The roaring engines and screeching tires marked the final day of the 2024 MotoGP pre-season winter test at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC), and it was Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia who stole the spotlight.
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The reigning world champion blazed across the track, smashing the lap record with a lightning-fast time of one minute and 56.682 seconds on just his 8th lap out of 47.
Not far behind, Prima Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin surged into second place, clocking an impressive 1:56.854s. And let’s not forget Bagnaia’s teammate, Enea Bastianini, who held his own in third place with a time of 1:56.915s, closely followed by Alex Marquez from Gresini Racing MotoGP, who secured fourth with a time of 1:56.938s.
Reflecting on his stellar performance, Bagnaia credited his team for unleashing the maximum potential of his Ducati despite a sluggish start on the first day of testing. “We demonstrated and know perfectly the potential of this bike,” he exclaimed. “We managed to work and improve a lot in just three days, and finally, we are at a good point, at about 80 per cent consistency and ready to move to Qatar in good shape.”
Meanwhile, Martin, ever humble, refused to dwell on being labeled as the main challenger to Bagnaia this season. “I feel ready for everything, but I don’t know yet,” he mused. “These tests are really difficult to analyze because a lot of riders have great pace… I think it won’t be only me and Bagnaia, there will be more riders.”
The anticipation now builds as the riders and teams gear up for their final pre-season testing in the Qatar MotoGP Official Test at the Lusail International Circuit from February 19-20. And then, it’s full throttle ahead to the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix (GP) from March 7-9.
But let’s not forget the excitement that awaits later in the year, as SIC prepares to host the Malaysian GP, the penultimate round of the 21-race season, from October 31 to November 2. With records already being shattered and rivalries heating up, it’s shaping up to be an electrifying MotoGP season ahead. Strap in, folks, because the race for glory is about to begin!