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Sepang MotoGP Test: Marquez tops opening day of MotoGP test

Marc Marquez puts more than half-a-second between himself and his main rivals following day one of testing at Sepang, ahead of Rossi and Pedrosa; Aleix Espargaro dominates Open class.
CLICK HERE to view the full times from day one at Sepang

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez has picked up exactly where he left off as 2014 pre-season testing got underway at Sepang, Malaysia.

The Repsol Honda rider traded fastest times with Yamaha's Valentino Rossi early in the morning, but began to extend his advantage in the afternoon, resisting a flurry of quick times in the final stages to maintain a sizeable half-second margin over the competition.

A successful opening day for Marquez, the young Spaniard would leave rivals Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo trailing in his wake, the trio settled in second, third and fourth respectively, but between 0.5 and 0.8secs adrift of the defending champion.

The only other rider to get within a second of Marquez, Alvaro Bautista was fifth quickest on the Go&Fun Gresini Honda, the Spaniard out-pacing his satellite rival Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda after the German suffered a minor tumble.

However, it was Aleix Espargaro that captured much attention over the course of the day, the Spaniard taking to his new 'Open' class NGM Forward Yamaha with aplomb to even go as far as bothering the overall top five initially.

Though he would slip to seventh position by the chequered flag, his 1.1secs margin to the top, his large advantage over his 'Open' class rivals and the fact he would outpace the satellite Tech 3 Yamahas – including that of brother Pol – represented a hugely impressive start to the year for last year's 'CRT winner'.

Behind him, Ducati honours were upheld by satellite representative Andrea Iannone on the Pramac bike, ahead of young Tech 3 duo Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, while Colin Edwards completed NGM Forward's positive day with an 'Open' class 1-2, albeit a second adrift of his new team-mate.

A disappointing day for the factory Ducati team, Andrea Dovizioso and new signing Cal Crutchlow completed fewer laps than most, with the latter hampered by a technical issue earlier in the day.

Elsewhere, Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama were 17th and 18th fastest on the new Aspar-prepared Drive M7 Honda RCV1000R, marginally ahead of Randy de Puniet, the Frenchman continuing to put more miles on Suzuki's development machine a year ahead of its planned return to MotoGP competition.

Moto2 graduate Scott Redding ended his day 21th best on the Go&Fun Gresini Honda RCV1000R, while Michael Laverty endured a tough day beset by mechanical issues as he turned in just 14 laps.

In all, 26 riders are present in Sepang – including Suzuki and test drivers for Ducati and Yamaha -, with just Iodaracing's Danilo Petrucci and Leon Camier absent.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Marquez, Sepang MotoGP test, 4-6 February 2014
Marquez, Sepang MotoGP test, 4-6 February 2014
Marquez, Sepang MotoGP test, 4-6 February 2014
Marquez, Sepang MotoGP test, 4-6 February 2014
Marquez, Sepang MotoGP test, 4-6 February 2014
Marquez, Sepang MotoGP test, 4-6 February 2014
Marquez, Sepang MotoGP test, 4-6 February 2014
Cortese,  Aegerter,Alex Marquez, Folger, Moto2 race, Dutch MotoGP. 26th June 2016
Alex Marquez, Moto2 race, Dutch MotoGP. 26th June 2016
Petrucci, Dutch MotoGP Race 2016
Lorenzo, Dutch MotoGP Race 2016
Redding, Dutch MotoGP Race 2016
Dovizioso, Rossi Dutch MotoGP Race 2016
Marquez, Crutchlow Dutch MotoGP Race 2016
Petrucci, Dutch MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Petrucci Dutch MotoGP Race 2016
Dovizioso, Rossi, Petrucci Dutch MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi fans, Dutch MotoGP Race 2016

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