MotoGP Testing, Sepang Shakedown | Espargaro quickest as Quartararo, Marini join fray on day two

KTM development rider Pol Espargaro turned in the quickest time as day two of pre-season MotoGP shakedown at Sepang saw the official riders from Yamaha and Honda join the fray.

After day one of the three day test was dedicated solely to the five manufacturer’s development riders, plus sole 2024 MotoGP rookie Pedro Acosta, day two saw Yamaha Racing, Repsol Honda and LCR Honda’s racing riders get in their first laps of the year.

The move to allow Yamaha and Honda to submit their race riders for shakedown is a new development for 2024 and is part of Dorna and the FIM giving the two Japanese firms concessionary allowances for testing in an effort to speed up development having fallen adrift of Ducati, KTM and Aprilia in terms of results last year.

It meant Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins were on track for Yamaha – the latter preparing for his first season with the 2021 MotoGP World Champions – while Honda had new signings Luca Marini (Repsol) and Johann Zarco (LCR) alongside the familiar Joan Mir and Takaaki Nakagami.

After heavy rain washed out the second half of the day, the top spot was held by KTM Factory Racing’s Espargaro, the Spaniard bettering stablemate Dani Pedrosa’s Thursday best of 1m 59.233s with a benchmark of 1m 58.241secs – just under a second off Pecco Bagnaia’s lap record from the 2023 Malaysian MotoGP.

Quartararo chased the RC16 in second position on the Yamaha M1, the Frenchman three tenths adrift of Espargaro and just up on newcomer Pedro Acosta, the Moto2 World Champion impressing again to slot into third, just 0.007s off the 2021 champ.

Yamaha new boy Rins was the last rider to make an improvement before storms swept in, the Spaniard – who had a race-winning but injury stunted single season with LCR Honda in 2023 – showing promisingly in fourth.

That nipped him ahead of Pedrosa, who – along with Acosta – turned heads with some curious new aero on the RC16, including a small ‘aerial-like’ wing in front of the front mudguard.

In sixth, Mir was the best of the five-strong Honda contingent on track, the Repsol man just 0.004secs faster than ex-Pramac Ducati rider Zarco, with Marini eighth just 0.2secs adrift of his new factory team-mate.

Shakedown testing continues and concludes on Saturday with the same 13 riders in attendance, before they will be joined by Ducati, KTM and Aprilia’s race entries for the start of official pre-season testing at the Malaysian circuit on 6 February [Tuesday].

🇲🇾 ⏱️ 2024 MotoGP Pre-Season Shakedown Testing Results | Sepang, Malaysia | Day 2 of 3 [Friday]
Name Nat. Team Motorcycle Lap Time
1 Pol Espargaro 🇪🇦 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM RC16 1m 58.241
2 Fabio Quartararo 🇮🇹 Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Yamaha M1 1m 58.524
3 Pedro Acosta 🇪🇦 Red Bull GasGas Factory Tech3 KTM RC16 1m 58.531
4 Alex Rins 🇮🇹 Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Yamaha M1 1m 58.650
5 Dani Pedrosa 🇪🇦 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM RC16 1m 58.672
6 Joan Mir 🇮🇹 Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1m 59.087
7 Johann Zarco 🇮🇹 LCR Honda RC213V 1m 59.091
8 Luca Marini 🇮🇹 Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1m 59.212
9 Takaaki Nakagami 🇮🇹 LCR Honda RC213V 1m 59.269
10 Stefan Bradl 🇩🇪 HRC Honda RC213V 1m 59.770
11 Michele Pirro 🇮🇹 Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati GP24 2m 00.156
12 Cal Crutchlow 🇬🇧 Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1 2m 00.425
13 Lorenzo Savadori 🇮🇹 Aprilia Racing Aprilia RS-GP 2m 00.820


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