Acosta ends Saturday on top as the final day of Shakedown testing concludes.
The curtain came down on the 2024 MotoGP™ Sepang Shakedown with rookie sensation Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) on top, with the number 31 content to continue making headlines. A superb 1:58.189 on the final day saw him lead test rider Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) by 0.066s, with CASTROL Honda LCR’s new recruit Johann Zarco completing the top three.
Despite a couple of small crashes on the final day – one in the dry at Turn 11 and one in the wet at Turn 15 – Acosta only continues to impress. His time would have placed him P5 in last year’s Sepang Test overall standings, and there are still three more days to go in that event next week.
On the final day, Acosta was lapping with KTM’s carbon chassis on both of his GASGAS bikes, indicating this may well be the direction they’ll be heading in for the season. It will be interesting to see what new parts Acosta will test on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Malaysia, as he’s joined by teammate Augusto Fernandez and the two Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Brad Binder and Jack Miller.
And speaking of the orange squad, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro said in a video the team posted on social media that he feels “very good” on the bike after a winter of training sees the Test Rider come into 2024 in a much better physical condition. Espargaro also comments on how well Acosta is adapting to the bike.
Aero game stepped up ahead of Sepang Test
As we saw across the previous two days of Shakedown action, the factories have ramped up the aerodynamics game in 2024. You can see KTM’s front fender wing, Aprilia’s ‘Batmobile’ rear wing and Ducati’s additional ground effect side panel fairing updates HERE, with the respective test riders running all of these additions on the final day. Honda’s upgraded ‘stegosaurus’ rear wing can be seen below.
Honda and Yamaha: all hands on deck
On Day 3, Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda LCR) was spotted testing a different swingarm, and Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) has confirmed that Honda’s 2023 bike isn’t in Sepang. Honda are focusing on the package they had at the Valencia Test and on a new prototype they’ve got. A “change in direction”.
Meanwhile, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) finished the Shakedown in P4, while new teammate Alex Rins was a tenth off him in P7. In terms of novelties, Yamaha Test Rider Cal Crutchlow ventured out with a new, longer exhaust and an updated aero body.
More to come?
For Ducati and Aprilia, repped at the Shakedown by Michele Pirro and Lorenzo Savadori, respectively, there were the previously mentioned aero updates on obvious show, and the event saw plenty of prep for the rest of their riders to join the fray at the Sepang Test.
That will include reigning Champion Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) meeting his new steed ahead of another title defence campaign, and 2023 challenger Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing). It’s also another chance to see Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) heading out, although that’s not on a 2024-spec bike…
Meanwhile, alongside Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro at Aprilia, there’s also a complete novelty of a different kind in the Noale camp as Trackhouse Racing prepare to land in MotoGP™, with Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez likely soon to appear in their new colours on track for the first time.
That’s a wrap on one of the most star-studded Shakedowns we’ve seen for some time. Next up it’s the official #SepangTest from the 6th to the 8th of February, where we’ll see everyone back out and back in business ahead of their assault on 2024.
BEST LAPS BY RIDER: DAY 3
1 Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) 1:58.189
2 Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.066
3 Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR) +0.211
4 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) +0.249
5 Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.289
6 Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) +0.328
7 Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.354
8 Luca Marini (Repsol Honda Team) +0.746
9 Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Factory Racing) +0.794
10 Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda LCR) +0.883
11 Michele Pirro (Ducati Lenovo Team) +1.141
12 Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing) +1.811
13 Stefan Bradl (Honda Test Team) +2.910