Maverick Vinales strings 1m28s laps to top day two of MotoGP Testing at Phillip Island

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Maverick Vinales went out hard from the start this morning at Phillip Island with a 1m28.847 putting him almost half-a-second clear of any other rider. The newly minted Yamaha man also put in a 1m28.888 in the dying minutes of the session to prove that early 1m28s scorcher was no fluke. He then underlined that fact with another 1m28.863 on his 80th and final lap for the day. 

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Maverick Vinales

“Today we focused a lot on the race pace and honestly we did a great job, we made a big step compared to yesterday. I‘m feeling more comfortable on the track and I‘m getting more grip from the tyres. I think we did a good job today, but we still have some work to do. We need to choose which chassis we like and decide on a few other things. We still have a lot of laps ahead of us. For sure I was trying to go faster at the end of the session today, but in sector three and four there was a lot of wind so I couldn‘t beat the lap time I set this morning, but I‘m happy anyway. I‘ve been fast with both chassis and all the time I‘m riding 1‘29-low and 1‘29-medium. Like I said, we‘ve made a big step today and we‘ll try to make another step tomorrow.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“It was a positive second day of testing for us. We used this session to work mainly on the chassis to make comparisons and try different settings. We also tried a new front fork with both riders and two new tyres for Michelin. Even if we didn‘t do a race simulation, we completed a lot of laps on used tyres. Today Maverick was more comfortable on his bike compared to yesterday and he has been able to post laps under the 1‘29s mark and set the fastest lap of 1‘28.847s. He followed this up with an impressive pace that he kept going throughout the day. Valentino had a good start this morning and set his best lap. He continued this competitive pace in the morning, but in the afternoon he faced some difficulties, trying different settings that didn‘t give the expected results. We have been able to do almost everything on our scheduled testing programme, so tomorrow will be our race simulation day for both riders.”

Marc Marquez obviously focussed on long runs again today, the Spaniard the only man to complete more than 100 laps of the 4.445km circuit today.

Marc Marquez

“It’s been a day of really hard work, and I’m a little bit tired, but it was the plan we had for today with the team and we did it! Together with my Engineers we decided to do many laps to try a few things, and we focused on riding as consistently as possible, trying to avoid any mistakes. I also did two long runs at the end of the day, to try different configurations of the electronics, and that allowed us to gather a lot of information. Anyway, as I said yesterday, we’re still missing something, because I’m not 100% comfortable, but we’re working in a good way. Hopefully these two long runs will allow us to find the areas where we can take a step forward. I also tried a new Michelin front tire and tomorrow we’ll try the rear one, as today we had no time to do it.”

Cal Crutchlow was third quickest ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Andrea Dovizioso.

Cal Crutchlow – 3rd (1’29.325 – lap 28 of 80)

“Today was a more productive day for the LCR Honda Team. Yesterday there were a few teething problems perhaps, but today we seemed to be able to keep a good pace throughout. We are happy with the pace because it is consistent. We tried lots of different things with the bike, some of which were good and some not so much. We need to work on those areas still, but I think that the Honda in general seems to be improving, and that’s good for us. We need to continue to give the factory the right information to improve, but I didn’t even go out to set one ‘fast’ lap time today, but if we had I reckon we could have been very competitive. That’s something we can do another day however, because in the meantime I’m happy enough with our consistency. The tyre consistency was good and the bike is generally working well too, and even if the feeling isn’t perfect just yet, the speed is there, so that’s positive.”

4th Álvaro Bautista 1.29.411 (86 laps)

“Today we worked on improving the feeling from yesterday and we tried various things. We haven’t taken a big step but some small ones to improve my confidence. I have improved my pace quite a bit from yesterday but the truth is the track conditions were better and we have all improved. In the end we were a little more competitive than yesterday but I still don’t feel 100% like the last tests. We have gathered more data and for example tried some new tyres, which we found positive things with. In general it has been quite a complete day. Let’s see if we can continue to improve tomorrow and take some more steps in the right direction, which even though we can’t take giant steps will be important. We will work hard to make sure we leave here feeling as satisfied as possible.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 55 laps – 1’29.483 (5th)

“Today was quite a positive day and I felt better on the bike than yesterday. We did several set-up tests, as scheduled, and we obtained some interesting results. There are some areas where we still need to work and we have to make the Desmosedici GP turn better, but today my times were quicker and we were all closer together. There wasn’t so much wind, the bike was a lot more stable and the set-up tests we did helped me to improve the feeling.”

Aleix Espargaro, astride his 2017 version Aprilia RS-GP, took the new fairings (the result of aerodynamic studies) on their début ride for a few laps, gathering the first important information that must be further analysed. During the morning, the Spanish Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider put his best time on the sheets at 1’29.501, which earned him sixth place, just six tenths behind the leader and only two tenths behind world champion Marquez. Consistently fast, in the afternoon Aleix continued to explore the chassis and electronics setup options, ending his session with a simulation, doing 15 consecutive laps.

Aleix Espargaro – P6

“We are improving. Yesterday we had already started in the right direction. Today we did a lot of chassis tests. I am more than satisfied with both my flying lap and with our pace during the race simulation, which is very important. The bike has not changed much compared with Malaysia, but my feeling on it increases constantly, especially with the front tyre and that is very important for my riding style. Now we need to keep improving our package.”

Romano Albesiano – Aprilia Racing Team Manager

“We are conducting some good tests, both from a technical standpoint and in terms of the riders’ feelings. Aleix is continuing to work on the 2017 bike that he had already given us favourable feedback on in the Malaysia tests. He was very fast on his flying lap and in terms of pace. Sam simply needs to continue lapping without too much pressure. He is beginning to adapt his riding style to this bike and I am confident that he will be at a satisfactory level before Qatar. We took the 2017 front fairings on their maiden ride with Aleix. We will definitely be testing them again for further confirmation on the track of the encouraging results obtained in the computer simulations.”

Birthday boy Valentino Rossi, who turned 38 today, ended the day eighth quickest, just behind MotoGP debutante Jonas Folger who seems to be enjoying the Tech3 Yamaha.

Jonas Folger – Position: 7th Time : 1’29.664 Laps: 65

“The Tech3 guys and I achieved a good amount today and overall I am very happy. We tried a lot of settings as well as tyres, but we mainly focused on different riding positions on both bikes. After completing some distance on the altered version, we figured out that the original one that we had been using was better so we reverted back to it. We made a big step forward today especially with regards to me feeling more confident at this track, which is vital because of all the fast corners. My rhythm was also quite positive so overall I am really happy and it was a very successful day. I am looking forward to getting back on the Yamaha tomorrow and I’m sure that we can continue from where we stopped, and do a great job.”

Valentino Rossi – P8

“It was a difficult day for us, especially in the afternoon. This morning was not so bad. We tried some different tyres but we especially focused on the pace and it was quite good. This afternoon we had some important tests to do, try a long run and modify something on the bike, but unfortunately it didn‘t work well and I wasn‘t fast enough. It looks like we followed the wrong direction, so after the interviews we‘ll go back to the box to try to understand better for tomorrow and we hope that we can improve. Being in Phillip Island with the good weather and riding the M1 all day is always difficult, because it‘s hard work, but it‘s also a great pleasure, so I think this is a good birthday gift.”

Alex Rins- P9

“Today we tried different things; some new specs of the chassis and also the new fairings. I feel comfortable. We took a big step since yesterday. Step-by-step, lap-by-lap, I can take better lines and so I can be more consistent. We could improve a lot in the third sector. We are more consistent than yesterday, we gained a lot of corner speed and I’m happy we are working in the right direction.”

Johann Zarco – Position: 11th Time: 1’29.880 Laps: 88

“The second day in Australia was good and I will leave the track smiling. The conditions were even better today as there was less wind so it was more comfortable and enjoyable to ride the bike. I completed a lot of distance in order to continue getting used to this track on a MotoGP bike and I’m progressing but there are a few corners that I need to understand more and gain confidence with. Anyway, the day started well and we tested some tyres for Michelin, which was positive, as I was able to lap consistently and at a solid pace, plus it was good to give them feedback. In the end, I produced a time that was under the 1’30 mark, which I am pleased about so I will sleep well tonight and then try my best to improve again tomorrow.”

Andrea Iannone – P12

“Today’s been hard because we could not find a way to improve the lap time. We are at a point where we still have work to do. Although, looking at the pace, I’m not that bad and it’s better than yesterday. I still don’t have 100% control of the machine; it’s only the second test, little-by-little. I need to understand how to attack the track to achieve a better lap time and how to best read the GSX-RR, but I believe this will come with time, after riding longer and longer. At the moment, we are focused on many aspects. We have many positives and we are working hard on our negatives.”

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“I’m happy to see that Alex made some very positive improvements. He could go into the 1’29 bracket which is a good sign. His crew worked hard the whole day taking advantage of yesterday’s outcome, and the direction taken seems to be effective. Of course, there is still a significant amount of work to do, but it is encouraging to see that he is feeling positive on the GSX-RR. Today with Andrea, we struggled a little more. We haven’t found a proper set-up that can suit his needs. We still have to explore some areas and come up with different ideas and make him feel more at ease in many areas of the circuit, trying to adapt to his riding style. We still have tonight and tomorrow to work. We will do our best to support his riding style. We also tried this new fairing. It was the very first time on track. We only did two runs as the purpose was only to get a first taste and collect preliminary data in order to check if it is truly effective. If this is the case, we will have quite a bit of time before Qatar to develop it further. It’s definitely too early to say if it’s race worthy or not. It will require some more in-depth testing and analysis.”

Jack Miller rounded out the top ten, just ahead of Johann Zarco and Andrea Iannone. 

Miller and his crew initially tested different geometry options on his Honda RC213V to improve front tyre endurance.While the changes extended the life of the front tyre to a small degree they left Miller without the same feeling from the front that he’d had previously, so the Australian will switch back to the same set up he ran yesterday for the third and final day.

In the afternoon Miller moved on to tyre testing for Michelin. The French manufacturer brought with them to Phillip Island three revised rear tyres designed to offer better traction and stability and two new front tyres designed to warm up faster and provide more feedback to the rider.

Miller worked his way through all the rear tyre options this afternoon with positive results. The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider will evaluate the two new front tyres tomorrow before the traditional end of test time attack in the afternoon.

Jack Miller: 10th – 1’29.838 – 72 Laps

“We’re all getting some graining on the left side of the tyre here, mainly because of the track temperature, so this morning we tested both bikes with revised geometry to try and alleviate this. There was some improvement but we also lost a little bit of cornering, especially in the tighter corners like turns two and four, so we’ll switch back to the previous set up for tomorrow. Having said that I did a 1’29.8 on a bike I felt less comfortable on and with a full tank of fuel, so I’m reasonably happy with that. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to throwing in some soft tyres and pushing for a lap time on a bike that I felt really comfortable on yesterday.”

Ramon Aurin: Chief Engineer Jack Miller

“Here we had the front tyre from the race; normally the track temperature at the race is quite low, but now it’s much higher so we’re a little bit on the limit with the front. We made some geometry changes to try and save a little bit the tyre over race distance; it’s quite difficult because 27 laps with track temperature around 40 degrees and soft rubber means the wear is high. But we have some experience now, something in the pocket in case we have a similar situation here in the future. We also tested the new rear tyres from Michelin and Jack was happy with some of the options they brought here. This is important for us because it gives an indication of the direction that Michelin will take for the 2017 season. The rigidity of the tyre has a big effect on how the bike works and we need to know how to modify the set up to get the best possible performance from the tyre.”

13th Karel Abraham 1.30.142 (73 laps)

“In general it has been a good day. This morning we did some tests with the electronics and the tyres. The first experiment was good and even though I set my best time on the second one I was losing the front from the third lap. Then we did almost a full race simulation of twenty laps and it wasn’t bad, we set some quite decent times. In the afternoon we continued testing things and tried to keep the same tyres but the rear was sliding quite a lot. At the end of the day I managed to set a bunch of low 1’30s and that was my best run of the day. I am happy because the objective today was to make a 1’30.5”.

Jorge Lorenzo continues to find little joy so far on the Ducati with his 1m30.197 only good enough for 15th on the timesheets.

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 64 laps – 1’30.197 (15th)

“Today we worked well, trying to lap with more consistency and we made some small steps forward, doing a lot of 1m30s laps. Tomorrow we’ll see if we can manage to improve our pace and constantly get under the 1m30s mark. We tried several different set-up solutions and in any case I’m optimistic even though we are still some way behind the leaders. This evening, together with my technicians, I’ll analyze the data and tomorrow we’ll try and get closer to the top of the timesheets.”

Dani Pedrosa also struggling a little today with the Repsol Honda stalwart 16th on the charts, the diminutive Spaniard feeling a little bit under the weather today.

Dani Pedrosa

“Unfortunately, near the end of yesterday’s session I started feeling a bit strange and things got worse overnight. This morning I couldn’t have breakfast as I wasn’t feeling good in my stomach and I had a bit of a fever and no strength. I could eat absolutely nothing until around 2 o’clock, so I just waited. I tried to do some laps in the afternoon, starting slowly, and although I improved a little lap by lap, I didn’t push hard. Anyway, now I’m feeling better and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be in better shape for the final day of the test.”

The second day of testing at the Phillip Island circuit has been difficult for Hector Barbera and Loris Baz. Both riders have improved their lap times from yesterday, but not enough to get closer to the front. The problem for both riders is the same, the lack of confidence with the front end, and this is a big problem in an ultra-fast circuit like Phillip Island.

The team and Ducati are already thinking of different solutions to help Barbera and Baz improve their feeling with the bike, and tomorrow they plan to try different settings. Tomorrow will be the last of three days of testing in Australia, and both riders are expected to try the new tires Michelin has brought to these test. The news from Michelin ara three revised rear tyres designed to offer better traction and stability and two new front tyres designed to warm up faster.

Hector Barbera | 1’30.352 | P17

“We still at the same point as yesterday, we are not able to find a set-up that makes me feel more comfortable riding the bike and we have to keep working until we get it. The biggest problem is the front end and at this track If you don’t have confidence in the front tyre you can’t go fast. Phillip Island features many fast corners, which are usually my strong point, but every time I push, I feel I’m going to crash. Tomorrow we have another day and the goal will be finding a solution to our problem.”

Loris Baz | 1’30.852 | P20

“Today was a difficult day. In the morning we have problems with an engine and in the afternoon we have tried a lot of things but we lack a lot of confidence. Basically the problem is the same one as Hector and is the lack of confidence with the front. We have to continue working on the set-up of the bike to find a solution, because we are quite far from where we should be. With all these problems we could not test any tyres for Michelin, we’ll try to do it tomorrow.”

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing improved by six tenths on Day 2 with Pol Espargaro, as the Spaniard went down from a best of 1:31.200 to a 1:30.645 and put another 59 laps on the clock. Teammate Bradley Smith also improved his time by nine tenths, and put in 81 laps. The Austrian manufacturer have brought quick updates to the table since their debut as a wildcard entry with Mika Kallio at the Valencian GP, and continue their progress as Qatar approaches

Sam Lowes was satisfied with his progress, making his début in the premier class, increasing his feeling with the Aprilia prototype lap after lap, especially in terms of trajectories, braking points and riding style.

Sam Lowes – P21

“Today we worked well. I am happy. I continue discovering how these bikes need to be ridden and I m beginning to figure out what I need to get my times down. Riding the RS-GP here at Phillip Island is something special. I like the track and I am sure that tomorrow we will be able to take another step toward a good starting base for the 2017 season.”

Action continues at Phillip Island on Friday, as the various testing schedules complete as lights out in Qatar begins to loom large on the horizon.

Day Two Times

  1. Maverick Vinales 1m28.847
  2. Marc Marquez 1m29.309
  3. Cal Crutchlow 1m29.325
  4. Alvaro Bautista 1m29.411
  5. Andrea Dovizioso 1m29.483
  6. Aleix Espargaro 1m29.501
  7. Jonas Folger 1m29.664
  8. Valentino Rossi 1m29.674
  9. Alex Rins 1m29.802
  10. Jack Miller 1m29.838
  11. Johann Zarco 1m29.880
  12. Andrea Iannone 1m29.947
  13. Karel Abraham 1m30.142
  14. Danilo Petrucci 1m30.150
  15. Jorge Lorenzo 1m30.197
  16. Dani Pedrosa 1m30.245
  17. Hector Barbera 1m30.352
  18. Scott Redding 1m30.435
  19. Pol Espargaro 1m30.645
  20. Loris Baz 1m30.852
  21. Sam Lowes 1m30.895
  22. Bradley Smith 1m31.704
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Day One Times

  1. Marc Marquez 1m29.497 Honda
  2. Valentino Rossi 1m29.683 Yamaha
  3. Andrea Iannone 1m29.926 Suzuki
  4. Maverick Vinales 1m29.989 Yamaha
  5. Cal Crutchlow 1m30.065 Honda
  6. Danilo Petrucci 1m30.262 Ducati
  7. Dani Pedrosa 1m30.281 Honda
  8. Andrea Dovizioso 1m30.410 Ducati
  9. Jack Miller 1m30.426 Honda
  10. Jonas Folger 1m30.578 Yamaha
  11. Jorge Lorenzo 1m30.631 Ducati
  12. Alvaro Bautista 1m30.770 Ducati
  13. Hector Barbera 1m30.771 Ducati
  14. Aleix Espargaro 1m30.802 Aprilia
  15. Johann Zarco 1m30.867 Yamaha
  16. Karel Abraham 1m31.179 Ducati
  17. Pol Espargaro 1m31.200 KTM
  18. Loris Baz 1m31.249 Ducati
  19. Alex Rins 1m31.432 Suzuki
  20. Scott Redding 1m31.755 Ducati
  21. Sam Lowes 1m32.307 Aprilia
  22. Bradley Smith 1m32.690 KTM