Less than half a second away from the all-time Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto lap record, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) has ended the two-day Official 2022 MotoGP Jerez Test top of the timesheets, as could somewhat be expected based on the Italian’s recent form. Pecco’s 1:36.872 saw him beat Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) to the overall top by four-tenths, with 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) third. But the timesheets were far from the whole story…
Straight out of the blocks on Friday, riding a 2022 prototype – the newer engine, front fairing, air intake and more – Bagnaia went just 0.3s shy of Maverick Viñales’ all-time lap record, seemingly a sign that Ducati have gone into 2022 testing carrying the momentum they ended the season with.
With regards to the engine, a big talking point across all factories for the Jerez Test and beyond, Ducati won’t be deciding their spec until the Mandalika Test in February. As well as the front fairing and air intake, the next biggest difference seen on the factory Ducatis has been the new, much longer exhaust. Both Pecco and team-mate Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) were using it on Day 1 and Day 2, it will be interesting to see whether it makes an appearance at the Sepang and Mandalika Tests next year.
And the end of both days, Pecco finished 0.4s clear after a further 42 laps on Day 2, adding to his 68 on Thursday, and was very pleased with the work done in Jerez.
Francesco Bagnaia – P1
“I’m delighted with these two days of testing. The Ducati was already a perfect bike for me, and in Bologna, they managed to do a great job, bringing some interesting new items, including a fairing and a new exhaust. Here at Jerez, we gathered a lot of data that the engineers will now analyse well to understand what to introduce on the bike next season. For the moment, the feeling has been positive. Talking with Jack, he had more or less the same opinion as me. After the winter break, we’ll have a few more days of testing, but for the moment, the general feeling with the bike is very good“.
Johann Zarco’s (Pramac Racing) opening day time sees the Frenchman sit P4 on the combined timesheets, the second quickest Ducati, and he completed another 65 laps on Day 2. After 78 already put in on Thursday, Zarco was one of the busiest riders at the Jerez Test in terms of laps.
Miller and Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) were busy testing 2022 parts across the two days, the Australian was P9 on Friday and P10 overall, with Martin down in P18 on both.
Jack Miller – P10
“These were two very productive days in which we were able to test a lot of new components. We’ve had some positive feedback and some not so positive, so now we need to analyse all the data we gathered during the test to understand what steps we need to take for next season. There’s still a lot of work to do, but overall I’m very satisfied. The Desmosedici GP has improved a lot over the last year, and we were able to dominate the last part of the season. I’m convinced that we’ll be able to take even more steps forward over the winter.“
Luca Marini (VR46 Racing Team) is the other rider in the Desmosedici ranks who will be on the latest spec machinery in 2022. About 110 laps on the new bike for Luca across the two days who, despite the strong wind that has characterised the today’s session, has improved his best time to 1’38.025, thus hitting the 14th place in the combined standings.
Luca Marini – P14
“It was a positive testing session: compared to yesterday, the feeling has improved and I was able to better understand the differences between the new and the old bike. We did some tests on the electronics and I was fine. With the strong wind today it was difficult for everyone, it was important stay on the track but not take risks. I am satisfied: I feel good with the new Team, we are gaining experience and we are positive. Let’s now rest for a few weeks and get back ready to start the 2022.”
Former team-mate Enea Bastianini (Team Gresini Racing MotoGP) ended the couple of days in P5 overall as the two-time premier class podium finisher got to grips with his GP21.
Enea Bastianini – P5
“The wind was too strong today so I chose to not throw away the good things we had done. We were always quick, even race-pace wise. We did not turn the set-up around: we only did a few little changes to be even more comfortable on the bike. Ducati’s DNA hasn’t changed, but the bike has improved in all areas. I must admit I was quick even with the wind, which is a condition that doesn’t suit me well.”
Ducati have two rookies in their ranks for 2022, both riding GP21s, and the fastest rookie across the two days was Fabio Di Giannantonio (Team Gresini Racing MotoGP). The Italian was an impressive 1.6s down on Bagnaia having completed 45 laps on Day 2, seeing the 2021 Jerez Moto2 race winner lap 93 times in total.
Fabio Di Giannantonio – P19
“First of all we started on the right foot: we took to the track this morning and immediately lapped as quick as yesterday’s best times. This is a positive sign, as it means I’m starting to understand this bike a little. Today we worked a little with the electronics, which is likely to be the key in MotoGP. This is all new for me, but we’re improving the feeling with the bike. Too bad for the wind because it kind of bothered me quite a bit, even though it didn’t take the smile away from our faces.”
Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Racing Team) finished 2.4s away from good friend Bagnaia after two days on the bike, a cracking effort from the Italian, who got 115 laps in the bank ahead of testing continuing next year.
Marco Bezzecchi – P26
“Two beautiful days, I’m happy. Today we made a good step forward but the goal was to take everything easy. Try to fit the bike, find the position. Every time I was on the track the feeling has always improved and I can’t complain about it. I also started to try some automatisms, even the first starts. There are many aspects to work on, many differences compared to Moto2 such as tires, fuel tank and electronics, but I can’t wait to get back on track at Sepang.”
As has been well documented, Honda have a brand-new bike for 2022. It’s the only machine at the test that looks completely new, with every other manufacturer having variations and adaptations from what we saw in 2021. Engine, chassis, aero, air intake, exhaust position… you name it. HRC have been working tirelessly to bring a new-look RC213V to the grid, and on first look, things are seemingly going well.
Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) absence from the Jerez Test was bad news but the presence of Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) was very good news, the number 44 back despite his Turn 13 highside in Valencia. On Day 1, Pol Espargaro admitted that he was – unsurprisingly – riding with some pain in his ribs and wrist, with Nakagami and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) doing all the work on the new bike on Thursday. LCR boss Lucio Cecchinello also said that at one stage, there were six bikes in the LCR garage for Nakagami and Marquez.
However, on Day 2, Pol Espargaro got his hands on the 2022 prototype. Pit-lane reporter Simon Crafar confirmed that the Spaniard now has better rear grip, and the number 44 also tried different aero packages with the new bike.
Pol Espargaro – P7
“Today is why we were here, even if physically I am suffering a bit, to try what could be the new bike. We have a long pre-season ahead, there are many different options to choose for next year and we are going to need many laps still but this first stage feels good. We are fast even in the heavy wind today and it’s good to try things in these conditions. We have made good steps, but we can’t slow down and need to keep on working. We have been working a lot to get more grip, especially on the rear, and the new options Honda have brought are continuing to help this. The bike is faster and safer, it feels easier to make the lap time.”
Nakagami was second quickest overall and seventh on Friday, with Pol Espargaro setting his best time of the test on the new bike to take fourth on Friday and seventh overall.
Takaaki Nakagami – P2
“It’s been a good two-day test here in Jerez, first day we were able to finish P1 and today was also good and we finished 2nd overall. Today we had a little bit of a different strategy as we tested the new bike and also, after the lunch break, we tried some things on this year’s bike and checked the set-up. (We did) a little bit less laps today compared to yesterday, but had good confidence on the new bike and I’m really happy about this. Now we go into the off season and I want to say thanks again to all my team, they have really worked hard. I’m looking forward to a rest and then getting back for the Sepang test 2022.”
Alex Marquez tested out numerous settings, set-ups and parts on both his current RC213v and next year’s bike. He got through 75 laps on Thursday and another 56 on Friday, ending 10th on the timesheets on day two as he dipped into the 1’37s.
Álex Márquez – P11
“Second day here in Jerez and we stuck to our schedule for the test. We tried some things on our ’21 bike and we also tried our proto again with some different things. It was a positive day trying different items, unfortunately in the middle of the day – from 11.30 to 2.30 – the conditions were really bad with lots of wind. I want to thank the team for all the work they did in this test and all the year, it was a good last day of school! Now it’s time to rest, time for guys to be with their families. I’m looking forward to being in Malaysia already and I hope with all the information we have got here, we’ll give it to HRC and they’ll have a good plan for the winter.”
The new Yamaha chassis seen on Day 1 sported some modifications on Friday, and despite testing that and a new fairing, as well as continuing on engine testing, Quartararo said he struggled to find any clear positive step: the lap-time with the bike was too similar to the older spec. He’s searching for better power, less wheelie and more rear grip for next year.
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director
“We have started the new ’racing year‘ in a positive manner overall. Both riders tried the 2022 prototype bike again here in Jerez after they gave it a first try at the Misano Test earlier this year. We finished the Jerez testing plan succesfully: trying two different chassis, a new aerobody, and a different rear arm. We gathered all the information we needed and feel pretty confident. The data we collected will be used by our Yamaha engineers over the winter break to shape what will be close to the final 2022 bike that we will be testing in Malaysia and Indonesia at the start of next year. But first we’ll all have a well-deserved holiday after a very rewarding year.”
Quartararo showed his exceptional work ethic by putting in 68 laps on the last day of riding his YZR-M1 in 2021. The current World Champion has his mind already firmly set on next year’s title quest and spent Day 2 working diligently on gathering data with the 2022 spec bike. He set a personal best time of 1’37.324s on his penultimate try and ended the session in second place, 0.452s from first. The result puts him in third position in the combined time-sheets.
Fabio Quartararo – P3
“Here in Jerez, we tested a first step of the 2022 bike, but it‘s just the first step. Yamaha knows what to do to improve a lot. We will be 100% focused on what we have to do for next year. I still have some events. I won‘t really have much time off until December. After that I will enjoy my time off.”
Quartararo’s team-mate Franco Morbidelli also had a new front fairing, with the same ‘wings’ but a different, more smoothly rounded fairing. The side fairing was also different, likely to aid cooling – seemingly a similar goal to Suzuki. Morbidelli struggled on the second day, as the windy conditions made riding even more challenging with his knee injury. However, the Italian soldiered on, riding 30 laps in total. Without putting in a time-attack, he set a 1’38.100s on lap five that kept him in 15th position in the Day 2 rankings, 1.228s from today’s best time. However, his 1‘37.884s lap from Day 1 earned him 12th place in the Jerez Test results overall, 1.012s from the top.
Franco Morbidelli – P12
“It was a tricky second day because of the wind. I couldn‘t ride properly because of that. I already struggle to ride in normal situations, and with the wind I struggled even more. So we didn‘t do many laps, but anyway we completed the programme. We tried everything we needed to try. Rehab is going to be my main job this winter. I‘m going to try to regain the full motion of the knee, so let‘s see if I manage to do it.”
Andrea Dovizioso (WithU RNF Yamaha MotoGP) is now on the 2022 Yamaha, but not quite the same as the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP line-up. The Italian was positive about his riding in the afternoon although said it wasn’t yet instinctive, and reported the new bike has better braking, enabling the riders to brake harder, and a bit more power but the same DNA.
Team-mate Darryn Binder, barring an out lap crash that slowed progress somewhat, was positive about his test too. The South African rookie started working on different tyres, electronics and traction control as he settles in.
There were several key points for the Suzuki riders to focus on, beginning with the 2022 engine. This latest version of the new engine, which had previously been tested by Guintoli and Takuya Tsuda, was tried by Rins and Mir in Jerez. Both GP riders reported feeling improvements in power and both are satisfied with the significant step forward. To pair with this 2022 engine, a new chassis and swing-arm were also used on track and these early prototypes also received positive feedback. Finally, new fairings and cowlings were also put through their paces, designed to improve handling and assist in top speed.
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“This test, directly after the end of the season, is a very important one. Our riders have just been competitively riding the 2021 GSX-RR and now when they try the new parts and hardware for 2022 it’s easier for them to compare. We’re feeling satisfied with the work done here in Jerez, all the riders have completed many laps and their feedback and opinions will help us as we go into the break and prepare for the next test.”
Rins ended the day in third after 59 laps, and sixth overall. Mir was sixth on Friday after 73 laps, and ninth overall. Test rider Sylvain Guintoli added another 56 to the Hamamatsu lap count on Friday too.
Alex Rins – P6
“Despite doing many laps in these last two days, I feel pretty energised. I think it’s because everything is new and exciting and I’m very eager to try as many things as possible. We worked with the new engine, some new fairings, general set-up, swingarm, many things! And we’re happy with how things are going, especially with the engine which seems to have more speed and power. After a back-to-back comparison with the 2022 engine and the 2021 engine, we can feel that we have made a very important step.”
Joan Mir – P9
“This test has been full on, with a lot of things to try, but it’s also been very worthwhile because we’ve made good progress and we have a solid understanding of how our base package could be coming into 2022. I tried the new engine and it seems to have more power, which initially is exciting. But it’s not as simple as that; because we have to also piece together all the other parts and components to make sure they work well alongside the new engine. But my first impressions are really good, and it gives me a nice feeling going into the winter break.”
Sylvain Guintoli – P23
“We are going through a period of intense testing now, with many days spent on track as we have many items to try. Tsuda and I are doing a lot of work to deliver Joan and Alex some good options, and it looks like they are giving important improvements. Suzuki has worked on many, many items such as engine, chassis, fairings, electronics and other smaller details. Some of them are big changes, others are minor, but overall there is a lot to try. We have positive feelings on the bike, despite the tough conditions today, we feel like we are heading in a good way and we expect to have further improvements after winter.”
Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team) was once again the fastest Aprilia, slotting into fifth on Day 2 and P8 overall. He was trying a new fuel tank cover, and working on body position to be more comfortable. 82 laps later, and having tried a chassis different to that of the Valencia GP, the number 12 said they had a clear direction. Viñales also said the new exhaust spotted at Aprilia was a similar feeling, which he also said was a positive after it was test back-to-back with the previous version.
Viñales’ team-mate Aleix Espargaro put in another 55 laps on Friday too, and aero remained on show at Aprilia overall. Test rider Lorenzo Savadori had another new-look set of ‘wings’ that were different again, making it three aero packages on show from Noale. Their overall 2022 package will reportedly only be finalised at the Mandalika test.
Both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira were back out on a new aero package, but slightly different to the one seen on Day 1. The two both spent a lot of time on it, and MotoGP Legend and KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa was also back out – and also using the aero.
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager
“This two-day test gave us the chance to check material we’d tried during the season but not been 100% sure about, also a lot of new stuff! So, it has been a busy time and both Brad and Miguel had to go through a lot of items. A big thanks to them and to the team for all their hard work because I think we found some interesting directions. We leave happy. Of course, we also had Raul and Remy testing for the second time and to get their impressions and comments was very interesting. Their talent is very clear. They already understand quite a lot of things on these bikes. Dani and Mika were here with the test team and helped us a lot so a big thanks to the whole group and the company that is pushing to evolve the bike. There have been a lot of things and some clever ideas. We’re happy and looking forward to the next test in Sepang.”
The Austrian factory were the most publicly coy of all. “Positives and negatives” were reported from both Brad Binder and Oliveira, and they’re expecting more to test at Sepang. Binder was 11th on Friday and 13th overall, with Oliveira 14th on Friday and 16th overall.
Brad Binder – P13
“Today was busy! We tried many things and tried different set-ups and a couple of different parts. We found some that were quite good: a different fairing and that had some positives but also negatives. Overall, some good information for the team to keep working and come back to us with something for the Sepang test.”
Miguel Oliveira – P16
“There were a couple of things today where we needed some conclusions and it’s clear that – at the moment – we don’t have a final package to put together. We’ve tested different components at different times and the team worked a lot today. Everyone was tireless to get the maximum out of each run and each piece we tried and, hopefully, with this information the factory will be able to make some significant changes for the current bike and we’ll get closer to that final package in Sepang. These two days were quite tough in terms of conditions so the lap-times don’t really reflect our work and potential. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it better in February.”
On rookie watch at Tech3 KTM Factory Racing, Raul Fernandez retained the upper hand on newly-crowned Moto2 World Champion Remy Gardner… by just 0.037. Diggia pipped both to fastest rookie honours by the end of the test, with Fernandez 0.163 off the Italian.
Sebastian Risse – Technical Coordinator KTM MotoGP
“Our new season has just begun! We had two intense days here in Jerez and with two new riders in our line-up. This was a good start and we still need to work a lot to integrate them into this class and to explore the bike and their abilities. With our two more experienced riders we focused on a lot of different development areas. We had new ideas and components in practically every area of the bike. Some we already tested in the previous IRTA session in Misano. There are also a lot of things coming over from the test team to the race team and luckily with good conditions we could get a lot done. As always, we are far from ticking all the boxes but we made some improvements and we know what we want to work-on over the winter. We will have a good plan ready for Sepang.”
Raul ended the test in 20th on both Friday and overall, and Remy in P22 on both too while still struggling physically with broken ribs.
Raul Fernandez – P20
“My second day was very positive. We kept on learning about the MotoGP category. I am very happy with the bike. Today, we rode a lot of laps with used tyres and I was competitive. I also tried to do one lap with a soft tyre and I ended up really close to the other riders. I already cannot wait to go to Sepang for the winter tests next year. I will make sure to train hard this winter in order to gain muscle and get stronger because this bike is very demanding physically.“
Remy Gardner – P22
“For sure, it’s been a tough two days, physically mainly and also I was trying to learn the bike but I had a lot of fun and step-by-step we are getting to understand it better and every time we improved quite a bit. The lap time for us wasn’t really the main goal here, it was just understanding the bike, working with used tyres and trying to understand the traction control and wheelie control, basically all the electronics, plus the power, ride height systems, brakes and everything else. I had a good time and by the end of the day today, I had everything a bit more under control. With these ribs, I’m obviously quite sore, so I didn’t ride to my best abilities, but I just wanted to get some more laps in.”
Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 KTM Team Manager
“It was an incredible intense two days test for the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team. I would like to thank our two riders for their commitments. I know, they have a long season behind them and obviously they must be a bit tired, but they showed great spirits for this first real MotoGP test. They brought a very light and positive atmosphere in the garage and both of them delivered an impressive performance on the bike, plus interesting comments. As we all know they are rookies, it was interesting to listen to what they said and see the progression on each run they were doing.”
“Clearly, the weather conditions were not ideal with really, really strong wind, that made it a bit challenging on track. But nevertheless, they did a lot of laps. I think they understood a bit more now, what they need to do to ride this bike fast and what they need to do to be fit physically. They understand that the upper body needs to be much stronger with the speed and the carbon brakes of the MotoGP bike. So, altogether, I think it was a very productive and interesting test for them to go into the winter break, knowing what to do and having a good idea of how to arrive in Sepang.”
“I would like to thank Dani Pedrosa as well for his role as a test rider, but also as an adviser. He came to see our riders after having been on the service road watching them and every single bit of advice he gave them was very important and very helpful. So, we are finally done. We can all go home with the feeling that this is mission accomplished. Now it’s up to the brains inside the KTM Factory Racing department to sharpen our 2022 weapons, but I’ve got all trust in them.”
“Before to finish, I would like – as I did already – thank the riders, but also thank the whole crew for their never-give-up attitude, for their hard work almost 20 hours a day, for the smiles, they never lose on their faces. Some people don’t understand how tough it is to be a racing mechanic or engineer, but I know and I would like to thank every single team member, including the organization and media department for their commitment, for their support and I wish everybody a good winter break to enjoy their personal life before we all head to Malaysia.”
The next appointment for the rookies on track will be from January 31st for a shakedown reserved to rookies only, before the returning riders then join them on February 5th and 6th for the first official MotoGP test which will open the 2022 season officially.
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