Rookie phenomenon Fabio Quartararo went faster than his Czech GP FP2 time to top the timesheets at the one-day Brno Test. The Frenchman’s 1:55.616 was 0.012 ahead of second-fastest Maverick Viñales as he and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP teammate Valentino Rossi got their hands on an early 2020 YZR-M1 prototype, with Franco Morbidelli making it an Iwata factory 1-2-3 on Monday.
One of the key talking points leading up to the Brno Test was Yamaha rolling out a first version of next year’s bike. Rossi was out on a blacked-out YZR-M1 early in the day as he and teammate Viñales got their first taste of what the 2020 bike will be like, and the duo had a new seat unit to test for their 2019 bikes.
Viñales, as usual, showed his hard-working nature, riding until the very end of the session and completing 74 laps in total. His best time of 1‘55.628s was set in the final stages, on lap 68, earning him second place, just 0.012s from first. He worked mainly on improving the 2019 bike‘s performance for the next races and is looking forward to stepping up to the challenge in the Austrian Grand Prix.
Maverick Vinales – P2
“Today I was working on improving the feeling on the bike that I had during the race. Luckily, this morning the grip of the track was very low, so this actually helped us to work pretty hard and we found a way to be better. But the tests are always great for us, so this is nothing new. We will keep trying to stay calm and stay focused in Austria. I tried the prototype for a few laps, but I preferred to concentrate on improving my 2019 bike for Austria. The laps on the 2020 bike were good though, they were good lap times, so we will see at the next test.”
Rossi also had a very productive day of testing in Brno. He spent time trying the 2020 prototype “black bike”, as well as the standard 2019 YZR-M1. The Doctor completed 63 laps in total and really put his head down on the last stint. His final lap saw him move up to sixth place with a 1‘56.015s and a 0.399s gap to first. His time was 0.512s quicker than the Italian‘s best time set during the Czech GP weekend, giving him a confidence boost that he is working in the right direction.
Valentino Rossi – P6
“It was a good day and a good test, because we worked quite a lot and we found something good. We also tried the prototype of the new bike, but sincerely we don‘t have a lot of changes, it‘s a different engine and a slightly different setting of the chassis. But these are just the first touches, and what we have is already good. After that we worked more with the standard 2019 bike. Some things on the 2020 prototype are good, some things need to be tested again in Misano. This is to be expected because it‘s just a trial run, and we might have something else at the next tests, later on this season.”
In the Petronas Yamaha SRT box, pacesetter Quartararo tested carbon forks on his M1, the same as the factory team use and was able to make the most of the day’s eight hours of track activity, and was delighted by his progress and able to be not only fast but consistent, setting himself up for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Fabio Quartararo – P1
“Today was really productive for us and we tried many things including some elements for the coming weekend in Austria. As always in testing there was some positives and some negatives, but in the end it was useful to test again. We tried the new carbon forks and the bike felt a little bit lighter with them, we tried some new tyres from Michelin and we were able to use some electronics settings that the team has wanted to test. We need to think about what we’ve tested and have some discussions about the direction that we’ll take with the new parts.”
Meanwhile, Morbidelli improved his time last in the session to set the third quickest time of the day and got a solid 78 laps under his belt – the same as Quartararo. The Italian tried a thumb brake which he has already used on some occasions, but his main focus was on settings.
Franco Morbidelli – P3
“We tried some changes with the electronics and other settings, and I think we’ve improved the package, although of course we’re going to have to wait and see how the bike reacts to them next weekend in Austria before we can be certain. I worked with a thumb brake for the first time and the initial feeling was good, but it’s going to take some time to get used to it. All in all, I’m happy and it’s always nice to finish a test in the top three.”
Czech GP winner and Championship leader Marc Marquez had three bikes at his disposal for the Brno Test. One was the one he raced with which has no carbon fibre reinforcements, the second had a small carbon fibre insert near the steering head and the third had a smaller carbon fibre insert.
The seven-time Champion also tried a new Honda aero package on one of the RC213Vs, but he did most of his work on his standard bike and as he completed 70 laps, finishing eighth on the timesheets…likely not pushing too hard on test duty.
Marc Marquez – P8
“In the end we did more laps than we had planned. But we had many things to do as HRC brought many things and Michelin had two tyres for us to try as well. We had different things on the bike, some new frames and some aerodynamics – it was all very interesting and some of them could help us in the next race. We’re also thinking about the future further ahead. It was a good test and we were able to understand some more things.”
Cal Crutchlow also had three bikes to play with during the test. Similar to Marquez, one was his standard 2019 bike while another had the reinforced carbon chassis. Another had some “test items” on it and, again similar to Marquez, the British rider did most of his work on his standard 2019 package and ended the day P5.
Cal Crutchlow – P5
“I have my standard race bike that I’ve been using this year, I have one updated chassis and then the other one is some test items on the bike. In the end, I’m doing most of my work on the standard bike that I’ve been racing all year. The feeling is obviously different on all three bikes with the parts we’re testing, but we have to give credit to Honda as they’re working very, very hard to improve our feeling with the bike – my feeling and also the other riders’ feeling. This is the first time I’ve used new chassis and I think there are some positives and negatives to it and I still feel more comfortable with my standard one.”
With rain having affected much of the action in Brno over the past few days, teammate Takaaki Nakagami was pleased to be able to carry out some testing in dry, warm conditions today. The Japanese star was focusing on improving his exit speed from corners and also tested a Michelin tyre later in the day.
Takaaki Nakagami – P11
“We’re looking to understand more about the set-up as we have back-to-back races. This weekend we didn’t have many dry sessions, only Friday and the warm-up for the race. So we need to understand today’s conditions as the weather is better, although the temperature is not too high. We’ve tried a little bit of a different set-up and we also did a Michelin tyre test. Our main problem over the weekend was the edge grip and to keep our speed in the second part of the turn, so during the test we worked on those areas.”
At Team Suzuki Ecstar, there was a high-speed crash for rookie Joan Mir with just under 45 minutes of the session remaining that brought out the Red Flag. Mir’s GSX-RR ended over the fence at Turn 1 and as a precaution, the Spaniard was taken to hospital for further checks.
Joan Mir – P7
“The crash was a scary one, but finally it looks like everything is more or less OK. I had some pain and struggled to breathe initially, but then the situation got better and better and I received excellent assistance and support from the medics at the track. It will take a couple of days to recover, I need to take it easy and take my time, but at the moment I feel relieved that everything is OK, and I hope I will be 100% ready to race in Austria in just a few days.”
For teammate Alex Rins, work with the new aero package we saw across the weekend was his main focus, but he also had a small evolution on the chassis and swingarm that he tested in Barcelona. The Spaniard finished fourth fastest having completed 69 laps at Brno, with Mir also completing 69 laps – some while using the aero package for the first time – before his crash saw him end the test in seventh.
Alex Rins – P4
“Today was very positive, and I completed a good testing program. I compared the new fairing – with the new aerodynamic package – to the old one, and it helped me to confirm my good feeling with the new fairing. I also tested a new chassis and swingarm, and the difference isn’t as obvious as it is with the fairing, so we need to do a bit more analysis. I’m pleased with the work done, and I’m looking forward to going to Austria.”
Davide Brivio – Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager
“Joan crashed at the end of the test, which unfortunately means that the day wasn’t all positive. Up until then we were going well and checking lots of different items. Joan tested the new aero package and we received positive feedback from him, so I think we’ll be using it again in the coming races. We also had the chance to test a chassis which we first tried with Alex during the Catalunya test, and now we need to analyse our findings from that and discover the benefits and possible downsides. We took a lot of information from today and we’re pleased about that. Fingers crossed for Joan.”
Danilo Petrucci completed a total of 60 laps, setting a best time of 1’56.345, the Italian concentrating mainly on establishing a good feeling with his Desmosedici GP following yesterday’s difficult race, working on setup as they try to understand why the performance wasn’t quite there at Brno.
Danilo Petrucci – P10
“Today was surely positive because we had all the time we needed to work calmly. I used a medium tyre all day and in the final stages I was quite fast. We did a great job and I’m happy I found a good feeling, something which had been missing throughout the weekend. We had a lot of different things to test, but after yesterday’s problems in the race we decided to change our work schedule and focus on finding good pace again. I improved the bike’s stability a bit and above all the bike’s turn-in in the corners. Hopefully this will also help us in Austria, where I want to get back to being at the front again.”
Andrea Dovizioso on the other hand was able to make a detailed back-to-back comparison between the two aerodynamic packages available, as well as trying out some new technical chassis solutions with a new swingarm and a new tyre made available by Michelin. The Italian ended the day with a best time of 1’56.391 after completing a total of 48 laps.
Andrea Dovizioso – P12
“It was important to do this test and I’m happy with the way things went today because we were able to make a detailed comparison between the new fairing and the one used until Brno, which gave us a positive response. We also had some new chassis solutions to try and these proved to be interesting, even though with the drop in the tyres it’s not always easy to make a comparison between different material. Finally, we also tried the new tyre that Michelin brought along and I had a particularly good feeling with that. Now we are going to Austria confident of being able to put in a good performance.”
In the Pramac Racing box, Czech GP podium finisher Jack Miller confirmed he had been trying a new Ducati chassis during the weekend. The Australian was back to the one he used for the first half of the season for most of Monday’s test, with Miller doing back-to-back runs to confirm the new one was the way forward. Moreover, he made progress with the rear shock.
Teammate Francesco Bagnaia was focused on getting more miles under his belt and having found a new setup in FP4 at Brno, the reigning Moto2 World Champion will hope to take more confidence into Austria. Bagnaia ended the test as the fastest Ducati, placing ninth – 0.632 from Quartararo’s time.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Johann Zarco had a short day, finishing 20th and still feeling the positive energy of his front row qualification effort on Saturday, finishing the test early in the afternoon after riding 31 laps to be ready for his upcoming home round.
On the other side of the garage, Pol Espargaro did 49 laps as KTM worked on a little bit of everything: settings, electronics, chassis, aero package and suspension.
Pol Espargaro – P14
“It’s tricky to make a hot lap when you are trying many changes. First of all we analysed the problems we had from the race: why we could not make the top ten and why we suffered when the rear tyre was used. Tests like these are always useful for making conclusions and finding solutions and today was positive for that. We worked on the engine, electronics, the rear shock to look for a smoother delivery and less wheel spin. We are looking forward to the home GP now and all those orange flags. I missed the race last year and that outstanding experience of feeling all that support.”
Johann Zarco – P20
“I didn’t do so many laps today: we wanted to try things but also keep good energy for Spielberg. We gathered some important information but our base will more or less remain the same for next weekend because it is a totally different track compared to here. I’m still trying to improve my riding style. It is hard work but I am doing the best training possible to achieve this. I love Red Bull Ring and have had some good results there. We’ll see how we can manage the bike. We know it is an important track for the engine and we know our bike is quite fast. Let’s see.”
Miguel Oliveira (15th) and Hafizh Syahrin (19th) managed almost a hundred circulations between them and the Portuguese ended the day less than half a second from the top ten.
Miguel Oliveira – P15
“We have been very, very close to the top and mid-grid for the classification. Today the target wasn’t to do a fast lap, as we just wanted to try the parts that the factory team gave to us related to some things to the frame, some things to the engine, small details, that don’t make a big difference themselves but in the package helped us a lot to improve.”
Hafizh Syahrin – P19
“There were not too many parts we tried today; we focused mainly on my riding. Plus, we tried something different with the electronics and we had two tyres from Michelin, which we tested. I probably tried a bit too hard this morning in turn five and came off the track but it was not a huge crash, so in the end everything was fine. We used the test engine, which is different to the one in the race, so overall it was a positive day.”
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Team Manager
“We didn’t want to take many risks at this test so we are happy with the outcome of trying some new items with good potential. We worked on our specs like aerodynamics and also an idea for the chassis as well as the engine. It was a fundamental test that gave us a few positive points for the future. In the coming days we’ll make analysis of what – and when – we can use for our race bike. Conditions were good here today and it was not our target to go for the best lap-time.”
Aleix Espargaro had a carbon-reinforced chassis to try during the morning hours for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, and in the afternoon the Spaniard tested a new swingarm for the Noale factory. He did 57 laps, with teammate Andrea Iannone doing 52.
It’s time for a couple of days rest after a busy day at the Czech adrenaline factory, but the riders are back on track for FP1 in Austria on Friday as the action kicks off at the Red Bull Ring.
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