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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).

Aleix Espargaro shows the Aprilia 2020 is race ready

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.

A successful Sepang Test for Suzuki

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.

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