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Feb 6, 2019

MotoGP: Marc Marquez Quickest On Day One Of Testing At Sepang (Updated)

Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy of Dorna/www.motogp.com.

FIM MotoGP World Championship Test

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

February 6, 2019

Day One Best Lap Times (all on Michelin tires):

1. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:59.621

2. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 1:59.880

3. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), 1:59.937

4. Tito Rabat, Spain (Ducati), 1:59.983

5. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), 2:00.051

6. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), 2:00.054

7. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), 2:00.158

8. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 2:00.197

9. Stefan Bradl, Germany (Honda), 2:00.214*

10. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), 2:00.313

11. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), 2:00.383

12. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Yamaha), 2:00.460

13. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 2:00.602

14. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), 2:00.681

15. Francesco Bagnaia, Italy (Ducati), 2:00.694

16. Miguel Oliveira, Portugal (KTM), 2:00.902

17. Yamaha Test Rider 1, Japan (Yamaha), 2:00.965*#

18. Fabio Quartararo, France (Yamaha), 2:00.985

19. Mika Kallio, Finland (KTM), 2:01.054*

20. Johann Zarco, France (KTM), 2:01.121

21. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Aprilia), 2:01.249

22. Sylvain Guintoli, France (Suzuki), 2:01.286*

23. Joan Mir, Spain (Suzuki), 2:01.432

24. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), 2:01.627

25. Yamaha Test Rider 2, Japan (Yamaha), 2:01.736*#

26. Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia (KTM), 2:01.853

*test rider
#Yamaha's test bikes are being shared by test riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Kohta Nozane and Jonas Folger.



More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech 3:

Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo is back in the saddle in Malaysia

With a shakedown test and the official IRTA test, the premier class protagonists where back in action at the beginning of February. While Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin already used some track time at the Sepang International Circuit last week, the proceedings in preparation of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship season kicked off for the entire field today in scorching conditions.

Thereby, MotoGP rookie Oliveira used day one of three to asses several electronic settings. During his final run, the Portuguese did a fastest lap of 2:00.902 minutes and climbed up the standings to 16th, while completing 59 laps in total. On the other side, Malaysian local hero Syahrin tested a handful of new evolutions, including a shock, a new fork and some winglets, plus different settings of his KTM RC16 to eventually conclude Wednesday 0.951 seconds behind his teammate following 49 intense laps at his home track.

(Above) Miguel Oliveira (88).

Miguel Oliveira

Position: 16th – Time: 2:00.902 – Laps: 59

“Our day has been good. We had a small step back because we couldn’t run as much as we wanted with both bikes and the changes took us quite long, but the team did a really great job. We adapted our program and managed to test everything that we wanted. We did many good laps, which is a positive sign. Finally, to do a fast lap at the end was ok, in general I had a decent pace. So, I’m happy with this first day and look forward to improve tomorrow.”

(Above) Hafizh Syahrin (55).

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 26th – Time: 2:01.853 – Laps: 49

“My first impression was great after the long break following the test in Jerez. It has been a long wait, but in the end, we had the shakedown a bit earlier than some other teams. Overall, I feel good, although we are still a bit far. I was working hard to improve many things in order to try to find the best setup for my new bike, but at the moment I don’t have a good feeling with the rear. Nevertheless, with the front I have some great sensations. Tomorrow we’ll try to find a solution to get more grip on the rear and to improve the exit of the corners.”



More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Marquez fastest on day one in Sepang

Focusing on quality rather than quantity, Marc Marquez quickly got back up to speed at the Sepang Test as he set the fastest time of the day.

With a dry start to proceedings at the Sepang International Circuit, the Repsol Honda Team were eager to get underway and Marc Marquez soon entered the track. Over the winter, a number of new parts and modifications have been made to the RC213V to ensure it will once again be challenging for the MotoGP™ World Championship. The conditions gave Marquez a chance to understand both the 2019 Honda RC213V and the condition of his left shoulder.

Despite only riding until just before 14:00 Local Time, Marquez was able to set a 1’59.621 and move to the top of the time sheets. By ending early, Marquez was able to undergo further physiotherapy on his shoulder and rest ahead of day two at the Sepang Test. Marquez concluded the day as the fastest rider, 0.259s ahead of second placed Rins.

Official Test Rider Stefan Bradl continued aboard the RC213V, completing 61 laps and ending day one in ninth place.

(Above) Marc Marquez (93).

Marc Marquez

“I’m very happy to ride again after a long winter, but I was expecting to be better than I was. I still don’t have full power, for one or two laps it’s ok but I had to change my riding style to compensate. We stopped early to save myself for the rest of the test, there are still two days and we will see what the feeling is. Honda have been working really hard this winter and we tried a few things, but the list is really big. We’re trying the most important things first. The bike is already at a good point, but there's always more to try before Qatar.”



More, from a press release issued by Mission Winnow Ducati:

Petrucci 5th and Dovizioso 8th with the Mission Winnow Ducati team in the first day of official MotoGP tests at Sepang

After presenting its new lineup and livery at Neuchâtel (Switzerland) two weeks ago, the Mission Winnow Ducati team officially started its 2019 campaign at Sepang (Malaysia), home of a three-day official MotoGP test.

In the first day of testing, characterized by hot, sunny conditions – with more than 30 degrees outside and 55 on the tarmac – Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso started their respective programs slightly after 10 a.m. and took advantage of the track time to work across the board and evaluate technical upgrades on the Desmosedici GP19, which was already taken to the track for a shakedown by the official test rider Michele Pirro in the previous days.

Petrucci finished the opening day in fifth place in the standings – characterized by narrow gaps, with the first 13 riders within a second – with a personal best of 2:00.051, posted in lap 8 of 54. Dovizioso finished just 0.146 seconds behind his teammate in 2:00.197 with 49 laps to his tally.

(Above) Danilo Petrucci (9).

Danilo Petrucci (#9, Mission Winnow Ducati) – 2:00.051 (5th)

"It's been a positive first day. Despite the fact that we didn't try a flying lap, I was able to be quick right away this morning with medium tyres. On the other hand, we still need to improve when temperatures rise and grip levels decrease, so tomorrow we'll focus on this. Physically I don't feel fatigued, which means I followed the right conditioning regime over the winter break, and for tomorrow we have a couple of longer runs on schedule during the hottest time of the day. We have a solid base already, which is the most important thing. Also, I have to say it was pretty emotional to go out with the new livery for the first time."

(Above) Andrea Dovizioso (04).

Andrea Dovizioso (#04, Mission Winnow Ducati) – 2:00.197 (8th)

"Today has been really positive because we found the track in good conditions already and the weather stayed dry. We made some comparisons but we haven't found substantial differences yet so we need to make more evaluations in the following days. We have a really good base, and the work done by Michele Pirro is always helpful to this end, because he can try some components beforehand, saving us precious time. Also, I felt great physically, so I'm pretty happy overall."

The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action tomorrow for the second of three days of official tests.



More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Marquez returns from injury to top Day 1 at Sepang

The number 93 takes top honours despite his ongoing recovery

Wednesday, 06 February 2019

Despite still suffering the effects of surgery on his left shoulder during the winter break, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has topped the timesheets on Day 1 at the Sepang Test with a 1:59.621, 0.259 faster than Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in second and 0.316 quicker than third place Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as 2019 revs back into life. Marquez completed 29 laps on Day 1 before stopping in the early afternoon to give his left shoulder a rest ahead of the next two days, with the reigning World Champion heading for more physio in the afternoon. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo sits out the test due to injury, but there were three Hondas in the top ten as Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), fastest in Jerez, took seventh and Stefan Bradl (Honda Test Team) ended Day 1 in P9, just under six tenths off Marquez.

LCR Honda Castrol rider Cal Crutchlow, meanwhile, returned from his ankle injury sustained at Phillip Island with a solid 51 laps on Wednesday, ending his first time back on a bike in P14 with a 2:00.681.

Alex Rins was one of the big headlines of the day, able to put in a substantial 61 laps on board his 2019 GSX-RR and was fastest for some time until deposed by Marquez. He remained second after his earlier fast lap, however, and was the lead Hamamatsu machine by quite a stretch. Rookie teammate Joan Mir ended the day in P23, just behind veteran French test rider Sylvain Guintoli.

There were positive signs from Yamaha on the timesheets. Maverick Viñales ended the day in P3 after 63 laps with a best of 1:59.937, with teammate Valentino Rossi in P6 after 56 laps and just over a tenth off Viñales. The Iwata marque are focusing on final decisions for their 2019 engine, the electronics and some chassis elements – and say comparing their times to competitors’ is a key point of interest after an intense winter of work.

New team on the block Petronas Yamaha SRT, meanwhile, had Franco Morbidelli just outside the top ten in P12 after 60 laps – only eight tenths off the top – with rookie teammate Fabio Quartararo a further half a second in arrears in P18 on tight timesheets.

Just behind Viñales, meanwhile, was the first of the Borgo Panigale machines – but it was Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat who took that honour. Less than half a tenth off Viñales and the last man under the two-minute barrier, the Spaniard impressed on his first day back on a MotoGP™ machine at fuller strength, having missed much of the latter part of last season following his crash at Silverstone. Just behind him came the first of the Mission Winnow Ducati machines in the form of new arrival Danilo Petrucci, with the Italian just 0.003 ahead of Rossi after 54 laps. 2017 and 2018 runner up Andrea Dovizioso, meanwhile, ended Day 1 of 2019 in P8 with a 2:00.197.

Jack Miller wasn’t far off the second factory machine despite a small crash either, with the Aussie taking P11 – three tenths off ‘DesmoDovi’ and lead Alma Pramac Racing machine. Rookie teammate Francesco Bagnaia – reigning Moto2™ Champion – made for close company too, impressing in P15 as the fastest debutant.

Completing the top ten was an impressive day’s work for Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who put in a fitting 44 laps with a best of 2:00.313 despite a crash at the end. The Spaniard took the honours of lead Austrian machine by sixth tenths, although the second KTM on the timesheets was an equally stunning performance: rookie Miguel Oliveira of Red Bull KTM Tech 3, despite a brief technical issue. The Portuguese rider finished the day in P16 and only just off fastest newcomer Bagnaia, making a big impression on Day 1 after more difficult tests at Valencia and Jerez. Experienced test rider Mika Kallio was in P19, just ahead of Espargaro’s new teammate Johann Zarco as the Frenchman continued his adaptation in P20.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was the fastest Noale machine in P13 and said the 2019 bike is a definite improvement, with the Spaniard putting in 55 laps to end the first day of the season just ahead of Crutchlow. New teammate Andrea Iannone was down in P21 and suffered a crash, ending the day 1.6 seconds off Marquez as he continues to get used to his new machinery.

That’s it from Day 1 and somehow, it’s still that familiar number 93 at the top of the timesheets despite the reigning Champion’s surgery and tough off season. Is it a one-off? Or will he repeat it tomorrow and manage to come out swinging at full strength in Qatar, too? Find out on Day 2 in Malaysian with bikes on track from 10:00am local time (GMT +8) until 18:00, with updates throughout the day and comprehensive analysis on motogp.com.



More, from a press release issued by Alma Pramac Racing:

The 2019 MotoGP season officially started today with the first day of testing under the very hot sun of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

It was a day of intense work with the common intention of regaining confidence with the bikes after the long winter break.

Jack Miller - who will ride the 2019 version of the Ducati Desmosedici GP - completed 51 laps remaining for almost the entire session permanently in the Top 10, then finishing in 11th position, 7 tenths of a second from Marc Marquez's best lap-time.

After Valencia and Jerez tests, Francesco Bagnaia (49 laps completed) got back on track riding his Ducati Desmosedici GP 2018 with many targets such as improving his feeling with the tyres. Pecco finished 15th, less than 4 tenths of a second off the top 10.

(Above) Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia (63).

P15 – Pecco Bagnaia (49 laps)

"I made a first positive day especially this morning when I managed to keep a convincing pace. In the afternoon we put on a new tyre to improve the lap time but I didn't feel comfortable. Tomorrow we will work to see how we can improve in this area. All in all, I am happy: we are on the right path".

(Above) Jake Miller (43).

P11 - Jack Miller (51 laps)

"I trained a lot during the winter break but riding a MotoGP bike in conditions like the ones we found today is something else. The feeling is good and I think the first day of testing was positive. It's a shame about the small crash - without any particular consequences - that forced me to change bike. All things considered, I'm satisfied".



More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:

First laps on home soil for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo take 2019 bow with good feelings on their Yamaha YZR-M1 machines in front of the passionate home fans at Sepang International Circuit.

The first day of the 2019 preseason finally arrived today and the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team quickly got to work on a day of testing that saw the two riders accumulate a total of 125 laps. Both riders spent 5 hours on track today, taking a break at midday due to the high temperatures registered at the Sepang International Circuit. In front of a number of excited home fans Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo were able to enjoy their new bikes on a positive first day of three at this test.

Morbidelli clocked up 60 laps (333km) in the intense heat, providing valuable information to the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT engineers. A fastest time of 2’00.460 came on his 58th lap and left him twelfth fastest overall, with the Italian in positive mood after establishing a good feeling with his Yamaha.

His teammate Quartararo continued with his adaptation to MotoGP and his new bike in front of the enthusiastic home support. The Frenchman completed 65 laps of the Sepang International Circuit (360km), with a best time of 2’00.985 on his 45th lap, leaving him 18th on the timesheets.

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT will continue working tomorrow from 10am to 6pm local time, with the test due to conclude on 8th February.

(Above) Franco Morbidelli (21).

#21 Franco Morbidelli

“We are really happy with the first day of the test here at the Sepang International Circuit - the feeling with the bike was similar to the way it was at the end of 2018, even though today we weren’t super fast. We focused this morning on getting back up to speed because it has been two months since I last rode a MotoGP bike. In the afternoon we worked more on the medium and used tyres to see how the bike behaved and gathering data for analysis. We finished up on the soft compound but it wasn’t a real time attack. The Yamaha bike flows well and is very stable, which I think helps me a lot with my riding style. It also suits the characteristics of this track a lot. I am delighted with the support that the factory is giving me and the way they are listening to and analysing my feedback.”

(Above) Fabio Quartararo (20).

#20 Fabio Quartararo

“We were really looking forward to riding again after two months off the bike and we were excited for the first day here at the Sepang International Circuit. It wasn’t easy to get a feeling for a bike with so much power but I thought the first few laps would be more difficult. I am happy because we have taken a step forward, in that [at Jerez] I needed a lot of laps to set a fast time but today we were able to do a qualifying time after just two laps. The test here at Sepang is different to Jerez, which is a much smaller circuit, whereas here we have some very long straights and it is very hot. Tomorrow we need to keep working on the bike and try to find a better feeling under braking, which is where we are lacking. I’m really keen to just keep on learning.”



More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:

MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP START THEIR 2019 TEST CAMPAIGN

Sepang (Malaysia), 6th February 2019

SEPANG MOTOGP TEST

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team had been looking forward to this day for months. They got to show off their 2019 team colours in action on the first of three testing days at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi spent the day working through a number of items and secured third and sixth place respectively in today‘s results.

3rd

MAVERICK VIÑALES

1'59.937 / 63 LAPS

6th

VALENTINO ROSSI

2'00.054 / 56 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have started their 2019 MotoGP pre-season testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today. The new bike livery was a hot topic on the first of the three riding days in Malaysia, but for the team the focus lay solely on improving the bike‘s performance. After a full-on day of testing, the team-mates took third and sixth place respectively in today‘s time sheets.

Viñales had been looking forward to riding again for months, and it showed. He headed out of pit lane aboard his no.12 YZR-M1 just after 10:40 (GMT+8), a few minutes after his team-mate. He was quick to put his name towards the top of the rankings, moving up to fourth place on his first run.

Having refamiliarised himself with the Sepang track, he then put his attention towards trying the various testing items, and with success. The Spaniard set a 1‘59.937s for provisional second place on lap 28/63 around midday, before finalising his testing programme. Though he couldn‘t beat his own time in the hot afternoon, he is feeling confident having completed the session in third place, 0.316s from first.

Rossi also didn‘t let any time go to waste on the first day of testing in Malaysia. He was quick to head out on track, to start a packed morning of testing.

Though he was mainly concerned with building on his findings from the previous testing days in Spain, he steadily gained pace in the first two hours on track. His fastest lap from his morning runs was a 2‘00.054s, set on lap 22/56, that initially put him in fourth place. He was unable to further improve his position in the time sheets due to the change in track conditions in the afternoon, but his best effort from this morning kept him in sixth place, 0.433s from the top.

(Above) Maverick Vinales (12).

MAVERICK VIÑALES

“I'm actually really happy, because I felt good straight away. I trained quite a lot with bikes this winter, so physically I'm OK. I want to do the three days with maximum power, so I can be quite precise, especially on the track. There's room to improve and that is very important if we want to battle for this championship. I would like to improve the acceleration and also a little bit the breaking areas, where we struggled last year, so I'm really focused on that.”

(Above) Valentino Rossi (46).

VALENTINO ROSSI

“First of all it is a great feeling to be back on the bike and I enjoyed it even though it was very tough physically, because it was very hot for the first test. The first day is quite positive for us, because I always had a good feeling with the bike and we worked very much on improving the grip and our lap times, especially with used tyres. As it is the first day, I looked a bit at the pace of the strong guys, and we are not so bad. It looks like we made some improvements compared to last year.”




More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:

CRUTCHLOW MAKES POSITIVE RETURN TO MOTOGP ACTION AFTER LONG INJURY LAY-OFF

The LCR Honda CASTROL Team and their star rider Cal Crutchlow finally returned to MotoGP track action today, with the first day of pre-season tests at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

The British rider had been enjoying a fantastic 2018 season until he crashed during practice at the Australian Grand Prix in late October. He suffered extensive damage to his right ankle, and after surgery and a winter of rehabilitation, Crutchlow finally threw his leg back over his factory Honda RC213V on Wednesday.

With good weather allowing a full day of tests, Crutchlow managed an impressive 51 laps, and in the afternoon was able to get his first taste of Honda’s 2019 factory machine.

Testing continues on Thursday and Friday in Malaysia.

(Above) Cal Crutchlow (35).

Cal Crutchlow – 14th

(2’00.681 – lap 24 of 51)

“I feel good. It’s really nice to be back out there on the motorcycle and working with the LCR Honda CASTROL Team and HRC again here in Malaysia. I thought it was going to be a difficult day, but I was honest about how it was feeling. The first laps were so strange, I went round the track thinking I was doing a 2’01, but I was in the 2’08s or something! "

“I don’t feel fantastic, but I feel I can be competitive this season - which is great. I didn’t really push too hard today, I just worked on trying to understand my feeling on the bike again after so long off. The team did a great job today, they were patient with me with regards to my information. It seemed I quite quickly got back into the way I normally work, so I enjoyed it. I’m confident that if I needed to go one second quicker, I would have.”

“I got to ride the 2019 machine this afternoon. The plan was always for me to start on the 2018 bike anyway, to get back some familiarity with me riding again. I feel HRC have done a good job with the new bike. We need to adjust the setting as is usual and understand it a bit more because it is different to what I’ve been used to, but as expected they’ve done a good job and we’re pleased with how it feels.”



More, from a press release issued by  Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

SOLID START FOR TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR IN SWELTERING SEPANG

Alex Rins: 2nd - 1:59.880 (+ 0.259)

Sylvain Guintoli: 22nd - 2:01.286 (+ 1.665)

Joan Mir: 23rd - 2:01.432 (+ 1.811)

•Alex Rins feeling strong and placing well.

•Joan Mir getting back in touch with the GSX-RR.

•Sylvain Guintoli carrying out crucial test role.

After what seemed like a long winter break for the riders, it was finally time to get back on track at Sepang International Circuit for the first pre-season test of the year.

Extremely high temperatures made for a challenging opening day in Malaysia, with track temperatures peaking at 65 degrees Celsius in the afternoon, and air temperatures around 31ºC, meaning most of the fastest laps were set in the morning.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s three riders got the 2019 GSX-RR on track and reported good feelings despite the heat. Alex Rins completed 61 laps - the second highest number of the day - he spent some time topping the time sheets and placed 2nd when the chequered flag came out, one of only four riders under the two minute mark with a 1:59.880. MotoGP rookie, Joan Mir, was pleased to get reacquainted with his bike, which he said had improved during winter. He put in 55 laps, and was 23rd at the end of the session. Meanwhile, Sylvain Guintoli focused his time on new components, totalling 58 laps and finishing 22nd.

The riders will be back on track tomorrow for another full day of testing.

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

“Today was a positive day because we went through our programme and we tried different settings. We’re working on the 2019 bike and trying to find the best base setting as well as trying to improve the package overall, using different combinations of parts. So far so good, Alex set strong lap times, not just one isolated ‘fast lap’, but many good quality laps. We were able to get helpful comments and feedback from him. Joan was restarting again with the bike and he is still gaining experience, but he did some useful testing, gave us good feedback and told us his impressions. Everything went smoothly today, let’s continue to work tomorrow.”

(Above) Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy of Dorna.

Alex Rins

“My first impressions are very good. We have a lot of new parts here to try, aiming to build on our 2019 bike. The lap times and race pace already felt strong today, so I feel we have a lot of potential. I’m aiming to start the year in the best way so I can put together a strong and consistent season from the very beginning. I feel good about what we’ve achieved today.”

(Above) Joan Mir (36).

Joan Mir

“It was a hard day with a lot of work, but we made good progress, and we’ll also be trying a lot of other things in the next couple of days. I feel like a fully-fledged rider now, and the focus today was on the bike, but I will also be focusing a bit on myself tomorrow and Friday so that I can gain more experience and knowledge. I felt an improvement in the bike since I last rode it in Jerez, I really like how the bike is now, and I think everything’s going in a good direction.”

(Above) Sylvain Guintoli (50).

Sylvain Guintoli

“I’ve been with the team for a few days of testing ahead of this official test, but it feels great to be back on track with all the riders. It’s been a very good and productive day for us. We’re trying some new components for the 2019 package and they were very good, and we made some useful discoveries. In the next days, Alex and Joan can try these things too. I think I set my best ever time in Sepang today, and the rhythm was good as well, it’s been a nice day of work, I did 58 laps and the feeling is positive.”



More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:

 LCR HONDA IDEMITSU AND NAKAGAMI IN SEPANG

After MotoGP’s two-month winter testing ban finally came to an end, the LCR Honda Idemitsu Team returned to track action today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

Takaaki Nakagami was particularly eager to return to action on board his RC213V, after having topped the timesheets at the final test session of 2018 in Jerez back in November. After a short period of reacquainting himself with his machine on Wednesday, the Japanese star was back in the groove, setting the eighth fastest time of the day.

The MotoGP field remain in Sepang for two further days of testing on Thursday and Friday.

(Above) Takaaki Nakagami (30).

Takaaki Nakagami – 7th

(2’00.158 – lap 54 of 55)

“The overall position isn’t so bad, but this morning it took a bit of time to get the feeling back with the bike. The last time we rode was in November so you notice two months without sitting on a MotoGP bike! During the winter I have done lots of training to prepare for the season ahead, but even then, it is always different to the real thing.”

“Step by step I got the feeling back with the bike and the lap time was eventually quite good. We need to focus a lot on the set-up of the machine at the moment, we are still not happy with the braking stability, but for the first day it’s not so bad. We have no new parts, so it’s quite simple for us, we just focus on what we’ve got and make it feel as good as possible.”



More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:

SWEAT AND TOIL AS 2019 MOTOGP GETS GOING AT SEPANG

MotoGP 2019 IRTA test Sepang (MYS)

KTM’s four-strong MotoGP effort turned their wheels in anger for the first time in 2019 as the stopwatches started on the opener of two official pre-season tests before the nineteen round Grand Prix campaign gets underway in Qatar in March.

Red Bull KTM and Red Bull KTM Tech3 used the searing heat of the Sepang circuit for two days of private work prior to the gathering of the full grid for the IRTA test. Aerodynamics, engine set-up and other modifications for the race configuration of the KTM RC16 were on the agenda for Pol Espargaro, Johann Zarco and Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin.

Espargaro notched 44 laps in the oppressive heat and registered the third quickest lap-time at the midway stage of the first day. The Spaniard had a small front end ‘tuck’ with about an hour and a half to go before the end of the eight hour window but was pleased with his progress (10th) and the best chrono just 0.6 of a second from the leading time. Zarco (20th) ploughed ahead with his familiarisation of his racebike over more than 60 laps and expressed his contentment with increased comfort for what was just his third outing on the KTM.

Tech 3 duo Oliviera (16th) and Syahrin (26th) had their own work plan. After an early setback the Portuguese was the second fastest of the quartet while his teammate was able to use his copious knowledge of the Malaysian course to get further acquainted with the RC16.

The schedule continues tomorrow before the teams consider the second test at the end of the month at Losail in Qatar.

(Above) Pol Espargaro (44). Photo by Gold & Goose, courtesy of KTM.

Pol Espargaro: “I’m happy. We did some good steps. We are looking for a bit more grip and a compromise between the engine and electronics and these things. I had a small crash at the end of the day but I think we are in a good way. We are trying a lot of things; and a lot of them you cannot see! Our main target is to improve the whole package. At the moment I am satisfied. Even if the lap-times don't always come at a test you are still learning.”

(Above) Johann Zarco (5). Photo by Gold & Goose, courtesy of KTM.

Johann Zarco: “This morning I had a nice feeling and things were coming easy because we’d had two days of private testing. We confirmed things on the bike and confirmed feelings instead of making big changes. It is a ‘long’ work and that's why there is not big improvements all the time but compared to November when I started I had much more control and I can give clearer information. I’m positive because I know where we want to go. I trust the bike more and more.”

Miguel Oliveira: “Our day has been good. We had a small step back because we couldn’t run as much as we wanted with both bikes but the team did a really great job. We adapted our program and managed to test everything that we wanted. We did many good laps, which is a positive sign. Finally, to do a fast lap at the end was OK; in general I had a decent pace. So, I’m happy with this first day and look forward to improve tomorrow.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “It has been a long wait, but in the end, we had the shakedown a bit earlier than some other teams. Overall, I feel good, although we are still a bit far. I was working hard to improve many things in order to try to find the best setup for my new bike. Tomorrow we’ll try to find a solution to get more grip on the rear and to improve the exit of the corners.”

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