MotoGP Sepang Shakedown is an official pre-season test event organized by Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder of the MotoGP World Championship, at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. It is an opportunity for the teams and test and rookie riders to test and refine their equipment ahead of the start of the MotoGP racing season. The official pre-test MotoGP season will be held on 10-12 February.
The Sepang ShakeDown 5-6 February 2023 was held in mix wet conditions. Lets have a glance at whats been updated by the respective MotoGP teams.
- Gas Gas
Something update on the front fairing was the cryptic message from Aprilia Racing Team Manager Paolo Bonora. Bonora explaines how the Noale factory’s aero has been “redesigned” after “taking advantage of the time in the wind tunnel over the winter.”
Including those belonging to Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez in the RNF MotoGP™ Team camp, Aprilia have 10 bikes in Sepang for the Shakedown and Official Test. Lorenzo Savadori’s task – according to Bonora – is to get everything ready for Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales, while also “trying small things.” Like every factory, testing 2023 engine specs are a high priority on the checklist for Aprilia.
Michele Pirro out for Ducati as the Ducati Lenovo Team look to begin their defence. After having sported a new aerodynamics package on Sunday, Ducati’s Michele Pirro lapped with the standard aero setup on Monday. The Italian’s two bikes did have different versions of the tail exhaust – the large one and the short one – though, so the rain didn’t make it a fully wasted day at the office.
Michele Pirro was again putting in the groundwork for the reigning World Champions, who head into the season looking to defend not one, not two, but three Championships.
The Borgo Panigale factory opened its 2023 account with a new fairing to show off, and Pirro worked with two GP23s. The Italian posted a 2:02.115 best lap time.
Stefan Bradl was lapping for HRC and the German had two RC213Vs in the box. Bradl was out on a new-look Honda machine dressed in redesigned aero, a new exhaust, testing an updated chassis and the 2023 engine. Bradl’s best time was a 2:01.605, placing him fourth on the timesheets.
Moto2 World Champion and Rookie Alonso Fernandez was back out with GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 and having had no plans for the Valencia Test apart from trying a MotoGP™ bike for the first time, these three days will be vital for the Spaniard to start making the bike his own. The number 37 finished second on the timesheets with a 2:01.331, just 0.185s from Crutchlow’s best effort. Not bad for a Rookie!!!
Dani Pedrosa completed Monday’s outing with Brad Binder’s crew as KTM’s main focal point for the Shakedown is comparing different engine specifications. Jonas Folger joined Pedrosa on track again for his second day of testing activity.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager Francesco Guidotti lamented that the “plan was to test new aero packages at the end of the Shakedown”, but due to the rain, it looks like they’ll run out of time to do that before the Official Test kicks off on Friday.
Three-time Grand Prix winner Crutchlow had three YZR-M1s at his disposal – two 2023 spec bikes, one 2022 spec machine. The main focus was pinpointed on Yamaha’s new, more aggressive engine which was a hot topic of conversation back in Valencia. Glancing at the timesheets, it looks like the problem that arose at the end of last year, causing some puzzled looks after clear improvements had been proven at earlier tests, has been diagnosed.
Crutchlow clocked a 330km/h top speed according to the circuit’s live timing, just a couple of kms shy of the fastest. In addition, looking back at the 2022 Sepang Test, Yamaha’s fastest top speed was 327km/h – early indications that progress has been made.