Aleix Espargaro and Rins impress in race simulation runs

Day 3 at the Sepang Test saw a few riders string lengthy runs together, with Aprilia, Suzuki and Viñales catching the eye

On the third and final day of the Official MotoGP™ Sepang Test, some of the riders got down to business with some longer race simulation runs. And there were two stand-out performers: Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar).

Let’s check out Espargaro’s run first. Aprilia’s brand-new RS-GP has caught the eyes of everyone at the Sepang Test and it looks like the Italian marque have made a giant step forward. On Sunday at the Sepang International Circuit, Espargaro did a 13-lap run (65% of the full race in Malaysia) which consisted of 12 1:59s. The quickest of those was a 1:59.551 on his sixth lap of the run, with five other laps in the 1:59.6 bracket. Only one of the 13 laps dipped into the 2:00s (2:00.170) as Espargaro and Aprilia lay down the gauntlet, with the Spaniard admitting a small problem meant he had to cut his run short. And let’s now forget, this bike was brand-new and untested before the shakedown test…

Then, taking a look at Rins’ runs. The Spaniard did two separate longer runs, one seven-lap effort and then another seven-lap stint. In the first run, his opening time was a super impressive 1:59.192, his next best being a 1:59.484 with the others coming in the form of 59.6s and 59.7s. 15 minutes later, Rins came out and slammed in a further four 59.7s, before a 1:59.296 on his penultimate lap of the run. With Suzuki’s new engine and chassis, the Hamamatsu factory are looking extremely strong heading to Qatar.

It’s also worth noting 2019 Malaysian GP winner Maverick Viñales’ (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) race simulation. Viñales managed a 20-lap run at the height of the heat during the afternoon and did 13 1:59s, his best being a 1:59.605.

To put these laps into some perspective, Valentino Rossi’s (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) fastest lap record in 2019 during the race was 1:59.661. Now, the Qatar Test appears on the horizon and the desert is set to host a compelling three days. Will Aprilia improve even further? Will the Suzukis continue to look one of the strongest on the grid? Find out on the 22-24 February.

Fancy keeping up with all the 2020 preseason testing action and the 2020 season proper? Look no further than VideoPass!