Lorenzo Leads the Sepang Test Despite Rainy Conditions

Lorenzo, Sepang test 2016, Day 3 14 photos
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Defending champion Jorge Lorenzo leaves Sepang in the leading position after three days of pre-season testing. He was also the only rider of the field who could break the 2-minute barrier over the three sessions.
As expected, rain fell at Sepang on the third day of the first IRTA test of 2016, reducing the time riders could spend on the track. However, due to the warm weather, the track became usable soon enough and allowed several riders to introduce significant changes in the time sheets.

After two hours of rain-induced delay, the majority of the field went to the track, with Lorenzo looking particularly strong from the start. His new lap times dropped to 2’00.016, while his teammate Valentino Rossi also improved his performance with a 2’00.556 lap. Marc Marquez also stepped up in the time sheets, posting the third-fastest lap time, around one second slower than Lorenzo.

Hernandez and Rabat met the Malaysian asphalt at turns 1 and 5, respectively, but both riders walked away unscathed. Yesterday's star Danilo Petrucci ran into trouble, as his engine froze at turn 9 while downshifting from the fourth gear to the first. He was sidelined for two hours while the mechanics changed his engine, but he was not able to replicate or improve his best lap.

Crutchlow was also faster today, ending the third session in the fourth position, under a tenth of a second faster than Casey Stoner, who also rode the GP15 Ducati. The top ten of the day was rounded up with Pedrosa, Petrucci, Iannone, and Redding, again with Ducati bikes of all types looking strong.

Five Ducati in the top ten combined standings

No less than five Ducati bikes are in the top ten positions in the combined lap times sheets, with the best-placed Italian bike remaining that of Danilo Petrucci with yesterday's 2'00.095. Avintia's Hector Barbera retains the third position also from yesterday, with his customer Ducati lapping around the Sepang Circuit in 2'00.387.

Rossi ends the Sepang test in the fourth position, 0.169s slower than Barbera, and 0.387s faster than Marquez. Crutchlow sits in the sixth place, followed by Redding, Iannone and Stoner, all three using Ducati bikes, and Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith completing the top ten.

Pedrosa remains in the 11th position, with the two Suzuki factory riders Vinales and Espargaro behind him. Aprilia riders also improved their lap times, even though their 2015 bikes are nowhere near being the sharpest tools in the shed. Bradl climbed to the 18th position while his teammate Alvaro Bautista was 21st.

MotoGP action resumes in a fortnight with the next IRTA test at Phillip Island. Aprilia will not take part in it, as they will hopefully bring the 2016 RS-GP bikes to the Losail circuit in Qatar for a private session.
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