KTM race riders Zarco, Espargaro replace Pedrosa for Sepang test

KTM race riders Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro will take part in the MotoGP pre-season shakedown in Sepang, as new tester Dani Pedrosa misses out due to his recent surgery.

Pedrosa wrapped up his grand prix racing career last year after 13 MotoGP seasons with Honda.

He then signed for KTM as a test rider and has already sampled its RC16 bike.

But surgery in January to fix a fracture in his right collarbone has scuppered plans to have him participate in the three-day shakedown at Sepang.

The Sepang running precedes the official start of pre-season testing at the same venue the following week.

Race rider testing restrictions means most manufacturers will field their test teams in the Friday-to-Sunday shakedown.

But results-based concessions will allow KTM to field Zarco and Espargaro, in addition to tester Mika Kallio.

KTM’s new satellite team Tech3 will also be present with Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin.

Aprilia, which also retains concessions, will field Aleix Espargaro from Friday onwards alongside tester Bradley Smith.

New signing Andrea Iannone could join the programme on Sunday.

Honda, Ducati and Suzuki will be represented by regular test riders in Stefan Bradl, Michele Pirro and Sylvain Guintoli respectively.

Bradl is confirmed to ride in the opening pre-season test as well, as Honda newcomer Jorge Lorenzo is not fit to participate.

Yamaha is understood to be fielding three riders.

Former Tech3 MotoGP man Jonas Folger will be one of the riders trialling the M1 in the shakedown, and is likely to be joined by Japanese pair Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Kohta Nozane.

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