Pedro Acosta: “I tried to follow Dani Pedrosa, it was not easy!”

MotoGP rookie turns heads by leading the final day of the Sepang MotoGP Shakedown test.

Pedro Acosta, Sepang MotoGP test, 2 February
Pedro Acosta, Sepang MotoGP test, 2 February

18th and 1.2s from the top at last November’s Valencia MotoGP test was a solid debut performance by star rookie Pedro Acosta.

But MotoGP’s most eagerly anticipated newcomer since Marc Marquez stepped up a gear at the Sepang Shakedown.

Acosta was fast over all three days, saving his best for last by finishing top of the timesheets.

Sure, Acosta was competing against test riders and only six full-time racers, from Yamaha and Honda, thanks to the new concessions.

But the test riders on the same KTM bike included 31-time MotoGP winner Dani Pedrosa, who fought for podiums as a wild-card last season, and ten-year premier-class veteran Pol Espargaro.

The race riders also included two former MotoGP champions in Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir, plus race winners Alex Rins and Johann Zarco.

Acosta’s best time of 1m 58.189s was under the official Sepang race lap record and just over half-a-second from the all-time pole record.

The final day wasn’t without incident for the Spanish teenager, who suffered his first MotoGP fall at lunchtime, then a second spill while completing his first wet MotoGP laps in the final hour, after a thunderstorm had drenched the circuit.

But his performance, plus the pace of all the KTM riders on the latest RC16, certainly turned heads. The big question now is how Acosta (and KTM) will measure up against the full MotoGP field at the same track during the official test from February 6-8.

"We spent these three days mainly trying to work on my riding style, trying to understand the tyres in MotoGP, find a bike set up, and we have to be happy with this first test,” Acosta said.

“We did some good fast laps, but we most importantly had a good race pace on the dry. We even got a bit of time in the wet, which is always a bonus.

“I tried to follow Dani Pedrosa a bit today, and it was not that easy!

“In the Sepang Test, we will try to follow the lines of the other riders, because I was struggling a bit in Turns 5 and 6, and understand everything a bit more.

“Very happy, now I am going to enjoy two days of rest!"

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