Quartararo tops first day of Sepang MotoGP test

Lewis Duncan
motorsport.com

Last season’s top rookie Quartararo was the first out on track at the Sepang International Circuit on Friday morning, though it was Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro who set the initial pace in the opening hour.

Espargaro took part in the shakedown earlier in the week, and was able to guide his radically redesigned RS-GP to a time of 1m59.427s to dip underneath the existing race lap record.

The outright lap record of 1m58.303s belongs to Quartararo, who posted that on his way to pole for last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

After two hours, the SRT rider put his 2020-spec YZR-M1 top of the pile with a 1m58.945s, which would ultimately go unchallenged.

The morning running was briefly halted by a red flag for an incident involving on of the Yamaha test riders, though a greater lull would follow later in the day as a burst of rain kept the track quiet for some time, while another shower late on brought running the day to a premature end with just under 10 minutes to go.

The Pramac Ducati pairing of Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller signalled the resumption of running with just under two hours to go as they returned to the track, though Quartararo’s benchmark remained intact.

Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli trailed him heading into the lunch break by 0.051 seconds, and held onto the place come the chequered flag.

Morbidelli won’t have machine parity with Quartararo or the works team Yamaha riders anymore this year, and is instead riding the ‘A-spec’ M1 – essentially, the bike the factory Yamaha riders finished November’s testing with.

Alex Rins led the Suzuki charge in third spot as he worked through his programme on the new-spec GSX-RR, while LCR’s Cal Crutchlow was top Honda rider in fourth ahead of Miller.

Vinales ended up in sixth place, having crashed earlier in the day at the Turn 11 right-hander.

He, along with teammate Valentino Rossi – who was 10th-fastest – had three M1s at his disposal: two 2020-spec machines, and the ‘A-spec’ bike from November.

Early pacesetter Aleix Espargaro was seventh ahead of KTM-mounted brother Pol – who also took part in the shakedown.

Joan Mir was ninth on the sister Suzuki, with Rossi rounding out the top 10 ahead of the first of the works team Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso.

Reigning world champion Marc Marquez shadowed Dovizioso, as he marks his first MotoGP outing since undergoing surgery on a right shoulder injury in the winter.

Admitting ahead of the test he’d only be at “70%” strength, Marquez only completed 37 laps and managed a best time of 1m59.675s.

His brother and new teammate Alex was just a further 0.021s adrift in 13th, while Johann Zarco was 1.5s off the pace in 19th on his first outing on the Avintia Ducati GP19.

In Andrea Iannone's absence as his doping case rages on, Lorenzo Savadori rode the other Aprilia and was 4.205s off the pace after logging 31 laps.

Session results

Pos.

#

Rider

Bike

Time

Gap

Laps

1

20

France
France

Fabio Quartararo

Yamaha

1'58.945

 

52

2

21

Italy
Italy

Franco Morbidelli

Yamaha

1'58.996

0.051

62

3

42

Spain
Spain

Alex Rins

Suzuki

1'59.195

0.250

56

4

35

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Cal Crutchlow

Honda

1'59.234

0.289

39

5

43

Australia
Australia

Jack Miller

Ducati

1'59.236

0.291

47

6

12

Spain
Spain

Maverick Vinales

Yamaha

1'59.367

0.422

49

7

41

Spain
Spain

Aleix Espargaro

Aprilia

1'59.427

0.482

43

8

44

Spain
Spain

Pol Espargaro

KTM

1'59.536

0.591

48

9

36

Spain
Spain

Joan Mir

Suzuki

1'59.568

0.623

51

10

46

Italy
Italy

Valentino Rossi

Yamaha

1'59.569

0.624

48

11

4

Italy
Italy

Andrea Dovizioso

Ducati

1'59.666

0.721

35

12

93

Spain
Spain

Marc Marquez

Honda

1'59.676

0.731

37

13

73

Spain
Spain

Alex Marquez

Honda

1'59.918

0.973

38

14

9

Italy
Italy

Danilo Petrucci

Ducati

1'59.939

0.994

42

15

26

Spain
Spain

Dani Pedrosa

KTM

2'00.017

1.072

45

16

88

Portugal
Portugal

Miguel Oliveira

KTM

2'00.131

1.186

49

17

63

Italy
Italy

Francesco Bagnaia

Ducati

2'00.136

1.191

53

18

50

France
France

Sylvain Guintoli

Suzuki

2'00.371

1.426

48

19

5

France
France

Johann Zarco

Ducati

2'00.464

1.519

54

20

27

Spain
Spain

Iker Lecuona

KTM

2'00.511

1.566

44

21

33

South Africa
South Africa

Brad Binder

KTM

2'00.519

1.574

58

22

53

Spain
Spain

Tito Rabat

Ducati

2'00.750

1.805

54

23

30

Japan
Japan

Takaaki Nakagami

Honda

2'00.815

1.870

31

24

90

Yamaha test bike

Yamaha

2'01.080

2.135

50

25

91

Yamaha test bike

Yamaha

2'01.744

2.799

22

26

32

Italy
Italy

Lorenzo Savadori

Aprilia

2'03.150

4.205

31

What to Read Next

Back