Dani Pedrosa clocked 2:00.039 to lead the timesheets on the second day of MotoGP testing at the Sepang International Circuit. – AFP Photo
SEPANG: Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa stepped up to the plate in the absence of injured team-mate Marc Marquez as the track conditions at the Sepang International Circuit improved on the second day of MotoGP testing.
The Spaniard, who had triumphed at Sepang for the last two years, clocked 2:00.039 as the track cooled in the evening to end at the top of the timesheets.
Pedrosa had struggled with jet lag on arrival in Malaysia but the best time of the week so far puts him ahead of compatriot Aleix Espargaro, who impressed again with his sheer pace to end the day 0.281 seconds off the top, having led for much of the afternoon.
Pedrosa was the lone Honda factory rider, with reigning world champion Marquez unable to test the bike after suffering a broken leg in training in Spain last week.
Like many of the riders, Espargaro switched focus to race simulation in the afternoon and those longer runs will continue on Friday before the test concludes.
Another Spaniard Alvaro Bautista, who was fastest on Thursday, was third after clocking his best time of 2:00.500 as he again made good use of his new rear shock suspension.
Fourth on the timesheets was former world champion Valentino Rossi, who appears to be more comfortable with the new Bridgestone tyre compounds than his Yamaha Factory Racing colleague Jorge Lorenzo, who was placed ninth.
Lorenzo continued to have an issue with the grip on his bike, which affected corner speed.
But the happiest rider on the track on Thursday was Pedrosa.
He suffered from jet lag and sat out the majority of the morning test while the track was at its worst.
Pedrosa ended up sixth on Thursday and expressed satisfaction with his second outing on the track this week.
“Yesterday was not the best day for testing. The track was dirtier than ever and there was no grip,” said Pedrosa.
“It was difficult to find a good feel of the bike, which we only really got at the end of the day. I also had a few problems with jet lag and I have not been able to sleep much over the last few days ... so, I was not feeling perfect physically.
“I slept a little better after that and was able to enjoy a more productive day on track.”