Miniscule gap separates top MotoGP riders on first day of 2015 testing

The top riders in the MotoGP field wasted no time during the first day of testing of 2015 at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia with the main protagonists from last year’s championship leading the way with reigning world champion Marc Marquez narrowly edging Movistar Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

Marquez was circulating at the top of the timings all day with the Repsol Honda rider chasing Rossi who was his customary self on the YZR-M1 and on top of the proceedings from the start. Marquez eventually leaped above Rossi in the dying minutes of the afternoon session with his best lap of 2m 262s just bettering the Doctor’s best lap of 2m 380s while Lorenzo was just over a quarter of a second off both riders (2m 521s).

Both Rossi and Lorenzo were testing similar set ups to those in the first test for the upcoming season at Valencia in November of last year with the only notable difference being a new cover on the YZR-M1’s exhaust to aid with flame flare and debris while in Comparison Repsol Honda have brought along a total of ten machines for both their riders to test with a raft of different settings and parts.

Dovizioso keeping the top men honest

Ducati will be pleased after one day with Andrea Dovizioso lapping near the top three on the revised Ducati GP 14.3 machine with the GP 15 being held back until the second upcoming test in Sepang. Dovizioso’s best time of 2m 0.617s was good enough to see the Italian finish ahead of Pedrosa’s best of 2m 0.745s with the Spaniard crashing near the end of the day but without injury.

Pol Espargaro was the last rider on the 2m 00s bracket with the Monster Yamaha Tech rider setting a best time of 2m 0.930s despite a small crash early on. Andrea Iannone was also on the pace for the Ducati team and set the 7th best time of 2m 01.424s with Stefan Bradl close behind for the NGM Forward Racing team with a best time of 2m 1.556s. British riders Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Cal Crutchlow (CWM LCR Honda) rounded off the top ten respectively with just .006s separating the countrymen.

Scott Redding is still adapting to his factory Honda machine and the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider put in a total of 63 laps and the British rider fastest setting an 11th lap of 2m 1.917s ahead of Michele Pirro and Danilo Petrucci in 12th and 13th respectively for the Pramac Racing team with Pirro deputizing for the injured Yonny Hernandez.185s ahead. Aleix Espargaro is working hard in his new partnership with Team Suzuki MotoGP and the Spaniard ended the first day in 14th and his best lap of 2m 2.225s was better than that of Factory Aprilia Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista (2m 2.285s).

MotoGP rookies mixing it up with experienced rivals

Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden was the next MotoGP rider on the timing sheets with the American rider setting the 17th best lap of 2m 2.699s ahead of Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera (2.02.700s) while new MotoGP star Jack Miller finished his first day on the CWM LCR Honda in 19th (2m 2.807s). Maverick Viñales put in 69 laps on his first test in earnest for Team Suzuki MotoGP with a best time of 2m 3.092s while fellow MotoGP rookie Eugene Laverty was next along for the Drive M7 Aspar team (2m 3.295s).

Mike Di Meglio got his first outing for the Avintia Racing team today and he finished ahead of Karel Abraham and the AB Motoracing team and the Czech Republic rider’s best lap of 2m 3.879s sees him ahead of newcomer Loris Baz for the Forward Racing Team. Marco Melandri had a tough first day on his Factory Aprilia Gresini machine with the Italian setting a fastest lap of 2m 4.502s and Alex De Angelis for the Octo Ioda Racing team (2m 4.673s).

The factory teams also have a number of test riders taking part in this week’s test with Hiroshi Aoyama leading the pack today in 16th for HRC with a best lap of 2m 2.560s.