Dani Pedrosa concluded MotoGP’s Thailand pre-season test with the fastest time, edging out Johann Zarco in the dying stages of Sunday’s running (February 18, 2018).
Tech 3 Yamaha rider Zarco became only the second rider of the test to breach the 1m30s barrier when he set a time of 1m29.944s late in the morning. He then improved to a 1m29.867s with three-and-a-half hours to go – narrowly beating Marc Marquez’s Saturday benchmark.
It looked as if that would be enough for Zarco to conclude the three-day Buriram test on top, but works Honda rider Pedrosa made a late jump to third with 20 minutes remaining, and continued to improve in the final 10 minutes.
He went second with a 1m29.961s before ousting Zarco with a 1m29.781s, 0.086s up on the Frenchman.
Friday pacesetter Cal Crutchlow was third on the LCR Honda another two tenths back, 0.079s ahead of Marquez, who didn’t improve on his best time from Saturday and suffered a late crash.
Alex Rins completed the top five for Suzuki ahead of top Ducati rider Jack Miller on the Pramac-run GP17.
Andrea Dovizioso was the quickest of the Ducati factory riders in seventh, four tenths off the pace but well clear of his struggling team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. After managing only the 10th-quickest time on Saturday, the three-time MotoGP champion slumped to a dismal 22nd, 1.846s off the pace of Pedrosa. He even reverted back to the GP17 in the final few hours of the test, albeit failing to improve his time from that set on the current GP18.
Completing the top 10 were LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami, Avintia Ducati’s Tito Rabat and Valentino Rossi on the best of the works Yamahas, 0.730s off the pace. Rossi’s team-mate Maverick Vinales was two places further back in 12th, slipping back down the order after finishing fourth on Saturday.
Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith once again set the pace for their respective teams, the Aprilia man ending up 14th and the KTM rider 16th.
Hafiz Syahrin improved to 21st place on his third day for the Tech 3 squad, beating Lorenzo and the 2016-spec Ducatis of Xavier Simeon and Karel Abraham.