Ducati hit back on Day 3 as the Sepang Shakedown concludes
The Sepang Shakedown Test has drawn to a close and much to the delight of the factories and riders, the final day of action was met with dry weather. That meant plenty of work was completed ahead of the Official Sepang Test, and it was Ducati’s Michele Pirro who set the quickest time as the Borgo Panigale factory hit back on Tuesday.
Pirro – who set a 1:59.803 – was back doing most of his work with the updated aero package they’re trying for 2023. One key thing to note is that Ducati have updated their “ground-effect” side fairings from the Valencia Test, which are now much larger and have a little bit more detail. The actual side pod and the main set of wings are the same as what we saw at Valencia.
Having tested alone on Sunday and Monday, Cal Crutchlow had company on Tuesday as fellow Iwata factory test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga joined the fold. Both the British and Japanese riders were putting Yamaha’s new front fairing through its paces – the one we saw at the Valencia Test – as well as the latest mudguard.
In addition, 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) was trackside keeping a keen eye on what both Crutchlow and Nakasuga were testing. The Frenchman will also have seen the speed trap numbers Yamaha were posting, which at one point displayed Crutchlow clocking 335 km/h – five more than Quartararo managed in last year’s Grand Prix, and eight more than Yamaha managed in the 2022 Sepang Test. Positive signs they’ve made a significant step with the 2023 engine?
In the KTM camp, Dani Pedrosa spent plenty of time on KTM’s new aero package. As you can see below, the front fairing shape has changed slightly. The ‘shark tooth’ serrations on the edges are no longer there, while the top set of the wings have been slightly updated, but remain largely the same. The side pod wings have received the same treatment. However, the biggest change we can see is the ground-effect side fairings have grown in size.
Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) completed a positive three days of Shakedown testing with a fourth place finish on the final day, his best time sitting at a 2:00.482. The reigning Moto2™ World Champion will be back on track for three days of official testing, where he’ll be joined by his 2023 rivals.
Test rider Lorenzo Savadori was back out on Aprilia’s new front fairing aero package on the final day, with the Italian lapping with more than one RS-GP. Savadori, as Aprilia Racing Team Manager Paolo Bonora explained yesterday, was also busy preparing the bikes for Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales ahead of the Official Test starting on Friday.
Stefan Bradl had a busy Tuesday doing back-to-back comparisons between different HRC aero packages, the latest one being something we saw at the private Jerez Test. The trusted German also spent some time comparing bikes with and without the ‘stegosaurus’ wings on the tail unit.
And that’s it from the Shakedown! It’s time for the race riders to head out next, with the Official Sepang Test set to be a busy one. That starts on Friday the 10th of February at 10am local time.