2014 MotoGP: Sepang Test Shows Much Anticipated Higher Competitiveness

Marc Marquez leads the first 2014 test at Sepang 3 photos
2014 Sepang test day 3Marc Marquez
It looks like the 2014 season will be at least as interesting as the 2013 one, the initial tests for the year show. After 3 days of on-track testing in Malaysia, the first impressions hint us on a very hot year.
Marquez was the fastest rider, but this was in a way already anticipated. However, the surprise came in seeing him beat the old track record Stoner had set. Three more riders also went under the 2-minute mark, and one of them was the standing CRT champion, Aleix Espargaro, riding an Open class FTR Yamaha.

Aleix was under half a second off Marquez, behind Rossi, who was second 0.194s adrift Honda's rider and Lorenzo, 0.333s from the leading time. LCR Honda's Bradl topped the 5 fastest riders.

The 7th position saw Andrea Dovizioso, by far the best Ducati rider on the track, with his new team mate Crutchlow finishing only 12th fastest. Still, it looks like the 2014 bike is better at this stage than the 2013 one.

It appears that Ducati will also try to understand more of how the new bike would behave under both Factory and Open class entry regulations, and make a call at the end of the month.

On one hand, the 2014 bike is clearly better as the test at Sepang showed, but full development will be blocked by a potential Open class entry, because of the "engine freezing" rule.

Suzuki's De Puniet was only 17, but this can be explained by the incomplete porting of the factory software on the spec Magneti Marelli ECU. We'll see how the bike fares at the end of the month, as Davide Brivio believes the porting will be complete and revised.

Two and a half weeks before the next test at Sepang, we can see that Aleix Espargaro will add a whole of of stir in the top 5 battle and this spells great racing entertainment.
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