Sepang Shakedown Test Day 1 Times: Fernandez Off To A Flying Start

The 2022 MotoGP season is almost underway, with the rookies and test riders taking to the track for the so-called shakedown test, three days of pre-testing ahead of the official MotoGP test on Saturday and Sunday, February 5th and 6th. Though the times set don't mean a great deal at this stage in time - there are a lot of variables, and the main job of the test riders is to make sure everything is functioning correctly and to prepare the ground for the official rider this weekend - there were still some notable performances.

First and fastest of all is Raul Fernandez. The Tech3 KTM rookie was fastest on the first day of the test, his entry into MotoGP looking like being as impactful as his joining Moto2. Fernandez' time is impressive, 1.2 seconds slower than the race lap record held by Valentino Rossi set in 2019, and 2.6 seconds than the fastest outright lap at the circuit, set by Danilo Petrucci during the test in 2019.

Ducati test rider Michele Pirro is second, ahead of KTM's Mika Kallio and Aprilia's Lorenzo Savadori, while Remy Gardner is the second quickest rookie, ending the day in fifth just under a second behind his teammate. Gardner was a tenth of a second quicker than VR46 Ducati man Marco Bezzecchi, who is in turn a tenth of a second faster than RNF Yamaha rider Darryn Binder. Gresini Ducati's Fabio Di Giannantonio is the slowest of the rookies, 1.7 seconds off the pace of Fernandez.

Absent from the test was Stefan Bradl, the HRC test rider's Honda RC213V still on its way from the test at Jerez, where Bradl had been putting the radically modified 2022-spec Honda through its pace on Thursday and Friday. Bradl is expected to ride on Tuesday.

There was also news on the test rider front. Yamaha confirmed that Cal Crutchlow will continue in his role as test rider for the next 2 seasons, 2022 and 2023, with the factory.

Times, courtesy of

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Previous
1 25 Raul Fernandez KTM RC16 2:00.898    
2 51 Michele Pirro 1 Ducati GP22 2:01.042 0.144 0.144
3 82 Mika Kallio 1 KTM RC16 2:01.250 0.352 0.208
4 32 Lorenzo Savadori 2 Aprilia RS-GP 2:01.676 0.778 0.426
5 87 Remy Gardner KTM RC16 2:01.852 0.954 0.176
6 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati GP21 2:02.012 1.114 0.160
7 40 Darryn Binder Yamaha M1 2:02.146 1.248 0.134
8 50 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki GSX-RR 2:02.181 1.283 0.035
9 82 Mika Kallio 2 KTM RC16 2:02.297 1.399 0.116
10 49 Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati GP21 2:02.596 1.698 0.299
11 32 Lorenzo Savadori 4 Aprilia RS-GP 2:02.890 1.992 0.294
12 32 Lorenzo Savadori 1 Aprilia RS-GP 2:03.193 2.295 0.303
13 51 Michele Pirro 2 Ducati GP22 2:03.426 2.528 0.233
14 T2 Yamaha Test 2 Yamaha M1 2:03.442 2.544 0.016
15 T1 Yamaha Test 1 Yamaha M1 2:03.616 2.718 0.174
16 32 Lorenzo Savadori 3 Aprilia RS-GP 2:04.633 3.735 1.017

Lap records:

Year No Rider Bike Time Session          
2019 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha M1 1:58.303 Q2
2019 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 1:59.661 Race
2019 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP19 1:58.239 Sepang Test
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Good to see the wheels turning again. And who else was surprised to see that Rossi holds the fastest race lap at Sepang? I know he's gone well (and not so well) there over the years. 

Hi David,

Thanks for sweating your ass off in Sepang for us! So is Crutchlow riding in Sepang or is Yamaha more interested in announcing contracts than in actually developing an effective motorcycle for FQ20 to mount his tittle defense with?

I remember the question being thrown around perhaps by DE himself, that the didgeridoo could also be an intentional distraction away from other changes on the bike. Looks very interesting either way!

I remember, bit of wild speculation. Some folks are attracted to "outside shot" intrigue. Or fall into seeing some legitimate subterfuge over there, so are inclined to look for it here. Same shite of "Marc is manipulating us to play games being misleading about how he is recovering" et al. 

Cigars can be cigars. Er, didgeridoo. Er. Just an actual exhaust.

indeed, Ducati could have simply realized they have a bit of top end power to spare, and are exploring different torque curves through long exhausts

No one has yet seen Gigi’s latest secret weapon - the “didge” intake, breathing in on the exhaust stroke.

Look for nostrils to soon appear on the nose of the Ducs!

Congratulations Raul Fernandez. Don't forget the story of the previous "King of testing" Don Raul.

What's wrong with the KTM? "No drive grip" I hear you say. Doesn't seem too shabby from here.

Damn if that Ducati exhaust doesn’t remind me of the old 500c exhausts of old…