Dani Pedrosa and KTM were on top of the timesheets, as 2020 MotoGP testing got underway with the start of the 'Shakedown' at Sepang.

The three-day test was originally designed to check the new machines were running correctly ahead of the Official Test.

It has now grown to include not only factory test riders, but also race riders from the 'concession' manufacturers (Aprilia and KTM) and - from this season - rookies.

The biggest news for the 2020 Shakedown is the planned return of Jorge Lorenzo to Yamaha, as a factory test rider.

The Spaniard was not present on track today, although there were reports that Japanese testers Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Kohta Nozane might have done some transponder-free laps on the latest M1.

It's a long way to fly for only two days on track and Lorenzo's Sunday absence arguably increases the chances of the #99 also being seen during some of the Official Test, when all 2020 race riders will be present, from February 7-9...

Either way, former rival Pedrosa was credited with the fastest lap time on day one, courtesy of a 2m 0.625s during 57 laps of the Malaysian Grand Prix venue.

That compares with the official race record of 1m 59.661s, set by Valentino Rossi at last November's event. Barring any rain, the track should continue to get faster as more rubber is laid down and usually ends up being quicker than at the race weekend.

Sunday marked the first time Pedrosa has ridden an RC16 at Sepang, having been injured one year ago, as he continued work on the new rectangular 'beam' frame.

But while Pedrosa was top of the timesheets (above), it is not certain that he was the fastest rider on track.

The use of timing transponders is only mandatory at Official tests and no Sunday times were made available for KTM leader Pol Espargaro, or Tech3 riders Iker Lecuona and Miguel Oliveira. Likewise, Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro was not listed.

Of those that did set public times, Ducati test rider Michele Pirro got closest to Pedrosa, lapping just 0.017s slower while alternating between two Desmosedicis.

Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli was 0.595s behind in third, followed by Repsol Honda's Alex Marquez (+0.692s) - due to get his first taste of the 2020 RC213V - and fellow rookie Brad Binder, who was the only KTM rider to post public times.

Honda test rider Stefan Bradl was +1.012s from Pedrosa, with Aprilia riders Bradley Smith and Lorenzo Savadori completing the timesheets.

Red flag periods were reported due to late accidents by Binder (Turn 5) and then Smith (Turn 7). Both were declared 'ok' although the Englishman, riding the all-new RS-GP, was said to have some bleeding from a finger.

Savadori meanwhile was gathering experience on the 2019 Aprilia.

Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda was the final name on the timing screens, albeit without a lap time.

The day ended with some time dedicated to practice starts, perhaps requested by teams to help hone their holeshot devices.

Ducati and Aprilia are known to already use such a system, while Yamaha is rumoured to have something ready to hand Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi for the Official test. It would be a shock if Suzuki, Honda and KTM are not working on similar ideas.

 

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