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MotoGP Sepang Test Day 1, Lorenzo Leads the Way, Ducati Makes Amazing Debut

Action gets underway at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia, where the first day of testing has just ended. Jorge Lorenzo finished the session in the leading position, with his best lap time being 2'00"684.
Jorge Lorenzo, Sepang test Day 1 27 photos
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For the sake of comparison, the first Sepang pre-season test of 2015 saw 1'58"867 as the best lap, with Marc Marquez being the fastest rider of the entire meeting. Surely, this is only the first day in Malaysia, and the lap times are expected to drop as teams refine the settings of the bikes and riders assess the track conditions better.

The weather at Sepang is hot, maybe a tad too hot, but this was not the key element the teams struggled with. The 2016 season comes with a standard, unified software for all the bikes on the grid and new tires supplied by Michelin.

According to Danny Aldridge, MotoGP Technical Director, the software should not represent a major issue, as the teams had access to it since early in 2015 and were asked to provide input for building the current version. They should be around 70% through the development of a race-ready version, Aldridge says. Likewise, he adds that Michelin are not newcomers in premier class racing either, and he expresses his confidence that the 2016 season will be just alright.Ducati machines look very strong in the debut of the 2016 "hostilities"
The biggest surprise in the debut of the Sepang test is seeing Ducati machinery of all sorts looking exceptionally competitive on the track. And what should be a tad worrying for the rest of the guys and their teams is the fact that three completely different Ducati machines ended the Sepang Day 1 in places 4, 5 and 6.

Valentino Rossi was second, 1"033 behind Lorenzo, and Dani Pedrosa followed very close to him, at 0.063 seconds. Danilo Petrucci put an Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati fourth on the time sheets, 31 thousandths of a second behind Pedrosa (and therefore, within striking range of Rossi).

Ducati's fastest factory bike was ridden by Andrea Iannone to a finish in the fifth place, one-tenth of a second behind the satellite one, while Avintia's Hector Barbera put the Desmosedici GP14.2 sixth on the charts, almost three tenths ahead of Marc Marquez.

Scott Redding's Pramac Ducati was eighth, ahead of Aleix Espargaro's Suzuki and Cal Crutchlow's LCR Honda, who rounded up the top ten. Yamaha Tech3 had a rather disappointing debut, with Pol Espargaro 12th and Bradley Smith 15th.

Unsurprisingly, Aprilia's old bikes were last on the grid, with all hopes for better days once the 2016 machines are ready. Two riders crashed, with Smith wiping off at the last turn and escaping without injuries, while his bike was only scratched a bit.

However, Eugene Laverty suffered a violent crash at Turn 4 and was rushed to the hospital for full investigations. He is feared to have fractured a wrist, which would definitely sideline him for at least three or four weeks. The forks of his Ducati also broke off during the crash.

 
 
 
 
 

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