SEPANG, Malaysia — MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo led the way in this week’s test session at Sepang.
Despite falling behind Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa and Marc Márquez on Thursday, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider had already delivered his fastest ever lap in Malaysia. Britain’s Cal Crutchlow finished fourth.
As with the previous Sepang gathering of three weeks earlier, the weather played a part as rain rooted riders to their garages at some points. The same could be said for Thursday morning, when more typically heavy showers overnight resulted in a saturated track and effectively wiped out the first 90 minutes of running time.
Pedrosa turned Thursday’s best lap at 2:00.562, meaning he has led five of the six pre-season days in Malaysia this year.
The best overall tour was an impressive one from Lorenzo, with the Mallorcan managing to dip under the official lap record with his 2:00.282 blast during a three-lap run on Wednesday.
“The practice was wet at the beginning of the day so we exited and tried the bike on the wet,” Lorenzo said. “It wasn’t bad, I made the fastest wet time but when the track became dryer it was never the same as yesterday. It was much more slippery and so harder to equal yesterday’s time. We made a complete simulation, it was a little worse than I expected because we had some problems with the front tyre in braking; it didn’t give me much confidence so I slowed my pace a little. The conditions were extreme this time so it was harder to equal the simulation we made in the first Sepang test.”
On the final day he had hoped for a long run and managed a particularly consistent 20-lap stint in which he appeared to make only one mistake. During the day both the medium and soft rear compound tires were used by the Yamaha.
The test saw teams combining long, race simulation stints — which came on Thursday — with shorter bursts which served both as qualifying models and, for some, new component development. Márquez continued to impress, with the Honda rookie and current Moto2™ title holder managing third place overall while continuing to adapt to the Bridgestone tyres and suspension settings.
Valentino Rossi had aimed to match teammate Lorenzo’s race pace upon his high-profile return to Yamaha. At times he appeared somewhat agitated in his garage, as the seven-time premier class champion finished fifth overall from the GO&FUN Honda Gresini of Álvaro Bautista and LCR Honda MotoGP of Stefan Bradl. Bautista managed his sole long run on Thursday afternoon, although at the time there was apprehension as yet more rain was forecast to hit. German Bradl proved to be one to watch on the final day, ending proceedings in seventh position but having placed fourth for much of the day.