Bagnaia sounds early warning after setting fastest lap time on Ducati

On fire: Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia takes a corner during the third day of the pre-season MotoGP test at the SIC. — AFP

SEPANG: Two-time MotoGP world champion Francesco Bagnaia gave a strong indication that it would take a momentous effort to dislodge him from his throne after romping to the fastest ever lap time seen at Sepang International Circuit.

The Italian rider flew on his Ducati factory bike to become the first to break the 1:57s barrier on the final day of MotoGP official testing yesterday.

It was only a day ago where teammate Enea Bastianini of Italy had set the new lap record of 1:57.134s but Bagnaia blew it to pieces with a stunning 1:56.682s in the morning.

Bagnaia was not the only rider to break the 1:57 barrier though.

Another MotoGP title contender and last year’s runner-up Jorge Martin from Prima Pramac Racing Team slammed in a 1:56.854s not long after that.

Bastianini, the Malaysian GP winner last year, also looks to be back to his very best this year as he posted a superb 1:56.915s in the afternoon session.

Spaniard Alex Marquez was the fourth member of the 1:56 club after clocking a 1:56.938s on his Ducati bike, providing an indication of how competitive the premier class title fight in the upcoming season is shaping up to be.

Ducati are certainly going the extra mile to make sure they stay ahead of their rivals in the new MotoGP season kicking off in Portimao, Portugal next month.

The Ducati bikes, sporting new aerodynamic package combines the stepped layout on the side of the bike with a diffuser at the bottom of the fairing, have been put through their paces the last three days.

The idea of the currently dominant MotoGP manufacturer is to improve both the cornering and the braking performance of the bike, something that Ducati previously believed would be difficult to achieve with a single fairing.

Bagnaia, Bastianini and Martin all got to try out the new aero on their respective machines for the first time on Wednesday having dedicated the opening day of the Sepang test to comparing different engine settings.

Italian rider Bagnaia praised the work Ducati has done to introduce the new fairing, along with other updates it has brought to the GP24 bike.

“I feel good with more or less everything. The thing we improved a lot was the power delivery today and it makes me very happy.

“The new fairing has a really good potential but still I think we have to change a bit on the set-up to improve the feeling a bit.

“It’s completely different compared to the old one, the last year one,” said Bagnaia.

The new aero will be homologated in time for the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix next month with a further update to the bike planned for the British Grand Prix in August.


1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ita) Ducati Lenovo Team 1:56.682, 2. Jorge Martin (Spa) Prima Pramac Racing 1:56.854, 3. Enea Bastianini (Ita) Ducati Lenovo Team 1:56.915, 4. Alex Marquez (Spa) Gresini Racing MotoGP 1:56.938, 5. Aleix Espargaro (Spa) Aprilia Racing 1:57.091, 6. Marc Marquez (Spa) Gresini Racing MotoGP 1:57.270, 7. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Ita) Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team 1:57.343, 8. Pedro Acosta (Spa) Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 1:57.365, 9. Joan Mir (Honda) Repsol Honda Team 1:57.374, 10. Brad Binder (Rsa) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:57.462.

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