KTM Fastest On First Day of Sepang MotoGP Test
by Banjo Bolt
Thursday, February 1, 2024
BEST LAPS: DAY 1
1 Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 1:59.233
2 Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) +0.152
3 Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.182
4 Stefan Bradl (HRC Test Team) +0.627
5 Michele Pirro (Ducati Lenovo Team) +1.633
6 Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Factory Racing) +1.780
7 Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing) +2.576
MotoGP is officially underway for 2024! Day 1 of the #SepangShakedown concluded with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing test rider Dani Pedrosa on top, with the three-time World Champion putting in a best lap of 1:59.233. Right on his tail comes Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3), the only rookie in 2024, just 0.152s behind as his impressive performances only continue to fuel the hype around his arrival into MotoGP™.
The Shakedown allows factory test riders and rookies to take to the track, as well as those granted unlimited testing by the new concession system that came into force at the conclusion of 2023. As it stands that's Yamaha and Honda. On Day 1 of the Shakedown, however, we didn't yet see any of the "race" riders who are able to take part thanks to the concessions, so there was no 2021 Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) nor new teammate Alex Rins, and no Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team), his new teammate Luca Marini, nor fellow Honda riders Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR) and Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU LCR). Yet.
That meant a total of seven riders in action on Thursday, although those who can take part are expected on track at some point before action concludes. Pedrosa and rookie Acosta were joined by fellow RC16 rider Pol Espargaro, who begins his new role as a Test Rider for KTM, and Michele Pirro (Ducati Lenovo Team), Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Factory Racing), and Stefan Bradl (HRC Test Team) were all on track for their respective factories.
In terms of innovations spotted so far, Aprilia, Ducati, KTM and Honda all had new aero to test, with the rear tail unit aero a particular talking point with all the aforementioned manufacturers. Pol Espargaro and Pedrosa were testing KTM's newest aero package, with Bradl and Pirro doing the work for Honda and Ducati, respectively.
Acosta, despite it being only his second day on a MotoGP machine, was testing a couple of things on his RC16 as the reigning Moto2™ World Champion did some work with an innovative front mudguard, as well as testing out both the steel and carbon chassis.
Plenty more is to come over the next two days of Shakedown action before the Official Test kicks off on Tuesday the 6th of February, so stay tuned for more!
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