until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Lap record smashed on second day of Sepang MotoGP test

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Ducati factory rider Enea Bastianini set the new MotoGP Sepang lap record on the second day of the first pre-season test.

Bastianini, for whom a Malaysian Grand Prix win was the clear highlight in an otherwise miserable and injury-ridden 2023, seems more attuned already to the 2024-spec Ducati than he ever was to last year's version - and backed this up by jumping to the top of the timing screens in the final hour of the day's action.

His next lap after the record-setting 1m57.134s was actually on pace to be a first-ever 1m56s after two sectors, but got away from him in the final sector.

Ducati focused on aero work on Wednesday, but continued to show the might of its new 2024-spec machinery.

Day one pace-setter Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) had led for most of the day with what was already a lap record, having surpassed Pecco Bagnaia's previous benchmark in the opening hour.

Brad Binder (KTM), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and Bagnaia himself also lapped below that previous record.

Fabio Di Giannantonio (VR46 Ducati) was the quickest of those on year-old Ducatis, 0.053s ahead of Gresini rider Alex Marquez.

Di Giannantonio's team-mate Marco Bezzecchi looked poised to jump ahead late on before crashing on a fast lap - but still ended up ninth.

The field's sole rookie Pedro Acosta continued to impress, slotting in between Marquez and Bezzecchi in eighth, six tenths down on table-topper Bastianini.

No bikes other than Ducatis had lapped Sepang in the 1m57s range before today, every single manufacturer broke that barrier on Wednesday.

Joan Mir (Honda) and Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) led the way for their respective manufactures with 1m57.8s efforts, Quartararo routinely ran well in the first and second sector before losing time later in the lap.

It wasn't a day of total optimism for Honda, though, with new signing Luca Marini having tried a race simulation and reported the new RC213V was much less competitive on longer stints.

After a disrupted Tuesday, Marc Marquez (Gresini Ducati) logged 72 laps. He was 14th-fastest, as the last rider within a second of Bastianini.

There were last-corner crashes for Johann Zarco (LCR Honda) and Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) during the day, as well as a fall for Acosta and a second crash in two days for his Tech3 Gas Gas team-mate Augusto Fernandez.

In the absence of regular riders Franco Morbidelli (ruled out of the entire pre-season due to a road bike testing crash) and Raul Fernandez (stood down for the Sepang test after a highside on Tuesday), Pramac Ducati and the new Trackhouse Aprilia team ran test riders Michele Pirro and Lorenzo Savadori respectively.

The Sepang pre-season test will conclude on Thursday, before MotoGP heads to Qatar for the second and final pre-season test on February 19-20.

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