Marini leads final day from Bagnaia

The third and final day of the Sepang test in Malaysia was once again affected by rain, but only late on in the final hour when most had completed their run plans.

A late time attack just before the end of the penultimate hour put Marini to the top of the times with the best lap of the test at 1m57.889s to complete Ducati’s clean sweep at Sepang.

A damp start when the track opened at 10am local time kept most riders inside their garages, with Pramac’s Johann Zarco venturing out briefly to set the only lap time – a 2m10.411s.

As conditions improved in the second hour, 16 riders put times on the board, with Marco Bezzecchi – Friday’s session-topper – setting the pace on his VR46 Ducati with a 1m59.506s.

He would be bested by team-mate Marini in hour three, who moved clear with a 1m58.642s, before Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin took over in hour four with a 1m58.204s.

Martin, who topped Saturday’s session, was carrying pain in his hand from a crash on day two, but feels Ducati is in a position to simply refine its 2023 challenger moving to the final pre-season test in Portugal next month.

The Pramac rider’s lap stood as the benchmark until the final 90 minutes when Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales – who had stopped with a technical issue earlier in the day – moved to the top of the order with a 1m58.136s.

He would improve on this on his follow-up lap, finding a further tenth, though it would not be enough to keep him at the top of the timesheets.

With an hour and 10 minutes remaining, Marini made his definitive move to the top of the order with a 1m57.889s that would safely see him to the chequered flag as the fastest rider of the 2023 Sepang test on his 2022-spec Ducati.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: MotoGP

World champion Bagnaia shadowed him by 0.080s on his factory Ducati, with Vinales completing the top three from the sister works team Ducati of Enea Bastianini and Pramac’s Martin.

Aleix Espargaro only put in 32 laps on his improved RS-GP package and was sixth fastest from Gresini Ducati’s Fabio Di Giannantonio and Bezzecchi.

The Marquez brothers completed the top 10, with Gresini Ducati-mounted Alex Marquez 0.281s quicker than the factory Honda of Marc Marquez – who focused on two of the three 2023 prototype RC213Vs he had at Sepang on the final day.

Raul Fernandez was 11th on his RNF Aprilia ahead of Honda’s Joan Mir and Tech 3 GasGas rider Pol Espargaro, with Brad Binder shadowing him on his factory team KTM.

Hour one pacesetter Zarco was 15th ahead of KTM’s Jack Miller, who had a crash on the final day, while the factory Yamahas of Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were a low-key 19th and 20th.

Pre-season testing continues in Portugal on 11-12 March.

Read Also:

MotoGP Sepang test day 3 — results

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