Enea Bastianini at the Losail circuit for pre-season MotoGP testing

What we learned from 2024 MotoGP pre-season testing

The 2024 MotoGP season sprang into action at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia for a three-day pre-season test, followed by a second test the following week at the Losail International Circuit that spanned another two days.

Ducati dominance defined both tests, as 2023 title protagonists Jorge Martín and Francesco Bagnaia immediately returned to their form of last season. That’s not to say the rest of the field was riding safely within the limits, the other manufacturers and riders were doing their utmost to develop their 2024 bikes and extract the maximum from this year’s package.  

Enea Bastianini in the pit lane at the Sepang International Circuit


Sepang Test

Day one

You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a quiet first day of 2024 MotoGP testing when you saw Jorge Martín’s name at the top of the times. In fact, it was an eventful session in which Marc Marquez endured technical gremlins leaving him ninth overall. Meanwhile, reigning champion Bagnaia went down on his factory Ducati at Turn 11 bringing out the red flags. One of the other talking points was the rapid rookie Pedro Acosta who ended the day a sensational second. Notable mentions went to Fabio Quartararo who utilised Yamaha’s significant aero upgrades to set the third-fastest time and Johann Zarco as the best-placed Honda in 10th.

Day two

The 2023 Malaysian GP race winner Enea Bastianini hit the top of the times on Day 2 but Sprint Simulations were the talk of the paddock. Both Marquez brothers aboard their respective Gresini Ducati bikes delivered impressive sprint stints, as did Luca Marini on the Repsol Honda. There were yet more encouraging signs at Honda as Joan Mir went over half a second faster than his qualifying lap from 2023. Binder gave chase to Ducatis of Bastianini and Martín with the third fastest time while Acosta continued to impress with eighth, but it wasn’t all plain sailing with the Spaniard crashing out at Turn 9.

Day three

Bagnaia finally hit the top of the times with a 1:56.682 on Day 3 and Ducati went on to dominate the top four with Martín, Bastianini and Alex Marquez not far behind. Aleix Espargaro ended the day as the only rider to break up the Ducati monopoly in fifth. Progression also continued in the Honda camp as Mir ended the first week of testing over a second quicker than last year’s qualifying effort.

Pecco Bagnaia testing his Ducati for the 2024 MotoGP season


Qatar test

Day One 

The circuit was very dusty at the beginning of the first day of running, with the desert track offering very little grip early on. It was the Aprilias who were towards the top of the timesheets in the early stages of the day, with Maverick Viñales at the front and the KTMs also firmly in the mix. As the day progressed, it was once again business as usual for the 2023 title contenders as Bagnaia took to the top of the times with a 1:52.040, and Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martín two tenths behind and Espargaro in third. Furth down the field Marc Márquez ended the day 16th fastest on his Gresini Ducati, just behind Tech3 rookie Pedro Acosta.

Day Two 

The track was slightly slower on the second day of running but that didn’t stop Bagnaia from continuing his run at the top of the timesheets, putting in his best effort towards the end of the day and his team-mate Enea Bastianini completing the top two. It was a close contest for third, with Espargaro just ahead of Márquez and Trackhouse Racing’s Raúl Fernandez rounding out the top five. Viñales, Jorge Martin, Fabio Di Gianantonio, Jack Miller and Marco Bezzecchi rounded out the top 10 to conclude two intense days of running ahead of the season-opener in Qatar on March 10.

A KTM MotoGP rider at Losail testing the 2024 bike


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