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Motorsport | MotoGP

Dani Pedrosa © Gallo Images

Rivals still chasing Honda in second test



Spain's Dani Pedrosa maintained his dominance of pre-season MotoGP testing on Tuesday as rivals said their machines lagged behind his Honda at Malaysia's Sepang circuit.

The first day of tests saw Pedrosa clock 2 minutes 01.580 seconds, meaning the three-time MotoGP runner-up has led the pack in pre-season testing after topping the timesheet across the opening session three weeks ago.

Both his rivals on Yamahas, current champion Jorge Lorenzo and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, said their team needed to work on acceleration after seeing Pedrosa's Honda pull away.

"I stayed behind him (Pedrosa) for two or three corners and in acceleration, the Honda is very fast," said Rossi, who was 0.448 seconds off the pace in fifth.

Lorenzo finished second, sandwiched between his two countrymen on the Hondas, 0.235 seconds behind Pedrosa but 0.127 seconds ahead of rookie Marc Marquez.

The Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden stood at eighth and ninth respectively, over a second off the pace.

Both riders noted problems with turning, and Dovizioso said after trailing Pedrosa for two laps that this was his "main problem".

"When you go in, it doesn't continue, it wants to go straight," the Italian said.

American Hayden added that he faced harshness over bumps but expressed hope that by the first race in Qatar on April 7, "we are not a second, two seconds off."

However, Pedrosa was guarded despite setting the pace on all the four days of pre-season testing so far, saying "we still have some way to go".

"We have some things more or less clear for the season, but we're still deciding yes or no for the hardware. When it's all set, then I can feel more where I am," said the 27-year-old, who is gunning for his first MotoGP title.

A hot and sunny Sepang circuit gave way to rain in the afternoon but most of the riders opted against wet laps.

Honda's Marquez, who turned 20 two weeks ago, said he would do wet tests if rain persists over the next two days, adding they would be his first wet laps since stepping up to the premier-class after winning Moto2 last year.

This second test session at Sepang continues until Thursday.

A third session will be held in Jerez from March 23 to 25 before the opening round of the MotoGP world championship in Qatar under floodlights on April 7.

Malaysia will host round 15 on October 13.

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