Quartararo sweeps Sepang test as Marquez crashes again

Lewis Duncan
motorsport.com

Quartararo took delivery of Yamaha’s 2020-spec YZR-M1 on Saturday, and duly used the bike to set the pace for a second day in succession.

The Petronas SRT rider set a 1m59.787s early in the first hour of running to claim top spot back from Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller.

The Australian rider then quickly deposed Quartararo, before Suzuki’s Joan Mir moved to the top of the times with a 1m59.848s after the first 10 minutes.

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Yamaha debuted its version of the Ducati-pioneered holeshot device to aid starts, with both works team riders Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi having one each, along with test rider Kohta Nozane.

The Iwata marque also trialed some aerodynamic add-ons to the front of the fairing of the M1s of Rossi and Vinales.

By the end of the first hours Quartararo - who didn’t have the holeshot device - had returned to the top of the timesheets with a test-best effort of 1m58.349s, having tussled with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow briefly for supremacy on the timing screens.

Quartararo’s lap would go unchallenged as the day wore on, with much of the field ending the session early.

Crutchlow – who admitted on Saturday that the Honda’s turning woes may have worsened – trailed Quartararo by 0.082 seconds, with Alex Rins completing the top three on the first of the Suzukis.

Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia was the top Ducati runner in fourth, beating his mentor Rossi by 0.039s in fifth.

Danilo Petrucci was seventh on the first of the works team Ducatis ahead of KTM’s Pol Espargaro, Miller and Pol’s Aprilia-mounted brother Aleix.

The latter was able to put in a long run on Sunday on the brand new RS-GP, having expected not to owing to the freshness of the Aprilia’s engine.

A 12-lap stint of mid-1m59s showed promise of the new bike over a race distance, though Espargaro was unable to get that far after an exhaust issue cut his run short.

Mir completed the top 10, edging ahead of Tech 3 KTM’s Miguel Oliveira, while reigning champion Marquez shadowed him in 12th after suffering his second fall of the test.

Coming off his bike at the Turn 3 right-hander on Saturday, the Honda rider slid off his bike at the last turn late in the day, but again walked away unscathed.

Andrea Dovizioso was a low-key 14th on his works Ducati, though was only 0.5s off the pace on a day during which the top 18 all ended up within 0.820s of each other.

The Italian headed Johann Zarco, who found almost a second on his Saturday best as he continues to adapt to the Avintia Ducati GP19.

Maverick Vinales spent much of his day comparing both of his 2020-spec M1s and trying race runs, and was 18th at the chequered flag.

Yamaha test rider Jorge Lorenzo’s second day on the M1 at Sepang saw him complete 44 laps, and he was just 1.3s off of Quartararo’s pace, having spent the entirety of his time on last year’s M1.

Testing resumes in Qatar on February 22-24.

Session results:

Pos.

#

Rider

Bike

Time

Gap

Laps

1

20

France
France

Fabio Quartararo

Yamaha

1'58.349

 

57

2

35

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Cal Crutchlow

Honda

1'58.431

0.082

69

3

42

Spain
Spain

Alex Rins

Suzuki

1'58.450

0.101

42

4

63

Italy
Italy

Francesco Bagnaia

Ducati

1'58.502

0.153

53

5

46

Italy
Italy

Valentino Rossi

Yamaha

1'58.541

0.192

51

6

9

Italy
Italy

Danilo Petrucci

Ducati

1'58.606

0.257

51

7

44

Spain
Spain

Pol Espargaro

KTM

1'58.610

0.261

34

8

43

Australia
Australia

Jack Miller

Ducati

1'58.616

0.267

48

9

41

Spain
Spain

Aleix Espargaro

Aprilia

1'58.694

0.345

45

10

36

Spain
Spain

Joan Mir

Suzuki

1'58.736

0.387

32

11

88

Portugal
Portugal

Miguel Oliveira

KTM

1'58.764

0.415

22

12

93

Spain
Spain

Marc Marquez

Honda

1'58.772

0.423

47

13

21

Italy
Italy

Franco Morbidelli

Yamaha

1'58.838

0.489

58

14

4

Italy
Italy

Andrea Dovizioso

Ducati

1'58.859

0.510

51

15

5

France
France

Johann Zarco

Ducati

1'58.951

0.602

42

16

73

Spain
Spain

Alex Marquez

Honda

1'59.042

0.693

49

17

33

South Africa
South Africa

Brad Binder

KTM

1'59.104

0.755

45

18

12

Spain
Spain

Maverick Vinales

Yamaha

1'59.169

0.820

83

19

53

Spain
Spain

Tito Rabat

Ducati

1'59.549

1.200

59

20

99

Spain
Spain

Jorge Lorenzo

Yamaha

1'59.697

1.348

46

21

38

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Bradley Smith

Aprilia

1'59.841

1.492

60

22

30

Japan
Japan

Takaaki Nakagami

Honda

1'59.860

1.511

48

23

27

Spain
Spain

Iker Lecuona

KTM

1'59.898

1.549

23

24

50

France
France

Sylvain Guintoli

Suzuki

2'00.100

1.751

27

25

82

Finland
Finland

Mika Kallio

KTM

2'00.148

1.799

43

26

90

Yamaha test bike

Yamaha

2'01.123

2.774

49

27

85

Japan
Japan

Takuya Tsuda

Suzuki

2'03.674

5.325

16

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