The MotoGP field has arrived in Kuala Lumpur ahead of the opening test of 2013 at the Sepang track, with big attention on how Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez will perform.
Rossi’s factory Yamaha YZR-M1 made a brief appearance in pit lane earlier sporting the silver livery he used on his rain-hit return to the Japanese factory back in November in Valencia and the Motorland Aragon.
The notable difference on Rossi’s bike that appeared in typically hot and humid conditions at Sepang was the addition of a Monster Energy logo on the middle of the fairing, but it is not sure whether the position of the famous claw will remain when the final livery is unveiled ahead of the first race in Qatar in early April.
Monster Energy is an associate sponsor of Yamaha’s factory squad in 2013, while remaining title sponsor of Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith’s French-based Tech 3 squad.
Rossi will be in action on Tuesday with the likes of rookie Marquez, who is being hotly tipped to make a big impact in his first season on board a Repsol Honda RC213V.
The start of the official three-day test will also give fans the chance to see Ben Spies make his Ducati Desmosedici debut after he missed the end of last season with a serious right shoulder injury picked up after a heavy crash in last October's Malaysian Grand Prix.
British rider Michael Laverty will also have a baptism of fire when he gets his first chance to test himself against the world's best in the Paul Bird Motorsport squad.
Testing did actually get underway at Sepang today (Sunday), with a handful of CRT teams attempting to set-up the new standard Magneti Marelli ECU.
The only rider of the six due on track to carry out meaningful work was Ioda Racing’s Danilo Petrucci and he only managed to complete 27-laps.
Forward Racing duo Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti were frustrated spectators for much of the day as their new FTR-Kawasaki bikes were still being built after the late arrival of some new components.
Hiroshi Aoyama did manage to get out on track for a brief spell to gauge the discomfort from a broken wrist he suffered in a motocross training accident last month.
The last 250GP world champion managed nine laps and hopes to conduct further laps to check the strength in the wrist tomorrow (Monday).