2014 MotoGP Sepang 1 Day 1 Times At Lunch: Marquez Leads, Open Yamaha Surprises

Testing is well and truly underway at Sepang, with the bikes rolling out on to a relatively clean track in good conditions. Sepang has not seen any rain for weeks, and  the temperature is cooler than in recent years. The good conditions are reflected in the times.

With the teams having taken a break for lunch, Marc Marquez sits on top of the timesheets, the reigning world champion starting the season as he left off at Valencia. Marquez and Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa are both riding the 2014 version of the RC213V, with its characteristic large air intake on the front of the fairing, resembling a basking shark feeding.

Jorge Lorenzo is the second fastest man so far, the Factory Yamaha rider three tenths off the time of Marquez, and just fractionally ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi. Rossi has made a strong start to the test, leading the times at one stage in the morning. The two satellite Hondas follow the two Factory Yamahas, Stefan Bradl two tenths behind Rossi, but fractionally quicker than Alvaro Bautista. 

The biggest surprise of the day has been Aleix Espargaro. The NGM Forward rider on the Open class Yamaha FTR is just three hundredths behind Bautista, and ahead of Dani Pedrosa on the factory Honda. The spec Dorna software seems to be working extremely well with the Yamaha M1 engine, the bike right among the satellite machinery, and ahead of the two satellite Tech 3 Yamahas of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro. Aleix had proven to be fast last year on the Aprilia ART. Now with more horsepower, the elder of the Espargaro brothers has put the Open class cat among the Factory Option pigeons. Espargaro's teammate Colin Edwards has only just started lapping, having spent the morning waiting for his bike to be ready.

At Ducati, Andrea Iannone is fastest on the Pramac machine, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow on the factory bikes, and Yonny Hernandez on the Open GP13. There is little to choose between them, though, two tenths overing Iannone in 10th to Hernandez in 13th. Dovizioso, Crutchlow and Iannone are all riding a heavily modified GP14, with a new frame, bodywork, exhaust routing and seat unit. Ducati are still evaluating the option of entering the Open category, with no decision due until the end of February. Given the performance of Aleix Espargaro, and the amount of work needed on the Desmosedici, it seems almost inevitable that Ducati will go the Open route.

Times at 2:15pm

Pos No   Rider Time Diff Diff previous
1 93 Marc Marquez Honda RC213V 2:00.767    
2 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha M1 2:01.082 0.315 0.315
3 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 2:01.121 0.354 0.039
4 6 Stefan Bradl Honda RC213V 2:01.320 0.553 0.199
5 19 Alvaro Bautista Honda RC213V 2:01.390 0.623 0.070
6 41 Aleix Espargaro Yamaha FTR Open 2:01.419 0.652 0.029
7 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 2:01.514 0.747 0.095
8 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha M1 2:01.939 1.172 0.425
9 41 Pol Espargaro Yamaha M1 2:02.012 1.245 0.073
10 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP14 2:02.697 1.930 0.685
11 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP14 2:02.744 1.977 0.047
12 35 Cal Crutchlow Ducati GP14 2:02.860 2.093 0.116
13 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati GP13 Open 2:02.891 2.124 0.031
14 51 Michele Pirro Ducati GP14 Test 2:02.925 2.158 0.034
15 89 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha M1 Test 2:03.126 2.359 0.201
16 7 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda RCV1000R Open 2:03.770 3.003 0.644
17 69 Nicky Hayden Honda RCV1000R Open 2:03.853 3.086 0.083
18 72 Kosuke Akiyoshi Honda RC213V Test 2:04.267 3.500 0.414
19 14 Randy De Puniet Suzuki Test 2:04.596 3.829 0.329
20 45 Scott Redding Honda RCV1000R Open 2:05.022 4.255 0.426
21 8 Hector Barbera Avintia Kawasaki 2:06.305 5.538 1.283
22 23 Broc Parkes PBM Aprilia 2:06.474 5.707 0.169
23 17 Karel Abraham Honda RCV1000R Open 2:06.755 5.988 0.281
24 63 Mike Di Meglio Avintia Kawasaki 2:07.136 6.369 0.381
25 70 Michael Laverty PBM Aprilia 2:08.290 7.523 1.154
NC 5 Colin Edwards Yamaha FTR Open      


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Wouldn't it be great to see Yamaha go open class as well after seeing Espargaro's times, even with the factory entries? Would leave Honda only to race under their own rule set they created.
I'd enjoy it.

Wondering how rear tire wear will sort out on the Open Yamaha.
Holy crap A.Espargaro! My heart jumped when I saw the 2pm results. Only surprising in terms of how much and how quickly he has leap frogged the field, this is a gem of a combo! (Wish I had shaken on all those bets). Can anyone see his pink going w all that orange btw? Me either.
Go get em underdog!

I wondered the same. I doubt the Duc open-classer will be able to make the softer CRT rear last until the end of a race.

But the open Yamaha, that might be a different story.

Thanks for the update, David. Do you know whether the GP-14's are running Factory Option software and fuel allowance, or have they tested the Dorna software with richer fuel mixtures?

I guess the wrong machine was hyped (HRC) during the Valencia test, seeing how the Forward Racing Yamahas of Aleix is leading the headline for Open class. I still don't believe the "down by .7 sec from factory machine" claim from Honda.

BTW, this Open Class yammy is based on the 2013 bike, not the 2014 bike right?

Must be kicking themselves right about now. The customer Yam is every bit as good as people thought it might be. There'll be a bit of head scratching going on I think.. An M1 frame and an M1 engine.. Remind me again why we went with the RCV1000R??

I dont want to jump the gun but GO ALEIX ! An underdog no more, he is going to wring the neck of that open Yamaha this year. Putting half a second between himself and Bradley Smith who's had a year on the M1 ? Oh Myyyyy.... Smith should be a little concerned for his seat if this trend keeps up. Imagine: Aleix beats messrs Smith and brother Pol all season, and leapfrogs both to Rossi's Factory M1 for 2015 after The Doctor has another year of coming 4th. Fantasy ? I can dream..

We've had 1 day of testing. One day. Let's not read too much into the RCV1000R times. It's Nicky and Hiros second go on the thing, and it's going to take time. Remember, it's all very well Stoner pounding round Motegi on his own lap after lap on the thing. But it's the first time the things seen any other track (as far as I know).

So, lets not write the thing off as a dog just yet...

Very impressed by the open M1 though, but it's a whole lot more sorted than the RCV1000R. Ducati's, we all know it's going to be a long way back.

All in all, a solid start to the test for all concerned I reckon.

I'm looking forward to the all Yamaha battle between Tech3 and FTR-Yamaha. Something tells be there will be an all-bros team next year, just like team texas a few year back :)