The first day of Official 2018 action began wet at Sepang International Circuit, with the majority of the field setting some laps but then waiting it out as the track began to dry.
So the season began on wets, before slicks began to appear up and down pitlane. Fastest by the end of the session was Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, as the pole lap record holder at the track ended the day more than three tenths clear of 2017 runner up Andrea Dovizioso.
Dovizioso’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo was third quickest, just 0.032 in arrears.
The tyres available for the test are the same as were allocated during the 2017 race weekend: a soft, a medium and a hard front, and a soft, medium and hard asymmetric rear. In addition, Michelin have brought two new front compounds for the field to evaluate – as well as a rear with a small evolution in the compound.
Timesheet-topping Pedrosa and teammate Marc Marquez had 2018 protoype machines as well as 2017 spec RC213Vs in the Repsol Honda garage. Pedrosa put in 56 laps and blasted ahead on his final run, with the reigning Champion on the other side of the garage doing 51 and moving up to P7 late in the day.
LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow was also testing for HRC with 2018 protoypes and the Brit had three machines in the pitbox. He earned the honour of first crasher of the season, but did also play guinea pig by heading out first on slicks. Crutchlow did 38 laps with a best of 2:00.522 to take ninth on the timesheets.
Hot on their heels over in the Ducati garage, and following test rider Casey Stoner’s positivity on the new GP18 after private tests, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo had both the GP17 and the GP18 with which to put in their laps. Dovizioso spent some time on top before being deposed later in the day, but the Italian charged back up to second overall by the end of action.
35 laps saw the 2017 Malaysian GP winner put in a best of 1:59.770, with teammate Lorenzo also a late mover and catapulting himself from outside the top ten to P3 on his final run. The five-time World Champion did 38 laps. Danilo Petrucci made it three Ducatis in the fastest four as he took P4, just ahead of new teammate Jack Miller, who made it 80% Borgo Panigale factory machinery in the top five as he impressed once again.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and teammate Maverick Viñales, meanwhile, began the day with new fairings - but not the new full carbon-black aero package seen on test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga’s machine.
The two men were forces to be reckoned with on the timesheets until a final time attack from some competitors. With the new chassis based on 2016 and the 2018 engine, an optimistic ‘Doctor’ put in 50 laps. The quickest clocked in at a 2:00.233 to put him P6, with teammate Viñales P13 on Sunday after 72 laps. The first man out on wets in the morning, meanwhile, was Johann Zarco as the lights went green, and the Frenchman had some new – to the Tech 3 team – aero to test. He ended the day in eighth after 62 laps.
KTM Factory Racing impressed once again as they head into their second season. Pol Espargaro was on the pace from the off and completed the top ten, with teammate Bradley Smith in P17. The Spaniard did 39 laps and the Brit matched the lap count. Test rider Mika Kallio was also on track.
After taking a wrong turn with the engine in 2017, Team Suzuki Ecstar were forced to develop around the problem – but now think they’re in a much better direction with their 2018 engine specification.
Ex-rookie Alex Rins was their top rider on the first day in P11 after 63 laps, with Andrea Iannone taking P16 but only four tenths further back. Aprilia, meanwhile, were working on weight distribution and improving the power over the winter, re-evaluating their findings with riders Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding from now on.
Espargaro put Aprilia Racing Team Gresini in P14 after 40 laps, with Redding starting to settle in in P21 – taking the lap counter over the half century mark.
It was Takaaki Nakagami who emerged from the first day as the fastest rookie, riding a 2017 Honda this season and putting in a good amount of laps on Day 1 – 64. He was twelfth overall.
Reigning Moto2 Champion Franco Morbidelli was next up in terms of debutants, in P18 after 62 laps and half a second off the Japanese rider. Fellow rookies Xavier Simeon and Tom Lüthi were also on track, with Swiss rider Lüthi now having successfully completed his first day in the premier class after being forced to sit out the Valencia test through injury.
MotoGP's Marquez & Pedrosa to test Red B
Zarco ens the Qatar test on top ahead of
Iannone ends the second day of the Qatar
Crutchlow on top at Jerez, Marquez crash
Rossi will probably race for the next tw
Vinales opens the Qatar test on top of t
Marquez re-signs for two more seasons wi
KTM confirms Zarco for 2019 and 2020
Bagnaia confirmed with Pramac in 2019 an
Espargaro would "love a teammate" like M
Crutchlow impressed by Nakagami
Lorenzo had much better feeling in Spang
Honda duo Happy and "very happy" after t
Thai test fruitful for KTM
Pedrosa concludes Thai test on top
Marquez sets the first 1:29 lap of Chang
Thailand test: Crutchlow fastest on the
2018 season will be the last of partners
Sepang test 2018: Lorenzo dominates on d
Sepang test 2018: Vinales edges Rossi to
Yamaha reveals 2018 MotoGP livery in Mad
Vinales signs new contract to remain at
Folger decided to sit out the season in
Syahrin joins Tech 3 for 2018 MotoGP sea
Honda unveil new 2018 MotoGP livery in J
Aspar renamed 'Angel Nieto Team' in trib
New MotoGP Championships, wild card rule
Iannone back on top of the MotoGP timesh
Dovizioso fastest on the second day at J
Huichol style helmet for Rossi at Sepnag
Iannone takes to the top of the timeshee
Marquez quickest in Valencia Day 2
Yamaha top the timesheets, and Marquez c
Perdosa happy to end the season with a w
We wanted this title as much as Marc did
Dakar 2018 route revealed
Marquez hails "an incredible opponent" D
Zarco sees he must be happy not sad afte
Marquez crowned Champion, Pedrosa wins d
2018 MotoGP calendar updated
British GP to remain at Silverstone for
Zarco thinks he can fight for the win on
Marquez would be more nervous if Dovizio
Marquez heads the timesheets & automatic
Iannone tops Valencia FP1, with Marquez
Folger making progress on the road to re
2018 MotoGP provisional entry list
Moving to Ducati was the right decision
A "step" with the bike gives Pedrosa con
We made the best of what we had - Davies
Laverty felt like "real race"
Pol Espargaro please by KTM’s progressio
Rossi feels Yamaha could have been compe
Zarco was thinking he could win
Dovizioso top in Warm Up, Marquez eighth
Dovizioso feels ready for the 25 points
The rhythm is more of a question for the
Marquez fastest in FP4 after recovering
Dovizioso heads FP1 as action opens at S
Van der Mark targets to improve in every
Viñales planned to push in the last 5 la
Aleix Espargaro forced to si out of Mala
Crutchlow says this is what MotoGP is al
Iannone trying his best on every lap
Dovizioso will have to give it our all i
Zarco so happy he could fight for victor
If you don’t want to play the game, stay
Marquez wins the fight for Phillip Islan
Marquez leads Viñales and Pedrosa in wet
Dovizioso: “The reality is different to
Marquez throws down the gauntlet with po
Marquez tops wet Philip Island FP3
Crutchlow expecting "a big battle" at Ph
Aleix Espargaro heads Marquez & Dovizios
Lowes feeling great with the R1
Pedrosa had no control on the bike at th
Lorenzo unhappy with Zarco's move at Mot
Dovizioso & Marquez speak about their du
Petrucci was starting to think about his
Dovizioso wins last corner duel to beat
Zarco takes shock pole in Japan
Dovizioso leads the way to Q2, Rossi thr
Crutchlow & Lorenzo disagree over FP1 cr
Aleix Espargaro aiming for podium after
Japanese GP: Dovizioso beats Marquez to
Marquez tops Japanese GP FP1 as rain mix
Nozane to replace Folger at Motegi
Motegi GP Preview: The heat is on
Folger forced to withdraw from Japanese
Rossi did everything possible to get pre
Marquez had to revert to 2016 way of thi
Smith and Espargaro confirmed at KTM for
Aoyama to replace Miller at Motegi
Marinelli to leave Ducati at the end of
Title key is is to treat all rivals equa
Training accident rules Miller out of Mo
Haas seeking compensation from Sepang fo
Ferrari to address quality issues discov
Malaysia win "satisfying" for Red Bull &
Gasly focusing on weaknesses after "spec