The 2022 MotoGP season is about to start. From Monday to Wednesday, the so-called shakedown test takes place on the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. On these three days, the test drivers, the rookies and Aprilia are allowed to take part as the only “concession team”.
For the first time since February 2020, the premier class on two wheels will visit the Sepang course again. On the first day, the lap times were still negligible. It was primarily about preparing the bikes and shaking off the winter rust.
Actually, test driver Stefan Bradl should have been on the track on Monday. The German already tested the new Honda last week in Jerez. However, his motorcycle got stuck in the air freight. Bradl is scheduled to start testing on Tuesday.
In the shakedown test, it is the task of the test riders to prepare the bikes for the factory riders who will be testing on Saturday and Sunday and to work out a basic set-up. That’s why there was already a lot going on on the track on Monday.
Aprilia is allowed to test with the works drivers
Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori was on the track with four bikes and checked all the systems. The Italian brand has further developed the engine of the RS-GP and also improved the aerodynamics. This week they want to evaluate three different chassis.
Maverick Vinales was already in the pits on Monday. He will start testing on Tuesday. Aleix Espargaro will then follow on Wednesday. Since Aprilia is the only team with concession advantages, the regular drivers are already allowed to drive in the shakedown test.
Ducati test rider Michele Pirro worked on two new bikes on Monday. Striking again was the long, lower Akrapovic exhaust, which Jack Miller jokingly referred to as a “didgeridoo” at the Jerez test in November.
Several test riders at KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha
KTM deployed with both Dani Pedrosa and Mika Kallio. Suzuki also had two test drivers in action, Sylvain Guintoli and Takuya Tsuda. Yamaha even nominated three riders for the shakedown test. These are Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Kohta Nozane and Cal Crutchlow.
Only the Japanese test drivers were in action on Monday. Wednesday is scheduled for Crutchlow. World champion Fabio Quartararo’s demand was clear. The M1 needs more engine power. His feedback next weekend will show whether he succeeded.
Ducati customer teams Gresini and VR46 in action
These three shakedown test days are very important for the MotoGP rookies, who all did their laps. Moto2 Vice World Champion Raul Fernandez (Tech-3-KTM) set the best time on Monday with 2:00.898 minutes. For comparison, the lap record is 1:58.3 minutes.
Moto2 World Champion Remy Gardner wasn’t aiming for top times as the Australian recovers from an injury. In mid-January, Gardner had to have surgery on his right wrist. He fell during motocross practice.
The two new Ducati customer teams Gresini and VR46 were also in action. Since Gresini has already presented the team, Fabio di Giannantonio’s 2021 bikes already shone in the design for the new season. Marco Bezzecchi’s VR46 Desmosedici was still black.
Bezzecchi was quicker than di Giannantonio on Monday. Moto3 climber Darryn Binder was also busy, as the South African completed 51 laps today. Binder drives an M1 from the previous year in the RNF Yamaha team.
Test times shakedown test Sepang (Monday):
01. Raul Fernandez (Tech-3-KTM) – 2:00.898 minutes (46 laps)
02. Michele Pirro (Ducati) +0.144 (47) [Bike 1]
03. Mika Kallio (KTM) +0.352 (32) [Bike 1]
04.Lorenzo Savadori [Bike 2] (Aprilia) +0.778 (24) [Bike 2]
05. Remy Gardner (Tech-3-KTM) +0.954 (42)
06. Marco Bezzecchi (VR46-Ducati) +1,114 (38)
07. Darryn Binder (RNF-Yamaha) +1,248 (51)
08.Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki) +1,283 (66)
09. Mika Kallio (KTM) +1,399 (19) [Bike 2]
10. Fabio di Giannantonio (Gresini-Ducati) +1,698 (38)
11. Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) +1,992 (15) [Bike 4]
12. Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) +2,295 (10) [Bike 1]
13.Michele Pirro (Ducati) +2.528 (12) [Bike 2]
14. Yamaha Test Rider 2 (Yamaha) +2.544 (21)
15. Yamaha Test Rider 1 (Yamaha) +2.718 (16)
16. Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) +3,735 (4) [Bike 3]
17. Takuya Tsuda (Suzuki) – no time