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First slip-up for Márquez as times drop further in Sepang

First slip-up for Márquez as times drop further in Sepang

Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Márquez walked away from his first crash of the year this morning on the final day of the Sepang test, as records are beaten and times improve across the board.

Márquez’s teammate and leader throughout the sessions Dani Pedrosa went one quicker by the mid-way point today as he posted a time of 2:00’100, beating the fastest lap set by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo at the track last year. Track conditions were ideal in the morning, as teams were greeted by their first bit of sunshine, helping most up their pace. This however proved tricky for Márquez, who, despite lapping under the 2:01s, crashed around 11:30am local time. He fortunately walked away unscathed.

Lorenzo, like Pedrosa, was also on the pace early on, albeit not quite beating his record, whilst teammate Valentino Rossi left it until just before the halfway point to head to within less than a hundredth of the Spaniard and break into the 2:00 mark for the first time. This ousted Márquez into fourth, and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow into fifth, who is getting quicker by the day on his 2012 M1, being the only other man to have gone below 2:01.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl looks likely to make it as well however, as he is just three thousandths away, whilst Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista is still looking for that right set-up to get close, as he continues to hover in seventh. The Ducatis of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso have stepped up the rankings to eighth and ninth, with Tech 3 rookie Bradley Smith on their tail. Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga leads a very impressive Aleix Espargaró, who lies now just 2.5s off the top on his Power Electronics Aspar CRT machine, and is quicker than Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone. The Italian’s teammate Ben Spies has opted not to run today and let his shoulder recover further before the second test later this month.

Splitting Aspar’s Randy de Puniet from the aforementioned are HRC test rider Kosuke Akiyoshi and Yamaha test rider Watanu Yoshikawa, behind who Paul Bird Motorsport’s Michael Laverty continues to improve at an impressive rate. Avintia Blusens’ Héctor Barberá is just behind as he tries to cure chatter, ahead of Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, and Avintia’s Hiroshi Aoyama. Ioda’s Lukas Pesek continues his learning curve on the Suter-BMW, ahead of PBM’s Yonny Hernandez, who continues to struggle with chatter, with Gresini’s Bryan Staring and NGM’s Colin Edwards still struggling at the back of the field.

MotoGP, 2013

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