MotoGP riders and teams stayed on at Jerez on Monday for an official test session and it was Maverick Viñales that, as he does so often, topped the test with a 1:36.879. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider putting in a characteristically busy day at the office as he did 101 laps.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was second just 0.034 back, with Joan Mir making it two Suzukis in the top three although the reigning Champion was four tenths off Viñales as the duo on top pulled clear.
Yamaha were represented by Viñales, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Valentino Rossi ((Petronas Yamaha SRT) as Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) sat the test out following his arm pump troubles on Sunday. Still, it was a busy day. Adding to Viñales’ full century at the top of the timesheets, in which the number 12 went a few tenths quicker than qualifying, Morbidelli did 67 laps and was P9; Rossi 73 laps for P12.
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director
“First of all, I want to say that the team is obviously sad that Fabio couldn‘t attend the test today. However, as stated before, his health is the most important thing to us. Following his arm pump problem in yesterday‘s race, Fabio will get a medical check-up and more news should follow soon. In the meantime, we had a full day of riding to do here in Jerez. Maverick‘s Spanish GP was compromised by a turning issue. Today we spent a good amount of time looking into that area and we saw clear improvement. He also did a good long run in the afternoon and completed a total of 101 laps, far more than any other rider. We finished the test on top, which is positive, but the main thing we got out of this test is an increased confidence with the bike for Maverick – this is something really important for the upcoming race in Le Mans. We know that the Bugatti circuit fits the characteristics of our bike well, so we are hoping for a good race weekend there.”
Maverick Vinales – P1
“We didn‘t try any new parts. I was just trying to give a bit more and learn about myself, trying to brake a little bit later. It seemed to be working. I was really good in the morning, the conditions were amazing, so we could ride very fast. In the afternoon the conditions were a bit more tricky, but we were still riding very fast. I did a long run, and I was actually quite happy. So, I‘m quite confident for Le Mans, because I think today we found what I needed in Portimao and here in Jerez. I have more confidence with the bike now. I did more laps and adapted a little bit more. I just feel good now. I think in Le Mans we can concentrate on being a bit faster.”
Fresh from his podium finish yesterday, Morbidelli’s day began in the second hour of the test, when the track opened again following an early red flag stoppage. With a new front fender and new swingarm to try, the Italian got down to work, completing 31 laps before the lunch break. Franco was also able to assess new front fork settings, with the aim of improving the stopping capability of the bike. Completing a further 36 laps after in the final two hours after his lunch break, bringing his total to 67, Morbidelli ended the test ninth with a best time of 1min 37.627secs.
Franco Morbidelli – P9
“We had the opportunity today to work with some new parts and provide my feedback on them, which is nice, but we mostly focused on trying to improve the braking. It was an area that I didn’t have a perfect feeling with, so it was something we could look to better and I think we have found something today that has improved my feeling under braking, so this is good. I hope that the things that we have found here also work in Le Mans. It will be important to do a good job there and I hope that we continue to be strong going forwards, I will be trying my best to be.”
Team-mate Rossi also began his Jerez test once the red flag period was over and, like Morbidelli, he could also test the new front fender and new swingarm on his Yamaha YZR-M1 throughout the day. In addition to this Valentino was able to evaluate settings on the electronic side of the bike. Ahead of the mid-session lunch break the Italian had completed 36 laps, before taking to the track again with under three hours on the clock. At the end of the test Rossi had improved upon his personal best of the last 4 days, setting a 1min 37.700secs, and made a big step forward with his race pace. He completed a total of 73 laps, 37 in the afternoon, and was the 12th fastest rider.
Valentino Rossi – P12
“Today was a good test for me because we improved the feeling with the bike, the pace with the race tyre and in the time attack. It was a long day because the conditions were good, so we did a lot of laps. The team and I worked on the balance of the bike, the settings and we can see the improvements, as I was better under braking and in corner entry. We also have some other new bits for the bike, which is good and helps. I’m happy because we were able to improve today, after a difficult weekend, and I have a much better feeling with the bike. It is just a one-day test, we need to see what happens at Le Mans but I am leaving here with a good feeling.”
Rins led the Suzuki charge and despite finishing the test just after lunchtime, the Spaniard put in 59 laps. Once again, he was testing the “possible” 2022 engine that he, teammate Mir and test rider Sylvain Guintoli tested in Qatar. He also worked on improving on used tyres, impressed with the pace as it was a step up on the weekend. He headed to Barcelona for a check up on his shoulder in the afternoon. Mir did 64 laps.
“Today has been useful; we got good feedback from the riders and we found improvements, which is always the goal of a test day. We feel pleased because we think we’ve found some steps for the next races and also useful information for the future. Both riders put in a lot of laps and their times are strong, so we leave here feeling satisfied.”
Alex Rins – P2
“Today was a good day for us, we tried several things, including trying the 2022 engine. I was happy and confident with the bike and pleased with how everything went. We also worked on the set-up in terms of suspension and a few small things, and I feel like we’ve improved our base. I was able to set fast times even on used tyres, faster than yesterday, so I’m happy with the result.”
Joan Mir – P3
“Honestly, I think we had a great day, we did a lot of work and I’m feeling happy. We tried the 2022 engine again and we found what we expected – that it’s not massively different but it’s an improvement, and the characteristics were what we expected. We took a lot of useful information. I also tried different geometry on the bike to try and get better feeling from the front of the bike, and I’m happy with what we’ve done. My lap times were pretty nice, and it’s been a very useful day.”
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was the top Honda in the test as he was on race day, both times in fourth. He did 71 laps. Five different aero packages were seen at Honda between him, eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) and LCR Honda Castrol’s Alex Marquez, which gained a few glances up and down pitlane.
Nakagami tried aero, but then mainly focused on setup. He said he was more consistent and really comfortable, looking forward to Le Mans, and that the 2020 chassis is working well. He also warned against seeing that change back as something signifying the new chassis was negative.
Takaaki Nakagami – P4
“Today was a busy test day, we tried many new items and a different set-up of the bike. It was a really good test for us and many things worked pretty well. The feeling on the bike is much better than on Sunday, so I’m happy about the performance. The lap time is much more consistent and the feeling is better, so I think we’re ready for the next race in Le Mans.”
Teammate Alex Marquez also felt he made improvements on Monday, and did 75 laps to end the day in P15. That was just ahead of Marc Marquez as the eight-time World Champion only did seven laps, feeling some after effects of his crashes during the weekend.
Álex Márquez – P15
“Today we tried a lot of things and we worked so hard from 10:15 in the morning to 18:00 in the evening to improve. It’s true that we found something compared to the GP and we were able to improve the rhythm, so this is positive. We tried new aerodynamic package, new parts and a lot things for Honda to give feedback to the factory. It was a long day, a productive day, I would have liked to make a time attack to be further up in the standings, but I think our main priority was to build up the confidence again.”
Pol Espargaro focused on aero, electronics and ergonomics, things he says seem fairly small but when a rider is adapting to a bike, can make a big difference. He says he’ll remain on the same chassis, as he thinks there remains a good margin of improvement. The number 44 was spotted riding at least three different HRC bikes during the test though – his standard, one with different aero and a completely carbon coloured bike.Just around midday, Espargaro suffered a fall at Turn 1 but was unharmed and quickly returned to the garage. In the closing hour of the day Espargaro suffered a second fall, avoiding any injury.
Pol Espargaro – P6
“We did 89 laps today; it has been a very busy and productive day for us. We have worked on many things, electronics, aero, ergonomics – they seem simple or small topics but when you’re still new to a bike they can make a big difference together. We have performed well today, I was close to Taka who has been the strongest Honda this weekend so I am happy. No matter what, we have learned a lot today and it has been very good for me to have a day like today where we can ride and try things without the pressure of a race weekend. Now we look to Le Mans.”
The day in Jerez was short for Marc Marquez, completing seven laps over two runs before calling an end to his test. After a physically demanding weekend, Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team elected to focus on his continued recovery and allow the maximum amount of time to prepare for the French GP.
Marc Marquez – P16
“Today we didn’t really test, just one run because on the second run my body was already locking up. My neck and my right shoulder were stiff, it’s similar to after Portimao but I was not as locked up as I was after Portugal. The crash I had on Saturday didn’t help with my physical condition. I thought that maybe today when my body had warmed up it would be better, and I could try but straight away I could tell I wasn’t at a good level for riding. We spoke as a team and decided to stop the test, we need to understand that we’re improving step by step and the next target is Le Mans where we will try to improve again.”
At Ducati, most recent race winner Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) was straight back to work on Monday as he and World Championship-leading teammate Francesco Bagnaia completed a combined total of 84 laps, one day after securing the Bologna factory’s first 1-2 since Brno 2018. Bagnaia was tenth, Miller in P18.
Francesco Bagnaia – P10
“It has been a very positive day. Finally, we completed some work that has been pending since the last pre-season test in Qatar. We completed the entire programme today and were able to close the day early. Today, my pace was good, so I’m satisfied with the job done and ready for the next race at Le Mans”.
Jack Miller – P18
“After the race, there is always a lot of rubber on the ground, and the conditions are always favourable to have a test day. Also, the weather today allowed us to work well. We focused on some aspects that we normally don’t have time to work on during the weekend: we repeated tests and tried different setups to understand which one works best. It’s always important to do these double-checks and, above all, we gathered a lot of useful information. Now we will have a few days to rest, but I can’t wait to get back on track at Le Mans“.
Zarco was the fastest Borgo Panigale machine, however, putting in 75 laps. The Frenchman said he was focusing a lot on suspension rather than new parts, looking for a way to get the full potential of the new bike. Stand-in teammate Tito Rabat also tested on Monday, P20 after 65 laps. Rookie Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) moved up into eighth after 66 laps after a good day’s work, with Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) in P13 after 54 laps.
Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder said the key focus at KTM was about the tyres
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager
“This test day was really important. We had a big agenda and many ideas from the company. The hours were just flying by and all the riders did some fine work. We had a big ‘menu’ of test items for the chassis and we worked a lot on electronics and the suspension also. I think we did a good job and hopefully we can get the benefit out of it in France. Thanks to the factory for the big effort to keep giving us solutions and to both teams for pushing all the way through this week in Jerez.”
Sebastian Risse – KTM Technical Coordinator MotoGP
“I think overall we can say we had a pretty good day. There were quite a few items piling up in the last few weeks because neither the tracks nor the situations allowed us to test during a GP weekend. So, we were looking forward to this opportunity here to work through a wide range of things for the bike. There was a lot and I think each rider found some positives. We did not have time to give everybody everything yet so we will put together a plan to do that in the coming GPs. Of course, only a race scenario can show where we really are but I think we have some more tools at our disposal for the next rounds.”
Oliveira was trying to make changes to make the bike work better on the softer front without compromising their existing positives. He found an improvement in pace and was pretty positive. Oliveira was top KTM in P7 after 72 laps.
Miguel Oliveira – P7
“We took profit of the day to look at different solutions on the bike set-up and the soft front tyre and medium rear; as we would in a race simulation. We had many good laps. It was important to understand how to use soft compounds and our front feeling while also trying not to lose with the modifications we’ve already made to gain an advantage. We want to keep the positive characteristics of the bike.”
Binder repeated Oliveira’s words that the focus was on making the softer tyre work, purposefully staying away from using the harder front that normally suits them better. He said they found something that seemed to make life a little easier and ended the day in P11 after 66 laps.
Brad Binder – P11
“We had a busy day. We wanted to work more with the softer front tyre and think ahead to some of the tracks ahead. We did our homework and I’m definitely happy with some of the conclusions we reached to try and make life a bit easier for us. A lot of laps! We had a couple of small new things and managed to assess those. The best part of a test is that you can see which ideas work and which ones don’t. We got some good information for the guys.”
Danilo Petrucci in the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing ranks was seen sporting a different tank/seat area, the Italian seemingly trying some ergonomics to improve his feeling on the RC16. He was P19 after 63 laps, teammate Iker Lecuona 64 in P16.
Danilo Petrucci – P19
“We tried a different balance of the bike to make the rear tyre work a bit better. Especially in the latter part of the race we feel good, when the tyre is already worn a bit, also in braking. But we can’t really use the rear tyre when we have some extra traction in the beginning, which means that in Qualifying we struggle quite a bit and also the first part of the race yesterday has been pretty difficult. Overall today I understood the bike more, although I didn’t find what I was looking for. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to Le Mans, which is a track that I was on the podium the last three years. I hope there, we can find a good way.”
Iker Lecuona – P16
“The target was to improve and trying to adapt myself and also the bike to the soft tyre. today I struggled a bit but, finally, with the team we tried many things on the base and I managed to be quicker. Also, our pace was better than during the race. In general, I think we were working very well today. We will see what happens in Le Mans, but for the moment I’m fairly satisfied.”
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro had a tougher day at the office following his closest ever finish to the MotoGP winner, crashing early and then calling an early end to his test not long after, feeling under the weather after the incident although not sustaining any injuries. He ultimately did 12 laps and was P14. Lorenzo Savadori did 54 laps, however, and completed the timesheets.
MotoGP will reconvene next in two weeks time for round five at Le Mans.
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