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Sepang Testing Ends with Pedrosa Quickest and Rossi in the Mix

Defending champ Jorge Lorenzo tests his Yamaha at Sepang.

The first big test of the 2013 MotoGP campaign has concluded at Sepang. Hondas and Yamahas filled each of the first eight spots, with Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa on top.

The factory Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were second and third, respectively. Repsol Honda rookie Marc Marquez slotted into fourth on Day 3.

Unfortunately, all of the Ducatis are substantially off the pace. Not surprisingly, Nicky Hayden was the quickest of the Ducati crew, while finishing with the ninth quickest lap. The time gap is again fairly large to the factory Yamahas and Hondas.

If this test is any indication, Valentino Rossi will be very competitive this year. After two years away at Ducati, Rossi was quick from the off, and ended the test nipping at the heels of his Yamaha teammate, defending champ Jorge Lorenzo.

American Ben Spies rode very few laps during the first two days of the test on his new Ducati, and sat out day 3 as his shoulder continues to heal from recent surgery.

Pos Rider Team

Fastest lap

1 PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team


2 LORENZO, Jorge Yamaha Factory Racing


3 ROSSI, Valentino Yamaha Factory Racing


4 MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team


5 CRUTCHLOW, Cal Monster Yamaha Tech 3


6 BRADL, Stefan LCR Honda MotoGP


7 BAUTISTA, Alvaro Go & Fun Honda Gresini


8 SMITH, Bradley Monster Yamaha Tech 3


9 HAYDEN, Nicky Ducati Team


10 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team


11 NAKASUGA, Katsayuki Yamaha Factory


12 ESPARGARO, Aleix Power Electronics Aspar


13 IANNONE, Andrea Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team


14 AKIYOSHI, Kosuke HRC Test Team


15 LAVERTY, Michael Paul Bird Motorsport




  1. Nathan says:

    The recent WSBK Phillip Island test results have the top 12 within a second and top 7 within .5 second. MotoGP 7th is 1.5 seconds off the pace. This tells you all you need to know and is why MotoGP is essentially unwatchable. It looks like monotonous parade laps. It was fun to go see and hear it in person at Indy, but I wouldn’t do it again and I don’t watch it on TV anymore either.

  2. Brian says:

    the fact that Rossi, despite not being on the bike for 2 seasons, is within a half second of the top of the sheets is very telling for the season. I don’t know that he can ride as consistently as Lorenzo, but won’t be surprised to see him shoving the other aliens out of the way on route to a few victories this season. Similar to holding a few cards back when he beat Stoner in the Laguna weekend.
    The Ducati experience is disappointing. I still can’t see how they haven’t developed anything out of the 2012 bike to test, and the fact that they won’t join Honda and Yamaha in Austin due to cost? Isn’t that what Audi was going to take care of? Financial backing?

    • Dave says:

      re:”the fact that they won’t join Honda and Yamaha in Austin due to cost? Isn’t that what Audi was going to take care of? Financial backing?”

      This is telling of the state of MotoGP. It’s a 2 horse race (Honda and Yamaha). They have the biggest wallets and they don’t want additional competition. Audi purchased Ducati, not just Ducati racing team. They’ll spend the money where it benefits them. That may not be MotoGP.

      • mickey says:

        I stil dont get what Honda gets out of losing a 2 horse race?

        • Hefner says:

          They may not have won the championship, but their performance in the last half of the season could hardly be considered ‘losing’. Plus all the free press they get about their superior technology (seamless gearbox? Rocket on the straights?) is probably worth the cost of admission, even if they never win the championship.

          Although I don’t agree with it, the general consensus seems to be that Honda has the best bike, while Jorge is the best rider.

        • Norm G. says:

          Q: “I stil dont get what Honda gets out of losing a 2 horse race?”

          A: the option of winning a 6 horse like they recently did in 2011.

      • Brian says:

        I believe the Audi people promised backing and development to Rossi if he stayed with the team. I’m sure he would have been “thrilled” to ride the GP12 in the year 2013 tests, less than 2 months from the first race of the season. Maybe they had a “Valentino clause” and were going to put real money in it only if he stayed. At this point, he can only be smiling even wider knowing he made the right choice to come home to Yamaha.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “they won’t join Honda and Yamaha in Austin due to cost? Isn’t that what Audi was going to take care of? Financial backing?”

      no, that’s what “fan-sumers” told THEMSELVES (and each other) audi was going to take care of. audi issued no such press release. standard chatter from bike world beggars this.

      • Norm G. says:

        oh and speaking of begging. only 12 days out, and it looks more and more like we have lost our coverage of all things motorcycle racing. welcome to the blowback…

        • Brian says:

          no AMA and no World SBK. holey cow. thanks Fox…
          My brother in law knows how to get motoGP with commercial free BBC coverage. I need to learn this. Not that the BBC is interested in the AMA, but maybe world SBK?

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “no AMA and no World SBK. holey cow. thanks Fox.”

            ok guys enough. time has come to stop pointing fingers at anybody and everybody else and take responsibility for this fiasco. if not us, who…? if not now, when…? our behavior has gotten BEYOND embarassing.


            i’ve only been warning for some time (and you know i have) about our devaluing mentalities and now our free range… err… “free lunch” chickens have come home to roost. the irony is even worse than any of us could’ve imagined, 3 domestic grandprixs…? but not a lick of TV coverage a week out to the start of the season…?

            can’t imagine what motorcyclists thought a decade of myopically failing to come off the dime was going to get us…? better question, is anyone still delusional enough to think we are going to have multiple grandprixs in this country 2 and 3 years from now without the promotional juggernaut of television…? hell, even WITH the aid of television we had a snowball’s chance in texas.

            re: “My brother in law knows how to get motoGP with commercial free BBC coverage. I need to learn this.”

            tell your brother in law to quit being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. what we need to be doing is PAYING for things if we are to have any chance of being a blip on the radar of business.

          • Brian says:

            Being part of the solution? We attend the IMS in San Mateo. We watch on Satellite TV which gets sponsorship money. We go to the races in Laguna and until this year Infineon. I buy Motorcycles. Not sure how else to put money into the system…

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “I buy Motorcycles.”

            happily from your local dealer at msrp…? or used from craigslist consumed with finding “rollback prices” like so much walmart shopper…? craiglisters, walmart shoppers, oh, and forum group buyers angling for discounts on a hobby they actually can’t afford need not apply.

        • Hefner says:

          Sad indeed!

          Everyone here should send an e-mail of complaint to both Speed, and their service provider! I know with Comcast at least Speed used to be an al a carte channel, so threaten to cancel it if you can!

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Everyone here should send an e-mail of complaint to both Speed, and their service provider!”

            wake up, we are in competition. you/me/we/us are not important against the likes of nascar, football, baseball, etc. however, send a PAYPAL and you just might accomplish something. money talks, the rest pound sand.

      • Brian says:

        I guess I was part of that train of thought. Good thing Rossi never believed the swirling rumors one bit.

  3. Gary says:

    Wow … Rossi is right in there … despite being new to the (new) Yamaha. I gotta say I’m impressed. I’ll be tuning in to the series with great interest. Too bad about the Ducatis. Their annual of excuse of “wait ’til next year” is wearing mighty thin.

  4. Jmma says:

    If Spies had a hard time last year on the Yamaha this year is going to be a nightmare. I had my fingers crossed Nicky would go to the Tech 3 Yamaha team staying with Ducati is going to be nothing more than a paycheck. Wonder how Divisioso feels being at the rear of the pack after factory Honda then Yamaha. I say Rossi wins at least 3 races this year and Marquez looks ready to instantly compete for podiums.

  5. Norm G. says:

    in other yamaha news, the worm swaps “sausage power” for furusawa’s gift to motorcycling… the crossplane. if superbike family continues it could be a welcome boost for the tuning fork. however, this also could be a foreboding sign of no TV package for DMG/AMA…? bmw insider’s got the skinny and canceled christmas same as europe. shrewd operators them.

  6. Neil says:

    If Marquez does not crash too much he could do quite well. Rossi we now can do well after watching Checa and Biaggi. All the young guns in the top ten have potential. Ducati needs a new motor. It is just an engineering fact. They need weight over the front and the motor is too long. The Honda and Yamaha motors are nice and compact. The Yamaha has fuel under the seat. That makes it handles really well. Ducati is just being stubborn. They should have Audi build a little motor for them and stick it in their frame. Nicky is just riding around earning a paycheck and living the high life while as he says, the cousins pick produce home in KY. It it a coincidence that the top two are Spanish riders with the best bikes? It would be nice to see Rossi win a lot and just show the boys how it is done over race distance.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Ducati needs a new motor. It is just an engineering fact.”

      just an engineering MYTH propagated by laymen and internet parrots.

      re: “They need weight over the front and the motor is too long.”

      the V4 is far shorter than both the desmo, testastretta, and t-evo twins and those mills lay claim to 28 championships across 3 different series and 2 different categories. polly wanna cracker…?

      • ROXX says:

        And just how many cc’s bigger is their superbike twin in order to have a torque advantage off the corners?

        The 90 degree motor is too long in the realm of the MotoGP world.
        65-70 degrees would benefit this bike with better mass centralization.
        When Stoner won his title there were no spec tires like there is now so he was using a tire that was specific to that bike.
        He still struggled but a custom tire and his skills combined and it was enough to make the difference, barely.
        Once the spec tires came into play it was game over for that 90 degree motor.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “The 90 degree motor is too long in the realm of the MotoGP world. 65-70 degrees would benefit this bike with better mass centralization.”

          squawk squawk…! quoth the raven.

          the only thing 65-70 degrees would do is ensure multiple millions of dollars got spent on creating ANOTHER boat anchor. see entry for a decade of suzuki’s 60 and 65 degree GSVR’s, the latest 65 degree aprilia CRT wobblers, and the wake of 30 engines that gave up their lives to make max worl’ champeen.

      • x-planer says:

        Numerous Ducati WSBK titles are a result of affirmative action. Ducs are allowed a displacement advantage and the race direction decides whether they have enough victories or too many and then fiddle accordingly. A truly distorted and manipulated situation that is irrelevant to MotoGP.

        • Dave says:

          MotoGP bikes all have the same cylinder count and dramatically different HP outputs depending on the team’s budget and support. Honda manipulates MotoGP too. Same problem, different reason, same result.

          • mickey says:

            Yet 2 of the last 3 title were won by a Yamaha rider, and will likely be won by a Yamaha rider this year as well. Doesnt sound like the manipulation is working all that well for Honda

          • MGNorge says:

            They all “play” within the rules, no one is exempt. Two things are in favor of Honda, money and strong engineering. Can’t put new engineering developments to work unless you have the money to get them there. It’s been hoped since the Audi purchase that a few Euros would be shaken from the coin purse for Ducati. Perhaps that’s still to come?

          • Dave says:

            “Doesnt sound like the manipulation is working all that well for Honda”

            On the contrary, their manipulation has been extremely effective. While it has to be very frustrating that Lorenzo has managed to win the title over them, they have completely eliminated every single other challenger in the field. So effectively in fact, that manufacturers and sponsors don’t even want to participate. This is why there are CRT bikes now.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Numerous Ducati WSBK titles are a result of affirmative action. Ducs are allowed a displacement advantage”

          (you have the right to remain silent. anything you say can and will be used against you.)

          so let me get this straight, an extra 200-250cc’s is so “all conquering” that it’s able to offset the triple whammy of an engine too long…? the inconsistency of a trellis frame…? and the inability of an SSA to get all that output to the ground…? is that correct…?

          i’ll rephrase the question your honor… what deal with the devil has ducati made such that this torque and power advantage DOESN’T exacerbate the deficiences laymen simultaneously bring up in other conversations…? why don’t these deficiences simply ZERO OUT the extra displacement and perhaps put these bikes on equal footing…? in what “alternate universe” do we have advantages and deficencies existing at the same time…?

          (see, can’t have it both ways. repeat, you have the right to remain silent. anything you say can and will be used against you.)

      • Neil says:

        Norm, the Duc Desmo is a pile. Totally different bananas to WSBK. Read David Emmet’s very nice article at – They have a nice powerful motor. They have a fast motor. But the chassis AND motor are NOT working together. In any case, they are two seconds off the pace. They either go wide in the corners or they burn up the back tire after squaring off the corner on the brakes. My MAIN point is Nicky will get tired of this cruise behind the Hondas and Yamahas. Stoner did not even win the title on Bridgestones.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Read David Emmet’s very nice article at”

          pfft, laymen. rather IGNORE david emmets article on motomatters. “his conclusions are all wrong ryan” (capt. ramius voice) this is where all this began and you have placed your faith and gave credence to inherently bad info.

  7. Gary says:

    Sounds like another bad year for Ducati already. They just can’t seem to get it together, something like the failed Harley attempt way back when with a mostly uncompetitive VR 1000. Harley should have kept Buell, and they would be in the winners circle most likely by now, even though it would not be with a heavy clunky Harley lump. DS’s

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Sounds like another bad year for Ducati already. They just can’t seem to get it together”

      to their credit, they’ve said, they’re just baselining at the moment. engineers… german, italian, japanese or otherwise need to be able to trust their data.

      “like any enterprise, when under new management, there’s always a slight duplication of efforts – most of it being a complete waste of time – but needs to be done nevertheless.” (colonel hans landa)

      • blackcayman says:

        I agree – by mid season though, they will be out of excuses.

        • Norm G. says:

          personally i’m not looking for “proof of life” till after the break. and even then i expect the whole of 2013 to simply be used to figure out which ‘merican and which ‘talian advances to the lightning round.

        • Dave says:

          Spies was quoted elsewhere saying that his priorities at the test were to baseline (they are using last year’s bike) and to under no circumstances touch the ground.

          13th on Day 2 with very few laps under his belt and the no-fall mandate is respectable and Audi are promising to have the bike sorted within one year. I think they mean it.

  8. DePesre says:

    I am a Rossi fan, and it certainly makes me happy to see him again in the top positions.
    Realistically though, I do not believe he has a chance for the title. I am afraid age will play its own cards.
    IMO a second or even third place in the final championship rank, would be already a big result.
    Ducati Corse needs a shake up, and hopefully Audi will help with that.

    • Rossi46 says:

      I too am a Rossi fan and although age is not on his side, I believe is will to win is strong. Ah I remember the Max and Sete days where Rossi refused to be beaten. I just hope there’s still bite in the old dog and see him compete for podiums every race weekend. I remember long ago that Eddie Lawson didn’t win all the time, but he was on the podium. Maybe, just maybe………..

  9. Superhawk69 says:

    The only person doing a race simulation of length was Jorge and Marquez…

    As usual, the times that Jorge put in were intense and close and that should worry the competitors… even Rossi said he couldn’t do that. Marquez times were down to where he was a second down every 3 laps to Jorge, so again… its the strength of Pedrosa… just fast to the strength of jorge… race length and clipping off fast laps with 1/10 of each other…

    it’s going to be good!!! throw in the Duc’s battling the CTR’s and you have a nice race… Just had to say it!!! 🙂

  10. Gutterslob says:

    I wonder if anyone did full race sims. The key will be how many consecutive fast laps laps the riders can string together. Still only the first test, though.

  11. Brinskee says:

    I predict that this year might just be the year for the little giant to grab his Premier championship. Dani: Nothing in your way but yourself. I’m not a huge fan, but I’d be happy to see you win. If not you, then go ROSSI!

    • ROXX says:

      Agreed. the way he finished the last few races of last year, he and Honda were coming on strong. Looks like they will continue…

  12. Norm G. says:

    rossi 2.0 literally and figuratively.

    • Brinskee says:

      I love it. I’m betting that the time at Ducati made him push harder than he ever had, and now with a great bike beneath him, combined with all that hard work will have huge payoffs. It’s like running with 10 pound weights on your feed for two years and then finally taking them off – things will be much easier.

      My thoughts, we’ll see what the next two tests look like…

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