Every factory was able to get some valuable track time under their belts and test yet more new parts that were introduced on Wednesday as the Official Misano MotoGP Test came to a close after the second day of on-track action.
Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) finishes top of the combined timesheets thanks to his 1:31.524 on Day 1, but it’s Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini who reigned the timesheets on Day 2, 0.080 ahead of Bagnaia’s Wednesday best as the Italian remained consistently quick.
The two-day schedule mainly made headlines for the new parts and upgrades on show, however, and no one had more to test than Honda. Test rider Stefan Bradl rolled out of the garage on a damp Tuesday morning with a radically new RC213V, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) heading out on it in the afternoon when conditions cleared. The most noticeable differences from the outside were the air intake shape, the tail unit and the exhaust positioning.
Then, on Wednesday morning, Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) ventured out on the bike Marc Marquez and Bradl had been seen using, while the number 93 also lapped on another new Honda – slightly different once again, with a different air intake.
Pol Espargaro – P6
“It has been another good day overall. We worked on many things today and like always there were many good points and a few not so good points. But in the end I think we have been able to find the strong parts of the bike and understand the way to go for the end of the year. Honda HRC have done a good job with what they’ve brought here and what we have been able to do, it has been a good two days.”
Marc Marquez was also out on the new bike with the current 2021 aero package that Honda have been using since the German GP, with Pol Espargaro testing it with the new aero. He did his best lap in the FP4 Wednesday session on a new bike too, a 1:32.105. He ended Day 2 sixth with a better lap from the morning, with teammate MM93 in 10th.
Marc Marquez – P10
“Today I worked both for the future and then in the afternoon we worked more with the current bike because we are still trying frames and concepts. We are happy, sure everyone went fast in this test because the conditions are good, but we did interesting things over these two days. The most important thing is that we were able to work for the future. I want to thank my team and Honda HRC for their hard work over these two days.”
LCR Honda boss Lucio Cecchinello revealed that Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) has been working on his bike’s weight distribution, and they’ve found a setting that he feels more comfortable with. The two-time World Champion was also back-to-back testing the regular, carbon bonded chassis and the chassis that Marc Marquez and Espargaro have been using on and off since Assen.
Álex Márquez – P13
“We’ve tried several things over the two days, yesterday I wasn’t really happy as we missed some things, but today we went in a correct way. We also tried some new chassis for us and I was feeling really good on the brand new items and great on the bike overall, which is the most important thing. Obviously, the grip level in tests is always better than normal, but we found some good things and we improved a lot to be always lapping in the 32s. Now we just need to keep working like we have and keep improving day by day. I’m looking forward to being in Austin and it will be a new track for me on a MotoGP bike.”
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) – again according to Cecchinello – was working with the aero package that was first seen at the Sachsenring, and both of his bikes were fitted with the carbon-bonded HRC chassis. The Japanese rider impressed to end Wednesday fourth on a 1:31.735.
“I’m so happy with the result and the feeling on the bike. We made a big improvement, the feeling on the bike is so good and I’m really happy where we’ve ended up. I want to thank my team, all the mechanics because these last two days has been really hard work for them, so I appreciate the effort from everyone. I can now say that we have definitely found what we were looking for, and we are ready for the next race in Austin which I’m really looking forward to.”
On Day 1 at Ducati, the Bologna marque unveiled two new aero packages. The first very similar to the one they’re using in 2021, but the second splits the second winglet into two different elements, meaning the aero package has four elements in total when including the downwash duct at the bottom of the fairing.
Bagnaia and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) were back-to-back testing the different aero packages across the two days at Misano, with a Day 1 crash not affecting Pecco’s schedule. The Italian called it a day just before lunch on Wednesday, in second with a 0.080 deficit to Aleix Espargaro. Miller ended Day 2 in fifth.
Francesco Bagnaia – P2
“I’m delighted with these two days of testing. They were very useful, and we also tried a new fairing. The feeling was good, but now we’ll have to analyse the data to see if we can actually introduce it next season.In general, the feeling with my Desmosedici was really positive, and we also improved the pace compared to last week, so I’m happy and ready to come back to race here in a month, at the Grand Prix of Made in Italy and Emilia Romagna.“
Jack Miller – P5
“It’s been a very positive two days of testing. Despite the first wet session yesterday morning, yesterday afternoon and this afternoon, we had perfect conditions for riding. We tried many new items and did a lot of laps, and in general, the feedback was very good. We tried some things for this season and some things for next season, including a new fairing. The feeling was very good, but for sure there are still some developments to do before we can introduce it for good. For now, we have a lot of data to work with between now and the next test at Jerez at the end of the season”.
Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) tested Ducati’s new aero as well as the factory duo, whereas teammate Johann Zarco went home after Day 1 to have arm pump surgery – successfully completed – and the Frenchman was replaced by test rider Michele Pirro.
It wasn’t the ideal test for San Marino podium finisher Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama). The Italian suffered a crash on both Day 1 and Day 2, the second seeing him sit out the rest of Wednesday, but rider ok. Bastianini’s teammate Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) had a very successful test, however, and the Italian was able to lap quicker than he went all weekend at the San Marino GP.
At Suzuki, reigning World Champion Joan Mir and Team Suzuki Ecstar team-mate Alex Rins were both impressed by the new chassis Suzuki brought to the Misano Test on Day 2. So much so, it may be seen on their GSX-RRs in 2021. The new chassis has a carbon bond at the top, unlike the current one.
In addition, Suzuki were testing the 2022 engine that we first saw at the pre-season Qatar Tests. Test rider Sylvain Guintoli joined Mir and Rins on Wednesday fresh from his Bol D’Or win, as we witnessed Suzuki also unveil a new side fairing.
Mir was able to improve something on the braking side of things that he’s been missing all season on Day 2, and the number 36 was third on Wednesday. Rins confirmed that the 2022 engine seems a bit more powerful, but the aero package needs adjusting to match the extra power. Rins also said that he did a couple of long runs, one with the rear ride height device, and it looked like he was quicker with the device fitted – overall a solid test for Suzuki.
Joan Mir – P3
“I’m pretty satisfied with the work we’ve done. Yesterday we ran with used tyres to get some back-to-back comparison information that will be useful for the next race in Misano. We also tried the 2022 spec. engine, with the accompanying electronics and set-up. I have good feelings about it, it is not a revolution as such, but it’s an effective evolution; it carries some improvements that will be very useful once finalised. Today I tried a new spec. chassis, which also might be useful for the last races of this season as the feeling I got is very positive. We saved some time to finalise some new set-up and electronics solutions, so at the end it’s been a very busy, intense and yet positive test.”
Alex Rins – P15
“This has been a very positive test, we could try the 2022 spec. engine in-depth and I’m quite happy, because it’s working a little bit better and it’s more powerful. We still need to adjust some small things, which is pretty normal given that it’s a new thing, but we are working in a good direction. We also explored some new set-up configurations, especially for the next race here in Misano in one month and found interesting solutions. Today we’ve worked also on the ride-height device, making some proper back-to-back testing that we hadn’t managed to do previously, and also with that we got important data and info to work on.”
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“Yesterday and today we were testing the new engine, which is meant for next year, it is not the final spec. but we could already confirm from the riders that this engine has big potential. We still need to finalise some details, but it’s already a good sign for next year. We also brought some chassis variations, it has been tested in the morning by Joan and in the afternoon by Alex and both reported a better feeling and improved performance. We worked on some improved set-up for the next Misano race, at the moment we are very satisfied.”
Meanwhile, current World Championship leaders Yamaha had a new chassis to try, but Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Manager Massimo Meregalli said that 2022 wasn’t their main focus across the two days.
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director
“Both Fabio and Franco started the Misano Test with two objectives: to gain extra information on the 2021 bike for the second race in Misano and to have a shakedown with the 2022 prototype M1. But the first objective was definitely the main goal. Concerning the prototype, we just wanted to give the riders a first feel. That was the only ’homework‘. The work on the 2021 bike was more important, also with an eye on Fabio‘s championship chances. We wanted to work on improving our performance, especially for the start of the Misano 2 race, because that would allow Fabio to put some extra pressure on our rivals. Fabio tested a lot of different things, and that brought clarity as to what the race set-up and tyres should be like for Misano 2. Franky had three crashes, but we can confirm that he is okay. For him a two-day test so soon after the 27-lap race was demanding. The race made his leg really tired, even more so because the Misano track doesn‘t allow the riders any rest. But he has managed to find a balance between getting in enough laps to improve his feeling with the bike, yet not over-doing it. Overall, he made a good step during this test, but now it‘s important for him to allow his leg to rest and heal before the next round at COTA.”
Fabio Quartararo was able to give the 2022 prototype a shakedown on Tuesday, before switching his attention to finding some improvements for the second Misano race coming up in October. He was seventh on Day 2.
Fabio Quartararo – P7
“Today we focused more on the 2021 bike. It was great to try many things that we already wanted to try, to see the positive and negative sides of it. Everything is clear, so for Misano 2 we have already decided our set-up and race tyres. I also did a few laps on the 2022 bike this morning. I‘m quite happy, and I think we did a really great test today and yesterday.”
Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was unhurt in two crashes on Day 2 as the Italian continued his adaptation to the 2021 YZR-M1, as well as working his way back to full fitness. Morbidelli felt better than he did during the San Marino GP according to Meregalli, especially with the front end. 70 laps were completed by Morbidelli on Tuesday and Wednesday, now it’s time for some rest ahead of the Americas GP.
Franco Morbidelli – P17
“Like yesterday, I was trying to push a bit more with the bike in the areas where I wasn’t feeling good, and it didn’t play out well because I crashed. But it’s okay. I did a crash test for the leg, and it didn’t get any worse. I feel okay, and I’m pleased with the job we’ve done today, even if maybe I made too many mistakes. Anyway, it was the way for me to catch up as soon as possible with this new bike and trying to get the feeling back.”
Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) took part in his final test as a full-time rider on home turf, and on the agenda for the nine-time World Champion was electronic settings, to try and sort out the traction issues he’s been facing. New teammate Andrea Dovizioso’s main aim was to simply get used to his new bike. The Italian did end up testing a carbon swingarm on Day 2, as Dovizioso completed a mammoth 130 laps across the two days.
Valentino Rossi – P14
“It’s true that this has been my last test as a MotoGP rider. Testing is difficult and is the hard part of our job, especially during the season, but this test was a good one for us. Yesterday was particularly useful, as today we only had a small programme. We only had to fix two or three things and we were focused on the small details. It has gone okay and we hope that we have found something a bit better for the final four races. I think we are in a better position to be more competitive. In one week we will race in Austin, which is a great track that I really like, so we will see what happens. We are ready to give it our all.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P20
“Today we have tested a lot of things to do with the bike setup, which was very important for me because I don’t know this bike very well yet and I need to understand how different things with it work for me. The speed was similar to yesterday, but the feeling wasn’t great when I put the soft tyre on for the first time and I was better with the medium tyre. This is something we need to improve. I’m still getting used to approaching every corner and braking in a new way, because this bike behaves differently to what I have ridden before, but that will come with time. This test was more for me to adapt to the bike and for me to discover its potential.“
Meregalli also confirmed that Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow will be in Aragon for two days to test the 2022 bike, before heading to Jerez soon after for a three-day test. The British rider will be busy putting next year’s YZR-M1 through its paces over the next couple of months before the 2022 pre-season test in Jerez after the Valencia GP.
After a quiet opening day, Day 2 was a busy one for KTM. A new aero package and air intake were introduced: the intake is bigger and the aero package has an additional set of wings further down than the 2021 RC16. Additionally, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had another all-black bike but the aero, air intake and shape of the fairings is the same as the regular bike – which could mean the Austrian factory had something new internally. Oliveira was ninth on Day 2 and teammate Brad Binder 12th.
The other major news on Day 2 was the debut of Moto2 title contenders Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and teammate Raul Fernandez.
Both will be stepping into the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing ranks at the end of the season, and unsurprisingly, the duo more than enjoyed their first outing on a MotoGP bike.
Both were impressive in terms of pace despite Gardner having a crash, and Fernandez finished the day just over two seconds off the fastest time set by Aleix Espargaro.
For Aprilia, the timesheets told a good story, and the Noale factory first rolled out some new, smaller, thinner aero on test rider Lorenzo Savadori’s bike on the opening day of testing. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was the first rider on track as the Spaniard continued to adapt to his new bike, trying different set-ups, and he was able to improve the overall pace. Finding 0.7s, the number 12 made good progress across the two days and finished Wednesday in P8. Viñales didn’t try anything for 2022 in the 149 laps he notched up during the test.
Aleix Espargaro, meanwhile, tried some new aerodynamic configurations and other new parts for the 2022 bike, including a couple of evolutions of the front fairing. The Spaniard confirmed he and Aprilia have made a step forward, with the fastest lap of the day bearing good witness.
A busy, exciting and very interesting Misano Test has drawn to a close! Next up for the MotoGP paddock is a trip to Austin and the Circuit of the Americas for Round 15 of the 2021 World Championship, so make sure to join us next weekend for the horsepower rodeo.
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