Positive feelings for Bagnaia and Bastianini in the first official 2023 MotoGP test at Sepang (Malaysia)
• Luca Marini (VR46 Racing Team) ends the Sepang test on top
Francesco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini concluded the first pre-season test of 2023 at the Sepang International Circuit this afternoon. During the three days at the Malaysian track, the two Ducati Lenovo Team riders could continue the development work on the 2023 version of the Desmosedici GP, which had already begun with official test rider Michele Pirro in the shakedown earlier in the week.
Despite the scorching temperatures and less-than-optimal track conditions, both Bagnaia and Bastianini covered numerous kilometres. On Friday, the only day in which the track was consistently dry, the two Ducati factory riders first completed a few runs with the bikes in 2022 configuration before moving on to test the new items developed by the Ducati Corse engineers over the winter, which, in addition to an evolution of last year’s engine, also included two new aerodynamic packages.
After initial positive feedback in the dry, Bagnaia and Bastianini confirmed their sensations in the wet on Saturday afternoon. At the same time, the rain that fell during the night between Friday and Saturday, and then between Saturday and Sunday, did not allow them to take full advantage of the morning of the last two days. At the end of Sunday’s final session, Pecco closed the test in second position (1:57.969) with a total of 136 laps completed, while Enea, 4th in 1:58.149, completed 128 laps over the three days.
Francesco Bagnaia (#1, Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:57.969 (2nd)
“I’m happy and proud of the work completed in this test. After the lunch break today, we made a modification to the new bike that allowed us to bring it up to the same level as last year’s. That was my goal, so we can only be satisfied. Of course, we have to continue working to improve other aspects of it and make it more rideable, but we still have two more days of testing in Portugal to do that. In Portimão, it will also be important to try the two aerodynamic solutions tested here again. I already have a preference, but I also want to try them on a different track. In Portimão, we will definitely focus on developing the GP23, and we will also have to try to simulate a Sprint Race, so the last two days of testing will be very important.”
Enea Bastianini (#23, Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:58.149 (4th)
“It was a very demanding three days of work, but also very productive, and I am satisfied with the work completed over these three days. In the beginning, I struggled to adapt to the new bike, but this afternoon, we understood what needed improvement, allowing me to be fast on the time attack and the race pace. Pecco had the same feeling as me, making it easier to compare data and speak with the engineers. We still haven’t decided which fairing we will use this year from the ones we tried here at Sepang, and we will try them again at Portimão. It will be the last test before the opening race of the season so it will be crucial. We have yet to reach 100 per cent of our potential, but we’re very close to it”.
The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will have two more days of testing from 11th- 12th March at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão before tackling the first GP of the season at the same track from 24th-26th March.