It was all Honda on the first day of testing for the Sepang track in Malaysia, as five of their bikes topped the field. Many feel that Hondas have an advantage on this track because of the two long straightaways. The track is a bit bumpy this year, but the Honda bikes have the best grip of all entrants, which helps them in those long sections.
Dani Pedrosa was the leader of Honda bikes, with a time of 2:01.250, nearly a full second ahead of Casey Stoner. Stoner has already claimed the 2011 MotoGP championship, but is still in Malaysia to compete. Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the Repsol Honda top three.
“Today we went pretty quick, even though the track wasn’t very clean,” Pedrosa told Reuters. “We’ve taken some good steps but we have to perform in the same style tomorrow and Sunday.”
Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama, who both ride for non-factory Honda teams, took fourth and fifth in the early testing, respectively. Aoyama is leaving for World Superbike after this race.
Colin Edwards, in his last test for Yamaha, was the fastest of the non-Honda bikes. He’ll be replaced at Yamaha by Dovizioso in 2012.