MotoGP: Ducati tops the field on final day of testing in Sepang

Discussion in 'Racing' started by Simon, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Simon

    Simon Professional storyteller
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    Mar 25, 2015
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    The final day of testing saw Ducati dominate the timesheets with factory rider Danilo Petrucci leading the charge with a jaw dropping time of 1:58.239 after 32 laps.

    The Italian said: “Today we started off on the right foot: I was supposed to try two ‘time attacks’ but one attempt, done with a medium rear tyre, was enough. When I saw the lap time on the dashboard, I was really happy. After that, we resumed our work on some new items. Unfortunately, however, I crashed while I was trying a new fairing around midday. Given the fact that I was also experiencing some issues with blisters in my hands, we decided to stop a bit ahead of schedule to recover and make sure we’re at our best in the next tests in Qatar. Overall, it’s been a really positive test.”

    Rookie Francesco Bagnaia was hot on his heels on the satellite Pramac bike and was just 0.063 in arrears after 21 laps. Next was his team-mate Jack Miller, only another small margin further back, with factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso completing the top four, three tenths off the top spot.

    After the Ducati lock out at the top, it was Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales who remained close. The Spaniard put his newly-numbered number 12 into fifth on the timesheets, setting a 1:58.644 as his best of a huge 79 laps. Viñales’ long run pace was also electric – with the Yamaha rider putting in 20 laps in the 1:59 and 2:00 brackets. Team-mate Valentino Rossi was tenth on the timesheets after more than 60 laps.

    Petronas Yamaha SRT, on their 2019 spec machines, also had another good showing on the timesheets. Franco Morbidelli was the second quickest Yamaha in P8 after 66 laps, with rookie team-mate Fabio Quartararo in P16 after a mammoth 77 laps – just 0.011 behind rookie rival Joan Mir on the Suzuki.

    Behind Viñales, Cal Crutchlow took P6 overall and was fastest Honda once again on his LCR bike, despite returning from injury. The three-time Grand Prix winner crashed on Day 3 once again but managed an increased 61 laps – a positive showing after so much time away – and did a best of a 1:58.780. His team-mate Takaaki Nakagami also impressed as he finished Day 3 in P9.

    Reigning Marc Marquez managed 39 laps as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery and piloted his Repsol Honda to a best of a 1:59.170 and ended the day in P11 – just 0.015 off Rossi. Honda Test Team rider Stefan Bradl also added more than 50 laps to the count for the Japanese manufacturer, ending the day in P13, and tested a new aero fairing, as did Marquez.

    Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was another rider who was quick on on Day 3, ending the session in seventh after 52 laps. Espargaro’s team-mate Andrea Iannone, meanwhile, sat out the action due to illness, although paddock chatter seems to suggest he has an infection after a botched plastic surgery procedure on his face.

    Suzuki’s Alex Rins posted the 12th fastest time, 0.010 off Marquez but putting in 75 laps. Rookie Joan Mir made a big move up the rankings on Day 3 though, ending the session in P15 and only three tenths off his teammate.

    KTM continues to struggle, with factory rider Johann Zarco once again taking the accolade of fastest Austrian machine in P17 with a 1:59.640 after 44 laps – enough to pip his team-mate Pol Espargaro by just over a tenth. The Spaniard was P18, with Miguel Oliveira putting his KTM Tech 3 machine just behind the two factory bikes.

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