Sepang (Malaysia) (AFP) - French whizz kid Fabio Quartararo came out fastest at the Saturday pre-season MotoGP Malaysia test, charting the second time this weekend at leading the pack on the Sepang track.
Cutting his Friday timing by nearly half-a-second, the former rookie blitzed past the competition's other 25 riders to clock his best at 1min 58.572sec.
"(I'm) so happy to already feel good on the bike. We still need to improve a lot of things because it's difficult to make a new bike really good in one day," the 20-year-old told reporters.
"I'm really happy about the work of the team because we make so many change in a few laps."
Quartararo's faster performance came with his use of the new 2020 YZR-M1 model, unveiled earlier this week at a launch by the Petronas Yamaha SRT team ahead of the season.
Today's test saw eight riders breaching the 1:59-minute mark on the 5.5km track on a warm Saturday, up from Friday's two.
Coming in at a close second at a 1min 58.641sec —just 0.069sec behind Quartararo — on his Ducati was Australian Jack Miller, also outstripping his Friday performance, by more than half-a-second.
"I’m really happy with the work the boys have done over the winter and also with the work we've done today, two days of testing," he told reporters.
"(I’m) really looking forward to the final chunk of test items we’re going through tomorrow."
Miller was followed by Spaniard Dani Pedrosa who came in third on his KTM at 1min 58.662sec, with fellow countryman Joan Mir logging 1min 58.731sec in fourth place.
Italian rider Franco Morbidelli arrived fifth fastest today at 1min 58.831sec, as Spaniard Maverick Vinales clocked his best time at 1min 58.893sec to come in sixth.
The official first pre-season test at the Sepang circuit ends on Sunday. The season will start in Qatar on March 8.
Pre-season MotoGP test times on Saturday at the Sepang circuit (5.543 km):
1. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) at 1min 58.572sec, 2. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati) at 0.069sec, 3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA/KTM) at 0.09sec, 4. Joan Mir (SPA/Suzuki) at 0.159sec, 5. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Yamaha) at 0.259sec, 6. Maverick Vinales (SPA/Yamaha) at 0.321sec, 7. Alex Rins (SPA/Suzuki) at 0.406sec, 8. Pol Espargaro (SPA/KTM) at 0.417sec, 9. Marc Marquez (SPA/Honda) at 0.525sec, 10. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) at 0.544sec.