive face forward. I feel for all the Ducati riders and factory. I'd hate to see them slip out the bottom of MotoGP as a failure.

Marc Marquez appears to be a part of a new generation that is going to come in and take the reigns. His times are exceptional. Dani and Jorge are looking their normal selves. Rossi back on Yamaha looks more comfortable and relaxed than he has in a LONG time. Even calling it "his bike", that suits his style the best. Looks like he can feel the clock ticking on his career.

Ducati... Dovi's looked like he was on the verge of a anxiety attack. Ianonne looked like the concentration he had to use had drained him. Did not really see Spies. Hayden looked his normal hardworking self. Head down, and staying positive, (which he REALLY is not given credit for how positive he stays.)

Kawasaki CRTs look pretty good, and that Spec ECU seems to be getting good reviews.

It definetly has been this way ever since Stoner left Ducati, the pst two years there have been only 3 podiums to anyone other than a Honda and Yamaha, to Vale all times, not even when Suzuki was around were they able to challenge in any way...

And it is going to stay that way for a while...

So what was that rumor that moto2 is not valid for riders to graduate on to MotoGP bikes? Marquez seems to prove no such notion. He'll really be one to watch. I remember several l'enfant teribbles coming to the top class who have promised much and done much but I can't remember any so strong right away. Will be interesting to see how he goes through the rest of the tests and season.

Oh, Ducati. Gives me sick pit in my stomach to see them in the shits. I fear for the likes of Spies, Dovi, & Iannone. Ducati is looking like a career graveyard these days. Rossi seems only to have escaped that noose by the weight of his record and popularity. Come on Audi send in the troops!

It would be nice to have the actual bikes of the riders in the results list, instead of just the team names. There's a lot of team names that don't specify the motorcycle brand, or in case of CRT's the brand of engine and chassis.
Last year as well there were many of those CRT bikes that were only listed by chassis name (which does't mean much to most people, I guess). Also in tv/webstream commentary, engine makes are seldom mentioned. Is that deliberately?
I would almost suspect that Ezpeleta doesn't want engine manufacturers get 'free' publicity in his MotoGP show when they don't enter a full-blown factory team.