Quartararo sweeps Sepang test as Marquez crashes again
Fabio Quartararo completed a clean sweep of the MotoGP Sepang pre-season test after topping the third day of running on Sunday, while Marc Marquez crashed again.
Quartararo took delivery of Yamaha’s 2020-spec YZR-M1 on Saturday, and duly used the bike to set the pace for a second day in succession.
The Petronas SRT rider set a 1m59.787s early in the first hour of running to claim top spot back from Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller.
The Australian rider then quickly deposed Quartararo, before Suzuki’s Joan Mir moved to the top of the times with a 1m59.848s after the first 10 minutes.
Yamaha debuted its version of the Ducati-pioneered holeshot device to aid starts, with both works team riders Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi having one each, along with test rider Kohta Nozane.
The Iwata marque also trialed some aerodynamic add-ons to the front of the fairing of the M1s of Rossi and Vinales.
By the end of the first hours Quartararo - who didn’t have the holeshot device - had returned to the top of the timesheets with a test-best effort of 1m58.349s, having tussled with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow briefly for supremacy on the timing screens.
Quartararo’s lap would go unchallenged as the day wore on, with much of the field ending the session early.
Crutchlow – who admitted on Saturday that the Honda’s turning woes may have worsened – trailed Quartararo by 0.082 seconds, with Alex Rins completing the top three on the first of the Suzukis.
Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia was the top Ducati runner in fourth, beating his mentor Rossi by 0.039s in fifth.
Danilo Petrucci was seventh on the first of the works team Ducatis ahead of KTM’s Pol Espargaro, Miller and Pol’s Aprilia-mounted brother Aleix.
The latter was able to put in a long run on Sunday on the brand new RS-GP, having expected not to owing to the freshness of the Aprilia’s engine.
A 12-lap stint of mid-1m59s showed promise of the new bike over a race distance, though Espargaro was unable to get that far after an exhaust issue cut his run short.
Mir completed the top 10, edging ahead of Tech 3 KTM’s Miguel Oliveira, while reigning champion Marquez shadowed him in 12th after suffering his second fall of the test.
Coming off his bike at the Turn 3 right-hander on Saturday, the Honda rider slid off his bike at the last turn late in the day, but again walked away unscathed.
Andrea Dovizioso was a low-key 14th on his works Ducati, though was only 0.5s off the pace on a day during which the top 18 all ended up within 0.820s of each other.
The Italian headed Johann Zarco, who found almost a second on his Saturday best as he continues to adapt to the Avintia Ducati GP19.
Maverick Vinales spent much of his day comparing both of his 2020-spec M1s and trying race runs, and was 18th at the chequered flag.
Yamaha test rider Jorge Lorenzo’s second day on the M1 at Sepang saw him complete 44 laps, and he was just 1.3s off of Quartararo’s pace, having spent the entirety of his time on last year’s M1.
Testing resumes in Qatar on February 22-24.
|26||90||Yamaha test bike||Yamaha||2'01.123||2.774||49|
Marquez, Dovizioso explain Sepang testing crashes
Rookie Marquez surpassed Honda's expectations at Sepang