MotoGP: Is Fabio Quartararo the man to beat in 2020?

The 2020 Sepang MotoGP Test aka “Winter Test” concluded its three-day stint here at Sepang International Circuit and we can conclude from it is that Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was the fastest rider in all three days of testing.

Riding the factory-spec Yamaha YZR-M1 hard, the young Frenchman insisted that Yamaha and the team still have ‘kilometres’ to go in terms of finding the right setup and getting into grips with the full potential of the Yamaha M1. With that being said, it did not stop Quartararo from setting some blistering pace throughout the three days.

Image credit: MotoGP

Sitting up on top of the timesheets yet again, Quartararo lapped SIC in just 1:58.349, followed by Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) who was equally impressive in P2. With only 0.082 seconds separating the two, the experienced Brit rider not only showcased his talent to go fast but also endurance with 69 laps completed today.

In P3 is Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) who set a time of 1:58.450, just 0.1 seconds behind the leading Petronas Yamaha SRT rider. Whatever Suzuki has done to their impressive GSX-RR, it seems to be working for the young Spaniard.

The fastest Ducati of the day falls on Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) with a time of 1:58;502 (0.153 seconds behind the leader). His teammate, Jack Miller, maintained his pace throughout Day 3 but with other riders catching up, Miller closed Day 3 in P8.

Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) proves that he’s still a very competitive rider in 2020 despite being 40 years of age. Sitting comfortably in P5, the Italian is less than 0.2 seconds behind Quartararo who also happens to be riding the same spec Yamaha M1.

Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) also put in quite a work today with 51 completed laps. His best lap was set in lap 17 where he crossed the line at 1:58.606. Not too far behind him is Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) onboard his 2020 KTM RC16 which has been very impressive throughout the test sessions.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) once again cracked the top 10 onboard his new 2020 Aprilia RS-GP with a time of 1:58.694. P9 is indeed a good position for a relatively new bike and a spot ahead of Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) is certainly something to be proud of. For now.

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) managed to ‘find’ something with the new KTM RC16 as he closed the day at an impressive P11. Not a lot to shout about but being in front of the 2019 world champion, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) is.

Obviously, with injuries still hindering the champion from performing, Marquez settled for P12 ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing).

All in all, it has been one of the most interesting test sessions yet with many riders, teams, and bikes making huge breakthroughs in the world of MotoGP. If this is any indicator of the upcoming season, we can be sure that it’ll be anything but boring. In fact, it’s probably going to be one hell of a season with all the manufacturers battling it out for premier class supremacy. Who’s your money on?

MotoGP: Quartararo continues winter test assault



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