MotoGP: Marquez fastest in Sepang testing

    Story highlights

    • MotoGP teams and riders in Sepang, Malaysia for three days of testing ahead of 2015 season
    • Reigning world champion Marc Marquez three tenths of a second faster that nearest rival
    • One more round of testing in Qatar before season opener at same track on March 29

    (CNN)The MotoGP cavalcade trooped into Malaysia this week for three days of testing at a sultry Sepang circuit.

    While there were no surprises about the man leading the pack, results further down hint at an interesting season ahead in motorcycle racing's top class.
      Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez blew away the winter cobwebs with a typically imperious blast around the track.
      The youngest-ever double world champion's best lap of one minute 59.115 seconds was more than three-tenths of a second clear of the field -- a blink of an eye, perhaps, but a significant gap in a sport of fine margins.
      The Catalan's appetite for success appears undiminished and he was in the mood for work, clocking up 73 laps on the final day of testing -- more than anyone else on the grid.
      "We're finished today with our homework done," Marquez said. "I do not think there are many more new things to try."
      Behind the Spaniard there were several eye-catching rides in track temperatures that reached a scalding 49 degrees Celsius (120 ˚F).
      Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo finished second on his Movistar Yamaha despite struggling with the intense heat.
      "It was really difficult to keep a good lap time and pace," Lorenzo said. "The bike felt not so good with so much temperature. I decided to stop as I wasn't feeling confident in braking."
      Reportedly in the shape of his life, the man from Majorca clocked a satisfying one minute 59.437 seconds -- his fastest ever lap at the track -- and looks set to be Marquez's closest challenger this year, especially as both his teammate Valentino Rossi (5th) and Honda's Dani Pedrosa (7th) left Malaysia with work to do.
      While no eyebrows were raised at the top two riders, the man in third place will have got them twitching.
      Britain's Cal Crutchlow endured a miserable 2014 for the most part with Ducati, but was getting to grips with the Italian bike before he departed for CWM LCR Honda. He appears to have settled immediately, and an impressive showing in Sepang bodes well for the combative Manxman's season.
      Not a fan of the circuit, Crutchlow departed with a smile on his face after registering a hugely impressive one minute 59.658 seconds.
      "For a track that I dislike, that's my fastest ever lap around here by nearly eight-tenths of a second," Crutchlow said. "I felt good and comfortable on the bike, and it's not a bad lap considering the conditions of the circuit today."
      Fellow Briton Bradley Smith, on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha team, also performed well. On day two he already felt the team was "95% there," and his sixth place on day three was promising.
      The progress of two teams in Malaysia was under particular scrutiny with Ducati debuting its new Desmosedici GP15 bike and Suzuki stepping up for its eagerly anticipated return to the sport with its GSX-RR.
      Ducati team principal Gigi Dall'Igna was satisfied with the GP15's showing.
      "It seems that everything is going well: we lapped for three days without any major reliability issues and this is surely important for a completely new bike," Dall'lgna said. New recruit Andrea Iannone impressed with an outstanding fourth place on the final day.
      "I'm happy with the way it's improved in such a short period of time," Iannone remarked.
      Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro was also satisfied with his machine's progress. On Monday, he said that he had been surprised by the speed and power of the GSX-RR, and was also content with its performance in that day's wet conditions.
      "I feel very comfortable," the Spaniard said. "It is small and easy to handle so I feel confident."
      One more test remains for the teams, at Qatar's Losail circuit, before the season gets underway at the same track on 29 March.