2018 Buriram MotoGP Test: Pedrosa Fastest Overall, Syahrin Most Improved

Dani Pedrosa leaves the MotoGP test in Thailand as fastest over all three days, the Repsol Honda rider posting his best time of the test late on Sunday afternoon. Tech 3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco did much the same, beating the best time of Marc Marquez set on Saturday.

Most riders set their quickest time on Sunday, with a few exceptions in the top ten. Marquez (third), Jack Miller (sixth), Maverick Viñales (eighth) and Danilo Petrucci (ninth) all set their best times on Saturday, though Miller's quickest time on Sunday was just five thousandths of a second slower than his time from the day before.

Hafizh Syahrin was the most improved rider, unsurprising given this was his first time on a MotoGP bike. But the Malaysian rider made a solid debut on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, finishing ahead of Xavier Simeon on the Avintia Ducati and Karel Abraham on the Angel Nieto Team Ducati. 

Mika Kallio was second in the improvement stakes, but as KTM's test rider, that was to be expected, given the extensive test program he ran on different days. Johann Zarco was third most improved, beating his Friday time by 1.438 on Sunday, while the three Honda rookies Taka Nakagami, Tom Luthi, and Franco Morbidelli all improved by over a second, as did Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

Combined times from all three days:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev Best day
1 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 1:29.781     Sunday
2 5 Johann Zarco Yamaha M1 1:29.867 0.086 0.086 Sunday
3 93 Marc Marquez Honda RC213V 1:29.969 0.188 0.102 Saturday
4 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 1:30.064 0.283 0.095 Sunday
5 42 Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 1:30.178 0.397 0.114 Sunday
6 43 Jack Miller Ducati GP17 1:30.185 0.404 0.007 Saturday
7 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP18 1:30.192 0.411 0.007 Sunday
8 25 Maverick Viñales Yamaha M1 1:30.274 0.493 0.082 Saturday
9 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP18 1:30.367 0.586 0.093 Saturday
10 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda RC213V 1:30.456 0.675 0.089 Sunday
11 53 Tito Rabat Ducati GP17 1:30.476 0.695 0.020 Sunday
12 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 1:30.511 0.730 0.035 Sunday
13 21 Franco Morbidelli Honda RC213V 1:30.648 0.867 0.137 Sunday
14 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 1:30.701 0.920 0.053 Sunday
15 29 Andrea Iannone Suzuki GSX-RR 1:30.718 0.937 0.017 Sunday
16 99 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati GP18 1:30.729 0.948 0.011 Saturday
17 19 Alvaro Bautista Ducati GP17 1:30.883 1.102 0.154 Saturday
18 38 Bradley Smith KTM RC16 1:30.921 1.140 0.038 Sunday
19 36 Mika Kallio KTM RC16 1:31.169 1.388 0.248 Sunday
20 45 Scott Redding Aprilia RS-GP 1:31.311 1.530 0.142 Sunday
21 12 Tom Luthi Honda RC213V 1:31.354 1.573 0.043 Sunday
22 55 Hafizh Syahrin Yamaha M1 1:31.537 1.756 0.183 Sunday
23 17 Karel Abraham Ducati GP16 1:31.661 1.880 0.124 Saturday
24 10 Xavier Simeon Ducati GP16 1:32.019 2.238 0.358 Sunday

Improvement over three days:

No Rider Bike Friday Saturday Synday Improvement Best time
55 Hafizh Syahrin Yamaha M1 1:33.165 1:31.998 1:31.537 1.628 Sunday
36 Mika Kallio KTM RC16 1:32.749 1:31.598 1:31.169 1.580 Sunday
5 Johann Zarco Yamaha M1 1:31.305 1:30.360 1:29.867 1.438 Sunday
12 Tom Luthi Honda RC213V 1:32.716 1:31.994 1:31.354 1.362 Sunday
30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda RC213V 1:31.692 1:30.901 1:30.456 1.236 Sunday
26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 1:30.960 1:30.127 1:29.781 1.179 Sunday
21 Franco Morbidelli Honda RC213V 1:31.729 1:31.185 1:30.648 1.081 Sunday
53 Tito Rabat Ducati GP17 1:31.523 1:30.855 1:30.476 1.047 Sunday
25 Maverick Viñales Yamaha M1 1:31.294 1:30.274 1:30.590 1.020 Saturday
41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 1:31.662 1:31.130 1:30.701 0.961 Sunday
93 Marc Marquez Honda RC213V 1:30.912 1:29.969 1:30.143 0.943 Saturday
99 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati GP18 1:31.246 1:30.729 1:31.627 0.898 Saturday
43 Jack Miller Ducati GP17 1:31.044 1:30.185 1:30.190 0.859 Saturday
38 Bradley Smith KTM RC16 1:31.741 1:31.113 1:30.921 0.820 Sunday
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP18 1:30.945 1:30.494 1:30.192 0.753 Sunday
35 Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 1:30.797 1:30.490 1:30.064 0.733 Sunday
10 Xavier Simeon Ducati GP16 1:32.720 1:32.267 1:32.019 0.701 Sunday
46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 1:31.189 1:30.888 1:30.511 0.678 Sunday
19 Alvaro Bautista Ducati GP17 1:31.525 1:30.883 1:31.486 0.642 Saturday
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP18 1:31.003 1:30.367 1:30.573 0.636 Saturday
42 Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 1:30.809 1:30.446 1:30.178 0.631 Sunday
29 Andrea Iannone Suzuki GSX-RR 1:31.235 1:30.775 1:30.718 0.517 Sunday
45 Scott Redding Aprilia RS-GP 1:31.685 1:31.637 1:31.311 0.374 Sunday
17 Karel Abraham Ducati GP16 1:31.698 1:31.661 1:32.024 0.363 Saturday
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The first time I glanced at the combined times, I didn't catch Nakagami in the top 10.  He's ahead of some pretty big names!

Valentino said Lorenzo is struggling here. I don't know how much of that is true, but if it is it might paint a picture like last year in which case I think Ducati's patience will be nearing it's end.

I remember when Honda dominated the series for years upon years, generally when they had built a good bike they didn't fail to keep it as such, so how Yamaha went from arguably the best bike in 2015 to where it is now, only 3 years later, I have no idea.

Do you remember 2015 when the Yamaha's were leaving crumbs which mostly Marquez could collect? Testing in 2016 painted a similar picture for 2016, but the Yamaha's failed to capture the opportunity, and then 2017 came with testing once again painting a clear Yamaha scenario with Yamaha being all over the place in 2017. They seem genuinely lost at sea with Zarco being the only thing pointing out that maybe the Yamaha is working, giving statements that are very contrary to what Maverick and Valentino are saying.

I love Valentino, and I hope he has a half decent title assault up in his sleeve in the next couple of years, even though I seriously doubt that, but a part of me does not like the fact that him staying in MotoGP means that Zarco has no factory option with Yamaha.

It's too early to tell, but Zarco might be an antidote to Yamaha's troubles, his unique Lorenzo'esque style seems to gel with the Yamaha even when it's on it's down days.

It's strange, one part of me wishes for Valentino to battle it out for the podiums in his 50's, another part wishes for Zarco to graduate to the factory Yam, but there's no way to get both wishes to come true.

I don't think KTM will be a match for Zarco, if he's to go to a factory team, I'd reckon he'd be better off at Suzuki, replacing Iannone. I think the Suzuki would suit him, but at the same time the way Suzuki has been behaving with riders lately has not been all that great. Let's not forget the unjustified sacking of Aleix and the way they snatched the seat away from Zarco at the last moment.

Decisions, decisions...

Day 1 CC35,  day 2 MM93, day 3 DP26: anyone still doubting that Honda is the best sorted out bike of the lot? Should we bother to have an actual championship and 19 races? 

Who is gonna stop the Honda armada?  Let me rephrase: who is gonna steal some points without changing the outcome? My money is on Dovi. He seemed pretty confident and almost happy. Good ! 

I'm really curious to see Miller in action. And Morbido too. But most of all I'm curious to see Rins who might finally show his true colours. 

My deepest sympathy goes to Yamaha: the black hole they are in is ...just a black hole: expanding and beyond human comprehension. As for Zarco... He said he reached 100% of the bike. Sounds good but bad: the rest of the field seems to be just at 80%... 

I just hope we are not gonna have another remake of 2014....



... I also feel like we may be witnessing a decline in Yamaha's relevance in the championship compared to the last decade or so. It's truly remarkable how quickly the M1 has gone from the most user-friendly bike on the grid, to the most finicky and knife-edged.

This would also likely mean a premature retirement for Rossi, which in turn would mean a crippling blow to the championship, and entire MotoGP business model as a whole. I won't surprised if Dorna themselves offer to bring in some engineers for Yamaha just to keep them competitive. Make no mistake, tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars will be lost in the seasons following his departure. Dark days for the boys in blue.

Lamenting the loss of Rossi isn't going to do anyone any good.  He's a big name and pulls in the crowds, but he's going to leave eventually.  We have others to take his place, Marquez seems the obvious candidate.

... but was anything I wrote untrue? I don’t think so. And regarding Marc “taking his place”, umm no, not in the slightest. In fact Marc could end up as a sort of Doohan-like dominator. Not sure if you were watching the 500’s back then, but I was. It was years of amazing riding by Mick of course, but the series was utterly pathetic because of it, and of course viewership was equally pathetic.

Worth re-reading David’s daily summaries of this test. That’s what I’ve just done. I think they are even better than last season - more comprehensive, more insightful, more informative, more special than ever before. A lot of skill, knowledge and effort has gone into them. Much appreciated, bro’, you are the man! 

While I agree with your comments, I had hoped contributors to David's site would use language at least moderately above the semi-literate.

"bro', you are the man!"

Seriously ? Sigh.....

I take compliments (and criticism) in the spirit in which it was meant, and will happily accept any wording used, as long as it will get past corporate internet filters!

I think you just need to look at the two major and vital control elements of the series for the reasons behind Yamaha's woes. And subsequently, every change the the rubber seems to benefit Honda and Marquez. And both Honda and Ducati have ex-marnelli staff working for them, no surprises they are leading the charge on electronics and tyre wear.

Here in lies the problem with control anything, the purists will argue that 'everyone' has the same. But for me in this sport, that arguement is not valid. I for one was hoping for a return of the tyre war in 2016, sadly now we are seeing the same old arguments arising as were the case in the Bridgestone era.

I think Yamaha will sort it, and they will get some help too. The allegations of Honda bias are already flying rampant on social media, this is bad for the series, so we all need Yamaha to sort it. The see-sawing of results is also puzzling, this has to be attributed to tyres and the amount of rubber on the circuit, there is a setting buried in the numbers no doubt to cure-perhaps they should see if any current Marnelli staff are unhappy in their jobs...

Personally I think that Rossi also needs a good wing man in development, like they had with Colin Edwards and Lorenzo. Vinales seems lost, muddled and generally not having a clue, and has so since early last season-this is not good for the factory team. I'd say now they will be chatting with a certain frenchman a lot more in the next 2 weeks...

Are Rossi and Vinales working with the same frame? I have a question. For instance, if Rossi and Vinales are free to pick their choice of frames (is this true anymore?), then how can Yamaha develope the M1 in one direction? Different frames, different paths.. right?