Honda’s Marc Marquez headed Suzuki’s Alex Rins on Day 1 of the first 2019 running of MotoGP at Sepang International Circuit.
In a fairly sedate day of running, Marquez’s early benchmark of 1m59.629s was not threatened too much despite the Spaniard only completing 29 laps so as to give a rest to his recovering shoulder for the remainder of the test.
Marquez had fellow countryman Rins on his tail, who did a 1m59.880s lap time in his 61 laps, while Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales completed the Top 3 positions with a 1m59.937s time in the 63 laps he did.
A late mover was the returning Tito Rabat abode his Avintia Ducati as he pushed himself into fourth after clocking a 1m59.983s time on Lap 58 of the 59 he did – Rabat was the last of the riders to dip into the 1m59s bracket.
He pushed factory Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci (2m00.051s) to fifth in 54 laps he did with his fellow countryman Valentino Rossi (2m00.054s) abode the Yamaha M1 ending up sixth with 56 laps from lead LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami (2m00.158s) with 55 laps.
Like Petrucci, his teammate Andrea Dovizioso (2m00.197s) did not push for a lap time in the latter stages with the Italian finishing eighth as Honda test Stefan Bradl (2m00.214s) and KTM’s Pol Espargaro (2m00.313s) completed the Top 10.
Dovizioso completed 49 laps in all with Bradl – who is filling in for the injured Jorge Lorenzo – did 61 as Espargaro undertook 44 laps despite having a crash in the first session. Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller (2m00.383s) ended up 11th with 50 laps to his name.
The new Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli (2m00.460s) was 12th from factory Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro (2m00602s) with the returning LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (2m00.681s) doing a good job in 14th position.
The British racer rode for the first time since 2018 Australian GP and completed 51 laps with Morbidelli and Espargaro doing 60 and 55 respectively. The two MotoGP newcomers Francesco Bagnaia and Miguel Oliveira followed Crutchlow.
The Pramac Ducati rider clocked a 2m00.694s with 49 laps while the Tech 3 KTM rider posted a 2m00.902s time in the 59 laps he did. In 17th was one of the two Yamaha test bike rider with the #31 posting a 2m00.965s lap time in the 55 laps.
The third MotoGP rookie Fabio Quartararo (2m00.985s) in the Petronas Yamaha SRT was 19th with 65 laps to his name as he led KTM tester Mika Kallio (2m01.054s) who had KTM’s factory rider Johann Zarco (2m01.121s) on his tail.
The Frenchman has had a difficult time to adjust to the RC16 which is why he did 61 laps as he tried to gain confidence. Aprilia’s Andrea Iannone (2m01.249s) was 21st with the Italian only managing 36 laps due to a crash.
Suzuki tester Sylvain Guintoli (2m01.286s) ended up 22nd, leading the factory rider Joan Mir (2m01432s) with Avintia Ducati’s Karel Abraham (2m01.627s) in 24th from Yamaha’s #32 rider (2m01.736s) and Tech 3 KTM’s Hafizh Syahrin (2m01.853s).
The Suzuki riders did 58 and 55 laps respectively with Abraham doing 45 and Syahrin undertaking 49 with the Malaysian also having a tough time abode the RC16. Among those who entered, Aprilia test rider Bradley Smith did not ride on Day 1 of Sepang MotoGP test.