Repsol Honda Team get first taste of Mandalika as Espargaro sets the pace

Pol Espargaro led the first day of MotoGP testing in Indonesia, utilizing all the available track time across a day of stops and starts as team-mate Marc Marquez enjoyed the first special feeling with the new Honda.

It was a wet introduction to the newest circuit on the MotoGP World Championship calendar, heavy overnight rain and continued morning showers leaving the 4.3kilometer-long tack wet for the opening salvo of laps. Both Repsol Honda Team riders were some of the first out on track, completing a handful of laps before the red flag came out. This was to allow the Mandalika circuit to be cleaned and a revised schedule was announced as the track went green just after midday local time.

Stable conditions allowed for plenty of laps in the afternoon, the entire MotoGP grid working to put rubber down and improve on-track conditions. Pol Espargaro took a measured approach to the opening day in Indonesia, building his speed over a number of laps as the weather and circuit condition evolved. As the closing hours approached, Espargaro’s effort were rewarded as he climbed up the time sheets, first inside the top three. On his penultimate lap with just over half an hour of testing remaining, the #44 set a 1’32.466 to lead the first ever MotoGP session at Mandalika.

Marc Marquez spent much of the early afternoon in and around the top three as riders began to assess the new circuit at full speed with a dry track. Mixed weather in the closing hour of testing saw Marquez and his team wrap up ahead of schedule after completing 64 laps during the course of the day. 17th on the time sheet, Marquez was not worried by his position as he focused on cleaning the track with a high volume of laps and improving his overall feeling with the new Honda RC213V.

Overnight weather is once again looking mixed as the paddock hope the rain stays away so they can pick up on Saturday where they left off today. Just two days of testing now remain before the start of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship.

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