MotoGP’s first official test session heads for Sepang

  The winter break is over as MotoGP (Motorcycle Grand Prix Championship) teams prepare for the first IRTA official test at the Sepang International Circuit. The three-day official test, which runs from 30 January until 1 February, will feature the usual suspects; MotoGP Champions Repsol Honda, Yamaha MotoGP, Ducati MotoGP, Suzuki MotoGP and a list of privateers.

To mark the pre-season test, Sepang has announced early bird ticket sales for the 27th edition of the Malaysia MotoGP, which is scheduled for 28 – 29 October.

For the first official test, both Yamaha MotoGP and Ducati MotoGP have new bike liveries and rider line-ups. Suzuki MotoGP will unveil its new livery on 29 January at the Sepang track, prior to the first day of testing. Yamaha already revealed its new bike livery for the 2017 season and its rider line-up featuring Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales, who replaces Jorge Lorenzo. Vinales teams up with Rossi as he begins life with a lead contender after having spent some years with Suzuki.

The Ducati MotoGP squad recently presented their new bike livery for the Desmosedici GP at the Ducati Auditorium in Borgo Panigale, Italy. Lorenzo will pair with Andrea Dovizioso in the 2017 MotoGP championship. Lorenzo replaces Andrea Iannone in the Italian squad for the new season and is eager to get back into action. The Spaniard is expected to be at the center of attention at the test session as he rides a Ducati for the first time. He has raced at Yamaha for nine years. His former team mate Rossi has also rode for Ducati to limited success in the past. “We are all impatient about the start of this new adventure and even though we still cannot promise anything, we have the potential to create a competitive bike and aim for the results that we all want to achieve. Thanks for all the welcome messages that I have received from the Ducatisti, I am really fired up and I intend to give my all to achieve the best possible results.”

Repsol Honda squad have the likes of Reigning champion Marc Marquez and the fighting Dani Pedrosa. The team should reveal their new livery at the Sepang track during the IRTA test session.

As in recent years, Sepang hosts the penultimate round of the championship this year, from 27 to 29 October. The new season opens with the Qatar Grand Prix in Losail on 26 March and will conclude in Valencia with the Valencian Grand Prix on 12 November. After Sepang, the MotoGP pre-season winter testing will move to Phillip Island, Australia for another three-day session from 15 to 17 February before a final test in Losail from 10 to 12 March.

Domestic two-wheel racing

SIC’s very own SIC Racing Team will have the privilege of being the only Moto3 team testing at Sepang after the MotoGP official test. The team, featuring Adam Norrodin returning for his second year together with new teammate Ayumu Sasaki, who is a Moto3 rookie, will see action on 16 to 17 February in Test 1 and 2 as well as on 20 to 21 February 2017 in Test 3 and 4. The local riders will also join other teams in two sessions of pre-season Moto3 winter testing in Jerez, Spain from 8 to 10 March and Losail, Qatar from 17 to 19 March.