Sepang, Malaysia

Sepang MotoGP Test Friday 2pm Times: Petronas Yamaha Top The Timesheets

The Petronas Yamahas continue to top the timesheets, Franco Morbidelli having crept up on teammate Fabio Quartararo at the 2pm mark. Alex Rins is third on the Suzuki, while Cal Crutchlow and Jack Miller have jumped up into forurth and fifth respectively.

Maverick Viñales had a small crash at Turn 13, losing the front, but it didn't affect his test program much. The weather is currently holding, other than the usual Malaysian heat, so the riders should get a full day of testing on Friday.

Times at 2pm:

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Sepang MotoGP Test Thursday Round Up: Suzuki And Yamaha Launches, Different Specs of Yamahas, And A New Calendar For 2021

The day before the MotoGP test starts at Sepang is not usually so hectic. There have sometimes been launches, but as often as not, it has been a matter of catching up with people you have not seen for a long time, and talking to the few riders scheduled for press debriefs. It is a good way of easing yourself back into the MotoGP season.

The 2020 Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP Livery

Not so this year. Three launches in one day, two of them with the biggest news stories of the off season. The Suzuki launch was interesting; the 2020 livery for the Suzuki Ecstar team is rather fetching in silver and blue, and a homage to the first Grand Prix bike Suzuki ever raced, 60 years ago this year. For more on Suzuki's history, see this outstanding thread on Twitter by Mat Oxley, and if you don't already have his book Stealing Speed, a history of how Suzuki acquired two-stroke technology from the East German MZ factory, you need to buy yourself a copy now.

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Sepang MotoGP Test Preview: What Matters Most To Each Factory

The start of the 2020 MotoGP season is now just a matter of hours away. The entire MotoGP grid will soon be rolling out at Sepang for the start of the first MotoGP of the year. Notably, it is the entire grid: unlike previous years, nobody has fallen of a motocross bike, minibike, or even a mountain bike and hurt themselves.

There is plenty to get excited about. We will soon be able to get a sense of the work done by the various factories over the winter, who looks like hitting their goals, who has found something extra, who is lagging behind. We will see which of the rookies is off to a strong start, how last year's crop of rookies is progressing, which of the veterans has made a step, either forward or backward, and which of the crop of title candidates is looking sharpest.

Yet a note of caution is advised. By Sunday night, we will have a timesheet showing who was fastest over the three days, and we will have a complete list of every lap posted by each rider (helpfully published by Dorna on the official MotoGP website, unhelpfully, in a format which is not easily extracted for analysis).

Sepang vs the season

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Sepang MotoGP Shakedown Test, Day 3: Espargaro Brothers Lead As Lorenzo Makes His Debut

The final day of the Sepang shakedown test has concluded, with a slight changing of the guard. Dani Pedrosa handed the KTM over to fellow test rider Mika Kallio, and Bradley Smith vacated the two new 2020-spec Aprilia RS-GPs to make way for Aleix Espargaro. Meanwhile, Yamaha were out in force, including Jorge Lorenoz, making his return to the Iwata factory.

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Bradley Smith: New Aprilia RS-GP 'Worth The Wait'

2019 was a long, hard year for Aprilia. The hiring of new Aprilia Race CEO Massimo Rivola signaled a year of rebuilding for the Italian factory, as Rivola took over the organizational side of the MotoGP project, freeing up Romano Albesiano to concentrate on building a brand new RS-GP from the ground up, and providing Albesiano with the resources to do so. That project forced Aprilia riders Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone to battle on through the 2019 season with a bike which was struggling to be competitive.

The wait came to an end at the MotoGP shakedown test at Sepang, where Aprilia rolled out the new RS-GP, in the hands of test rider Bradley Smith. "Those six or seven months of waiting were worth it," was Smith's verdict after the first full day of testing on the 2020 prototype.

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Sepang MotoGP Shakedown Test, Day 2: Pedrosa Fastest As Pace Increases

The shakedown test continues at Sepang, in good conditions: track temperatures are staying in the 50s °C, and not venturing into the 60s. KTM Test Rider Dani Pedrosa remains the fastest of the test riders, the Spaniard cracking into the 1'59s along with KTM factory rider Pol Espargaro, though both are a couple of tenths slower than the race record set by Valentino Rossi back in November last year.

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Sepang MotoGP Shakedown Test, Day 1: Pedrosa Fastest As Yamaha Awaits

The first day of the Sepang shakedown test is in the books, and times have emerged for at least some of the riders. Malaysian photographer Hazrin Cric (famous for That Photo) was at the test, and tweeted out the times at the end of Sunday's session.

KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa was fastest, riding the new RC16 chassis, finishing just ahead of Ducati's Michele Pirro. Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli was third quickest, six tenths behind Pedrosa, and a tenth quicker than Repsol Honda rookie Alex Marquez. The younger Marquez is allowed to take part in the shakedown test because he is a rookie. Marquez was three tenths faster than Brad Binder, on the Red Bull KTM.

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Factories Prepare For 2020 MotoGP Season At The Sepang Shakedown Test Starting Sunday

In just a few hours from now, MotoGP bikes will roll out onto the track for the start of the 2020 season. They will do so almost completely out of the public eye (prompting the philosophical question of if an RC213V is fired up at a circuit, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?) as three days of the MotoGP shakedown test gets underway at Sepang.

The shakedown test is a private test, meaning it is closed to the media and public. There is no live timing publicly available from the test, and lap times will be both difficult to come by and probably unreliable, as teams and factories release the times they want to make public (if any), rather than a neutral timing system recording every lap.

Yet this shakedown test is extremely important, for a number of reasons. It is the first test for the brand-new Aprilia RS-GP, designed from the ground up, with a new 90° V4 engine. It sees Jorge Lorenzo make his testing debut for Yamaha, back with the Japanese factory after three years away. And it is a chance for the MotoGP rookies to get a little more track time under their belts.

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