Martin in front, Quartararo too

Martin in front, Quartararo too

Jorge Martin set the best time on the first day of MotoGP pre-season testing at Sepang. The 2023 world vice-champion beat rookie Pedro Acosta and Fabio Quartararo. Johann Zarco, for his part, took tenth place.

The 2024 MotoGP season officially started this Tuesday! After three days of a “shakedown” open to test drivers and certain starters depending on the concessions granted to the manufacturers, the entire world championship field found itself on the track at Sepang. While the heat arrived on the Malaysian circuit, the monsoon was absent, leaving the drivers to multiply the laps without interruption. In these conditions, it was hardly surprising to see the best laps being set during the morning.

In this little game, it was Jorge Martin who performed the best. Riding his Ducati from the Pramac team, the 2023 world vice-champion completed his best lap in 1’57”951, coming within half a second of the track record established last year during qualifications by Francesco Bagnaia. The double title holder, who suffered a fall in his first lap, could not do better than the 16th time, being last in the same second as the “Martinator”. The Spanish driver’s closest pursuer is the one on whom all eyes will be focused at the start of the season, a certain Pedro Acosta. The Moto2 world champion, promoted this year to Tech3, failed 269 thousandths of a second behind his elder on the handlebars of his KTM in the colors of Gasgas.

Quartararo with Martin’s contact

Just behind him, we find Fabio Quartararo. Showing himself more at ease in the afternoon, “El Diablo” shaved half a second off his previous best time to come within 277 thousandths of Jorge Martin. The Yamaha rider was a little more clearly ahead of Fabio di Giannantonio and Enea Bastianini, who completed the Top 5. While he praised the work carried out by Honda during the winter to try to close the gap on the competition, offering himself even the services of Alex Bamgärtel, co-founder of the company Kalex, a recognized chassis specialist, Johann Zarco was the best representative of the Hamamatsu firm.

Indeed, the Frenchman set the 10th time 719 thousandths from the reference. He was 49 thousandths ahead of the other curiosity of the day, Marc Marquez on the handlebars of his Ducati 2023 from the Gresini team. After stopping at the side of the track, the six-time world champion assured that he had not been on the ground but had had “a new problem on the bike”. Victim of a heavy fall in Portimão during a day of riding a Superbike, Franco Morbidelli will not be able to be there in Malaysia, a complete three-week rest having been prescribed for him. The Italian was replaced by his compatriot Michele Pirro for these tests but should be there for the first Grand Prix, on March 10 in Qatar.

MOTOGP / SEPANG TESTING
Ranking of the 1st day – Tuesday February 6, 2024
1- Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati Pramac) in 1’57”951 (59 laps)
2- Pedro Acosta (ESP/KTM Tech3) at 0”269 (60)
3- Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) at 0”277 (46)
4- Fabio di Giannantonio (ITA/Ducati VR46) at 0”374 (49)
5- Enea Bastianini (ITA/Ducati) at 0”406 (48)

9- Marc Marquez (ESP/Ducati Gresini) at 0”670 (47)
10- Johann Zarco (FRA/Honda LCR) at 0”719 (56)

16- Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) at 0”862 (52)

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