Jorge Lorenzo tops Jerez MotoGP Test
It was cloudy but warm for the first official mid-season MotoGP test on Monday in Jerez and Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, who had dominated proceedings during the race weekend, ended the day once more on top of the timesheets recording a 1’38.516.
After a brilliant race from Jorge Lorenzo on Sunday, that saw him take the 55th victory of his career and teammate Valentino Rossi claim his 200th career podium, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team returned to the Circuito de Jerez de la Frontera today for an official MotoGP test on Monday along with virtually the entire MotoGP field.
Still elated from his stunning victory, Lorenzo had every reason to smile on Monday as it was also his 28th birthday. Despite the fact that he was focusing on improving the set up of his YZR-M1, it wasn’t long after he hit the track that he moved into second place. He concluded his morning stint by topping the timesheets with a 1’38.516 lap, which remained unbeaten for the rest of the day by all but himself. During his afternoon outing he dropped another fastest time of 1’38,508, which only his teammate got close to.
Rossi also made strides today. Similar to his teammate he steadily booked progress as he focused on improving his setting compared to yesterday. Though he was satisfied with his third place in the race, the Doctor is always looking for improvement and spent most of today’s session testing small details of the set-up he hadn’t been able to try during last weekend. He ended the day in second place with a fastest lap of 1’38,550, 0,042s off his teammate’s time.
Jorge Lorenzo – 1st / 1’38,508 / 52 laps – “I’m quite happy after scoring the first victory of the season for me and also because I turned 28 today. I could feel the heartwarming response from so many people. I’m back in the groove and I returned to the podium, so now I hope to keep this momentum going in the coming races like Le Mans, Mugello and Montmeló. Today we tested as usual here in Jerez, but we were only focused on different set ups with the bike. We had nothing special to test, but we fixed the basis of the bike for the future. I think we found out how we can take profit of some adjustments, so we are quite confident for the next Grand Prix!”
Valentino Rossi – 2nd / 1’38,550 / 66 laps – “This testing day was positive. We didn’t have many things to try, just some small detail of set up. We focused on improving the bike compared to yesterday and I am very happy because we could also improve the time we did in qualifying. I was happy with the podium in Jerez, it was a positive weekend, but we could have done better, so today we focused on the bike’s set-up. We tried some solutions that we couldn’t try during the race weekend. The results of these tests were interesting. In two weeks we will be at Le Mans and we have to do a good weekend. I like the track a lot, but first I need a few days off!”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “Today was a good day, especially after a good weekend for us. Jerez left us a good feeling with both riders and we are glad Jorge is back on form. Also Vale did a good job despite having a few little problems finding the perfect set up for the race yesterday. We were able to achieve a very valuable double podium, which is very important, also in terms of the constructor and team championships. Today we worked mainly on comparing different set-ups with both riders based on yesterday’s results and also focusing on the next race. We’re all looking forward to Le Mans!”
CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (+0.306s) followed up his fourth during the race in Jerez by finishing third in the test, as he tried out some new suspension parts and worked on the electronics package on his RC213V as he put in 64 laps.
The British rider was the second Honda across the line in Sunday’s race, and in the continued absence of Dani Pedrosa from the factory line-up, Crutchlow took on extra testing duties by helping the manufacturer assess a new swing-arm for the MotoGP machine. Crutchlow and the team also worked on his electronics package, eventually completing a total of 64 laps, with a best time of 1’38.822 making him the fastest Honda on the day, and third fastest rider overall.
Cal Crutchlow – 3rd / 1’38.814 / 64 laps – “We tested a lot today – we had a few things to go through. We didn’t need to do so many laps though, I think it was over 60 fast laps and I was happy with that, we didn’t see the point in doing 100 laps if they weren’t fast! We went a lot faster than during the race yesterday, but that’s always the case. If we had the race today I think we’d have been a bit faster over the race distance after going through the settings we needed to. We’ve been struggling with rear grip, and also with initial braking too – compared to Marc Marquez anyway and his style is different so it’s hard to compare too much. He’s actually also had the rear grip problems too, so we both tested a new swing-arm and took some positives from that. It was good for Honda that they got some information from another rider that’s competitive, and it’s nice for me to be able to do that test for them.”
Suzuki used the day to continue the development-process of its GSX-RRs, following a pre-determined plan and reacting to the information collected in the last three-days of the race weekend. The main objectives were to verify improvements made on the chatter issues and to look for better traction; the latest ideas being pursued with updated electronics, but also with a new swingarm and variations in machine geometry. Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales made a number of runs, recording a total of 63 and 79 laps respectively.
Aleix Espargaro – 4th / 1’38.890 / 63 laps “It’s been a good day of testing. We worked to improve traction and to better -understand both the positives and negatives of what we have tested. Today said to me that probably a hard front tyre would have been better in yesterday’s race, but the other thing is that we improved a lot the feeling with the traction of the bike. We tested both a different swingarm and electronics software, finally collecting a lot of information on what works best and what is worse. At this point I feel that we have a very competitive package, it’s not a matter of pure power any more but to exploit better what we have available. With my engineers we worked on some new ideas and finally we found some very interesting paths to follow for the future.”
Maverick Viñales – 9th / 1’39.475 / 79 laps – “We ran a lot of laps today with the objective of testing as much as we could. To me the new swingarm resulted to have positives and negatives so it gave us a lot of ideas as to what else we can try. We had available some new electronics and we managed to be consistent on a pace that was much faster than yesterday in the race. The very good thing gleaned from the day is that we tested some new ideas in geometry and they gave us very positive improvements in braking: I feel much more confident in getting more into the corner with brakes than before. This is much more important for tracks like Le Mans with very slow corners, which is the next race.”
Due to fatigue from his injury and in order to give him a chance to recover, Marc – who finished second on Sunday – only tested for two hours but it was important to receive his feedback on the new swingarm HRC brought from Japan. Marc completed 31 laps with his best time 1’38.968 placing him 5th fastest.
Marc Marquez – 5th / 1’38.968 / 31 laps – “I’m happy with the work we have done today. I put in a few laps, as we planned last night, basically just to test out a swingarm. HRC engineers wanted us to analyse it to find out if we could use it in the coming races, to see where we can improve and which direction to continue working in. We have drawn some very positive conclusions that have allowed us to improve in some aspects today, and we have obtained a lot of information for further development with things that have been a little bit more difficult, for example corner entry.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith finished in 6th position. After battling to 8th in yesterday’s 27 lap race, the young British rider undertook an in depth test and focused on solving the issues that he was experiencing during the weekend as well as sampling new suspension forks and alternative electronic settings. The 23 year old rider finished the session under the Andalusian sun with a best time of 1’39.339 after completing a total of 41 laps around the 4.4 kilometre circuit which he set on his final lap of the day. After the positive test, Smith now looks optimistically towards the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France and is fully confident of challenging for the leading satellite rider position.
Bradley Smith – 6th / 1’39.339 / 41 laps – “Overall, the test was very productive for us today. After the weekend that we had, we did a great job to fix the issues we were experiencing. The day started in a great way as we found the answer to solve 75% of our troubles straight away during our first run. Yet, at the same time, it’s a bit frustrating that we didn’t find this solution earlier in the week. However, that’s what technical meetings are for and we had a long one on Sunday night. It wasn’t until after the race that we thought about this specific idea and after having a look into the data, we put it straight on the bike and it worked. We were also able to try a new set of front suspension forks today which gave me a better feeling in the areas that I was struggling in and that caused me to fall in the practice sessions. All in all, it was a short test as we only did 41 laps, yet we accomplished everything that we set out to do, with electronics and suspension. Now, I look confidently towards the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team’s home race at Le Mans.”
Pol Espargaro concluded the Jerez test in 10th position as he undertook work on the electronics settings of his Yamaha YZR-M1 whilst intending to make further steps forward after his strong result of 5th in the MotoGP race yesterday. The young Spaniard got straight to work today and pushed hard to complete a total of 45 laps around the Circuito de Jerez. The 2014 MotoGP rookie of the year unfortunately fell at turn 7 in the morning but did not suffer any injuries. Nevertheless, he jumped straight back on the Yamaha and set his quickest time of 1’39.654 on his 6th lap. Despite this, Espargaro can confidently anticipate the next MotoGP rounds in Europe where he intends to clinch some further top results.
Pol Espargaro – 10th / 1’39.654 / 45 laps – “On the whole, the outcome of today was positive and we have some new useful information that we can use in the future races. However, we were also a little bit unlucky because I fell on the second lap in the morning. It was a fast crash and honestly, we didn’t expect this to occur as we didn’t change any of the electronics from yesterday. We checked what happened on the data and the results are inconclusive as to what made me fall. Nevertheless, I am fine and not injured so there is not a major problem. Today we basically tested the electronic systems that we didn’t test in Malaysia because we didn’t have enough time during the opening tests of the season. We finally assessed them here and the outcome is positive. However, everything has been good this weekend, as we had a strong race and solid pace with the bike, so I am leaving Jerez satisfied and confident for the upcoming races.”
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Scott Redding completed 105 laps, improving both his pace and consistency compared to Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. Redding was out as soon as the track opened this morning, putting in two long runs using the same settings with which he finished the race yesterday. A better feeling with the front meant that the 22-year-old Briton rediscovered the confidence that was lacking this weekend and he gained even more confidence as his lap time continued to improve.
The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider also made some changes to his positioning on the bike, giving him the freedom to more easily move his bodyweight to counter both braking and acceleration forces. The result was that Redding’s typically aggressive riding style was smoothed out, which led to more consistency in his lap times.
Scott Redding – 8th / 1’39.370 / 105 laps – “It’s been a long test, but a good one! Testing is always tough straight after a race weekend, but we kicked off with two runs of ten laps, because I needed to rediscover the feeling with the bike. Straight out of the box it was better; especially the front. We didn’t change so much today, only my position on the bike really, but it made a difference. I was able to move around the bike more easily and load the front tyre and it’s all about loading the front tyre. Go hard into the turn and it’s all good, but go slow and you don’t make the corner. It’s all a bit back to front, but that’s what test days are for, finding these things out. Overall it’s been a positive test and I leave the circuit tonight much happier than I left it yesterday.”
After a difficult weekend, this was an opportunity for Athinà Forward Racing’s Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz to test new solutions for the race in Le Mans. At the end of a weekend affected by lack of grip on the rear, both riders focused on the electronics and on the set-up to improve the feeling with their bikes and be competitive again in France.
Bradl was the quickest rider in the Open class as he finished in 12th position with a time of 1’39.887. Baz was 16th with 59 laps and a personal best lap of 1’40.186.
Stefan Bradl – 12th / 1’39.887 / 52 laps – “Despite my condition not being at a 100% yet, I’m already happy to be back on track. It was a tough weekend and it was important to go back to work and further develop the bike. We focused on the electronics and set-up. I am satisfied. We go to Le Mans convinced that we can fight with the other Open for the lead.”
Loris Baz – 16th / 1’40.186 / 59 laps – “I am very happy with the work done today. Over the weekend we struggled to find rear grip and today we focused on it to get ready for Le Mans. We tried several new solutions and the feeling is getting better.”
Aspar riders focussed on the Jerez Test with one thing in mind: Finding more grip – especially with the rear. The race weekend had been tricky for them, so they had to work from the early stages onwards to find solutions to their problems. Throughout the day they focused on testing electronics, traction control, various mapping setups and many other variables. Fortunately, the findings were very positive. Both Nicky Hayden and Eugene Laverty rode at a similar pace to that of the weekend, but with a much better feeling. Hayden set his best time in the last hour of the day, and finally broke the 1:40 barrier. Laverty preferred a move away from consistency to seeking a fast time. The pair were also able to test new setups and accumulate useful data for the next round at Le Mans Both rode until the end of the test, completing 73 laps each.
Nicky Hayden – 14th / 1.39.909 / 73 laps – “The conditions today have been better -cooler than the rest of the weekend. Today was a positive day in which we improved our times and our feeling. After 73 laps we have drawn many conclusions -some positive and others less so- but the overall verdict for the day is satisfactory. The team did a great job despite the accumulated fatigue of the whole GP weekend. Today the solutions allowed me to overcome the 1:40 barrier and improve my times from qualifying. In addition, with the hard tyre I was significantly faster than I was over the weekend. In yesterday’s race we suffered a lot under braking, and this was something we improved a lot today. Oviously we always have work still to do, but all the information gathered today could be very useful at Le Mans.”
Eugene Laverty – 15th / 1.40.101 / 73 laps – “I’m surprised we completed 73 laps, because a crash at midday lost us some time. We’ve worked hard today, basically focusing on improving the rear setup. As I mentioned yesterday, for the race we found productive solutions but they were a little aggressive, and that harmed me in other areas. Today we worked to find a more balanced bike, and the findings have been fantastic. Finally, after an entire weekend here, we have discovered how to get more grip with the rear and how to find a balance for the bike. We have solved the problem that has plagued us at the first few races of the year, and now we know which way to go. The mechanics have also worked on traction control, which we still continue to develop, but we liked what we tested today.”
After a disappointing Spanish GP on Sunday, Jack Miller and his CWM LCR Honda Team tried to solve some of the problems they encountered during the race. The Australian put in 64 solid laps of the Andalusian track, eventually finishing with the 17th quickest time of the day. His best of 1’40.248 was faster than the lap Miller had put in during qualifying on Saturday, and half a second quicker than his best race lap.
Jack Miller – 17th / 1’40.248 / 64 laps – “I’m reasonably happy with today, there’s always a lot of work to do during testing. We’ve come up with a decent set-up, one with which we could ride consistently at our fastest lap time of the weekend. That’s a real bonus because as well as the team learning a lot, I also did. We can think of this test as being positive and we will take a lot from it. I now feel a lot more ready to travel to Le Mans than if we had just packed up and left after Sunday’s race. It’s definitely been a good test all round.”
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera had some new parts to test to effectively turn his Open GP14 into the 14.1 his teammate Danilo Petrucci rides.
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini debuted their full seamless shift gearbox at the test with Alvaro Bautista, while Marco Melandri had a new swingarm and chassis to test. Bautista made dramatic progress to end the day in 11th, 1.2s behind Lorenzo, while Melandri finished last in 22nd. The Italian team’s entire season has been and will be characterised by continuous experimentation with technical solutions which serve both to improve the performance of the RS-GP and to provide data and information for the design of the prototype that will race in the 2016 season. For this the technical step today takes on particular importance and paves the way for the new gearbox’s race début which could take place in one of the next European MotoGP rounds. The team also worked on new chassis solutions, particularly on a new frame and swingarm. The test results will now be processed at the Noale headquarters in order to prepare for the upcoming races.
Romano Albesiano – (Aprilia Racing Manager) – “Today was a very positive day. For the first time we put our seamless gearbox technology, a particular Aprilia solution, on the track with an official rider. Alvaro liked it very much and found a clear advantage straight away compared to the conventional gearbox. So it was a complete success which now means that we’ll have to work hard to get it into a race as quickly as possible. Considering how things went today I think we’ll be able to do that soon, within the next two or three races. I’d like to have it for Mugello or at the latest for Barcelona. Marco did his job, bringing in new chassis ideas, some we liked and some not so much, so we still have some work to do in that area. In short I would say that, between the race and the tests, we are finishing up this trip to Jerez pretty well.”
Jerez MotoGP Test Results April 2015
1 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’38.508
2 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’38.550
3 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR CWM LCR Honda 1’38.814
4 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’38.890
5 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’38.968
6 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’39.339
7 HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL Pramac Racing 1’39.357
8 REDDING Scott 45 GBR Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1’39.370
9 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’39.475
10 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’39.654
11 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’39.766
12 BRADL Stefan 6 GER Athina Forward Racing 1’39.887
13 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Pramac Racing 1’39.892
14 HAYDEN Nicky 69 USA Aspar MotoGP Team 1’39.909
15 LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE Aspar MotoGP Team 1’40.101
16 BAZ Loris 76 FRA Athina Forward Racing 1’40.186
17 MILLER Jack 43 AUS CWM LCR Honda 1’40.248
18 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Avintia Racing 1’40.260
19 AOYAMA Hiroshi 7 JPN Repsol Honda Team 1’40.342
20 ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE AB Motoracing 1’40.654
21 DI MEGLIO Mike 63 FRA Avintia Racing 1’41.085
22 MELANDRI Marco 33 ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’41.825