With the bikes all crated up and shipped to Indonesia, and the entire paddock flown to Mandalika on the island of Lombok (bar those stuck in quarantine in Malaysia after testing positive for Covid-19), there is time to look back at the Sepang MotoGP test. Because this year is so different to previous years in a number of ways, I am breaking it down into two parts. First, some general points that apply to the test itself and across several or all manufacturers, and later in the week, a breakdown manufacturer by manufacturer.
The first and most obvious conclusion which can be drawn from the Sepang test is that it is hard to draw any clear and general conclusions from the Sepang test. There are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, though the temptation is to look at the headline times, they are even more deceptive than ever.
That is in part because the simple classification, the best lap of each rider, ranked, makes for some juicy headlines. Enea Bastianini, a rider starting his second season, riding a bike from last year, slashes over a tenth of a second off the lap record. The Aprilias, long MotoGP's whipping boy, take a 1-2 on the first day, and end the session second and fifth overall, with everyone expressing their admiration for the speed of the RS-GP. The defending MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo down in seventh. The top eight nearly within two tenths of a second of each other (eighth-placed Marc Marquez is 0.201 behind Bastianini), thirteen riders with half a second, eighteen within a second.