The first test of the 2013 MotoGP season is completed, and Dani Pedrosa has completed a clean sweep, topping the timesheets on all three days. The Repsol Honda man confirmed his role as title favorite by posting a fast lap under the existing pole record set by Jorge Lorenzo last year.

He also opened-up a serious gap to the trio who have been chasing him all test long, putting nearly a third of a second on Jorge Lorenzo, the Yamaha man falling just short of his own pole record. However, what may worry Lorenzo more is the fact that Pedrosa declared at the end of the day that his objective was not to be fastest, but test the bike.

Valentino Rossi closed the gap to his teammate, ending the test a tenth from the time set by Lorenzo, though still four tenths from Pedrosa’s best lap. Rossi also leapfrogged over Marc Marquez, finally finishing ahead of the Repsol Honda rookie after ending the first two days behind him. Marquez finished as 4th fastest, six tenths behind Pedrosa, and the young Spaniard also had his first crash of the season, losing the front end on the way into the final corner. Marquez walked away unhurt, his Repsol RC213V did not fare quite so well.

Cal Crutchlow picked up his speed on the final day, closing to within a tenth of Marquez, and less than two tenths behind Valentino Rossi. Despite having a bike which is virtually unchanged since 2012, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man has closed the gap to the front runners, and looks on course to bag a few more podiums this season.

Stefan Bradl was the fastest of the satellite Honda riders, the LCR Honda man nine tenths slower than Pedrosa, and a quarter of a second behind Crutchlow, and the last man within a second of the leader Pedrosa. Alvaro Bautista continued to work on the Showa suspension of his Gresini Honda, while Bradley Smith ended his first full test on the Yamaha M1 in good shape, 1.9 seconds behind Pedrosa.

The Ducatis continue to make slow progress, but still remain two seconds off the pace. Nicky Hayden was once again fastest, his teammate Andrea Dovizioso closing to within a tenth of a second of the American. Both factory Ducati men finished ahead of the Yamaha and Honda test riders once again, but behind all eight Honda and Yamaha factory and satellite machines.

Slightly more worrying will be the fact that Aleix Espargaro closed the gap significantly to the Ducatis. The Aprilia ART bike, entered as a CRT machine, was less than a third of a second behind Dovizioso, and a quarter of a second quicker than Andrea Iannone on the satellite Pramac Ducati. The new tire Bridgestone brought especially for the CRT machines is proving to be a real improvement, and in the CRT bikes are showing serious improvement in their second year of competition.

Perhaps even more impressive than Espargaro’s time on the Aprilia is that of Michael Laverty on the PBM Aprilia. The Irishman ended the day as second fastest CRT rider, ahead of MotoGP veteran Randy de Puniet, and just 3.774 seconds slower than Pedrosa.

Making this such an impressive ride was the fact that it was Laverty’s first outing on the Aprilia, his first time on the spec-Bridgestone tires, his first time with carbon brakes, and his first time at Sepang. Laverty is riding the Aprilia ART machine at Sepang, but will be switching to an Aprilia-powered British-made chassis once the season gets underway.

Testing is now complete at Sepang, and the riders and teams all head home for a few weeks. The paddock will reconvene at the end of February, for another three-day test starting on 26th of February, and ending on February 28th.

Results from Day 5 of MotoGP’s Test at Sepang, Malaysia:

Pos. Num. Rider Team Time Diff. Prev.
1 26 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 2:00.100
2 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.429 0.329 0.329
3 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.542 0.442 0.113
4 93 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 2:00.636 0.536 0.094
5 35 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:00.734 0.634 0.098
6 6 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda MotoGP 2:01.003 0.903 0.269
7 19 Alvaro Bautista Go & Fun Honda Gresini 2:01.502 1.402 0.499
8 38 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:02.093 1.993 0.591
9 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati Team 2:02.184 2.084 0.091
10 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team 2:02.277 2.177 0.093
11 T2 Katsayuki Nakasuga Yamaha Factory 2:02.616 2.516 0.339
12 41 Aleix Espargaro Power Electronics Aspar 2:02.628 2.528 0.012
13 29 Andrea Iannone Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team 2:02.864 2.764 0.236
14 72 Kosuke Akiyoshi HRC Test Team 2:03.082 2.982 0.218
15 33 Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport 2:03.874 3.774 0.792
16 14 Randy de Puniet Power Electronics Aspar 2:04.066 3.966 0.192
17 T1 Wataru Yoshikawa Yamaha Factory 2:04.137 4.037 0.071
18 8 Hector Barbera Avintia Blusens 2:04.211 4.111 0.074
19 37 Takumi Takahashi HRC Test Team 2:04.288 4.188 0.077
20 9 Danilo Petrucci Came IodaRacing Project 2:04.531 4.431 0.243
21 17 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 2:04.766 4.666 0.235
22 7 Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia Blusens 2:04.915 4.815 0.149
23 71 Claudio Corti NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:05.107 5.007 0.192
24 52 Lukas Pesek Came IodaRacing Project 2:05.321 5.221 0.214
25 68 Yonny Hernandez Paul Bird Motorsport 2:05.407 5.307 0.086
26 5 Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team 2:05.913 5.813 0.506
27 67 Bryan Staring Go & Fun Honda Gresini 2:05.970 5.870 0.057

Lap records and 2012 Sepang 3 times:

Pole Record 2012 Jorge Lorenzo 2:00.334
Lap Record 2007 Casey Stoner 2:02.108
2012 Sepang 1 Day 3 fastest Casey Stoner 1:59.607
2012 Sepang 1 Overall fastest Casey Stoner 1:59.607

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Honda Racing

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • meatspin

    not a bad start. Looks like we lost an alien in stoner but gained one in marquez and a return of rossi to the front. It should be a good year.

  • Gutterslob

    While fastest laps are good for qualifying, what we really need to know are the timings form their race simulations (if they did any). How many consecutive 2.01’s did Lorenzo do compared to Pedrosa, Marquez and Rossi? I suppose that’s too much to ask for from a first test, since they’re all probably still in “shakedown” mode.

  • smiler

    CRT’s still 3-6 secs off the pace. So Rossi has already started to get into Lorenzo’s pace. Love him or hate him, you cannot but respect that he is already 3rd. With one of the top 4 likely to crash on occasion the Rossi looks safe for some podiums.
    Looks like we will loose 2 Americans at seasons end, Edwards & Hayden. Shame they are both great. Will Col go back to WSB for a while? Joined by Rossi after the end of next yr? Hope so it would be good to see him competitive again.

    Ducati better get their act together.

  • L2C

    @ smiler

    Rossi’s going to be around for at least two more seasons in MotoGP. And it does seem like Rossi has brought the hammer down on most of his critics/enemies with this first test of the season. And I hope Rossi keeps on hammering the point home throughout the rest of the season. It’s nice when that nasty mob has been rendered speechless.

    Dani is a cipher — and I’m loving every minute of it.

  • L2C

    Well, maybe I meant that Dani’s an enigma whose media personality is a cipher. How’s that? ;-)

  • Hisham Noh

    But no one goes under 2 mins time. or as Pedrosa’s objective, he is testing the bike.


    normally rossi doesn’t dominate on practices but on race day, he has extra power to dominate other riders. Go Go Go VR/46.

  • David

    So Spies didn’t make the top 27 in time and wasn’t even mentioned in the article.

    WOW…a hasBen in just 5 short testing days.

    Did he not need a 5th day of testing because he is so quick?

    Or did he give up and go home to flip burgers?

    Or did I miss something somewhere?

  • Westward

    Spies did not want too much awesome to overwhelm the rest of the grid. Too much Elbowz would have cleared the track…

  • sburns2421

    Spies is still healing from shoulder surgery and hopes to be only 85% by the first race. He is going to have a long season.