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Pedrosa Leads First MotoGP Test Of 2013 At Sepang

Two-time Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa led the first official MotoGP test session of 2013, turning a top lap of two minutes, .100 of a second on his Repsol Honda this week at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

Defending MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was second fastest in the three-day preseason test session at 2:00.429 on his factory Yamaha M1. Lorenzo’s teammate, seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi, was third quickest at 2:00.542 in his return to Yamaha.

“We can leave Sepang with a good feeling because we had good lap times on all three days,” said Pedrosa, who won in 2010 and 2012 at Indianapolis. “We were able to put in a lot of laps and, above all, try out some important things with the engine and the bike weight to adjust to the 3 kilos more for this season, dictated by the new rules.

“Today we focused on rear tires, in particular the new Bridgestone hard compound. It is similar to the old one with a little more grip in some areas, but it also creates more chatter. We finished the test well and hope to continue like this in the following ones.”

2012 Moto2 World Champion Marc Marquez started his rookie MotoGP season in impressive fashion, finishing the test with a fourth-best time of 2:00.636. He walked away positive about his
debut despite Thursday morning on his Repsol Honda RC213V.

“I had the first crash with a MotoGP bike,” Marquez said. “But we know why I crashed, and the important thing is to understand it. We knew the first crash would come eventually. And now I know a bit better where the limit of the front tire is. So bit by bit we are learning about everything.”

Cal Crutchlow was the only other rider to dip into the two-minute bracket, turning in a 2:00.734 aboard his Tech 3 Yamaha.

2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden was the top American rider. Hayden, from Owensboro, Ky., was ninth quickest on the factory Ducati Desmosedici GP13 at 2:02.110.

“We obviously can’t be happy when our times are that far off of the top guys, but we knew it was going to be tough,” Hayden said. “Sepang has never been a particularly good track for Ducati. We raced here in October, and the bike hasn’t changed much since then. We found a couple little things over the course of the test, which allowed us to improve our consistency on day three, but I think we need something big.

“Anyway, it was nice to be back on the bike and working with the guys. The team has worked extremely hard, and we just have to stay motivated and keep giving them the right information so that we can hopefully start making some real progress soon.”

The test also was disappointing for American Ben Spies, who only managed the 15th best time of 2:03.002 on his new Ignite Pramac Ducati machine. His sub-par performance wasn’t totally unexpected. Spies is returning from major shoulder surgery and said he is still not back to 100 percent fitness. He missed the final day of the test.

“I woke up this morning and felt a little bit sore from the two days of riding, and, with only starting rehab two to three weeks ago, it’s not just my shoulder but my general physical fitness is nowhere near where it needs to be,” Spies said. “We need to be smart and do things the right way. We’ve had enough setbacks in the last few months. It’s important not to go over the limits and do anything silly, or make any mistakes and dig ourselves in a hole physically instead of building forward for the next test.”

Veteran American rider Colin Edwards ended the test 27th out of 28 riders at 2:05.913 on his NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR-Kawasaki. Edwards, who took part in the separate CRT test Feb. 3-4 at Sepang, was hampered by a sore neck and a new motorcycle that was far from being sorted out before the test.

Next on the calendar is the Moto2/Moto3 test Feb. 12-14 in Valencia, Spain. The MotoGP riders return to Sepang for a second test session Feb. 26-28.

The 2013 MotoGP season starts April 7 with the Grand Prix of Qatar. The sixth Red Bull Indianapolis GP is scheduled for Aug. 16-18 at IMS.
 

Tickets are on sale for the 2013 Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP event. Visit www.imstix.com, call (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700 or visit the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.

Information on camping at IMS during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP is available at www.imstix.com. Hotel package information can be found at visitindy.com/redbullhotels.
 

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Pedrosa Leads First MotoGP Test Of 2013 At Sepang
Two-time Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa led the first official MotoGP test session of 2013, turning a top lap of two minutes, .100 of a second on his Repsol Honda this week at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
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