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MotoGP Test: Bastianini sets fastest-ever lap at Sepang

Enea Bastianini

Bengaluru, February 7: The two-day official MotoGP Sepang Test concluded on Sunda (February 6) and with a new searing fastest ever lap of the venue.

Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP), on only his second day riding a MotoGP bike at Sepang International Circuit, set a scorching 1:58.131 to beat Day 1's quickest rider Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) by just 0.026 - and the two were both under the previous fastest lap of the track.

As many as 20 riders were within 1.066 by the end of the day, with Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) third quickest and only 0.112 off the top.

However, heavy afternoon rain did disrupt the action.

Some riders ventured out in the wet conditions, but as expected, the timing screens remained unchanged from the early flurry of rapid laps.

Bastianini was the top Ducati on Day 2 - on the GP21 - as the 'Beast' hit back to topple Aprilia's Saturday dominance. Martin, the rider who duelled and beat Bastianini in the fight for Rookie of the Year last season, leapt up the timesheets too - the Spaniard slotting into third and just 0.112 off the top.

That's it from Sepang until the paddock returns later in the season to go racing. Now it's time to pack up and head for the new Pertamina Mandalika Circuit for the second and final pre-season official test, with three days of action on the cards in Indonesia, starting from Friday (February 11).

Bagnaia moves up

Bagnaia moves up

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) made a big move up the timesheets into sixth on Sunday, 0.134 off Bastianini, with Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) in ninth.

Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) was P14. On rookie watch, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) came out on top once again, despite a crash. Just over half a second off the fastest ever lap of the track is a feat in itself, and the number 72 ended the test in P16.

Rins shines for Suzuki

Rins shines for Suzuki

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was the fastest Suzuki once again, slotting into fourth and less than a tenth and a half off the top.

2020 FIM MotoGP World Championship winner Joan Mir was P12, still within four tenths of Bastianini as the timesheets were split more often by hundredths and thousandths. Mir also crashed, though the rider was okay.

Vinales impresses

Vinales impresses

After taking a fantastic 1-2 on the opening day, Aprilia Racing ended the Sepang Test in P2 and P5 thanks to the efforts of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales.

The new 2022 bike - with updates across the board - has been very well received by both riders. Espargaro has praised the turning and corner speed improvements, although the Spaniard does remain undecided on which chassis is best.

Honda challenge

Honda challenge

Work on the completely new RC213V continued on Day 2 for the Honda quartet of Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro, Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), with the number 93 ending the Test as the quickest Honda.

Yamaha's engine has been a talking point for a few seasons now and after winning the 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) wanted more top speed. There has been a small step, but both Quartararo and Team Manager Maio Meregalli explained they expected a bigger improvement.

(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Monday, February 7, 2022, 10:34 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 7, 2022