MotoGP

KTM, Aprilia race riders join Sepang Shakedown test

KTM and Aprilia MotoGP race riders to make 'early' 2019 debut at the Sepang Shakedown test.

This year's Sepang MotoGP Shakedown test is being held slightly later than usual, from February 1-3.

That means it falls outside of the winter test ban, from December 1 to January 31.

As a result, MotoGP race riders from manufacturers with technical concessions - KTM and Aprilia - are eligible to take part in this week's Shakedown as well as the Official test (for all race and test riders) from February 6-8.

Concessions, for manufacturers without multiple podium finishes in MotoGP, include extra private testing with race riders. 

"We have six days of testing at Sepang, so I hope I can stay at 100% energy," said home star Hafizh Syahrin, whose rookie Tech3 KTM team-mate Miguel Oliveira will also be on track.

"Six days may be a bit long, but it's good for us to understand more the bike and try everything, the parts, and be… 'ready to race' "

But while Syahrin sounds willing to try and ride on all six days available at Sepang, the physical demands of the sweltering heat means most KTM and Aprilia race riders are planning only a partial Shakedown appearance to save themselves for the main test.

The factory KTM team, for example, looks set to start the Shakedown with test rider Mika Kallio checking the bikes on day one, before Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco join the action on days two and three, trying the many new parts available for the RC16.

Aprilia told Crash.net that its new test rider Bradley Smith will ride on days one and two of the Shakedown, with Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro then getting some laps on day three.

Meanwhile, the Tech3 riders will have two KTM bikes each, for the first time, at Sepang.

Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki are not eligible for technical concessions and therefore can only use their test riders at the Shakedown.

As usual, some Suzuka 8 Hour teams will also be on track for the Shakedown, which - unlike the main test - does not have any official timing.

KTM's new second test rider, Dani Pedrosa, is currently sidelined by a collarbone injury.

The Austrian factory has scored one MotoGP 'concession point', courtesy of Espargaro's third place at Valencia last year, but needs to reach six points before it loses the technical perks (3 points for 1st, 2 for 2nd, 1 for 3rd).

Aprilia is yet to score a concession point.

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