Fabio Quartararo continued his fast pace on day two of the first of MotoGP’s 2020 pre-season tests at the Sepang International Circuit.
The Petronas SRT rider showed no delay in getting on terms with the 2020 Yamaha M1 as he ended the day 0.069 seconds clear of long-time leader Jack Miller.
Fastest on Friday but expecting to be a little off the pace on Saturday as he moved from the 2019 to the 2020 bike, Quartararo didn’t hang around in continuing to demonstrate why the Yamaha camp have rewarded him with a spot in the factory team for 2021.
He is set to start the 2020 season at satellite squad Petronas Yamaha on the same factory bikes as Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales – a term of his contract for 2021 – in theory the switch to the new machine should have meant a day of getting up to speed on Saturday.
But, aided by a significant speed boost for the previously underpowered M1, he ended the day with a late lap of 1m58.572s.
Team-mate Franco Morbidelli, riding an ‘a-spec’ Yamaha that’s closer to the 2019 bike than the 2020 factory machines, was second of the Yamahas in fifth, while Vinales and Rossi came home in sixth and 10th respectively.
Miller retained second place after leading for much of the day, once again the top Ducati machine on his factory-spec bike.
Works riders Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso were again struggling, however, finishing in 13th and 15th – and with Dovizioso racking up his first crash of the season.
KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa was a surprise third, highlighting just how much progress he and the Austrian manufacturer have made over the winter by ending the day only 0.090s off the top spot.
It was a good day all round for KTM, with Pol Espargaro inside the top 10 in eighth.
Joan Mir showed off his own development as a factory rider for Suzuki in fourth, with the 2019 rookie working through a catalogue of new aerodynamics as well as continuing to come to grips with a GSX-RR machine that’s essentially completely redesigned since the last test at Jerez in November.
Team-mate Alex Rins wasn’t far off him either, in seventh with his own day of hard work completed.
Leading Saturday times
1 Fabio Quartararo (SRT Yamaha) 1m58.572s
2 Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati) +0.069s
3 Dani Pedrosa (KTM) +0.090s
4 Joan Mir (Suzuki) +0.159s
5 Franco Morbidelli (SRT Yamaha) +0.259s
6 Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) +0.321s
7 Alex Rins (Suzuki) +0.406s
8 Pol Espargaro (KTM) +0.417s
9 Marc Marquez (Honda) +0.525s
10 Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +0.544s