Reigning World Champion Marc Marquez topped the first day of MotoGP preseason testing at Sepang in Malaysia.
The 20-year-old Repsol Honda star traded first place with Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi for much of the morning session, but as track temperatures dropped, so too did Marquez’s lap times. In the closing stages, Marquez posted 2:00.286 to firmly claim fast-lap honors.
“I’m happy with how this first day went and to have achieved my goal of regaining my feeling on the bike,” said Marquez. “Of course, at the start I was a little stiff, but gradually I was able to pick up the pace.”
Rossi completed the eight-hour session in second, 0.518 seconds off Marquez’s pace. Dani Pedrosa clocked in third followed by 2012 champion Jorge Lorenzo and a pair of satellite Honda riders — Alvaro Bautista (fifth) and Stefan Bradl (sixth).
Last year’s ‘CRT-winner’ Aleix Espargaro enjoyed great success during his first outing with his new team. The Forward Racing newcomer was the top Open-spec rider in seventh.
The Open class allows teams to work on engines throughout the season and not be limited by the engine freeze placed on Factory squads. Also, riders competing in the Open class will be allowed up to 24 liters of fuel versus the 20-liter cap for Factory competitors. Both Factory and Open machines will run spec Dorna-supplied ECU hardware for the first time; however, Factory teams can develop their own ECU software programs whereas Opens must use the spec software supplied by Dorna Sports and Magneti Marelli.
Pramac’s Andrea Iannone finished the opening day in eighth followed by the Tech 3 Yamaha duo of Pol Espargaro — younger brother of Aleix — and Bradley Smith. American Colin Edwards was 11th, overcoming early technical issues to complete a 1-2 Open sweep for Forward Racing.
Behind Edwards was the Factory Ducati trio of Andrea Dovizioso, test rider Michele Pirro and Cal Crutchlow.
The only team not present was IodaRacing, which plans to make its 2014 debut at the second Sepang test later this month. The team will field Open Aprilias for Danilo Petrucci and Leon Camier.Alvaro Bautista, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, MotoGP, Sepang, Valentino Rossi