MotoGP

Vinales sets late fast lap to top second day of MotoGP Sepang test

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Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales beat Alex Rins late on to top the second day of MotoGP’s 2019 pre-season testing at Sepang.

Vinales overhauled Rins, who had dethroned long-time leader Andrea Dovizioso just a few minutes earlier, moments before the chequered flag fell.

But while Vinales had left it late to snatch the top spot, having trailed Rins through the first two sectors, his margin over the Suzuki man in the end was 0.527s.

Dovizioso had initially taken the top spot in the third hour by eclipsing Marc Marquez’s Wednesday benchmark with a 1m59.562s lap time that had looked set to secure him the day’s honours.

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, making his comeback on a MotoGP bike after a major ankle injury cut his 2018 campaign short, had come within 0.004s of Dovizioso’s lap a few minutes later. Crutchlow also had a crash at Turn 5 during his running.

It took another five hours before Dovizioso was finally deposed.

Rins, who sat ninth heading into the final minutes, first improved to sixth place and then recorded a 1m59.424s to snatch the top spot.

Vinales went quicker still, recording the first sub-1m59s lap of the test.

Pramac Ducati rider Jack Miller was another to improve in the final seconds of the session, snatching third place from Dovizioso, as Crutchlow settled for fifth.

Valentino Rossi sat just a few hundredths behind Vinales for most of the test but wound up sixth, seven tenths down, after his Yamaha team-mate’s late charge.

Tito Rabat overhauled Marquez late on for what would ultimately end up being seventh place, with the still-injured Marquez once again ending his programme for the day several hours early.

Dovizioso’s works Ducati team-mate Danilo Petrucci was the last rider within a second of Vinales in ninth place, while LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami beat KTM’s Johann Zarco to 10th.

Pramac rookie Francesco Bagnaia crashed during the day, but went on to finish as the best of the Moto2 graduates in 12th.

Aleix Espargaro led Aprilia’s efforts in 13th while rookie Fabio Quartararo, recently upgraded to a current-spec Yamaha, edged team-mate Franco Morbidelli in 14th.

Stefan Bradl, substituting for Jorge Lorenzo at Honda, took 16th.

He headed KTM’s Pol Espargaro – who was thrown off his RC16 at Turn 1 for his second crash in two days – and Aprilia’s Andrea Iannone.

Rins’ Suzuki team-mate Joan Mir had another quiet day as the Moto2 graduate finished 21st and almost two seconds off the pace.

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