A busy day of testing as a number of teams brought new parts and Michelin debuted three new front tyres
Monday after the Gran Premio Red Bull de España saw the first in-season MotoGP World Championship test take place. All teams but Avintia Racing remained behind at the Jerez Circuit to assess a number of new parts and continue improving their overall feeling with the new tyres and electronics.
Tyres have been a major talking point throughout the start of the season and Michelin are still working hard to deliver the best possible material they can. The French tyre company brought along three new front tyres for riders to test, each team were given one tyre with the hard compound and a revised construction and another tyre designed to stop locking under braking. Factory teams were also given the third front tyre, which has both a new compound and new construction. Rear tyres remained unchanged.
This made for an intense day of testing for all the riders and teams. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP squad focused on back-to-back runs with their current bikes and one featuring the ‘rear fuel tank’. Both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi had tried the fuel tank during pre-season testing and at various points in the first four races, but this was their first chance to use it on the new Michelin tyres without the stress of a race weekend. Lorenzo also experimented with the exhaust layout currently used by Rossi. Having won the race, Rossi was in no rush to head out on track and joined the field in the late afternoon for the final three hours.
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“The main objective for us today was to test the three front tyres, which we were able to do successfully. It was good to discover that both riders felt the benefit from the same tyre. This is encouraging as it really shows Michelin is working hard in the right direction to give as much confidence and performance as possible to the riders. We were also able to make a further test with the rear fuel tank compared with the conventional one and were able to decide that we will continue with the conventional. Jorge reconfirmed a configuration of exhaust pipe and we were finally able to make some back-to-back tests with different electronic and chassis settings to complete the day. Now we are saying farewell to Jerez and taking our confidence from yesterdays brilliant results on to our next challenge.”
Jorge Lorenzo –2nd / 1’39.332 / 59 LAPS
“Especially important for us is that we tried a different setting to turn better on the corners and I think we made quite a big improvement. Apart from that we tried some little things but nothing gave a better improvement.”
Valentino Rossi – 4th / 1’39.632 / 52 LAPS
“We didn’t have a lot of things to test today, just some small details. We tried the bike more in the 2016 version with a different fuel tank. For the rest, the important thing was the front tyre for Michelin. We tried three different front tyres, and we found something good; that was the most important thing. I felt better with the standard fuel tank so I think well continue with the normal one.”
In the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage Pol Espargaro turned his attention to electronics as Bradley Smith worked on rear suspension. As with all riders, they also helped to assess the new Michelin fronts.
Pol Espargaro – 9th / 1’39.942 / 62 laps
“I’m a bit surprised with today’s outcome because we tried a lot of adjustments on the bike and all of them turned out to be positive. However, the solutions that we found on the bike really helped me, especially at a track with low grip like this. In addition, I also sampled a couple of new front tyres from Michelin, which I am pleased with. Regarding the tyres of this weekend’s allocation, we had to use mainly the harder compound, as there wasn’t too many soft ones left, which I used in yesterdays race. However, we did use one soft tyre for more than 30 laps without any issues and at the moment its still my favourite compound. The good news is that with the setting that we made on the bike and the new tyres, we have made progress with the locking issues that we were having with the front. So the tyres which Michelin brought seem to be performing well, and we now have some solid points to take home. Well test the new compounds again after the Catalan Grand Prix and lets see what happens there.”
Bradley Smith – 11th / 1’40.335 / 71 laps
“Even though the results from todays test are not incredible, we’ve made some good progress but I don’t think this will dramatically turn around my season. We’ve been struggling a little so far this year, and Ive never really found something that Im completely comfortable with. A lot of what we did today was going over the things that we adjusted in the first track appearances in 2016 so that we could reconfirm our knowledge. The adjustments that we have made aren’t negative and we can see that we have gone in the right direction. This morning we retested everything and made sure that we have the best package in our garage. Then, this afternoon we tried a couple of front tyres for Michelin. I just evaluated these as best as I could but we used the normal tyres for our setup work as these new tyres are for the future. After that, we continued to focus on the bike, by establishing a base setting plus modifying the rear shock and altering my riding position too. Its been a busy day and there were no miracles, but then again, we weren’t really expecting any. The team and I just wanted to keep our heads down, do our best and gain about 0.3 seconds a lap. In the end, we actually beat our objective as we were about 0.5 faster. So I am pleased with the outcome and the team did a good job so lets see what we can do at their home GP.”
Aleix Espargaro had debuted Team Suzuki Ecstar’s winglets during the race weekend and the test gave Maverick Viñales his first change to try them. While Espargaro worked on improving the electronics, Viñales and his side of the garage looked to explore why they struggled so much in the race. Both riders ran on the standard 2015 frame.
Davide Brivio – Team Suzuki Manager
“It’s always good when we have the possibility to stay at the track for one more day to revise what happened in the racing weekend and have a back-to-back comparison. This helps us a lot in building our knowledge about all the technical aspects. With Maverick we managed to find some different set-ups that may have probably helped us yesterday in the race, we worked on a front tyre we didn’t choose for the weekend, while here we managed to make it work more efficiently. This is useful because it’s the same tyre we will have available to us in the next three races.Aleix as well had positive improvements, again in the settings, and he is now consistently close to the top riders. It was important for us to give him back the confidence with the machine: He with his crew are working intensely to recover from the difficulties he suffered pre-season and I’m happy to see him competitive again, as he can be. Back to the tyres; we also tested two new tyres for the rear and it was helpful to report our feedback to Michelin, which they will use for future development. After this positive day we gained more confidence, so it’s easier for us to look towards Le Mans with renewed enthusiasm.”
Maverick Viñales – 3rd / 1m39.536 / 91 laps
“The feeling with the winglets is that their help is not a huge improvement, but for sure they may help in certain situations. They will not cut tenths in the time attack, but they allow me to ride a little more comfortably and this is a very big help over the race distance. Our main priority was to work on the set-up, I need to reduce the spinning and to find a better traction as Le Mans will be a very demanding track in terms of hard braking and acceleration. I tried the new tyres for the rear but mainly I liked the soft front. Over the weekend we couldn’t find the best efficacy with them, so I didn’t use them, but today with some new set-up they work very well and we will try to adopt it more consistently.”
Aleix Espargaró – 6th / 1m39.682 / 71 laps
“Basically today we tried the winglets again after their debut on Friday and we focused a huge amount of work on different set-up possibilities. The electronics are another issue we explored more, as yesterday in the race I had some trouble with the traction and we tried to find some solution for it. The good thing is that I used only three tyres to make 75 laps today, as we needed to further investigate the potential of the GSX-RR when the tyres got really worn, and the timesheets confirmed that we can be performing even in those conditions, and with a 25-lap rear tyre. I tried the new Michelin front tyres, I’m not feeling so good with the new intermediate tyre; at the moment the tyre we used in race (the same as the eight top riders) seems to me to have the bigger potential and feeling. We had the chance to make a back-to-back test with the winglets: they are not a huge improvement, but they help a little: If we can get even a very small advantage out of them, for sure it was worthy to try them. Finally today we had the objective to find a better traction from the rear and it looks like we achieved the result, this make me happy and confident thinking ahead to Le Mans, where traction will be much important.”
Of all the manufacturers, Aprilia brought the most new parts as they tried a new frame and swingarm alongside various new engine parts. Due to their concessions, Aprilia are allowed to alter their engine throughout the year unlike Ducati, Yamaha and Honda.
Romano Albesiano – Aprilia Racing Manager
“It was a rather intense day. We had a lot of things to test, beginning with the new frame and a new swingarm, new forks that are not as stiff, a lot of electronics settings and a fuel feed system with different pressure. We also focused on a few particular setups, solutions that are usually not tested during the race weekend. Overall we gathered a large amount of information, the first being that we are moving in different development directions for the two riders who are proving to have different needs. We’ll keep working in the coming days at Mugello, both with our official riders and with our test rider, Di Meglio, to see which combinations can be used already in the next race at Le Mans”.
Fausto Gresini – Aprilia Team Manager
“A very profitable day of testing. Being on the track right after the race allowed us to make some very accurate comparisons and that helps streamline development. The results are positive: some components worked well so we’ll continue testing them at Mugello in order to see which upgrades to implement already for the Le Mans round. Aprilia is doing a great job and I am very pleased with the efforts of the entire team”.
Alvaro Bautista – 17th / 1m40.960 / 62 laps
“The goal today was first and foremost to test a new frame and a swingarm with different stiffness. I must say that I found particular advantages with the frame, whereas the swingarm needs to be tested a bit more before we draw any final conclusions. As for the tyres, I still like he standard solutions better than the new ones, whereas the tests we did on the chassis today suggests which direction we need to go for upcoming developments. Working in order was important, given the number of tests”.
Stefan Bradl – 13th / 1m40.674 / 66 laps
“We had a lot on our plate today, testing a lot of different components that Aprilia brought and a few tyre solutions. We found some good signs from the frame and swingarm and, although it was only our first contact, the initial impression is that we are moving in the right direction. In any case, we need to do a bit more testing to follow up and gather more information. In fact, we’ll analyse some of the components we tested today at Mugello as well”.
The factory Ducati Team mostly focused on working with the new Michelin front tyres and resolving their issues from the race.
Aspar Team MotoGP’s Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernandez worked on improving their setup, as they had no new parts to test.
Yonny Hernández enjoyed a positive day, improving his best lap times from the race by a second. The Aspar Team rider clocked up a total of 83 laps as he searched for a better feeling with the bike, which came partly thanks to the new tyres on offer from Michelin, giving himself a platform to work from at the next round of the season, the French Grand Prix.
Yonny Hernández – 12th / 1.40.351 / 83 laps
“Overall it has been a positive test because we have improved our pace compared to the race and taken a second off the lap time. We have found an improvement that we will work from ahead of the next race in France. The improved lap times came on the hard rear tyre. I tried some new fronts from Michelin and liked them, the tyres are clearly making positive improvements. Now we need to see how they perform over long distances like in a race.”
For Eugene Laverty the focus was on the front-end set-up of his Ducati and finding a better position on the bike. After his ninth position in the race yesterday, Laverty was able to work without worrying about a fast time as he racked up 85 laps.
“This is our first real test because our season only started in Qatar at round one. During the racing season you can’t test many things over a Grand Prix weekend so this is an important opportunity for us. We’ve tried a few things to get a better feeling for the front tyre but like all the riders we have had a lot of variations to try, the Michelins are constantly evolving and we are getting through our programme now. We also needed to make some minor changes to the chassis geometry settings and evaluate the results. We had a good race here and completed a lot of competitive laps so now is the ideal time to test these kinds of things.”
Scott Redding and his Octo Pramac Yakhnich team spent the day searching for answers after a disastrous race on Sunday where they had huge rear grip issues.
Winglets and aerodynamics were again a focus for the Repsol Honda Team as Marc Marquez tried a fourth version of the winglets. His RC213V displaying a row of three small winglets down either side, similar to the winglets tested by Suzuki. Honda also brought along a new swingarm for Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa to try as well as new maps to continue improving engine performance.
Marc Marquez – 1st / 1’39.313 / 91 laps
“We’re satisfied after today because we tested out a lot of different things. We not only tried some new winglets and a new swingarm, but we also did a lot of laps to try to understand or rule out different setups. The most striking thing for people was our testing three different winglets. The aerodynamic side of things had a lot of untapped potential; now that this has been opened up, we can work a lot on this aspect because there seems to be no limit to what you can do with it. We also tested three different front tyres today, but the one that we used this weekend was working well too”.
Dani Pedrosa – 5th / 1’39.646 / 76 laps
“Today we basically tried to improve on the feeling we had in yesterday’s race. It’s been a strange day, because the weather was fantastic and the asphalt offered a very good level of grip, but the lap times weren’t much different to what we saw over the Grand Prix weekend. We tried different suspension options and found some solutions that allowed us to have more grip when riding out of corners. We also worked on corner entry, trying to get the bike quicker both in the fast turns and on entry to the slower corners. At the end we tested three different front-tyre compounds and one of them was clearly better than what we currently have, which is positive.”
Cal Crutchlow worked with his new winglets while also working with Öhlins to improve his suspension setup on the LCR Honda. The 30 year-old also worked with an updated traction control software and a new fairing package from Honda, which included a radical new triple-winglet design, as well as a new front tyre compound from suppliers Michelin, which he liked. With uninterrupted sun throughout the day, the Brit completed 82 laps of the Spanish venue, with a best lap of 1’39.812 set on the harder rear tyre and proving quicker than his qualifying time from Saturday.
Cal Crutchlow – 7th / 1’39.812 /-82 laps
“I rode the bike all day today because we had lots of things to do, and honestly speaking we had a good day and a good test. We had to get through a lot of things, and did some very competitive lap times. I did my fastest lap, and most of the other quick ones, with the hard tyre. I did use the soft, but it was when I was trying the new Michelin front tyre so wasn’t pushing so hard at that point. They have done a good job and it was a positive outcome with the new front. They perhaps don’t suit our bike so much, but they definitely made a step forward in one area. We had to test lots of items for Honda, and tried a setting very similar to Marc Marquez, but found my own setting felt better. He rides in such a special way. The winglets were also part of that test plan this morning. It’s difficult to understand something like that at a circuit like Jerez, but we think that they definitely improve the wheelie, which is a good thing, so maybe they would work at some other tracks. They are small, which is good for other riders too as they don’t create much turbulence like some of the other bikes in this championship.We now go to the next race with an open mind, because I really think I got a bad tyre in Sunday’s race. I used the same tyre a lot today and don’t think I did a lap slower than my fastest yesterday. That’s disappointing of course, but we picked up some points with 11th and move on to Le Mans.”
A new exhaust, in line with that run by the factory bikes, was brought to the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS camp as Jack Miller worked on improving his feeling through the tight corners. This work will be crucial for the tight Le Mans circuit in two weeks time. Rookie Rabat completed a marathon 94 laps as he continues his adaption to the Honda RC213V. Meanwhile Miller logged 65 laps, which gave him important track time after being forced to miss the recent race in Texas.
Michael Bartholemy – Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDSTeam Principal
“Both Jack and Tito went faster today than their best times on the race weekend which is often the case at Jerez in the warm and sunny conditions for the test. Both riders had some very positive feedback from some of the new parts we had to test and also the new specification Michelin front tyres. Every day on the bike counts for Tito as a rookie and for Jack who is working hard to get back to 100% fitness. We have a good base to work from at Le Mans next week.”
Jack Miller – 14th / 1’40.681 / 65 laps
“We found some steps to get more comfortable and faster without any incidents so it was a positive day. With my right ankle still healing it was important to get through the race weekend and this test without a crash and be stronger for the race at Le Mans. I struggled a little more in the afternoon with the hotter track conditions so we need to understand why I’m faster when the track temperature is cooler.I’m really happy after missing some pre-season testing and the race in Texas especially to understand the latest Michelin front tyres, they help with turning and to finish off the corner.”
Tito Rabat – 16th / 1’40.919 / 94 laps
“This was a very positive test for me, I improved my lap time and had a very good rhythm riding alone. It was good to make a lot of laps on the Honda RC213V especially to build confidence in my rookie season. I think the work we did here will be a good platform for the next race in Le Mans.”
Having completed 91 laps, Marc Marquez finished the test as the fastest rider having set a 1’39.313. 0.019s behind him was Jorge Lorenzo who set a best time of 1’39.332 on his 26th lap of 59. Maverick Viñales completed the top three as he went quicker than in Qualifying with a 1’39.536.
Despite starting late in the day, Rossi managed a 1’39.632 for fourth overall and just 0.319s back on Marquez. Dani Pedrosa sealed the top five as all of the top seven riders were within half a second of the fastest time. Unsurprisingly it was Tito Rabat who completed the most laps with 94. It was a productive day for all riders who will be back out for the French GP starting on the sixth of May.
MotoGP Jerez Test – April, 2016
MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’39.313
LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’39.332
VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’39.536
ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’39.632
PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’39.646
ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’39.682
CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 1’39.812
IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Ducati Team 1’39.879
ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’39.942
DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team 1’40.027
SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’40.335
HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL Aspar MotoGP Team 1’40.351
BRADL Stefan 6 GER Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’40.674
MILLER Jack 43 AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1’40.681
REDDING Scott 45 GBR Octo Pramac Racing 1’40.844
RABAT Tito 53 SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1’40.919
BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’40.960
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