Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) topped the Tuesday test at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, putting in a 1:31.532 to end the day two and a half tenths clear of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) was third quickest despite still recovering from a broken scaphoid, the fastest Ducati at the test. There was plenty on show, and five factories in the top five!
Viñales was out on track focusing a lot on the medium tyre, which he didn’t use in the race on Sunday when he missed out on the podium from pole. He said he’s intending to use that more during the upcoming Emilia Romagna GP and work more on the graining issues with the medium – already improved – that affected him last weekend. In addition, a new exhaust was out on track from Yamaha along with a new carbon swingarm to try that they’ll probably use at the Emilia Romagna GP. A new rear brake system and chassis was also on show. Viñales said what he tried on Tuesday didn’t make a huge step forward, but allowed him to ride more relaxed – and that could help him to push more. His team-mate Valentino Rossi didn’t push for a fast lap and was 17th of 18 riders on the timesheets, but more can most definitely be expected from the number 46 on Sunday.
Rossi was also the man who debuted the new exhaust, the aim of which, according to Team Manager Massimo Meregalli, is drivability and top-end speed – important for the long straights in Barcelona and Aragon, although for the moment the riders have said there is no big improvement.
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director
“Overall, it was a productive day. We had a long list of components to try here, including the chassis, rear arm, muffler, finger rear brake, and some setting tweaks. Both riders did a lot of laps, which was necessary for us to be able to check all the items. We also used this test to try a tyre combination that we might consider for the next race – hard front, medium rear – that unfortunately we weren‘t able to try last weekend. The new chassis didn‘t bring to the table what we expected, and we decided to use the current chassis for the remainder of the season. We will use the next few days to study today‘s data. If we confirm the riders‘ feelings in the data, Maverick and Valentino will already start FP1 with some of the other new items that we tried today.”
“I‘m still a bit disappointed about what happened on Sunday, because also today we were strong. Even after I crashed, I immediately did a fast lap afterwards, I was able to ride a 1‘31-medium. I rode that best lap time with the new parts, and it feels like it can maybe help me gain something for the race. Already last week the bike was really good, and it‘s difficult to improve it. With the new part I can ride the same lap times, but much more relaxed. This is a positive sign. It means that if I need to push, maybe I can ride a little bit faster. During this test we solved the problem with the graining that I had with the medium tyre, so for sure we will try to ride more with the medium tyre this weekend, but also the soft worked really well. I could do many laps and I finished the session with some 1‘32-low laps, which is really good for us. We just need to understand why I lose grip during the race and feel like I‘m riding on ice, because if that‘s fixed, I can ride very fast and hit really good lap times without being on the limit.”
“We did a lot of hard work today, I did many laps, because we had a lot of different stuff to try. The test was not so bad. We worked on the bike. As always, out of all the things we tried, some were an improvement, others weren‘t. But overall it was a good test. We found something that was positive, so we will try to be stronger for the upcoming weekend.”
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) tried the exhaust too and ended the day in ninth, 0.804 off the top as he focused on race pace. His team-mate and Misano race winner Franco Morbidelli sat the test out due to a stomach complaint.
Wilco Zeelenberg – Petronas Yamaha SRT Team Manager
“This was our last test of this season and it went quite smoothly. It is clear that our pace is quite good and we have improved in that area. We were missing two or three tenths in the time attack compared to others, but we were very strong in that area last year. We know overall it is more important to be better in the long runs than the time attack, so this was the area that we wanted to focus on. Franco had a stomach upset this morning, which is not ideal for a long day of testing. We discussed it together and decided not to start today. It is not something that worries us for the weekend, but with the next race starting Friday and another race next weekend, it was better for him not to ride today.”
“It’s been a positive test and it feels good to be back on the bike after a tough weekend. I’m really happy with the test because we worked on our pace and on 23 or 24 lap old tyres I was setting some of my fastest laps. We’ve tested many things today and my crew have a lot to look at with the data as well now. It’s all good things to take into the race weekend. In my first run I also tested riding with the standard headset. It’s a strange feeling but it was okay. I hope that we use it only for safety, not for communication with the team. I felt great all test though: we know what our weak points are, I think we will improve even more ahead of Friday and I think we will have a good race weekend.”
“It’s a pity to not have been a part of today’s test, because it would be really useful to test new settings for this weekend and the next races. This morning I didn’t feel well and, together with the team, we decided to rest and be fully ready for the start of this second race at home. We go into this race at Misano fully confident about our possibilities and willing to repeat a great result in front of the Italian fans. We are working really well together as a team and we have to continue in the same way. Last weekend was perfect; with the win and the first row on Saturday. I wish to fight for the same.”
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was second on the timesheets, seemed happy with a step forward and got to ride the 2020 bike too. That got a positive review, with “no negatives” although he suffered a small crash on it that he put down to hitting a bump.
Takaaki Nakagami – P2
“This morning I had the opportunity to get a taster of the 2020 RC213V, the test bike used by Stefan Bradl. I didn’t do too many laps, it was just a first taste but it was quite good. We tried to understand the bike a bit, but unfortunately I had a crash at turn one because I got a big impact off the bumps and I lost the front. It was quite a simple crash, but then we went back to our bike to work on the set-up for this weekend. We tested many items, and definitely we have improved from last weekend. I can say that we are now at a really competitive level on all laps, and even a qualifying lap too. I got into the 1’31 bracket for the first time and ended the day P2 so I’m pretty happy about that. That should mean we are competitive this weekend. We still will have work to do, because whenever you test there is always a lot of grip on the track. Anyway, we are definitely heading in the right direction and we have a good base for Misano race two.”
Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was P11 overall and on test duty for a few things including a new Honda exhaust and aero. The Spaniard explained that he went faster than he did over the weekend on his second run of the day, and that he has managed to find a better feeling over one lap. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) remained sidelined by injury, and Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) also sat out the test, not planned to be on track after having already tested at the venue ahead of the GP.
“It was a really good test today, I’m happy about it. From my second run of the day I was already faster than during the race weekend – this is always positive. We focused a lot on improving this year’s bike, but we tried some things for the future as well. We improved the setup, and this is really positive, some changes have helped me to be more consistent but also to be faster over one lap. There’s still a gap to close to the top, but I am feeling more positive and ready for the next weekend in Misano. The forecast and everything looks quite similar, so I am excited to see how we have grown since the first race.”
Zarco, in third, appeared pleasantly surprised by his feeling on the bike as he continues his recovery from scaphoid surgery just ahead of the Styrian GP. He was quick, as ever, and top Ducati after a solid fast lap. He suffered a small crash exiting pitlane but nothing too dramatic.
Johann Zarco – P3
“I am happy with today in general, I did not expect to do so many laps. In the afternoon, the plan was to do a few runs and stop, but since we had things to test and the feeling was really good that we decided to do it. Every time we went out on the track I felt good with the bike, I felt comfortable and this is very positive. Happy with the test, very happy with the fastest lap, it was impressive to get down from 1.32, and it is a good sign for the weekend.”
The man fresh from a maiden podium, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), was seventh despite his ongoing recovery from a broken leg… and that was also the reason he elected to test only in the morning.
“Very positive day, With the team we immediately found the right setup. My pace was very fast since de beginning, and I finished the session in top 3. I will not do the afternoon session because I want to rest my leg, but I can’t wait to get back on track on Friday.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was the next man from the Borgo Panigal factory on the timesheets as he ended the day in eighth – and pretty glowing. He also only tested in the morning with “no reason” to continue in the afternoon once the work was done and some solutions found. He was working on the setup and the details, as ever, and praised a new part that had arrived and the increase in confidence he’d been able to achieve on Tuesday.
“I am satisfied with this day of testing: this morning, we were able to complete our program, working on the details that interested us most. After a difficult weekend like the past one, it would not have made sense to continue testing even in the afternoon, since we will have another three days to be able to work. Compared to the last GP, I feel I can be much more competitive this weekend. Still, we have to keep our feet on the ground: our rivals have also been working to improve and getting a spot on the front rows will be even more important, but in general, I am confident and positive“.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was a little more downbeat but continued work on the first sector and Turn 11, and tried the chassis updates from Ducati. He was P12 overall despite some technical trouble when he’d wanted to use the same time of the day as the race to work on another step forward.
“Today we have tried different set up, we were able to understand certain mistakes, and we will also have Friday and Saturday to be on track. Unfortunately a technical problem did not allow me to be on track a lot this afternoon but I am still satisfied.”
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) was in P16 and using Dovizioso as a spotter in the afternoon as he looks for some progress, with Tito Rabat (Esponsorama Racing) in P18 and suffering a technical issue during the test.
“It has been a very demanding day: we used all the track time available, trying different things to solve the problems that we had during the past race weekend. Unfortunately, we are still struggling, and I am not satisfied at the end of these two free practice sessions. I hope that in the next two days before the race we will be able to finally understand how to get much closer to the front in this GP“.
“It has been a day where I have been able to test a lot of things, despite having a problem from the beginning with the rear soft tyre. Both in the morning and in the afternoon the tyre broke very quickly, after five laps the tyre was completely destroyed. This has affected the work plan a bit, but in the end when we were going to set the soft tyre again we broke the engine, and we did not have a spare in this test, so we could not test more things. We now have two days off before a new weekend.”
At KTM, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the lead man on the timesheets in P4, and explained how his main aim was to improve grip and stability, especially on the rear. The stability through the fast corners had been improved, as has the grip on entry. Espargaro didn’t push for a lap time and was working a lot on race pace.
Three of the four KTM riders were putting in the laps, with Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) sitting out the action and leaving Espargaro, Lecuona’s team-mate Miguel Oliveira and fellow rookie Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) on track. Red Bull KTM Factory Team Principal Mike Leitner said that they were trying to improve the turning of the RC16, with the riders also appearing with a new white cover over some cables that come out from the tank cover, go around the steering head and back under the tank cover on the other side… Binder ended the day in P10 overall, and Oliveira P13. The Portuguese rider also had a small crash and said he didn’t have many new parts to try, working instead on a more immediate step forward for the Emilia Romagna GP.
“It’s been a pretty good day. We had some question marks after Sunday and the weekend but we had a great test and improved our problems. The track was better without the rubber of the other classes – which helped – but we also tried many things on the bike that allowed us to be better. The rhythm was fine, it was nice, and the lap-time was not too bad on medium tires. Everything looks promising for the weekend.”
“This afternoon I felt a bit better on the bike. We tried quite a few different things and I felt a couple will benefit me for the GP. All-in-all it was a positive day but I’m still very far from where I want to be with the fastest lap-time and my race rhythm, however it is a good step up from what we had in the race last weekend. I still want more if possible.”
“I’m excited to get going again this weekend at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Our motivation is to turn around the result and improve it. Especially securing a better Qualifying position than we had during the first round here, so this would help a lot to gain a better position during the race as well.”
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager
“In general all three riders did a good job today because it was not easy to plan for this test. We had some future items for the bike but, of course, we had some things we wanted to fix to have a better second race weekend. It ended up positive because people worked on different targets and we made some interesting discoveries. We’ll now look ahead to our second race attempt here at Misano.”
Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager
“We are experiencing our third back to back weekend on the same circuit this year and as usual it will be very interesting to see what we can improve on our bike. Clearly, the weather seems quite stable, so we don’t expect a huge difference there. But having so much time to work here should make this weekend even better. We were quite happy with the race pace of both, Miguel and Iker. Our weak point was just the single fast lap for Qualifying in order to get a better grid position as I said a few times this season. We can see that the twisty section straight after the start is making it difficult to overtake, so we need to qualify better. I believe the race setup will not be very different to what we used the last weekend. We also had the luck to test a few things today with Miguel, which was nothing dramatic, but hopefully helping us to close the gap we need to shrink. Clearly, this is going to be more about understanding the bike better and trying to fine tune it. We were not too far from the top anyway, everybody was very close together. We ended up 12 seconds behind the top last Sunday, of which we lost six only in the opening laps. This is showing, where we need to work on. Iker didn’t test today, as he has not enough experience to compare small evolutions. Therefore, he opted for working with his team on the race data and rest in order to be fully recharged for Friday morning. We are very happy with the way he works and I think, he can do a significant step the coming weekend as well.”
Over in the Team Suzuki Ecstar garage, Team Manager Davide Brivio said Joan Mir and Alex Rins tried a different swingarm, although the initial feedback was that it didn’t make much of a difference, so Suzuki won’t be using it – according to Brivio himself. Rins, fifth overall, said he had a positive day though as he tried the swingarm and some electronic settings, and that he was riding comfortably free from pain despite some complaints in the latter laps of the San Marino GP as he continues to fight back to full fitness. Mir said he was happy with his day’s work overall too, which included some setting changes… and not pushing for a lap time. The Spaniard said he and Suzuki tried to improve their qualifying pace, but ended up improving their race pace even more if that’s a good warning shot for many. He was only just off his teammate, in P6 by the end of play.
Davide Brivio – Team Suzuki
“It’s been a positive day and a good test where we went through several different things. We tested a new swing arm which Joan had already tried last weekend, but today we had the chance to look at it in more depth. Alex tried it for the first time today. At the moment we’re not fully convinced that it’s an improvement, so we’re not planning to introduce it at the moment. Then we worked on electronics and settings, trying different ways to set up the bike, despite the fact that both riders are happy with the performance of the GSX-RR right now. We also tried tyre options. Overall, we’re feeling prepared for the race this weekend.”
“The problem I had in my arm on Sunday during the race was really quite bad, so yesterday I worked with my physiotherapist and today I tried some small adjustments with the bike in terms of riding position to try and prevent pain this weekend. It looks like it has helped a bit, so let’s see. Today has been very positive and I feel good, we worked well on the electronics and settings. Everyone was fast today but I had strong lap times, so I hope to bring that forward into this weekend.”
“It’s been a good test today, we worked on many areas of the bike, but nothing really big, and we also had some new things to try, such as the swing arm. We managed to improve my feeling with the bike a bit after working on settings. I didn’t push for a fast lap today, I was just concentrating on testing. I’m happy with the work done; now let’s see if what we found today will make the difference when it comes to the next race this Sunday.”
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith were testing the holeshot system on the rear, with the intention of trying to use it during the race – just like Ducati – in the near future. Chassis and electronics were also a focus for the Noale factory, with Espargaro trying a setting that gives him more torque, the aim being to give him more pace over a qualifying lap. Smith was happy to set a mid-1:32 and confirmed he was testing a new chassis too, with the Brit putting in a mammoth 96 laps over the course of the two sessions. He was P14 just 0.055 behind Espargaro, who was in turn only 0.006 off Oliveira.
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