News 8 Feb 2023

Ducati's Pirro concludes MotoGP shakedown test fastest

Fernandez and selection of MotoGP test riders take to the Malaysian circuit.

Image: Supplied.

Ducati’s Michele Pirro was the quickest rider at the Sepang shakedown test that featured MotoGP rookie Augusto Fernandez alongside a host of test riders taking to the Malaysian circuit across the three days.

Doing most of his work with an updated aero package, Pirro notched a best effort of 1m59.803s on day three, leading Cal Crutchlow who was quickest on day one and a heavily rain-affected day two.

Crutchlow sampled a new front fairing, and notably, the top-speed improvements look positive for the Iwata factory as he was able to clock 335kph, five more than Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) managed in last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix. That said, there has been talk of the top speed trap being located in the initial braking zone, suggesting the braking point of each rider could impact the figure.

GasGas Factory Racing Tech3 rookie Augusto Fernandez was third fastest at the conclusion of day three, continuing to adapt to the premier class platform. His quickest time of 2m00.482s placed him 0.679s from Pirro, with the number 37 to return on 10-12 February for the official test starting on Friday.

Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori notably sampled Aprilia’s new front fairing aero package, also busy preparing the bikes for Aprilia Racing regulars Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales. The Italian was ultimately fourth quickest, 0.920s from Pirro’s benchmark.

Stefan Bradl completed back-to-back comparisons between different HRC aero packages, the German also spending time comparing bikes with and without the ‘stegosaurus’ wings on the tail unit. Bradl’s fastest time came on day three and was 1.326s from the top.

KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa was present at the test and completed laps testing KTM’s new aero package, with the ‘shark tooth’ sections on the edges no longer there. The MotoGP legend spent a great majority of with test without a transponder, but fellow KTM test rider Jonas Folger notched a best lap that was 3.820s from the lead.

MotoGP regulars alongside rookie Fernandez will officially commence their pre-season preparations later this week, with the three-day official test at Sepang commencing this Friday.