Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith get a taste of what lies ahead as they take on the best in the world in the first MotoGP™ test of the season at Sepang in Malaysia on Tuesday. The long awaited three day test throws together the MotoGP stars for the first time this season just two months before the 18 round season gets underway in Qatar on April 7.
It will be a contrasting experience for the two British Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders around the 3.447 miles circuit. Isle of Man based Midlander, Crutchlow, embarks on his third MotoGP season after a brilliant 2012. He finished seventh in the World Championship and secured two podium finishes. This season Crutchlow looks towards more podium finishes and ultimately the first British premier class grand prix win since Barry Sheene in 1981.
Twenty two year old Smith is a MotoGP rookie after winning three 125 cc grands prix and a successful Moto 2™ career. This will be his first MotoGP test in the dry, although it can rain in Sepang and the first time the Oxfordshire rider has come up against the likes of World Champions Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
It’s also a baptism of fire for Ulsterman Michael Laverty. He rides a MotoGP bike for the first time when he tests the Paul Bird Motorsport ART machine on Tuesday. The PBM bike with new electronics will be available for both Laverty and Yonny Hernandez to ride at the second Sepang test at the end of the month.
Massive interest will be focused on a nine times World Champion and a MotoGP rookie at the test. Italian Valentino Rossi returns to Yamaha to partner World Champion Jorge Lorenzo after two disastrous years at Ducati. Nineteen year old Spaniard Marc Marquez has already clinched both 125 and Moto2 World titles and arrives in MotoGP replacing Casey Stoner at Repsol Honda where he partners Dani Pedrosa.
Andrea Dovizioso replaces Rossi at Ducati where he joins former World Champion Nick Hayden. Former World Superbike Champion Ben Spies and Italian Moto2 star Andrea Iannone team-up at Pramac Ducati
The second MotoGP test will be at Sepang between 26th and 28th of February. The Moto2 and Moto3 classes start testing at Valencia in Spain on February 12.
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Nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi back at Yamaha
Double World Champion teenager Marc Marquez (right) joins Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda.
Cal Crutchlow ready to become first British premier class grand prix winner since Barry Sheene in 1981