News 13 Feb 2023

Marini emerges quickest at Sepang MotoGP test

Ducati riders display ominous speed as 2023 proceedings begin.

Image: Supplied.

Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Luca Marini emerged as the quickest rider in the MotoGP pre-season test at Sepang, notching a 1m57.889s around the Malaysian circuit as seven Ducatis featured inside the top 10 at the conclusion of the three days.

Onboard the GP22 platform, Marini was marginally quicker than reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), the number one notching a 1m57.969 to edge Aprilia Racing’s Maverick Vinales by 0.067s.

Behind Vinales, freshly-minted Ducati Lenovo Team rider Enea Bastianini was fourth, leading day two pacesetter Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing).

Aleix Espargaro made it two Aprilias inside the top six with a 1m58.307s, the Spaniard stating it’s ‘too early’ to evaluate properly the 2023 package but leaves Malaysia happy with how the test went.

Gresini Racing’s Fabio Di Giannanto (Gresini Racing MotoGP) notched the seventh fastest time, as Marco Bezzechi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) – who was quickest on day one, Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) and Marc Marquez (Respol Honda Team) completed the top 10.

The younger Marquez is showing positive signs as he switches to the Italian manufacturer, and while older brother Marc was the only rider on a non-Italian bike inside the top 10, the eight-time world champion himself stated that 2023 Honda development bikes are currently not a platform that will enable him to fight for the title.

Of riders switching manufacturers for 2023, Aprilia-mounted Raul Fernandez (RNF MotoGP Team) completed the Malaysian test P11, former world champion Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) P12, Pol Espargaro (GasGas Factory Racing Tech3) 13th, Miguel Oliveira (RNF MotoGP Team) P15, Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 18th and Alex Rins (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was 19th quickest. Rookie Augusto Fernandez (GasGas Factory Racing Tech3) posted a 1m59.660s to finish 22nd overall.

Notably, 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo was down in 17th. While Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team was able to confirm its top speed improvements, the Frenchman has expressed concern about the current one-lap pace of the platform.

With a host of data gathered across the three days, MotoGP teams have a month to develop improvements before testing resumes at Algarve International Circuit in Portimao, Portugal on March 11-12.

Detailed results