Cal Crutchlow topped the first and second day of the Shakedown test for Yamaha, while Michele Pirro was the only rider to set a sub 2m lap time on day-three as he led the timingsheets for Ducati ahead of this weekend’s official MotoGP test. 

But now looking ahead to this weekend, Yamaha and Ducati will welcome back their title contenders from last season as Fabio Quartararo and reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia make their first on-track appearances of the year. 

Enea Bastianini, who already made his factory Ducati debut in Valencia last November, will be aboard the GP-23 machine as he attempts to replicate his performance of last season.

Riding the 2021 Gresini Ducati, Bastianini concluded last season’s three-day Sepang test fastest after setting an unofficial lap record, just 0.026s clear of Aleix Espargaro.

Following their debuts aboard new machinery at Valencia, the Sepang MotoGP test will also give the likes of Jack Miller, Miguel Oliveira, Joan Mir, Alex Rins and Alex Marquez the chance to put in more miles for their new teams. 

Rins was one of the most in-form riders towards the end of last season after winning races in Phillip Island and Valencia, but after moving from Suzuki to LCR Honda, a lot remains to be seen whether he can gel with a RC213V that has failed to live up to expectations in recent years.

Comments made from the Spaniard following the Valencia test seemed to suggest that he was happy with the level of performance, however, Sepang will be the first real chance for us to see whether Honda have made the step needed to fight with Ducati, Aprilia and others.

In terms of innovation, plenty of new upgrades have already been seen aboard the Ducati, Yamaha, Aprilia, KTM and Honda during the Shakedown test. 

Ducati introduced several new side-fairing upgrades which will also be available to its riders this weekend, as is the case for the Yamaha duo of Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli after the Japanese manufacturer showcased new aero parts aboard Crutchlow’s M1.

Aprilia had one of the biggest innovations visible to the naked eye, as a bulky fairing was seen underneath the bike, which is aimed at improving ground effect in the corners. 

While new parts were already out in force during the Shakedown test, further upgrades are also expected to be brought to the table this weekend as the development race is one that never ends. 

The official test will be the first time that the factory Yamaha team’s new livery is showcased in action, as is the case for Lenovo Ducati, Gresini Ducati and Prima Pramac Ducati. 

Red Bull KTM will also debut their 2023 colours which remain largely similar to last season’s livery.