Fabio Quartararo began the first day of official 2020 MotoGP testing on top of the timesheets at Sepang, but was still using last year's Petronas Yamaha.

The young Frenchman has been promoted to top 'Factory-Spec' machinery for what will be his final season at the satellite team before stepping up the official Yamaha squad, in place of Valentino Rossi, in 2021.

But it seems the full line-up of 2020 Factory-Spec M1s - thought to have a different engine and frame compared to the A-Spec bikes Quartararo's team-mate Franco Morbidelli is using - are not yet ready, perhaps due to possible design changes before the first race.

Whatever the reason, Quartararo proved he had lost none of his raw speed over the winter by leading the timesheets on the old bike, courtesy of a 1m 58.945s on his 22nd of 52 laps.

But he admitted counting down the hours until he can try the 'totally different' 2020 machine.

"It was the plan to ride the 2019 today, but of course now I'm looking at my phone every hour until I can try the new one!" he smiled.

"Today we were able to make good lap times but today doesn't count. If you are P1 or P10 it makes no difference.

"For sure it's good to have good pace already but tomorrow we get on the 2020 bike, which I've been looking forward to since November.

"It's a totally different bike, so I will need to learn and stay calm because at the end what we need to take is the feeling of the bike and understand everything.

"We will not be superfast tomorrow, but the most important thing is to find every problem and every positive point of this Factory bike."

In terms of what he expects from the new bike, the 20-year-old, who stood on the podium seven times during his rookie season, explained:

"It's a different engine and it looks like the new bike has a little bit more top speed. But the chassis we don’t know.

"Valentino's top speed looks good today, we just need to see about the chassis and agility of the bike.

"Tomorrow I will tell you exactly what my feeling is, but I hope for the same feeling with the chassis as the 2019 bike and the [added] power of 2020."

Quartararo will have just one 2020 bike available and so will need to be especially careful while learning the limits: "No pressure! [But] I had one bike also today, it was okay!"

Just 0.051s behind Quartararo on day one was team-mate Morbidelli.

The Italian did have both his 2020 race bikes in the garage, albeit of the slightly different/more conventional 'A-Spec'. The most obvious visual difference is the air intake, which is the same as the 2019 M1.

"As you can see Yamaha is working quite a lot and working in different ways. So I think in order to get the right information they are splitting a little bit the force," Morbidelli said of the Factory-Spec/A-Spec line-up.

"[Compared to the Jerez test] the bike is a little bit faster in top speed, which is what we wanted. Not too much, but a little bit faster and after that it's pretty much the same."

Vinales was sixth quickest (+0.422s) and Rossi tenth (+0.624s) as they compared the 2019 and new 2020 Factory bikes.

 

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