MotoGP bikes have hit the track for the first official time in 2024, but what did we learn?
The Sepang Shakedown test is over with only test riders (except for Yamaha to Honda) and rookies allowed to ride. This means the rest of the grid will have to wait until the official Sepang test next week.
There was plenty of new tech on display from all manufacturers, especially Honda and Yamaha who will be able to develop more this season due to concessions. For a further in-depth look at concessions:
KTM/GASGAS were consistently topping the time sheets across the three days, with times coming down each day. Pedro Acosta, the 2023 Moto2 World Champion was quickest across the three days setting a 1’58.189.
Acosta had a small crash on the final day of testing, beginning to push the new MotoGP machine. Acosta tested a new front mudguard and tried both the steel and carbon fibre chassis.
Dani Pedrosa and Pol Espargaro were also on the circuit, on track as KTM’s two test riders for the Shakedown. Pedrosa was quickest on day one with Espargaro claiming the top spot on day two.
KTM’s new front mudguard is something which has not been seen before with two wings sticking out the side. There was also some new front aero on the front fairing which looked like a mix between Ducati and Aprilia’s aero.
Aprilia had just Lorenzo Savadori out on the circuit, testing new parts for the 2024 Aprilia RS-GP. The biggest upgrade seemed to be at the rear of the bike with a new smaller rear wing at the back of the machine. Aprilia was also seen using a wheel cover, with the hope to find a gain in aero.
On the final day, Savadori spent the day running and testing some 2023 RS-GPs that will be used this year by Trackhouse Racing. Take a closer look at the Trackhouse Racing team and bike:
Honda has had a big shake-up in the past year, losing Marquez and the addition to Luca Marini. Stefan Bradl, HRC test rider has already rode the bike at the Jerez WorldSBK test in January. Honda were allowed to bring their full-time riders to the Shakedown to ride on day two and three.
At the Sepang Shakedown, Honda brought a new tail unit which featured a big rear wing and some upgraded stegosaurus-type rear wings on the side of the tail unit. Takaaki Nakagami was also spotted using a new swingarm which was tested on the final day.
Fabio Quartararo, Alex Rins, and Cal Crutchlow were on track to test the new 2024 Monster Energy Yamaha. Both full-time riders had two 2023 M1s and one 2024 bike to try throughout the Shakedown. Quartararo finished fourth at the end of day three, two-tenths from the top spot – setting 31 laps.
Crutchlow also tried a new front aero which looked very similar to Aprilia’s past designs. On the 2024 bike, a wider tail unit was spotted which could be used as a place for a mass damper.
Michele Pirro had two machines to test throughout the three days at Sepang. The Italian was the only Ducati rider on track with Ducati facing the biggest restrictions on testing due to new concession rules.
The biggest noticeable upgrade since the Valencia test/team launch was on the side of the bike. This upgrade is Ducati’s attempt at creating a ground effect while the bike is at full lean by creating a wider part to the side fairing.
Now everyone’s attention will switch to the full MotoGP test in Sepang which will take place February 6-8. All riders should be in attendance as we move one step closer to the 2024 season.