May 25, 2024
Martin tops rain-hit day two despite crash

Unpredictable weather forecasts affected the entirety of the second eight-hour session of the 2023 MotoGP pre-season, with a damp track greeting the field when the pitlane opened at 10am local time.

While all bar HRC test rider Stefan Bradl and Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga would eventually put times on the board, with Pramac’s Martin leading the way on a 1m58.736s, it wouldn’t be until the third hour of the session that any meaningful running was done.

KTM’s Jack Miller was first out on track in the morning while the circuit was damp, with the rider he replaced – Miguel Oliveira, now at RNF Aprilia – setting the pace in hour one with a 2m11.323s.

Only four times were put on the board in the first hour, with Miller taking over at the end of hour two with a 2m01.523s, though still only four riders had registered times.

But by now the track had dried sufficiently enough to tempt a swell of activity in hour three, with 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo shooting to the top of the order on his factory Yamaha with a 1m58.897s.

Quartararo put some miles on Yamaha’s new ground effect lower fairing, as he continued evaluating a new chassis and engine.

Come the end of the fourth hour, Pramac’s Martin had found a 1m58.736s on his 13th lap of the day to take over at the head of the timesheets.

Not long after this, rain began to fall again at Sepang and track conditions deteriorated, with Martin getting caught out by a damp kerb and crashing.

The arrival of rain forced most back into pitlane, with only a handful of riders heading out onto the wet track across the last few hours as the session came to a close at 6pm local time.

Oliveira was second fastest as he continues to adapt to the Aprilia, the Portuguese rider improving to a 1m58.839s to shadow Martin by 0.103 seconds.

Pol Espargaro rounded out the top three on his GasGas-branded KTM, with the Tech 3 rider 0.042s behind Oliveira.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Quartararo was fourth ahead of reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia, who was confident after the opening day of running on Friday that Ducati was in much better shape with its new bike than it was at the same stage last year even if he felt the GP23’s engine was still a bit aggressive.

Raul Fernandez completed the top six on the second of the RNF Aprilias, with VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini heading Alex Rins, who led the Honda charge on his LCR-run RC213V.

Enea Bastianini on the sister factory Ducati and KTM’s Brad Binder rounded out the top 10, with Franco Morbidelli 0.059s outside on the second of the Yamahas.

Marc Marquez was 13th on the factory team Honda as he continued HRC’s expansive test programme, the eight-time world champion admitting after day one that the 2023 RC213V was “still far from the top”.

New teammate Joan Mir was 16th as he continues to get to grips with the Honda, while Alex Marquez was 17th on the Gresini Ducati ahead of the first of the Aprilias of Maverick Vinales.

Aleix Espargaro only completed 26 laps on day two having suffered a crash during the session, which left him down in 20th on the timesheets on the second Aprilia.

The first pre-season test of 2023 concludes on Sunday, with the track opening at 10am local time.

Pos. Rider Bike  Time   Gap   Laps 
Jorge Martin Ducati 1’58.736   17
Miguel Oliveira Aprilia 1’58.839 0.103 52
Pol Espargaro GASGAS 1’58.881 0.145 29
Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1’58.897 0.161 34
Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1’59.067 0.331 35
Raul Fernandez Aprilia 1’59.112 0.376 35
Luca Marini Ducati 1’59.118 0.382 50
Alex Rins Honda 1’59.163 0.427 28
Enea Bastianini Ducati 1’59.194 0.458 32
10  Brad Binder KTM 1’59.230 0.494 30
11  Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1’59.289 0.553 44
12  Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1’59.361 0.625 31
13  Marc Marquez Honda 1’59.450 0.714 36
14  Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1’59.502 0.766 40
15  Johann Zarco Ducati 1’59.503 0.767 36
16  Joan Mir Honda 1’59.632 0.896 36
17  Alex Marquez Ducati 1’59.747 1.011 36
18  Maverick Vinales Aprilia 1’59.770 1.034 35
19  Jack Miller KTM 1’59.859 1.123 47
20  Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 2’00.017 1.281 26
21  Takaaki Nakagami Honda 2’00.223 1.487 32
22  Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 2’00.354 1.618 41
23  Augusto Fernandez GASGAS 2’00.732 1.996 32