Maverick Vinales confirms pace after topping day two of Valencia Test
Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) is settling into his new home well – fastest on day one at the Valencia test and then repeating the feat on day two for an amazing debut.
A 1:29.975 in the afternoon saw the former Moto3 World Champion take over at the top, after completing 66 laps on his second day at Yamaha. With blue skies once again and good, seasonal temperatures, conditions were nigh on perfect for one of the paddock’s key days of the pre-season.
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Team Director
“We can be very pleased with the progression we are making. Maverick‘s initial nerves have gone now and he is already very strong. It‘s amazing to see him drop a 1‘29s lap so shortly after his transition and we are also very impressed with how accurate his feedback is with so few kilometres under his belt on this bike. Valentino spent the afternoon testing the 2017 spec bike and making comparisons versus the various setting options. Thanks to his assessments we now have a better understanding of how these features affect the bike‘s balance. We will share this data with Yamaha‘s Japanese engineers so they can continue developing these items, but for a first test we are already in a good position.”
Viñales’ teammate Valentino Rossi ended the day a little further down the timesheets in P7, completing a program of 45 laps and suffering no crashes – after losing some track time on day one following a fall on when testing back to back 2016 and 2017 equipment.
The 9-time World Champion put in a best of 1:30.709, and next up heads to Malaysia alongside Viñales to test in Sepang – with most on the grid instead heading for Jerez next week.
Valentino Rossi – P7 – 1:30.709
“It was a long day because we worked quite a lot and we needed a lot of laps, especially a lot of comparisons between the old and the new engine and the old and the new chassis. We also tried some tyres and we saw that we still have a lot of work to do, but anyway it was quite a positive day. We have to work in general on the entire package, especially the chassis has some good things, but we need a bit more time to find the right setting. As for the engine, this one is the first evolution, but we still need to work to try go faster.”
Repsol Honda Team were testing a multitude of different engine and frame combinations and evolutions from 2016 and 2017, with reigning Champion Marc Marquez suffering a fall between Turns 1 and 2 after running on and then heading into the gravel slowly; just unable to keep the Repsol Honda upright.
Marquez did a total of 58 laps with a best of 1:30.171 and went second – doing some longer runs later in the afternoon, and taking advantage of the final minutes of track time for a practice start.
Marc Marquez – P2 – 1’30.171
“Today was a good day. We started the pre-season better than last year, and we hope to continue to constantly progress from now on. At this track we found a good base setup and a good rhythm, and we’ll see how it goes from now. We hope to continue like this. We didn’t do a ‘time attack,’ and we also didn’t test the new Michelin front, as we eventually used all the track time available to make long exits and also a couple of 10-lap mini-long runs.”
Dani Pedrosa was out the box a little later than his teammate Marquez, as he continues to recover from a broken collarbone – amongst other injuries – sustained at the Twin Ring Motegi, and the ‘Baby Samurai’ accordingly put in a lesser 38 laps on day two, including a good amount of time on the black liveried 2017 bike. Pedrosa ended the day around half a second off his teammate, in P5 with a 1:30.686.
Dani Pedrosa – P5 – 1’30.686
“Today we were able to ride with the new bike a little more and further compare the characteristics. We continued to take things fairly easy physically and not put in too many laps in order to keep up the recovery, but we tried to understand more about the new bike, to see how the tyres, suspension and mapping work with it. I think there are things that are positive and other details that we’ll need to continue working on. We must take the data we’ve gathered and carefully analyze it in order to understand what step to take next with the bike.”
Jorge Lorenzo was first out once again from his new Ducati Team pit box, eager to get down to work. It was another positive day for the Mallorcan in his new home, eighth fastest and only 0.035 behind former teammate Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha.
The Spaniard’s best was a 1:30.744 after riding the 2017 bike for much longer than his first initial run on Tuesday, and Lorenzo ended the day with a practice start; one of the last on track as the sun began to set. 41 laps and many runs gathering maximum information was vital for the number 99, as he will not be allowed to take part in the Jerez test next week.
Andrea Dovizioso was the fastest of the Ducati Team on track on day two. Putting in 33 laps throughout the hours, the Italian was P3 on the timesheets with a 1:30.443, 0.468 off Viñales’ best of the day.
The Sepang winner tested both the 2016 and 2017 machines once again on day two, and will also sit out the Jerez test as the Ducati test team take over from him and Lorenzo.
Andrea Dovizioso – P3 – 1’30.443
“These two days have been very interesting, because we were able to do some good tests with the new bike, something that in the last few years had never been possible, and so now we are ahead with our planning. We did a back-to-back comparison with the 2016 version at the end of the day to confirm our impressions and to verify that the improvements were effective. Now we can only get better because the new bike allows for a wider range of adjustments and this is the work that we will do next year. For us it was important to go back home with clear ideas and we were able to do this. We confirmed the pace we showed during the race weekend and even though we still have a lot of work to do, I am pleased with our new bike.”
Team Suzuki Ecstar riders Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins had a mixed second day. Both riders suffered crashes at Turn 12; the latter from Iannone, on only his fourth lap, bringing out the red flag to assess the track safety conditions.
With extra protection added to the run off area at the corner, action got underway once again with Iannone then improving in the afternoon to go P4, a 1:30.599 after a brave 47 laps and one of the only men getting faster later in the session.
Marco Rigamonti – Iannone’s Suzuki Ecstar Crew Chief
“This test has been very positive for us, as Andrea reported very good feelings and could already give important feedback to Suzuki about the areas to improve on. Today he had a crash in the morning, which resulted in some pain to his right elbow. This prevented him pushing 100%, but he managed to do many laps and confirm his positive impressions from yesterday. He reported to have a very good feeling with the corner-speed and the general balance of the machine, as well as he appreciated the extremely-positive handling. We will now focus to improve the traction and acceleration, especially at the first touch of the throttle, and to further-investigate the potential of the electronics. The whole crew is very dedicated to Andrea; they are all keen to listen and understand his feedback and requests and we’re pretty confident they will manage to fulfil his desires. This also contributed to making him feel at ease in the garage during these first two days and we are all eager to go testing in Jerez next week.”
Alex Rins’ crash in the morning saw the MotoGP rookie fall only a few minutes before his teammate – with severe damage to the bike.
Rins was taken to the Medical Center at the track before then going to hospital for further investigation – with initial reports of a compression fracture to vertebrae in his upper back, and at least a month of rest required for the Moto2 and Moto3 race winner. The Spaniard will sit out further testing later in November at the Circuito de Jerez.
Alex Rins – P24 – 1’33.761
“It was a pity to crash early today because I was eager to improve the feeling with the bike and we were following the correct work-plan with the team. I’m disappointed because this test was important to find out the first impressions and to get confidence with the bike, but unfortunately we can’t change what was happened. Now it’s time to come back home, take some rest; and then think about the pre-season. I would like to thank all the Team Suzuki Ecstar members for the kindness to me during these set-up days and for all the work they did to show me the best way to kick-off in the MotoGP world.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was fastest Independent Team rider, fitting with the title he secured in 2016, and put in a best of 1:30.709 after completing 45 laps. The LCR rider avoided the crash he suffered on day one, getting in a good program of work.
Cal Crutchlow – P6 – 1’30.709
“We did most of the plan that we wanted to do. I was pleased enough with regards to the settings on the bike. As you know we tried the newer spec engine, but in the end there are positives and negatives and we will give this information to Honda. I think Honda is doing a good job because I don’t think it’s easy at the moment to understand the best direction to go. We will let them know our feelings, and then we will go from there.”
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Aleix Espargaro impressed on his second day out with his new team, taking ninth on the timesheets with a 1:30.885 on his fastest lap of 45.
Marcus Eschembacher – Aleix Espargaro Crew Chief
“We can consider ourselves satisfied with these first tests. Aleix found a good feeling with the bike straight away, especially liking the stability and the electronics package. No particular critical issues came up and this confirms the solidity of the base package on which we will continue developing. He was fast, but more than anything, he was very analytical and precise in expressing his feelings in the saddle. This is information that will be fundamental for the racing department in developing the new RS-GP”.
Teammate Sam Lowes sat out day two after a late crash on day one, instead ready to get back on track in Jerez next week.
New Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Jonas Folger and Johann Zarco had an impressive day two. Folger just got the better of his two-time Moto2 World Champion teammate after dueling it out for supremacy, 0.067 ahead of the Frenchman on the timesheets.
Jonas Folger – Position: 10th Time : 1’30.948 Laps: 63
“Overall, it was a very successful time for us and we can leave feeling happy about what we achieved. The plan was to carry on from where we finished yesterday which meant that I continued to work a lot on my riding style. We completed many laps and it was a long day but we collected a large quantity of data, which we needed to gather. Also, the Tech3 team and I started to alter the bike slightly to see which direction that we could possibly head towards in the future. I still need to adjust my riding style with regards to running the worn tyres, but on the whole, it was a positive day and I was able to round it off by setting a good lap time. Thanks to the crew for their efforts and I look forward to getting back on my Yamaha in the future.”
The pair put in 62 and 55 laps respectively, and will be joining Movistar Yamaha at Sepang for another test in place of the Jerez choice of many of the other teams in the paddock.
Johann Zarco – Position: 11th Time: 1’31.015 Laps: 61
“Today was really positive and I am truly satisfied about the work that we undertook. As soon as we started this morning, I was able to run at a similar pace to yesterday, where I was pushing, so it was good to have a bike that I was comfortable with and that I could be fast on straight away. Every time that I left the pit box, I was stronger and I improved my lap times quite consistently. The Tech3 team did a super job and I was able to adapt my riding style more to suit the Yamaha. I am feeling more confident on the M1 which I am really happy about and a 1’31.0 lap is a great target to achieve, plus I was only one second from the front which is very pleasing and a solid way to close the test.”
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS had a chassis update – the one used by race winner Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) from Silverstone onwards.
Finding improvements, Jack Miller’s fastest was a 1:31.069 to put him in P12 on the timesheets despite a crash in the afternoon, with Tito Rabat registering a 1:31.918 in P18. Miller completed 40 laps; Rabat 36.
Jack Miller: 12th – 1’31.069
“During both days of the test I was enjoying riding the bike more and more each time I went out on it and that hasn’t always been the case this season because we’ve been struggling to overcome problems and to build confidence. Such a positive test here at Valencia has allowed us to start rebuilding some of the confidence lost and it’s a positive way to end the season and head into the winter break. It also provides a good base from which to work from when we return to testing in Sepang early next year.”
Tito Rabat: 18th – 1’31.918
“I’m really happy after these two days with the new chassis, which brought some big improvements for me, but also with my new crew who are really working well together to get the bike working better for me. In terms of the lap times I made my best time alone and was able to repeat it consistently, which has been something I haven’t been able to do before this season. Of course, there is still a lot of work to do when we resume testing next year, but the importance of going into the winter break with confidence cannot be underestimated and this test has restored a lot of the confidence that a difficult season had robbed me of. Overall I couldn’t be happier with the significant step forward made here in Valencia.
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“The Valencia test was the best way to end what has at times been a very difficult season. The new chassis and the revised electronics package brought big improvements for both riders, not just in the lap times, which were significantly quicker and more consistent than during the race weekend, but also to team morale. Tuesday was the first time this season that I’ve walked into the pit box and seen both riders happy, and that’s an important step forward, equal to the steps made with the bike. It’s a perfect way for the riders to head into the winter break, as it means they focus on the positive from now until we resume testing in Sepang next year. The test also saw many new people join the team and, after just two days, I can say that I believe we made the right choices in terms of our technical staff too.”
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) was P14 on day two with a 1:31.186 over 69 laps – the most of the day – but did suffer a crash earlier in the session.
Teammate Karel Abraham, riding the 2015 Ducati after beginning on the 14.2 yesterday, had his day cut short with a major electrical problem that the team were unable to fix on the day – left wanting some more track time on his return from WorldSBK.
Jorge Martínez – Pull&Bear Aspar Team Team Manager
“We are really happy with the way the first test of the preseason has gone. Bautista looks a very mature, complete and confident rider. He improved by half a second from yesterday but it is more hi rhythm that has impressed me; he set 18 laps over two runs in the 1’31s. That is much more important than setting a one off 1’30 lap. Rhythm is important and he would have put on an impressive race with that kind of pace. Abraham also improved a lot from yesterday. We have to remember that this is the first time he has ridden the Ducati GP15, which is very different from the bike he rode yesterday. It is easier to ride, it turns better… He hasn’t done a lot of laps but I hope that in the two days of tests at Jerez we can continue to improve like we have done here and have two full days at it.”
Octo Pramac Yakhnich rider Scott Redding put in 42 laps with a best of 1:31.118 to go P13 despite a crash, with temporary teammate Michele Pirro, standing in for Danilo Petrucci, in P16.
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera completed the top fifteen after 39 laps, with a best of 1:31.244. The Spaniard only worked with the softer compound rear Michelin tyre, because the track temperatures didn’t allow him to use the hard compound on his Ducati during the course of the test. He had positive feelings and he is looking forward to improve next week in Jerez.
Hector Barbera – P15 – 1’31.244
“This has been a very positive test because we were able to work in my riding position on the bike and the feeling was better every time I went out on track. The pace was fast and consistent, and although maybe we failed to do a really fast lap, I’m happy with the improvement made during these two days. Four tyres for two days are not so much, and the hardest Michelin tyre was too hard for the track conditions and our bike. I knew the bike thank to the races I did in Japan and Australia, and I confirmed that this bike has a big potential. The preseason has just started and now we’ll go to Jerez for another test of three days, where I will try to get more information. We also saw riders changing teams and some new people, and I think we will have even more fun during next season.”
Teammate Loris Baz did a best of 1:32.161 after 36 laps and finished the two days of testing in Valencia with a big smile on his face.
He had a new bike, but also a new crew chief, Paolo Zavalloni, and the first impression working together has been really positive, finding the bike very competitive and as his teammate feels there is a big potential to explore during the winter test.
Loris Baz – P19 – 1’32.161
“I’m happy, because this has been a really good test and a good way to start. But mainly because with this bike we solved the problems we have been fighting with during all the season. We also understand why we struggled and basically it is because this bike is better, you can easily keep a constant pace and this one of the main problems we had last season. I also had the chance to work for the first time with my new crew chief, Paolo, and we started to know each other better. The first feeling was good and this was also positive. Finally we finished the year in good mood, although we had to wait for next season preparations. We will see how it goes in Jerez next week, where I hope to make a step forward.”
Red Bull KTM Factory racing’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith completed 33 and 34 laps respectively as they ventured out on track for the second time with the new project from the Austrian factory. Espargaro put in a fastest of 1:31.833, 1.8s off Viñales, and ended the day in P17 in a good first representative, comparative test for the RC16.
Mike Leitner – KTM Team Manager
“We are happy because this was the first time where we had to perform under pressure, so no excuses when the others are here. But there are no question marks. Everything is clear. We know where we are and we know what we have to do, and this is super important for the next steps. Actually the riders’ impression was not so bad but we have to make the steps and we have to improve the lap times. We are in a high competition and the other manufacturers are so long here and have so much experience. The riders are quite happy with the bike’s ability and the braking. Of course the speed is a key factor in MotoGP for every manufacturer. You cannot pick up in two days what the others have achieved in a whole season.”
Smith suffered a crash later in the day; rider ok, ending the day in P20 as he continues to get back to full strength following two surgeries after injuring his knee in a crash in practice for the Oschersleben 8H endurance race.
Bradley Smith – P20 – 1’32.538
“I can’t ask for more. It’s been two very hard days and my head wants to explode. The biggest thing is I really enjoy working with people that understand and can implement what I am trying to achieve, and I think that’s the most exciting thing. They understand and they can change things and improve things. These last two days have just been information gathering from an electronics point of view or gearbox and gearing. To be aware which gear gets the maximum power from the engine at the right moment. That’s been the main focus. Its not basic stuff but its far away from working on chassis settings and suspension. We’re really at the beginning of our working process. I believe what we have achieved in these two days is very good. It gives direction for where we want to go.”
Next, Jerez or Sepang await the grid for more testing, before the winter test ban comes into effect. Then, the whole paddock will head for Malaysia for the first test of 2017 – beginning on 31st January at Sepang International Circuit.
MotoGP 2017 Testing Valencia Day Two Results Times
VINALES, Maverick Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’29.975
MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 0.191
DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 0.468
IANNONE, Andrea Team Suzuki Ecstar 0.624
PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team 0.711
CRUTCHLOW, Cal LCR Honda 0.734
ROSSI, Valentino Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 0.734
LORENZO, Jorge Ducati Team 0.769
ESPARGARO, Aleix Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 0.910
FOLGER, Jonas Monster Yamaha Tech 3 0.973
ZARCO, Johann Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1.040
MILLER, Jack Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1.094
REDDING, Scott Octo Pramac Racing 1.143
BAUTISTA, Alvaro Aspar Team 1.211
BARBERA, Hector Avintia Racing 1.269
PIRRO, Michele Ducati 1.841
ESPARGARO, Pol Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1.878
RABAT, Tito Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1.943
BAZ, Loris Avintia Racing 2.186
SMITH, Bradley Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2.563
LAVERTY, Eugene Aspar Team 2.593
ABRAHAM, Karel Aspar Team 2.724
TSUDA, Takuya Suzuki Test Team 3.330
RINS, Alex Team Suzuki Ecstar 3.786
LOWES, Sam Aprilia Racing Team Gresini –
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.