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MotoGP Sepang Test: Bezzecchi fastest on Friday

It was a Ducati/Aprilia fest as the opening day of MotoGP testing got underway at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on Friday.

Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi took charge with a 1’58.470 effort on last season’s Ducati GP22, while Aprilia’s Maverick Viñales denied the Bologna factory a clean sweep of the top five, 0.13s adrift in second after 67 laps on track.

Ducati Lenovo’s Enea Bastianini got his factory career off to a determined start from third position in the standings and at the head of a tightly packed trio of GP23’s with Prima Pramac’s Jorge Martin and 2022 Champion Pecco Bagnaia narrowly behind.


Alex Espargaro continued the strong opening performance from the Noale Factory as he placed the second RS-GP comfortably in sixth and less than half a second off the pace - showcasing the updated chassis, swingarm, aero package and tail unit - with a further three Ducati’s in the hands of Pramac’s Johann Zarco, and Gresini Racing pairing Fabio Di Giannantonio and Alex Marquez completing the top nine for the Italian manufacturers.

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Franky Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo sat three-tenths adrift of each other on the edge of the top ten as the duo got to grips with the updated YZR-M1 engine and latest aero package, with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez completing the opening day in 12th.

While the times were one story, Marquez concentrated his opening efforts on back-to backing four RC213V bikes - the most recent version of which featured a ground effect lower side fairing and an aluminium swingarm. Across the garage, Joan Mir had two machines at his disposal while his former Suzuki teammate Alex Rins enjoyed a similar set-up at LCR.

Over at KTM, Jack Miller was getting into his RC16 grove as the fastest of the Austrian quartet, albeit briefly challenged by rookie Augusto Fernandez on the GasGas liveried version until the Australian bettered in the final run. Teammate Pol Espargaro suffered a front end crash shortly before the lunch break, with Miguel Oliveira facing a similar fate on the RNF Aprilia as the morning bedded in.

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