until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Ducati dominant as MotoGP's Sepang test wraps up

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Reigning MotoGP champion Pecco Bagnaia set the latest premier-class lap record at Sepang on the third and final day of the 2024 pre-season test at the track.

Marc Marquez, in his second test as a Ducati rider, took sixth place, six tenths behind the Italian.

After Bagnaia's own record had been surpassed on Wednesday by several riders including himself, the opening hour of Thursday's action - with the weather still cool but the previous days of running ensuring optimum grip - was earmarked as the time for the first 1m56s laps of the venue.

And indeed, those laps followed, with Bagnaia leading the way on a 1m56.682s.

His 2023 title adversary Jorge Martin (Pramac) wound up 0.172s off, while Bagnaia's works team-mate Enea Bastianini was third, just over half a tenth behind Martin.

It meant that the 2024-spec Ducatis locked out the top three, and also went down as having topped each of the test days.

Testing day reports
Everything that happened on MotoGP testing day one
Wednesday: Lap record smashed on second day of Sepang MotoGP test

The only other rider to pop up in the 1m56s range was also a Ducati rider - Alex Marquez on the Gresini-run 2023 bike in fourth place.

It was very nearly a Ducati 1-2-3-4-5-6 on the day, too, but Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro stood in the way in that regard by placing fifth.

While his fellow Aprilia riders Maverick Vinales and Miguel Oliveira - the latter's Trackhouse team having just announced the arrival of Davide Brivio as new team boss - are yet to really gel with the 2024 Aprilia RS-GP, Espargaro has clicked with much-increased downforce and stability.

Having not showed much in the way of single-lap pace on Tuesday and Wednesday, Gresini's blockbuster signing Marc Marquez lifted himself well into the top 10, which coupled with the fact he'd already shown reasonable race pace suggests he's on course to contend from the start of the season.

But also on course to do so, it seems, is the rider he'd replaced at Gresini, Fabio Di Giannantonio.

VR46 newcomer Di Giannantonio was only seventh-fastest on a bike configuration he didn't particularly like, and had a crash during the day, but logged what according to MotoGP was the fastest sprint race simulation.

Team-mate Marco Bezzecchi had another late-day crash and was the sole Ducati full-timer outside of the top seven in 17th.

Rookie Pedro Acosta continued his spectacular adaptation, his 1m57.365s on his Gas Gas-badged Tech3-run KTM leaving him as the top KTM rider on the day in eighth, and just hundredths behind Brad Binder's best RC16 time of the test from Wednesday.

Joan Mir was ninth on the day as the top Honda, denied a potential improvement beyond that by a crash while setting up his second qualifying simulation.

Fabio Quartararo ended the test as the fastest Yamaha, 11th overall and four places and three tenths up on new team-mate Alex Rins on the day, as the M1's single-lap struggles continued to show despite its improved power output.

MotoGP's pre-season testing will conclude with a two-day outing in Qatar later this month, ahead of the opening round at the same venue in early March.

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