Bagnaia under lap record to lay down marker on final day

Under a cloudy sky that provided cooler conditions for the start of the track action, the two-time MotoGP world champion’s 1m56.682s remained the time to beat throughout the day, with several challenges coming up short over a single lap attack.

Opening day pacesetter Jorge Martin came closest to toppling Bagnaia with a 1m56.854s on the Pramac Ducati, while factory Ducati rider and yesterday’s timesheet topper Enea Bastianini slipped into third with a 1m56.915s.

Given a sub-1m57s lap had never been seen before today at Sepang in MotoGP, it was remarkable to have four riders inside the time as Gresini Ducati’s Alex Marquez joined the fray with a 1m56.938s.

With conditions at the optimum due to cooler temperatures and maximum grip levels after a total of six days of track action including the shakedown, it wasn’t surprising to also see the long run pace cranked up too.

Bastianini appeared to have an edge over the sprint race-style runs from Martin, coming in half a second quicker, with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro over a second further adrift, while rookie sensation Pedro Acosta produced an eye-catching run to put him fourth and quicker than Bagnaia over a nine-lap dash.

Espargaro was the standout rider for Aprilia on the 2024 RS-GP with fifth place on the overall times on a mixed day for the Italian squad, as both Maverick Vinales and Miguel Oliveira struggled to 12th and 18th respectively.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marc Marquez made steady progress adapting to life at Gresini after a slow start to the test, ending the final day sixth overall and within six-tenths off Bagnaia at the top.

Fabio Di Giannantonio bounced back from a crash at Turn 9 to put his VR46 Ducati seventh on the outright times, ahead of GasGas Tech3’s Acosta.

Joan Mir led the Honda charge in ninth place as it continues to rebuild with its 2024 RC213V, with KTM’s Brad Binder rounding out the top 10, just ahead of top Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo in 11th.

Both Franco Morbidelli and Raul Fernandez missed today’s test action due to injury.

Morbidelli has been ruled out of both official pre-season tests in Malaysia and Qatar as he recovers from a heavy fall suffered riding in Portimao last month, while Fernandez was sidelined after a crash on the opening day of the Sepang test. Michele Pirro and Lorenzo Savadori stepped in for the respective riders.

MotoGP takes a short break before the final official pre-season test in Qatar on 19-20 February.

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