2013 MotoGP Sepang 1 Test, Day 3 Times: Pedrosa Under Pole Record, Crutchlow Closes On Top 4

The first test of the 2013 MotoGP season is completed, and Dani Pedrosa has completed a clean sweep, topping the timesheets on all three days. The Repsol Honda man confirmed his role as title favorite by posting a fast lap under the existing pole record set by Jorge Lorenzo last year. He also opened up a serious gap to the trio who have been chasing him all test long, putting nearly a third of a second on Jorge Lorenzo, the Yamaha man falling just short of his own pole record. What may worry Lorenzo more is the fact that Pedrosa declared at the end of the day that his objective was not to be fastest, but test the bike.

Valentino Rossi closed the gap to his teammate, ending the test a tenth from the time set by Lorenzo, though still four tenths from Pedrosa's best lap. Rossi also leapfrogged over Marc Marquez, finally finishing ahead of the Repsol Honda rookie after ending the first two days behind him. Marquez finished as 4th fastest, six tenths behind Pedrosa, and the young Spaniard also had his first crash of the season, losing the front end on the way into the final corner. Marquez walked away unhurt, his Repsol RC213V did not fare quite so well.

Cal Crutchlow picked up his speed on the final day, closing to within a tenth of Marquez, and less than two tenths behind Valentino Rossi. Despite having a bike which is virtually unchanged since 2012, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man has closed the gap to the front runners, and looks on course to bag a few more podiums this season. Stefan Bradl was the fastest of the satellite Honda riders, the LCR Honda man nine tenths slower than Pedrosa, and a quarter of a second behind Crutchlow, and the last man within a second of the leader Pedrosa. Alvaro Bautista continued to work on the Showa suspension of his Gresini Honda, while Bradley Smith ended his first full test on the Yamaha M1 in good shape, 1.9 seconds behind Pedrosa. 

The Ducatis continue to make slow progress, but remain two seconds off the pace. Nicky Hayden was once again fastest, his teammate Andrea Dovizioso closing to within a tenth of a second of the American. Both factory Ducati men finished ahead of the Yamaha and Honda test riders once again, but behind all eight Honda and Yamaha factory and satellite machines.

Slightly more worrying will be the fact that Aleix Espargaro closed the gap significantly to the Ducatis. The Aprilia ART bike, entered as a CRT machine, was less than a third of a second behind Dovizioso, and a quarter of a second quicker than Andrea Iannone on the satellite Pramac Ducati. The new tire Bridgestone brought especially for the CRT machines is proving to be a real improvement, and in the CRT bikes are showing serious improvement in their second year of competition.

Perhaps even more impressive than Espargaro's time on the Aprilia is that of Michael Laverty on the PBM Aprilia. The Irishman ended the day as second fastest CRT rider, ahead of MotoGP veteran Randy de Puniet, and just 3.774 seconds slower than Pedrosa. Making this such an impressive ride was the fact that it was Laverty's first outing on the Aprilia, his first time on the spec Bridgestone tires, his first time with carbon brakes, and his first time at Sepang. Laverty is riding the Aprilia ART machine at Sepang, but will be switching to an Aprilia-powered British-made chassis once the season gets underway.

Testing is now complete at Sepang, and the riders and teams all head home for a few weeks. The paddock will reconvene at the end of February, for another three-day test starting on 26th of February, and ending on February 28th.

Results from the final day of testing at Sepang:

Pos   Rider Team Time Diff Prev.
1 26 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 2:00.100    
2 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.429 0.329 0.329
3 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.542 0.442 0.113
4 93 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 2:00.636 0.536 0.094
5 35 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:00.734 0.634 0.098
6 6 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda MotoGP 2:01.003 0.903 0.269
7 19 Alvaro Bautista Go & Fun Honda Gresini 2:01.502 1.402 0.499
8 38 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:02.093 1.993 0.591
9 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati Team 2:02.184 2.084 0.091
10 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team 2:02.277 2.177 0.093
11 T2 Katsayuki Nakasuga Yamaha Factory 2:02.616 2.516 0.339
12 41 Aleix Espargaro Power Electronics Aspar 2:02.628 2.528 0.012
13 29 Andrea Iannone Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team 2:02.864 2.764 0.236
14 72 Kosuke Akiyoshi HRC Test Team 2:03.082 2.982 0.218
15 33 Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport 2:03.874 3.774 0.792
16 14 Randy de Puniet Power Electronics Aspar 2:04.066 3.966 0.192
17 T1 Wataru Yoshikawa Yamaha Factory 2:04.137 4.037 0.071
18 8 Hector Barbera Avintia Blusens 2:04.211 4.111 0.074
19 37 Takumi Takahashi HRC Test Team 2:04.288 4.188 0.077
20 9 Danilo Petrucci Came IodaRacing Project 2:04.531 4.431 0.243
21 17 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 2:04.766 4.666 0.235
22 7 Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia Blusens 2:04.915 4.815 0.149
23 71 Claudio Corti NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:05.107 5.007 0.192
24 52 Lukas Pesek Came IodaRacing Project 2:05.321 5.221 0.214
25 68 Yonny Hernandez Paul Bird Motorsport 2:05.407 5.307 0.086
26 5 Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team 2:05.913 5.813 0.506
27 67 Bryan Staring Go & Fun Honda Gresini 2:05.970 5.870 0.057


Lap records and fastest testing times from last year:

Pole Record 2012 Jorge Lorenzo 2:00.334
Lap Record 2007 Casey Stoner 2:02.108
2012 Sepang 1 Day 3 fastest Casey Stoner 1:59.607
2012 Sepang 1 Overall fastest Casey Stoner 1:59.607


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I must say, I really don't see Dani as title favorite. He is fast and always will be, but he
just can't cut it. Yes, his last season was best so far but that's it. Marc has the speed and the guts and he's the HRC's best chance. All of this is, of course, just my opinion.

Dani won a lot of races in the second half of last season when Jorge was preserving his lead and Stoner was Injured. I expect when the season begins in earnest we will see Jorge begin to grind down Dani once again. But it's very close and all it takes is an injury to upset Jorge's applecart.

Yamaha have built a machine whch requires less risk to ride at 100% with brilliant electronics and chassis which Jorge uses with ruthless efficiency. He is the champion for a reason and still the title favourite IMO.

Yes, very impressive start from Marquez but does he have the consistency needed to take out the title? I'm not sure he does...

Rossi must be very pleased and will be a contender for sure, but I reckon he'll be outclassed by his teammate who's proven himself as a smooth fast and consistent performer.

Crutchlow will snare the odd podium, or at least, I hope he does! Love his aggressive style.

But this season could well belong to Pedrosa. He's upped the ante over the past year as far as aggressive racecraft goes and he's got the team, the bike and the experience. I'll be cheering for him - I reckon he deserves a title.

The impressive debuts of Marquez, Laverty, Smith and Bradl in 2012 show that Moto2 and CRT are the way to go in feeding fresh talent to the MotoGP grid. What we need now is Moto2 and CRT national championship racing - Laverty's debut clearly showing that a CRT is not such a huge leap from a Superbike as is a fully fledged MotoGP prototype. Seeing wildcards regularly appearing in MotoGP or Moto2 would be great but outside of Spain I've not heard of any national series taking the slightest interest in running championships for these classes.

Looking at time comparisons is interesting sport. DP & JL have a pace nearly identical to last year, Rossi has picked up where he has left off at Yamaha & Dovi, who was very quick last year has taken the standard Ducati 2 sec handicap. The interesting thing in all this is Hayden. He more often than not out qualified Rossi in the last two seasons but pundits often dismiss Hayden as a second tier rider because Stoner was clearly quicker. The truth is that Stoner made them all look like second tier riders & Hayden would be a real contender on a factory Yamaha. Sadly I think this is his last year with the changing of the guard generation wise, but it would be even sadder for the world to think of him like Edwards hanging on well past his prime.

that says a lawyer on trial who defends himself has a fool for a client.

I understand Nicky negotiates his own contracts...bad move. If you look at the past 2 year's results of all practices & races, Nicky has BEATEN Rossi about 51% of the time.

We've all heard that the first guy you have to beat is your teamate, & considering VR obviously got first dibs on everything, Nicky's accomplishments have curiously not made him attractive to other teams.

What is even stranger, is all the talk of his ability to move product out the door for his factory in the largest m/c market & his approachability. One must assume Ducati offered NH the biggest salary or he should fire his agent.

... that I would bring the practice sessions into the calculation.

I genuinely don't know the answer to this, but what does it look like come race day on the old Rossi Vs Hayden comparision? Surely that's the more applicable statistic to back up your point?

The biggest point when it comes to Nicky, is that despite how good he is (and I do have a bit of a soft spot for him, he's a likeable character)... the other teams have the choice of better riders.

Would he get into Honda or Yamaha ahead of Dani, Marc, Jorge or Vale? Nope. Realistically, he could easily believe the Factory Ducati will become better than the sattelite bikes of the other manufacturers (and CRT), so he probably is in the best seat he can get at this moment in time - assuming we believe in the prospect that the Ducati can move forward.

How about:


Were any of them past world champions or better prospects? They all got Hondas that Nicky would probably have done more with & definitately he would have had better results with than the Ducati.

After 4 years, I doubt he holds any illusions that the Ducati will at best rarely beat a satellite bike. He's just putting in his time toward his gold watch.

Which of Hayden co-driver on Ducati had less podiums then him in the same Season?

I missed something?

Nothing against Hayden. I like him. But he was last of factory Ducatis. I dont care what somebody doing in quali. Racing is the point.

Can he be faster in races then Dovi this year? I hope so. If not he will be same as Edwards.

Great guy but going down. Constantly.

Now you can start spitting on me.


Heck, why not decide the 2013 season now before a single checkered flag has been waved? Didn't stop all those who blathered on this time last year with proclamations that lil' Casey Stoner would win everything. While I would agree that one of these four guys will quite likely be the champ come seasons end....beyond that it's just BS...or as we used to call it back-in-the-day BENCH RACING. Found a clip from the old daze, WLT Racing with yours truly in the seat was on the second row of the grid back in 1983 against a whole slew of factory or factory-backed entries. First privateer in heat 1. My AMA Superbike career didn't last much longer than this race!

I think Nicky will regret spending another year on the Desmo. This year isn't going to be any better than the last 4. Why Audi/Ducati have chosen the direction they have is beyond me. The bike obviously needs a redesign from the ground up to have a hope of being competitive. Whatever they Germans think of the work Rossi and Burgess did, all the riders of the Ducati, including Stoner, have had the same issues with the Desmo - lack of front-end feel and power delivery. This has been going on for 4 years, but they have to take another year to analyze the problem? They're simply sandbagging while they decide what to do, and 4 fast riders are wasting a year of their careers.

The title looks to be between Lorenzo and Pedrosa, but you really can't rule out Rossi or Marquez. Rossi has more experience than anyone of what it takes to win a title. Its a long season and he's proved he has the mettle to do it, we just don't know if he has the raw speed. All 4 will win races.

Its hard to imagine anyone outside those 4 winning any races, unless it rains.

I predict no wins for Ducati, and no more than 2 podiums each for Dovi and Hayden, which will probably come in wet or changing conditions.

Crutchlow, Bautista and Bradl should all score a podium or two if crashes or injuries take any of the Big 4 out of the running.

A top 5 result would be about the best I would expect from either of the Pramac guys, or Bradley Smith.

Espagaro looks to comfortably have the measure of the other CRT riders, but behind him it looks very interesting.
Michael Laverty was very impressive, but his success will depend on the state of the PBM chassis bike. I expect it to be quite far behind to start, especially given that its already missed one test.

Paul Birds fondness for knee-jerk reactions will play a part here. He obviously wants his British built bike to do well, but if its not will be give Laverty the ART bike?
Will he put his best rider on his best bike to get the best results possible? Or will he put his best rider on the PBM bike to give IT (rather than the team) the best results?

I cannot wait for Qatar!

I'm so pleased we have something to inspire; I'm making sure all my DIY is finished before the racing starts again!

Well, in the end, no surprise at the top 4. Relieved for the business of the sport that Rossi looks like he'll be near the pointy end, I reckon if I had to bet I'd go with Pedro, really looked impressive for the last few races last year. Lorenzo is of course excellent and Marc will clearly have a great future, and if this is only the start, he could be winning races very soon. I predict controversy however...

Well done to Cal for getting so close, Bradley for improving (I'd love him to prove the doubters wrong) and an amazing show from Laverty to go from BSB to Moto GP and make such a good show of it.

Yes I'm a Brit but I support any good racer.

Yep, bring on Qatar.