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Márquez the man to beat as MotoGP™ test gets underway

Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Márquez has already thrown down the gauntlet for the 2013 as he has started off day one of the official Sepang test top by the mid-day point, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa close on his heels.

The promised rain stayed away as teams set out predominantly putting in track time to bed in their new or upgraded bikes. Márquez, back on his RC213V for the third time now, has put in a significant number of laps with 42, as he continues to adapt to a MotoGP™ machine. This is seemingly going well, as at 3pm local time he lay top of the timesheet with a 2:01’357. Teammate Dani Pedrosa was just over three tenths off in third.

Yamaha, which has brought a new chassis and engine to the test to cure pumping and give better acceleration out of corners, got their first glimpse of Rossi back on the Japanese machine, with the Italian not disappointing with a time just over two-tenths off Márquez in second. His teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who put in six fewer laps with 30, finished the morning fourth less than two tenths off Rossi.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who is running a RC213V with the same spec as the HRC team in Valencia last year, was fifth fastest, as he worked on electronics and suspension. His Nissin brakes, the only part to differ from the factory, will be worked on in the afternoon. He finished ahead of Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who continues his quest to find the best set-up with his Showa suspension.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow was seventh, ahead of HRC test rider Kosuke Akiyoshi and Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga. Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden kicked off the team’s new era by hitting the mid-day point in tenth, in front of Yamaha test rider Wataru Yoshikawa.

Tech 3’s rookie Bradley Smith was getting used to his machine, currently lapping in twelfth, around 2.3 seconds off Márquez’s pace, in front of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, and the Power Electronics Aspar Team of Aleix Espargaró and Randy de Puniet. Pramac Team’s Ben Spies put in a few hours on his new Ducati, although had to stop due to shoulder pain. He went one quicker than his teammate Andrea Iannone in 17th.

HRC test rider Takumi Takahashi heads Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, Paul Bird Motorsport’s Yonny Hernandez, Avintia Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti. MotoGP™ new boy Bryan Staring kicked off his morning with the Go & Fun Honda Gresini CRT bike in 23rd, ahead of other newcomer Lukas Pesek, who has the Came IodaRacing Project bike to himself all day. Avintia’s Héctor Barberá continued work on electronics, while Paul Bird’s Michael Laverty put some laps in on the ART to get used to the tyres and carbon brakes. NGM’s Colin Edwards was back of the field, having put in only 20 laps all morning.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2013

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