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.

Pol Espargaro ended the day as fastest, under the race lap record, but still over a second away from Fabio Quartararo's pole record from last November. The KTM rider finished ahead of his brother on the Aprilia, Aleix Espargaro under two tenths slower than Pol. Pol is two tenths quicker than his qualifying time here in November, while Aleix is a couple of tenths slower.

Miguel Oliveira is just over a tenth behind the Aprilia Espargaro on the Tech3 KTM, and just ahead of Ducati test rider Michele Pirro. KTM rookie Brad Binder is two thirds of a second behind his factory teammate, and ahead of Stefan Bradl on the Honda test bike. Jorge Lorenzo finishes his test on the Yamaha a second behind Pol Espargaro, and a tenth off his qualifying time at the race here last November.

Alex Marquez was absent from the test, having flown to Jakarta for the launch of the Repsol Honda team with his brother Marc. The Marquez brothers were not the only riders in Indonesia: at the same time, the Monster Energy Yamaha riders were at an event in the country. 

Times at the end of Day 3, courtesy of Hazrin Cric:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 44 Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 1:59.444    
2 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 1:59.622 0.178 0.178
3 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM RC16 1:59.748 0.304 0.126
4 51 Michele Pirro Ducati GP20 1:59.922 0.478 0.174
5 33 Brad Binder KTM RC16 2:00.099 0.655 0.177
6 6 Stefan Bradl Honda RC213V 2:00.441 0.997 0.342
7 36 Mika Kallio KTM RC16 2:00.472 1.028 0.031
8 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha M1 2:00.506 1.062 0.034
9 50 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki GSX-RR 2:00.655 1.211 0.149
10 27 Iker Lecuona KTM RC16 2:01.659 2.215 1.004
11 Y1 Yamaha Test 1 Yamaha M1 2:01.908 2.464 0.249
12 Y2 Yamaha Test 2 Yamaha M1 2:02.704 3.260 0.796
13 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia RS-GP 2:02.795 3.351 0.091
14 Y3 Yamaha Test 3 Yamaha M1 2:02.843 3.399 0.048

Sepang lap records compared:

Year No Rider Bike Time Session
2019 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP19 1:58.239 Sepang Test
2019 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha M1 1:58.303 Q2
2019 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 1:59.661 Race
           
2020 44 Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 1:59.444 Sepang Shakedown
Round Number: 
0
2020
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Comments

Who are the three unnamed Yamaha test riders-and why are they unnamed? One thing is clear though, Iwata are gathering a lot of data!

Yamaha always label their bikes rather than their riders in the test team. Nozane and Nakasuga are the riders, but they are swapping bikes between them. 

Anyone else atonished that Honda thought a media trip was more important than seat time for Alex??

When Marc can comfortably deliver the triple crown by himself, does Honda really needs a second rider? Alex is merely fulfilling Honda's contractual obligation to Dorna...

ALEIX, that is.  He sits on the sidelines for two days while Bradley Smith evaluates the GP-RS2020 then after one day on the bike, he is less than two-tenths of a second away from setting fastest time.  Not only that, his best lap time is better than ANY of the riders managed in the first two days.  Yes, I know, this is a TEST, not qualifying for a GP, but surely the contracted riders will want to see just what they can do lap time-wise after they have settled into the bike.

It will be interesting to see how much faster everyone goes on Friday when the big guns turn up.  Unless there is heavy rain in the interval, the track should be nicely rubbered up...

 

Getting Jorge back on the bike may have started slow here, fitting the bike then 40 laps shakedown. But he was is Blue, not black, and said "the bike is not too physical to ride, and I did not have any pain in my back." Early June at Catalunya is rumored to be his first Wildcard in process already. It may be tough for him to not do Jerez a month before after he is up to speed at the official test in a few days.

He will treat the official test like a race weekend, just like he treats first lap of a race pace. He will say he is doing wildcards in Europe in an interview next weekend.