Quartararo steals the show in Sepang with great testing speed

Fabio Quartararo on track at the Sepang MotoGP test

Petronas Yamaha SRT rider Fabio Quartararo capped off an impressive weekend at MotoGP™ testing in Sepang by topping the timesheets for the third consecutive day.

The highly-rated 20-year-old is on a high after it was announced last month that he would replace seven-time MotoGP™ world champion Valentino Rossi at the factory Yamaha team in 2021.

And he showed off his obvious talent with a series of speedy laps around the Sepang International Circuit, the Frenchman recording a best time of 1:58.349s on Sunday.

LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow was second fastest on the final day of testing, just ahead of Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins.

“Really happy for the first test of the year with the 2020 bike,” Quartararo said afterwards.

Quartararo - who rode his 2019 Yamaha on day one in Sepang - switched to the YZR-M1 and was delighted with his new bike’s one-lap pace.

But he said more work is required to get his bike consistently quick enough to challenge the likes of six-time world champion Marc Marquez in 2020.

“The long pace was not bad … we know that in one lap, we are fast,” he said.

“We need to work more on the [consistency of] the pace.”

Quartararo got through 57 laps on Sunday, while Crutchlow made it through 69 in an impressive showing. Rins, who won two races in 2019 and is a star on the rise, also caught the eye.

Francesco Bagnaia was Ducati’s fastest rider on Sunday, the Pramac Racing man finishing fourth quickest, just ahead of Rossi.

Just 0.10s separated Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro and Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller, from sixth to eighth.

The Australian was at his best on day two of testing and led the way for much of the day.

He eventually finished second quickest, pipped by Quartararo, but Miller will be encouraged by his efforts.

Quartararo’s teammate, Franco Morbidelli, played the role of runner-up on day one.

Much interest surrounded the performance of Marc Marquez, but the reigning champion did not exert himself too much in his recovery from shoulder surgery.

Marquez – who has won six of the last seven world titles - was 12th quickest on Sunday but fans can expect a very different Spaniard in the Qatar season opener in March.

Marc’s younger brother and new teammate, Alex, was 16th quickest on Sunday.

The man Alex Marquez replaced - two-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo - rode 46 laps as a test rider for Monster Energy Yamaha on Sunday.

The 2020 MotoGP™ season begins at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on March 8.

MotoGP™ Sepang Test - Sunday Results

1. Fabio Quartararo - Petronas Yamaha SRT - 1:58.349
2. Cal Crutchlow - LCR Honda Castrol - +0.082
3. Alex Rins - Team Suzuki Ecstar - +0.101
4. Francesco Bagnaia - Pramac Racing - +0.153
5. Valentino Rossi - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - +0.192
6. Danilo Petrucci - Ducati Team - +0.257
7. Pol Espargaro - Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - +0.261
8. Jack Miller - Pramac Racing - +0.267
9. Aleix Espargaro - Aprilia Racing Team Gresini - +0.345
10. Joan Mir - Team Suzuki Ecstar - +0.387

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