Aleix Espargaro continued as the top CRT rider by setting the privateer MotoGP pace over all three days of opening 2013 testing at Sepang.

The Aspar star reached a peak of twelfth on the timesheets on the third and final day, ahead of Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone and within 0.6s of the two factory Desmosedicis, plus Tech 3 Yamaha's Bradley Smith.

Espargaro and team-mate Randy de Puniet will continue with ART machinery this year - including the Aprilia electronics rather than the standard ECU now on offer - and were testing a new chassis.

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"I am very happy," declared the Spaniard. "The new chassis works perfectly and we took a step forward today. It was very hot today and this morning I matched my best times from yesterday straight away.

"It is hard to ride fast when it is so hot. I didn't do my best lap until 1pm. I have only put in around 70 laps with this bike and the feeling is excellent, which has given us such a fast pace.

"We have to be satisfied with our best lap today, because it was an improvement on my qualifying time from last year. It is also the best CRT time by some way, and not too far off the MotoGP bikes.

"We have started the year very well, but we have to continue working and the next test will see us using the old bike to compare again."

de Puniet lapped slower on the final day, dropping behind PBM's Michael Laverty as a result.

"The test was going very well up until today," said de Puniet. "We had found a few things with the new chassis that we liked, but today we lost our way a little. I don't know if it's down to the rise in temperature, but today there was much more front end chatter than on previous days.

"We tried lots of things, but none really convinced us. Besides today, we have a lot of information from these three days to look over, so over the next fortnight we will analyse it in detail so that we can come back to Sepang at the end of the month with solutions."