Francesco Bagnaia tops the first 2024 pre-season test at Sepang with record-breaking lap time. Enea Bastianini, third.
- Four Ducatis in total were under the 1:57 mark, with Martín (Pramac Racing Team) second and Alex Márquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) fourth.
Francesco Bagnaia was the fastest at the end of the first pre-season test of the 2024 MotoGP season. Thanks to a sensational lap time of 1:56.682 (0.809 seconds quicker than the current circuit record, which dates back to last November and bears Bagnaia’s own signature), the Ducati Lenovo Team rider took the lead at the end of the last of three days of test at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
For the rider from Turin, the Sepang test got off to a rocky start with a crash on the first lap due to some wet patches on the track after the rain that had fallen the night before. At the same spot, another rider also crashed shortly afterwards, causing the red flag to be shown. Once the track reopened, Bagnaia, followed by teammate Enea Bastianini, completed a few laps on the Desmosedici GP 23, reacquainting himself with the bike after the winter break before starting work on the development of the 2024 package.
After testing a new engine, different setup configurations, and other updates, Pecco and Enea tested a new fairing and a new exhaust on the second day, generally obtaining positive feedback from all tested items. In confirmation of this, Bastianini finished in the lead on Wednesday, thanks to a fastest lap of 1:57.134, a time below the current circuit record.
Bagnaia, on the other hand, finished the second day in fifth position, opting to do the “time attack” the following day. Apart from the reigning World Champion, Bastianini was also among the only four riders able to break the 1:57 barrier at Sepang. The rider from Rimini finished third with a time of 1:56.915, behind the Ducati of Jorge Martín (Pramac Racing Team) in second place and ahead of the Desmosedici GP 23 of Alex Márquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) in fourth.
Francesco Bagnaia (#1, Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st (1:56.682 – 151 total laps)
“I feel really comfortable on the bike. The time I set in my first time attack of the season was fantastic, but this is a test, and the conditions today were perfect. The only thing I’m not completely satisfied with was the sprint race simulation this morning: I had a small problem that slowed me down, but by then, I had started, and I didn’t want to come back into the garage, so I continued to the end. In any case, we showed that we know the potential of this bike. We have improved a lot in just three days. We’re not 100% there yet, but we’re not far off. I would say we are at 80%. In Qatar, we will try different maps, but the program will be more or less the same as in Sepang.
Enea Bastianini (#23, Ducati Lenovo Team) – 3rd (1:56.915 – 142 total laps)
“I’m satisfied with these three days of testing; the balance is positive, and we got off on the right foot from day one. Today, we were also able to be fast in the time attack and set a time of 1:56, something I never thought I would be able to do before coming here. Compared to last year, I improved on the time attack, which was important. This morning, we did a sprint race simulation: the pace was good even though I felt some vibration in the rear. We have had positive feedback from these three days, but now it will be important to try everything again in Qatar to understand how the bike behaves in different conditions and to have more data to compare. In general, the package is already at a good level.
The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be back on track from 19-20 February at the Lusail International Circuit in Qatar for the final pre-season test for the 2024 season.