Pol Espargaro kept KTM on top of the MotoGP timesheets during the third and final day of the 2020 Sepang Shakedown Test.

While most Tuesday attention was on the return of Jorge Lorenzo to Yamaha, Espargaro set the best lap of the week so far with an early time of 1m 59.444s.

That compares with an official circuit race lap record of 1m 59.661s, pole record of 1m 58.303s and unofficial test record of 1m 58.239s (by Ducati's Danilo Petrucci, at the 2019 Official Test).

Espargaro's time kept him 0.178s clear of older brother Aleix, making his debut on the 2020 Aprilia, while providing KTM was a clean sweep of the three days.

Factory test rider Dani Pedrosa had been quickest on Sunday and Monday, but did not ride on Tuesday when his bikes were being used by Mika Kallio.

Likewise, Aprilia test rider Bradley Smith gave his 2020 machine to Aleix, who thus had three bikes available (two 2020s and a 2019) for his first day on track this year - and finished a happy man...

Behind the Espargaro brothers on the Tuesday timing screens was Tech 3's Miguel Oliveira (+0.304s) while Ducati test rider Michele Pirro (+0.478s) also broke the 2min barrier.

Rookie Brad Binder (KTM, +0.655s), Honda test rider Stefan Bradl (+0.997s) and Kallio (+1.028s) followed before Lorenzo's name appeared next to 'Yamaha' for the first time since 2016.

The triple MotoGP champion, who retired from racing last November, made steady progress through the day to finish eighth on the timesheets and 1.062s from Espargaro, after 46 laps.

Lorenzo's best of 2m 0.506s effectively matched his Repsol Honda qualifying time at last November's Grand Prix and, having only ridden on the final day of the Shakedown, the Spaniard is tipped to appear at the upcoming Official Test.

Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli (+1.211s) and Tech3 KTM rookie Iker Lecuona (+2.215s) completed the top ten.

The remaining five places on the timesheets were occupied by three Yamaha test bikes, Pirro's second machine and Lorenzo Savadori, who was gaining experience on a 2019 Aprilia.

As well as Pedrosa and Smith, the other rider absent on the final day was rookie Alex Marquez, who had departed for the Repsol Honda team launch in Indonesia.

The Shakedown was open to all factory test riders, race riders from the 'concession' manufacturers (Aprilia and KTM) plus rookies.

The Official Test, which runs from Friday to Sunday, will see the full 2020 grid in action for the first time this year.

 

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