Morning Chronicle - Bastianini fastest on last day of Malaysia MotoGP test

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Bastianini fastest on last day of Malaysia MotoGP test
Bastianini fastest on last day of Malaysia MotoGP test

Bastianini fastest on last day of Malaysia MotoGP test

Italian speedster Enea Bastianini was fastest on day two of the MotoGP pre-season test Sunday, clocking a new lap record at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

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Outpacing 26 rivals, the Gresini Racing rider took the lead with a lap time of 1min 58.131sec, beating second-placed Aleix Espargaro by a mere 0.026 seconds.

"(Did I) expect to be first today? No. But to be fast, yes," Bastianini told reporters as the test wound up for the evening.

The 24-year-old previously finished 11th in the MotoGP championships in 2021 and took the Moto2 crown in 2020.

Commending his bike and his team, Bastianini said they had been "working a lot" in preparation for the Malaysia test but were now focused on next week's practice round in Indonesia.

Bastianini was among 17 riders who recorded their fastest ever laps on the 5.543-kilometre track, all managing times under 1min 59sec, up from five riders achieving the feat the day before.

Coming in a close second to Bastianini was Aprilia's Espargaro who set his own best time of 1min 58.157sec, followed by Pramac's Jorge Martin on 1min 58.243sec.

The event was Malaysia's first MotoGP test since before the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the cancellation of three MotoGP events in 2020 and 2021 in the Southeast Asian country.

The action now moves to Indonesia where a newly-built 4.3-kilometre street circuit on the holiday island of Lombok will host a three-day test from February 11.

The MotoGP season officially starts in Qatar on March 6.

Pre-season MotoGP test times on Sunday at the Sepang circuit (5.543 kilometres):

1. Enea Bastianini (ITA/Gresini) 1min 58.131sec

2. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 1min 58.157sec

3. Jorge Martin (ESP/Pramac) 1min 58.243sec

4. Alex Rins (ESP/Suzuki) 1min 58.261sec

5. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Aprilia) 1min 58.261sec

6. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) 1min 58.265sec

7. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) 1min 58.313sec

8. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 1min 58.332sec

9. Johann Zarco (FRA/Pramac) 1min 58.413sec

10. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Honda) 1min 58.420sec