At the conclusion of 2020 MotoGP Winter Testing in Sepang International Circuit (SIC) over the weekend, Frenchman Fabio Quartararo of Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) topped the leaderboard with a time of 1:58.349, set in the first session of day three. Riding a 2020 factory spec Yamaha YZR-M1, Quartararo, aged 20, has been signed up to join the factory team in 2021, with Monster Energy Yamaha, replacing fan favourite Valentino Rossi.
In second after three days of testing was Cal Crutchlow of LCR Honda Castrol with Alex Rins of Team Suzuki Ecstar coming in third. Crutchlow clocked a best lap time of 1:58.431 and Rins posting 1:58.450.
Inside the top 11, all riders posted a sub-1:58.975 time and there were six manufacturers inside the top 10. Honda’s sole top 10 finisher was Crutchlow along with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro while Yamaha, Suzuki and KTM had two riders each and Ducati having three.
Surprise showing of the 2020 MotoGP Winter Test on day two was Dani Pedrosa, having retired from Repsol Honda and taken up duties as test rider for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. Known as “The Bridesmaid” for always having shown strongly at MotoGP but never winning a championship like Randy Mamola before him, Pedrosa shut his critics up by posting a 1:59.599, indicating there is fight left in the old dog.
Also getting in stride was Johann Zarco, riding for Reale Avintia Racing on a Ducati Desmosedici GP19, clocking 1:59.825 on day two. After a dismal 2019 with KTM Red Bull where he left the team suddenly mid-season, Zarco tested for Respol Honda but was passed over in favour of world champion Marc Marquez’s younger brother, Alex.
Back on track was former world champion Jorge Lorenzo, after suffering an injury-hit season with Ducati. Now employed as a test rider for Yamaha, Lorenzo is focusing on developing the 2020 YZR-M1 and helping the engineers find the good and bad points of the point, also saying he not feeling any pain on the bike after injuring his back in Assen last year.
Recovering from shoulder surgery, champion Marc Marquez posted 1:59.821 on day three, crashing on day two whilst chasing down his team mate and brother Alex. Meanwhile, the younger Marquez posted a best lap of 1:59:175 on day three of testing.
Speaking one-on-one with Petronas Yamaha SRT team principal Datuk Radzlan Razali told paultan.org he is cautiously optimistic for chances of winning the championship this year. “Right now we are very pleased with what Fabio has done and it is still too early to tell. Certainly we hope this year to be standing on the top step of the podium, which will be a first for a satellite team after 20 years,” said Radzlan.