Valentino Rossi tops times at final Sepang test

Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha at the Sepang test in Malaysia
Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha at the Sepang test in Malaysia

MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi maintained his promising pre-season form as the factory Yamaha rider ended the second three-day test at Sepang at the top of the times.

Rossi and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa set the joint fastest lap in 1m 59.999s as the shakedown reached a conclusion in Malaysia.

World champion Marc Marquez was absent after breaking his riht fibula in a dirt bike training crash and the Honda ace has also been ruled out of next week’s tyre test at Phillip Island in Australia and the final test in Qatar, which hosts the opening round of the championship on March 23.

New tyres provided by Bridgestone have been a major talking point at Sepang, with Rossi’s team-mate, Jorge Lorenzo, one of the most vocal critics of the new 2014 rubber.

Lorenzo struggled on each of the three days and was only seventh quickest on Friday, over half a second off the pace.

Andrea Dovizioso was third fastest for Ducati on the factory machine, although the Italian manufacturer later announced it’s switch to the new ‘Open’ class this season.

British pair Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) were eighth and ninth.

Northern Ireland’s Michael Laverty did not participate in the test as the PBM team opted to remain in the UK to focus on machine development.