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MotoGP champion Marquez is back with a bang

Marc Marquez

Sepang, February 7: Despite still suffering the effects of surgery on his left shoulder during the winter break, MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda Team still topped the timesheets on Day 1 pre-season testing at the Malaysia's Sepang circuit.

With a time of 1:59.621, the Spaniard finished 0.259sec faster than Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and 0.316sec quicker than Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as 2019 revs back into life.

Marquez completed 29 laps on Day 1 before stopping in the early afternoon to give his left shoulder a rest ahead of the next two days, with the reigning FIM MotoGP World Championship winner heading for more physio in the afternoon.

Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo sits out the test due to injury, but there were three Hondas in the top ten as Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), fastest in Jerez, took seventh and Stefan Bradl (Honda Test Team) ended Day 1 in P9, just under six tenths off Marquez.

Big headlines

Big headlines

Rins was one of the big headlines of the day, able to put in a substantial 61 laps on board his 2019 GSX-RR and was fastest for some time until deposed by Marquez.

He remained second after his earlier fast lap, however, and was the lead Hamamatsu machine by quite a stretch. Rookie team-mate Joan Mir ended the day in P23, just behind veteran French test rider Sylvain Guintoli.

Rossi in the hunt

Rossi in the hunt

There were positive signs from Yamaha on the timesheets. Vinales ended the day in P3 after 63 laps with a best of 1:59.937, with team-mate Valentino Rossi in P6 after 56 laps.

The Iwata marque are focusing on final decisions for their 2019 engine, the electronics and some chassis elements - and say comparing their times to competitors' is a key point of interest after an intense winter of work.

Ducati challenge

Ducati challenge

Just behind him came the first of the Mission Winnow Ducati machines in the form of new arrival Danilo Petrucci.

The Italian was just 0.003 ahead of Rossi after 54 laps. 2017 and 2018 runner up Andrea Dovizioso, meanwhile, ended Day 1 of 2019 in P8 with a 2:00.197.

Top ten

Top ten

Completing the top ten was an impressive day's work for Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who put in a fitting 44 laps with a best of 2:00.313 despite a crash at the end.

The Spaniard took the honours of lead Austrian machine by sixth tenths, although the second KTM on the timesheets was an equally stunning performance.

 
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Story first published: Thursday, February 7, 2019, 12:16 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 7, 2019
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