MotoGP teams fire first shots of 2014 season

MEAN AND LEAN. Ducati will field Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow this year. Picture: Supplied.

MEAN AND LEAN. Ducati will field Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow this year. Picture: Supplied.

The first official MotoGP test of 2014 is in full swing at the Sepang International Circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

For the first time this year, Factory and Open machines will share the track as riders and personnel come to grips with new teams.

World champion Marc Marquez will continue development with Repsol Honda Team as he retains the number 93 plate, having elected not to take on the title holder’s privilege of running number 1.

Dani Pedrosa will continue to adapt to no longer working directly with long-term mentor Alberto Puig.

There are also staff changes for Valentino Rossi as he and Jorge Lorenzo resume work with new crew chief Silvano Galbusera, who replaces Jeremy Burgess at Yamaha.

For Ducati, 2014 is the start of a new era.

Andrea Dovizioso reunites with former Monster Yamaha Tech3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow.

Boosting the line-up for this test, Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro will also be in action at Sepang.

The satellite riders take on new challenges as well. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl returns to Sepang for the first time since breaking his ankle during last year’s race meeting, while Tech3’s reigning Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro will race alongside Bradley Smith.

The satellites are completed by Alvaro Bautista with Go&Fun Honda Gresini and the Pramac Racing Ducati of Andrea Iannone.

For the first time, all bikes in the premier class are now running the Dorna-supplied electronic control unit (ECU) as part of the continued initiative to lower running costs in MotoGP.

Other exciting additions to the grid include four brand-new Honda RCV1000R customer bikes, to be ridden by Gresini’s Redding, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and the Drive M7 Aspar Team pairing of Hiroshi Aoyama and 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden.

NGM Mobile Forward racing is running an FTR-Yamaha package including a lease engine deal. With this, the outfit will have five Yamaha engines per rider (three new units and two rebuilds). In the team, Colin Edwards is joined by Aleix Espargaro.

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