Comprehensive report from a rain affected Catalunya MotoGP Monday test session that saw Bradley Smith top the charts ahead of Suzuki’s Espargaro and Vinales
MotoGP riders stayed after the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya to conduct an official post-race test, but were limited by rain.
Many riders and teams had their testing schedules dramatically altered as a heavy rain shower at midday forced riders into the pits. Those learning a new bike this season took the opportunity to test in the wet, while some of the more experienced riders ended the day early.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith set a 1’42.018 to lead the test overall. Smith had no specific new parts to test; instead focusing on improving his overall setting on the bike as he looks to close the gap to the factory riders.
Bradley Smith – 1st / 1’42.018 / 18 laps – “Today was a really interesting test for us and I’m pleased with the outcome. It was very short at just 18 laps, but I knew that I had to get out on track early because we were aware that the rain was coming in the afternoon. In total, we did four runs and we were able to analyse some different settings for the front suspension which enabled us to get a bit more feeling and stability. All three solutions were positive so this means that we have a good base to start from in the future. We completed 90% of our work today as we weren’t expecting a long test. Altogether, we had five or six runs planned and in the end, I ran four so we didn’t miss out on a lot. The lap time was ok considering the cooler track temperature this morning, but I feel happy that we’ve made a good step forward and I can’t wait for the Motul TT Assen next week.”
Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro finished the post Catalunya Grand Prix test in 8th position after experimenting with the balance and the riding position on his Yamaha YZR-M1. The Spaniard, who unfortunately fell during his home Grand Prix, got straight to work and rode 18 laps in the morning before the thunderstorms interrupted the session. He set his fastest lap on his 8th which was a 1’42.673 leaving him in 8th, and six-tenths of a second back from his teammate who topped the standings. Despite the weather causing an early finish for the 24 year old rider, he remains confident of clinching success at the next race in the Netherlands at the legendary Assen circuit.
Pol Espargaro – 8th / 1’42.673 / 18 laps – “We wanted to try a few different setup options and today should have been a very imporant day, but unfortunately the rain prevented us from making a lot a progress. I only rode 18 laps and it started raining quite early so in the end, we just had time to experiment with the height of the bike and the riding position. Yet, due to the lack of track time, the results are inconclusive for now as we couldn’t evaluate it fully and on a new set of tyres. Furthermore, there wasn’t enough time to get into a good rhythm to see how the changes affected the bike over a number of laps. Therefore, we are leaving here a bit dissatisfied, as today should have been vital to test after the tricky weekend we had. However, we will improve in Assen where I intend to bounce back strongly.”
The post-race test was another strong performance from both Team Suzuki Ecstar riders, Maverick Viñales finishing in second with Aleix Espargaro just 0.058s behind his rookie teammate. Suzuki worked-on improvements on the electronics and to finalise the settings on the new GSX-RR engine specifications, plus a new front fairing to help both riders find more top-speed on the straights. Unfortunately only Viñales made a proper test of the fairing as Espargarò slid-off – without any major injury – early into the test, and just before heavy rain began to fall.
Before the downpour, both riders topped the session until the very end, with Viñales scoring a 1’42.069 in his second lap out of 20 and Espargarò right behind him with 1’42.127 on lap seven from 11 before Bradley Smith pushed Viñales into second place by 0.051 seconds.
Aleix Espargaro – “Yesterday I was really upset because of the crash, it was a very bad-end to a weekend that was very positive for us. For this reason, this morning I was very happy to take to the track again and to re-start my mind-set and get back on my GSX-RR. I guess that this morning just one second after 10am (when the track was opened). I was out running, then unfortunately in lap 10 I crashed; it was in the same corner where I crashed yesterday in the race, but this time it was very different: Yesterday I was almost stopped, while today it was very fast. I don’t know what happened, but we are still investigating through the data. Then it started raining so we had to stop; it’s a pity because we had many things to try but luckily we will move to Aragon for some more testing. I need to ride again soon, try not to fall again; and continue the development.”
Maverick Viñales – “The short-term objective is to find a better pace with worn tyres and finally we did it today. The colder weather also helped but I’m proud to see that I ran almost six- tenths-of-a-second faster than in yesterday’s race. The rain stopped our work and now we need to do it in Alcañiz, we need to improve on the tyre management and to finalise a set-up that remains consistent as the tyres get worn. We had some new parts to test but most of all I focused on my riding style. Of course we need data to grow therefore any laps is an important source of information for us.”
After a mixed weekend the Repsol Honda Team were eager to test a revision to their electronics package before the approaching software freeze. The team had also brought their 2014 chassis to run alongside their current one in order to conduct a back-to-back comparison but did not manage to do so. Despite this Marc Marquez finished in fourth with Dani Pedrosa in sixth.
Marc Marquez went out on track as soon as the lights turned green at 10am and teammate Dani Pedrosa followed at 10h30, but they only managed a few exits before rain showers arrived, and progressively built into a heavy thunderstorm. Nevertheless, Marc was able to complete three exits and had an opportunity to test last year’s chassis – equipped with the 2015 engine, swing arm and exhaust – and gave positive first impressions. He completed a total of twenty laps, recording his fastest time of 1’42.197 on lap three, placing him 4th fastest.
Dani had planned to test electronic settings, the new exhaust and some other setup parts but his test programme was also cut short, only managing sixteen laps with his fastest time of 1’42.386 arriving on lap five, leaving him 6th for the day.
Marc Marquez – 4TH 1’42.197 [LAP 3/20] – “We didn’t have much luck with the weather today, it started to rain very early on and we could only do three runs. The important thing is that the one point we did try – last year’s chassis with this year’s swingarm and engine gave us a positive feeling. We have to confirm our findings and compare the telemetry, because it wasn’t a huge step forward and we couldn’t do many laps, but the first impressions were good. The rain interrupted our work, but we’ll see if we can continue working in this way because I’m feeling better on the bike all the time.”
Dani Pedrosa – 6TH 1’42.386 [LAP 5/16] – “The idea we had for today was to make different adjustments to the bike and try to improve different aspects of it. But in the end we were only able to make two runs on track, and only on one of these did we test the electronics. The truth is that we couldn’t really do much more, because it started to rain a lot.”
Before the rain Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac Racing) ended the test in fifth having set a 1’42.332 as he tested new brake components before tasting the Catalunya kitty litter.
Cal Crutchlow (CWM LCR Honda) went out on track early to put in a race simulation, wanting to fully understand his potential pace from Sunday’s race where he was unable to finish after having contact with another rider. The Brit ended the test in tenth with a 1’42.857.
Scott Redding (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) finished the test in 12th, but completed39 laps, the most of any rider. Redding completed two runs in the rain, to evaluate the wet weather performance of two different sets of steel front brake discs, before finally calling it a day two hours earlier than planned.
Scott Redding: 12th – 1’43.134 – 20 Laps – “Today’s conditions weren’t perfect, with the thunderstorm effectively ending the test at lunchtime, but at least I got some more laps under my belt and even limited testing is better than no testing. This afternoon I also did a couple of runs in the wet to test a few things and it was nice to get the feeling back in the rain, which could come in useful next week at Assen, where you’re never quite sure what the weather will do.”
Chris Pike: Scott Redding’s Chief Engineer – “We wanted to try a slightly different chassis layout today and we took some tentative steps with that before the rain arrived. What we could do was limited by the weather, but the initial feedback was positive and we’ll continue with it at Assen and see if we can progress further. Once the rain eased up Scott did a couple of runs in the wet to test some different front brake discs, with positive results.”
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team did not go out on track after their domination of the Catalan GP on Sunday, instead heading to test at Aragon on Tuesday.
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “Today ultimately we decided not to go out to test due to the weather conditions. There were some heavy thunderstorms and rain conditions that made our plans for testing at Montmeló literally fall into the water. We were planning on trying a brand-new chassis with both riders in an effort to improve corner entry. We also wanted to check on some small details, but it didn’t make sense to test in these conditions. Fortunately we can look forward to traveling to Aragon for some testing in the coming days, so we still have enough time to tryout the new pieces. We will work focusing right now on the second part of the season and especially for Assen.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 remained in the pits after the rain.
Jack Miller had hoped for more time on track in Monday’s post Grand Prix test at the circuit of Barcelona-Catalunya but some Mediterranean showers cut their work short. On his Open Specification RC213V-RS Jack Miller put in some laps in the dry in the morning and later tried a wet setting after the showers had fallen.
Jack Miller – 1’42.512 – “I’m happy with the result today and it was important to have the test to try some things. Ok the weather wasn’t quite perfect, that wasn’t what we wanted, but we got to do some wet testing to try and work out a map for wet race. Say it’s dry all weekend and then it’s wet on a Sunday, so this was quite important. Also in the dry this morning we were able to play around with some settings and we felt comfortable. We improved on our time from the weekend. I really look forward to going to Assen now and I think it’s a good track. We still need to improve the feeling with the front a little bit more as it’s a track where it’s really important to have a lot of front feeling. Anyway, I’ve had some success there in the past so I look forward to getting to Holland and to try and do a good job.”
Miller’s CWM LCR Honda teammate Cal Crutchlow had been hoping for a full day of testing to overcome the hangover of disappointment from the Grand Prix of Catalunya but Crutchlow put in just a handful of laps on his Honda RC213V before calling it a day when the rain came down.
Cal Crutchlow – 1’42.857 – “We’re really disappointed with the weather situation, we knew there was a possibility of some rain, but it’s like you need Noah’s Ark out there! We had some things to test, not new parts, but some settings we wanted to try. I didn’t feel well either after picking up food poisoning last night, so in the end I only really completed four full laps. We need to keep working hard because we come off the back of a bad run of results, two of which haven’t been our fault. Our pace is the best of the satellite bikes without a shadow of a doubt, and we’re also close to the factory Honda guys so we can go to Assen with high hopes.”
Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden of the Aspar MotoGP Team worked hard throughout the day. The pair continuing to test a new swing arm for the Open Honda machine, Hayden especially eager to get more time on the bike after two DNFs. The American completed 23 laps and was 11th fastest while Laverty was 17th with a 1’44.517 before the rain came.
Catalunya MotoGP Test Results – June 15, 2015
SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’42.018
VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’42.069
ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’42.127
MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’42.197
HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL Pramac Racing 1’42.332
PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’42.386
MILLER Jack 43 AUS CWM LCR Honda 1’42.512
ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’42.673
BRADL Stefan 6 GER Athina Forward Racing 1’42.747
CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR CWM LCR Honda 1’42.857
HAYDEN Nicky 69 USA Aspar MotoGP Team 1’42.949
REDDING Scott 45 GBR Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1’43.134
PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Pramac Racing 1’43.143
BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’43.219
DI MEGLIO Mike 63 FRA Avintia Racing 1’44.054
BAZ Loris 76 FRA Athina Forward Racing 1’44.249
LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE Aspar MotoGP Team 1’44.517
MELANDRI Marco 33 ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’45.107
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