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Grid bunches closer as Pedrosa leads Sepang day two

Grid bunches closer as Pedrosa leads Sepang day two

On the second day of MotoGP™ testing in Sepang, which was narrowly cut short by rain, it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo that led an ever-improving grid.

Whilst the two front runners were edging ever closer to Lorenzo’s record set last year, with Pedrosa posting a 2.00’549, just 0.019s ahead of his compatriot, it was the mid-section and back-end of the group that showed the greatest improvements, with the likes of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith improving by 1.5s over yesterday to come eighth and Ducati Team finding well over half a second more.

But the main contenders remained the same as yesterday, with Pedrosa and his teammate Marc Márquez, who placed third, working on the RC213V’s electronics package and both putting in impressive times. And it was the same story for Yamaha once more, as Valentino Rossi continued his form from yesterday, albeit not making up more time on the top three. Lorenzo and Rossi continued to evaluate the 2013 M1, in a bid to decide which parts are an improvement over last year’s title-winning machine.

Behind Rossi in fifth, Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow once again proved he is continuing where he left off last year, finishing just over seven tenths off the top, whilst LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl had a less than ideal day evaluating his new machine, after doing fewer laps due to feeling unwell in the morning. He finished one position lower than yesterday, albeit still managing to keep Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista at bay in seventh, as he continues on his quest for the best Showa suspension set-up.

Tech 3’s Bradley Smith ultimately came in just over 1.3s below Pedrosa, with Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso in tow, as the pair managed to significantly improve their pace from yesterday. Looming just behind were HRC test rider Kosuke Akiyoshi and Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who managed to finish ahead of Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies, who not only put in more laps today after shoulder issues, but also upped his pace significantly. Splitting him from his also improved teammate Andrea Iannone was Yamaha test rider Wataru Yoshikawa.

The Power Electronics Aspar pair of Aleix Espargaró and Randy de Puniet led the CRT field once more, as both riders evaluated a new chassis and swingarm, with Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and HCR test rider Takumi Takahashi in tow. Avintia Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama looked to have few ill effects from his broken left wrist as he improved to 20th, ahead of teammate Héctor Barberá, who was working on the electronics and trying to overcome chatter issues.

Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham headed a much-improved Michael Laverty on the Paul Bird Motorsport ART bike, who managed to beat teammate Yonny Hernandez by two places, as the Colombian struggled for rear grip. Splitting them was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti, with teammate Colin Edwards and Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Bryan Staring completing the line-up.

The test was dry until the final hour, after which rain stopped proceedings for the day. Track time will resume tomorrow morning at 10am local time.

MotoGP, 2013

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