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Ducati dominates on the final day of MotoGP pre-season tests at Sepang

Danilo Petrucci

Sepang, February 9: After Maverick Vinales of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP missed out on setting the fastest-ever lap of Sepang by just 0.067sec, the final day of the pre-season test in Malaysia ended on a high as not one but six riders went quicker than Jorge Lorenzo's quickest effort in 2018.

The quickest of them all, however, was Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) as the Italian stormed the timesheets with an awe-inspiring 1:58.239 after 32 laps - with rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Alma Pramac Racing) hot on his heels and only a fitting 0.063 in arrears after 21 laps.

Next came his team-mate Jack Miller only another small margin further back, the Aussie doing 47 laps and quick despite a crash, with Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) completing the top four, three tenths off the top.

All in all, a stunner of a day for Ducati machinery.

Dovizioso positive

Dovizioso positive

Dovizioso was positive after the day, although he said there wass still room to improve mid-corner, and Team Manager Davide Tardozzi continued the positivity.

The Italian said the riders seem happy with many of the updates brought to the test, including chassis updates and a new fairing, and the long run pace of Day 2 bodes well.

Vinales takes over

Vinales takes over

After the Ducati lock out at the top, it was Vinales 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 whopping 79 laps.

Vinales' long run pace was also electric - with the Yamaha rider putting in 20 laps in the 1:59 and 2:00 brackets

Rossi stays close

Rossi stays close

Team-mate Valentino Rossi was tenth on the timesheets after more than 60 laps, and it was a positive test for the Iwata marque overall.

Team Director Massimo Meregalli said focus was on taking the different parts and feedback and trying to create a "whole plan", but that both riders chose more or less the same things and gave similar feedback.

Marquez relieved

Marquez relieved

Reigning champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) seemed relieved on the third day of testing to see the condition of his shoulder improved after a tough Day 2.

The number 93 again finished work a little early to aid his recovery, but he did 39 laps with a best of a 1:59.170 and ended the day in P11 - just 0.015 off Rossi.

Talk of the town

Talk of the town

The talk of the town though was Italian rider Bagnaia. The rookie ripped up the rulebook for newcomers and was P2 overall as he set the pace on the final day in Sepang.

Now the Qatar test looms large as the next chance for the grid to head out on track. That is from the February 23 to 25 at the Losail International Circuit, the venue of the 2019 FIM MotoGP World Championship season opener.

 
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Story first published: Saturday, February 9, 2019, 12:46 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 9, 2019
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