It’s business as usual for the reigning World Champion Marc Marquez after completing 29 laps on the opening day setting the fastest time of a 1:59.621.
Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda have returned to the top of the time sheets after the opening day of testing in Sepang with a time of 1:59.621 despite the Spaniard being only 70% fit. Marquez completed just 29 laps and ended the opening day 0.2s ahead of the leading Suzuki and fellow Spaniard Alex Rins.
It was a good start for Yamaha as Maverick Vinales rounded out the top 3 just 0.316s behind Marquez as the new Monster Energy Yamaha look to make even more progress over the next few days to understand their level before the season opener in Qatar, March 10th.
A late charge from Tito Rabat put the Spaniard inside the top 5 as he ended day one in an impressive 4th place as completed his 5th day of action since returning to action after his horrific crash in Silverstone at the back end of August 2018.
Danilo Petrucci was the top factory Ducati after day one as the Italian set a time of 2:00.051s as he lead fellow Italian Valentino Rossi who had a better start to the Sepang test compared to recent years as he sported his brand new test helmet in the Sepang heat.
After topping the test back in Jerez at the end of 2018, 7th place was Takaaki Nakagami who after completing the Jerez test on the latest spec Honda, the Japanese rider was back on the 2018 Honda for this test and has been making good progress as the LCR team focus on getting the bike and Nakagami back up to speed. Rounding out the top 10 was Dovizioso, Bradl who is replacing Jorge Lorenzo for these 3 days, and Pol Espargaro who despite suffering a fall towards the end of the session completed the top 10 after what looked like a positive day for the Austrian manufacturer.
Jack Miller also had a fall on his GP19 and therefore couldn’t put in a time at the end of day 1 leaving the Aussie down in 11th place ahead of Franco Morbidelli on the Petronas SRT Yamaha that made it’s debut in Sepang in the new colours.
Aleix Espargaro ended day one in 13th but despite the comments made during the shakedown test, is not happy with the 2019 Aprilia and recons it could be another tough season, especially as his teammate ended day 1 down in 21st place. Aleix ended the test ahead of Cal Crutchlow who made his debut return since heading into turn 1 in FP2 at Phillip Island and made steady progress with his ankle injury and the new Honda ending the test just 1 second behind his fellow Honda rider Marc Marquez.
Francesco Bagnaia rounded out the top 15 as his preparations for Qatar continues, as the rookie continues to adapt to the MotoGP Ducati, Pecco ended the test just ahead of fellow rookie Miguel Oliveira who ended the test in his highest position so far setting a time of a 2:00.902 putting the Portuguese rider in 16th.
Fabio Quartararo ended his first day in 17th place with Mika Kallio in 19th and Johann Zarco down in a disappointing 20th place as the Frenchman continues to struggle to get to grips with his RC16.
Andrea Iannone’s pre-season didn’t start to well suffering a fall on his opening stint costing him a large amount of track time, resulting in the Italian ending day one in 21st place.
Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli was also out on track helping Rins and Mir gather data with Guintoli and Mir ending the opening 8 hours of testing in 22nd and 23rd position.
Karel Abraham ended the opening day down in 24th place ahead of Yamaha Test Rider 2 whilst Hafizh Syahrin continues to struggle to adapt to his RC16 Tech 3 KTM.
Aprilia and Suzuki test riders Bradley Smith and Takuya Tsuda didn’t compete in day one as they have a rest after a busy few days completing programs in the shakedown tests a few days ago.
Heading into Day 2 can Marquez keep his position at the top of the time sheets or will Ducati, Yamaha or maybe Suzuki take it from the reigning Champion, find out here on Now Moto.
Featured Image Credit: MotoGP