MotoGP: Pol Espargaro Quickest On Day Two Of Sepang Shakedown Test

MotoGP: Pol Espargaro Quickest On Day Two Of Sepang Shakedown Test

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

Shakedown Lowdown: Day 2

Yamaha and Honda race riders join the fray on Friday in Sepang

Friday, 02 February 2024

The Shakedown is hotting up! A host more riders joined the fray on Friday but it was still Red Bull KTM Factory Racing on top, this time thanks to test rider Pol Espargaro. He ended Day 2 of the Shakedown fastest with a 1:58.241, a lap time just under three tenths clear of Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), taking part for the first time on Friday. Rookie sensation Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) continued to impress, third quickest and just thousandths off 2021 Champion Quartararo.

 

Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

After remaining on the sidelines for the opening day of Shakedown action, the Yamaha and Honda riders all allowed to take part thanks to the new concessions system – catch up on that HERE – headed out.  Luca Marini (Repsol Honda Team) was the first rider on track, with teammate Joan Mir, Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR) and Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda LCR) also in action. Likewise, Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) got stuck in, settling in to his new team.

 

Alex Rins (42) on his new Yamaha YZR-M1. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Alex Rins (42) on his new Yamaha YZR-M1. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Acosta continues to impress

It was another eye-catching day for MotoGP™’s sole 2024 rookie Acosta. The #31’s best time on Day 2 was a 1:58.531. For context, Brad Binder’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) quickest time at the 2023 Malaysian GP was a 1:58.080 (Q2), Augusto Fernandez’ (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) was a 1:58.107 (Q1) and Jack Miller’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was a 1:58.232 (PR)…

 

Rookie Pedro Acosta (31). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Rookie Pedro Acosta (31). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

The aero game continues

A new piece of front aero – more specifically a front fender wing – was spotted on Dani Pedrosa’s Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine on Day 2, while Aprilia Racing – with Lorenzo Savadori – continued to lap on the Noale factory’s new ‘Batmobile’ rear wing (below). Honda and Stefan Bradl have been busy testing an upgraded stegosaurus-looking rear wing too, as you can see from the photos on motogp.com.

 

Lorenzo Savadori's (32) Aprilia RS-GP had a new aerodynamic tail section. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Lorenzo Savadori’s (32) Aprilia RS-GP had a new aerodynamic tail section. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

In the hands of Michele Pirro, Ducati’s main aero update that we’ve seen so far – teased by Gigi Dall’Igna at the 2024 team launch – comes on the side fairing. The addition of a further “ground effect” panel can be seen next to Ducati’s usual downwash duct, so it will be interesting to hear the comments of the riders on what effect this has.

 

Michele Pirro (51) on his Ducati Desmosedici prototype. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Michele Pirro (51) on his Ducati Desmosedici prototype. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Getting up to speed

For the full-time riders, most of the day was spent getting themselves back in the groove on a MotoGP™ bike after the winter break. Quartararo and Rins had three bikes – two ’23 spec and one ’24 spec – each, with Mir spending a lot of his time on the bike he used at the Valencia Test. The same can be said for Marini, with the Italian largely focusing on adapting to the RC213V.

 

Luca Marini (10) on his new Honda RC213V. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Luca Marini (10) on his new Honda RC213V. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

A heavy rain shower meant dry running was cut short on Friday ahead of the final day of Shakedown testing on Saturday. But there’s still plenty more to come! Keep up with all action across our social media channels and on motogp.com, before the full grid heads out for the official Sepang Test next week!

 

BEST LAPS BY RIDER: DAY 2

1    Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 1:58.241

2    Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) +0.283

3    Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) +0.290

4    Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) +0.409

5    Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.431

6    Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) +0.846

7    Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR) +0.850

8    Luca Marini (Repsol Honda Team) +0.971

9    Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda LCR) +1.028

10  Stefan Bradl (Honda Test Team) +1.529

11  Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Factory Racing) +1.633

12  Michele Pirro (Ducati Lenovo Team) +1.915

13  Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing) +2.579

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