Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales finished the final day of 2017 MotoGP preseason testing at Sepang at the top of the timesheet, logging the fastest lap of any rider over the three days on track. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez trailed by just over one-tenth back in second position while Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso finished third.
Weather cooperated for most of the day, apart from a brief afternoon shower, and riders made the most of the time. Vinales completed 72 laps total, continuing to chase improvements to his race pace.
“We tried many things during this week, so I think we can have a better package for the next test in Australia,” said Vinales in a team press release. “We will bring many good things to Phillip Island. At the moment it is difficult to say which aspect of the bike surprised me most. We are developing the bike, trying to better the package that we have, and I think for sure we have the best bike at the moment for one lap and on race distance.”
Marquez registered even more laps for the day, the most of any rider in fact, completing 85 rotations ‘round the circuit. His fastest lap came early in the schedule, on Lap 18, the Spaniard instead taking the latter portion of the day to focus on longer runs. He ended the session with 11 consecutive laps, all in the mid- to low-2:00 range.
“We need to make further improvements in some areas where I’m not yet totally comfortable, but even so, I’m happy that we got better and better over the three days, which is the most important thing,” explained Marquez in the Repsol Honda release.
Dovi ended his time in Malaysia pleased with the progress, despite the various set-backs due to weather. According to the Italian, he was able to complete all the scheduled items for the test and leaves with better-than-expected feel on the bike.
Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, progressed nicely to finish fourth with a late time attack. Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi trailed Pedrosa in fifth. Pull & Bear Aspar Team’s Alvaro Bautista continued to shine with his best lap of the test to finish sixth, .0260 short of Vinales’ top time.
Ducati test rider Casey Stoner, quickest on the opening day of the test, returned to action and dropped a competitive lap early in the session. He finished seventh-quickest, but was focused more on assessing chassis configurations, swingarms and engine maps than chasing top times. LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow followed in eighth with Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo finishing ninth, 0.339 off the fastest lap.
“I’m happy because we managed to make a lot of progress and day after day I am getting to know the bike even better,” said Lorenzo in a Ducati release. “Today I was able to take seven-tenths of a second off the time I set yesterday and on every exit I’m getting closer and closer to my potential, even though I’m still missing something. The whole team is really motivated, and we are working well together. In the last three days we accumulated a lot of useful information to further improve the Desmosedici and we are becoming more and more competitive.”
Further down the sheet work continues to develop the latest machines to join the premier class. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro grabbed 13th overall in combined times with a 2:00.108. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith took 21st and 22nd, respectively, in combined times with matching 2:01.338 laps. Espargaro set his on the opening day while Smith logged his in the final session.
Teams get a bit of time to implement the needed changes to their respective machines before the next test at Phillip Island, scheduled for February 15 through 17.
2017 MotoGP Sepang Test Day 3 Results
1. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 1:59.368
2. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:59.506
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:59.553
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:59.578
5. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:59.589
6. Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) 1:59. 628
7. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:59.639
8. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 1:59.728
9. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) 1:59.767
10. Johann Zarco (Yamaha) 1:59.772
11. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) 2:00.045
12. Alex Rins (Suzuki) 2:00.057
13. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 2:00.108
14. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 2:00.310
15. Jonas Folger (Yamaha) 2:00.312
16. Jack Miller (Honda) 2:00.439
17. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 2:00.445
18. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2:00.537
19. Scott Redding (Ducati) 2:00.645
20. Loris Baz (Ducati) 2:00.873
21. Bradley Smith (KTM) 2:01.338
22. Sam Lowes (Aprilia) 2:01.341
23. Pol Espargaro (KTM) 2:01.506
24. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 2:01658
25. Takuya Tsuda (Suzuki) 2:02.769