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20 days ago
By motogp.com

Sepang Test: rookies resume their 2019 preparations

The fight to become Rookie of the Year between Bagnaia, Mir, Oliveira and Quartararo will get back underway in Malaysia

This year, four new faces will lineup on the MotoGP™ grid. Reigning Moto2™ World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Alma Pramac Racing), Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) – a quartet that is more than capable of ruffling a few feathers in 2019.  

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2019 MotoGP™ Rookies look forward to the Sepang Test

Bagnaia kicked off life as a Ducati rider impressively, ending the Valencia Test in P11 and the Jerez Test in P9, finishing ahead of the likes of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing). Will the seamless transition to the GP18 continue in Malaysia for the Italian?

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The 2019 rookies ride their maiden laps in MotoGP™

Meanwhile, the only rookie to have a factory machine at his disposal is 2017 Moto3™ World Champion Mir. The Spaniard has an ever-improving GSX-RR underneath him, with the engine and chassis the Hamamatsu factory’s main focus so far in testing, Mir will aim to continue his solid start to preseason at the Sepang Test as he looks set to have an impressive maiden MotoGP™ campaign.

Also making a positive start to life in the premier class is Quartararo, who will re-acquaint himself with the YZR-M1 in Sepang after finishing the Valencia and Jerez tests in P16 and P12 respectively. The Frenchman, initially impressed by the power and brakes of a MotoGP™ machine, will be aiming to make further progress as he and the Petronas Yamaha SRT outfit continue to work towards the start of their opening season.

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How will the MotoGP™ rookies rise to the challenge in 2019?

And then there is last year’s Moto2™ runner-up, Oliveira. The Portuguese rider was towards the rear in terms of the timesheets, but both he and the Tech 3 team are only just beginning their journey with KTM and the RC16. Expect Oliveira to make some good progress across the three days in Malaysia.

So, who of the rookies will be quickest around the Sepang International Circuit? This question will be answered on the 6th, 7th and 8th of February, and you can keep up to date with all the action with reports, reactions, interviews, highlights and After the Flag episodes after each day on motogp.com. 

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