Marc Marquez started his MotoGP title defense with a solid showing today, topping the timesheets during the opening day of pre-season testing at Sepang. The Repsol Honda ace placed a full half-second ahead of his nearest rival, Factory Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi. Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, placed third in the timing followed by 2012 MotoGP champion and 2013 runner-up, Factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo.
The expected front-running Factory Honda and Yamaha squads were chased by Honda’s remaining prototype mounts, Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda’s Stephen Bradl. The Honda RC213V riders were followed by the top non-factory “open” class bike on the grid, the Forward Racing Yamaha/FTR piloted by Aleix Espargaro.
Andrea Iannone slotted in eighth-fastest for Pramac Racing. The Ducati satellite rider was trailed by the Tech 3 Yamaha duo of MotoGP rookie Pol Espargaro and sophomore rider Bradley Smith. Forward Racing’s second rider, GP veteran Colin Edwards, lapped 11th-fastest.
Andrea Dovizioso proved to be the quickest Factory Ducati rider in 12th, with new teammate Cal Crutchlow 14th and Ducati test rider Michele Pirro sandwiched in between. All three were more than two seconds off the lead pace of Marquez.
Nicky Hayden made his debut for the Drive M7 Aspar team, with the 2006 MotoGP champ the fastest of the new Honda RCV1000R riders in 17th – more than three seconds behind the leader. Hayden’s Aspar teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama, lapped 18th-fastest with fellow RCV pilot, rookie Scott Redding, 21st after Day 1.
Randy de Puniet put in another test rider stint with Suzuki, ending the opening day at Sepang 19th-fastest.
2014 MotoGP Sepang Test Day 1 Results:
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 2’00.286
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory) +0.518
3. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) +0.62
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory) +0.796
5. Alvaro Bautista (Honda Gresini) +0.954
6. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) +1.034
7. Aleix Espargaro (Forward Racing) +1.133
8. Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) +1.252
9. Pol Espargao (Tech 3 Yamaha) +1.348
10. Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) +1.59
11. Colin Edwards (Forward Racing) +2.197
12. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Factory) +2.211
13. Michele Pirro (Ducati Test) +2.266
14. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Factory) +2.574
15. Yonny Hernandez (Pramac Racing) +2.605
16. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha Factory Test) +2.84
17. Nicky Hayden (Aspar) +3.033
18. Hiroshi Aoyama (Aspar) +3.042
19. Randy de Puniet (Suzuki Test Team) +3.607
20. Kosuke Akiyoshi (HRC Test Team) +3.981
21. Scott Redding (Honda Gresini) +4.145
22. Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) +4.636
23. Mike Di Meglio (Avintia Racing) +5.539
24. Broc Parkes (Paul Bird Motorport) +5.603
25. Michael Laverty (Paul Bird Motorsport) +5.784
26. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB) +6.469