The first MotoGP official testing for 2015 got underway at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) today with the star riders from the Repsol Honda and Movistar Yamaha dominating the fastest times.
Commencing at 10am this morning under clear bright skies, two-time defending champion Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa of Repsol Honda and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi took turns leading the timesheet which featured 30 riders. The field included three test riders – Katsuyuki Nakasuga for Yamaha, Michael Laverty of Aprilia and Takuya Tsuda for Suzuki.
Britain’s Scott Redding, who rides a Honda machine for Team Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS, was first on the track when the lights turned green at the pit lane exit. It was not long before the others followed him.
As at 2pm and some four hours into the first day of testing, it was the nine-time world champion, Rossi who led the way with his best lap time 2 minutes 0.380 seconds. He completed more than 20 laps around the 5,548-meter track.
Rossi’s teammate and former MotoGP world champion, Jorge Lorenzo, stepped up the pace and clocked the second fastest time in the afternoon with his best of 2 minutes 0.521 seconds.
Marquez clocked 2 minutes 0.930 seconds in the afternoon but as the day progressed, the Spaniard began to improve and eventually clocked the fastest time of the day with his best lap time of 2:00.262, pushing Rossi and Lorenzo down a rung. Marquez went on to complete a grueling 63 laps today.
Not surprisingly, after two months off their racing bikes, the riders’ lap times were significantly below Sepang’s best of 1 minute 59.533 seconds that was recorded by Marquez at last year’s pre-season testing.
That unofficial fastest lap time by Marquez, could be under threat on the second and third day of testing, provided the weather conditions remain good.
The official test session today saw the return of Aprilia and Suzuki into the MotoGP World Championship, which will open at Losail International Circuit in Qatar on March 29. Sepang will host the penultimate round from October 23 to 25.
Aprilia have signed up Italian Marco Melandri and Mike di Meglio of France while Team Suzuki MotoGP will be counting on Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales, both from Spain, to lead their challenge.
Sepang will host a second three-day official test session for the MotoGP from February 23 to 25 with a third session scheduled from March 14 to 17 at Losail in Qatar.
In conjunction with the test sessions in Sepang, fans are welcomed to see their idols in action from the Main Grandstand and use the opportunity to purchase time-limited, earlybird discount tickets for both the 2015 MotoGP race as well as that for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship Malaysian Round, the latter which is scheduled from July 31 to August 2.
For the MotoGP race in October, limited Premier Roving tickets, which allow access to all spectator seating areas, are being offered at only RM250 under the current earlybird promotion whilst earlybird Main Grandstand, K1 and F tickets are only RM150, RM70 and RM50 respectively.
For the Superbike race, the Main Grandstand earlybird tickets are priced at RM100 while that for K1 Grandstand is offered at only RM60.
TODAY’S TOP FIVE FASTEST RIDERS
- Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) 2:00.262
- Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) 2:00.380
- Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) 2:00.521
- Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) 2:00.617
- Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) 2:00745.