Fabio Quartararo has bounced back to dominate the Misano MotoGP test, finishing half a second clear of the field, and coming within 0.010-seconds of the outright lap record in doing so, in a result that bodes well for the up-coming race.
On Friday the rookie was once again top of the pile, this time ahead of the Ducati of Danilo Petrucci by nearly half a second, with Franco Morbidelli completing the top three after another impressive day for the Italian.
Once more it was a scorcher on the Riviera de Rimini as the sun beat down on the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the second and final day of the two-day test. And as Petronas Yamaha SRT continued their almost-dominance at the top, Yamaha overall continued their solid showing.
For Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Valentino Rossi was seen leaving pitlane with what looked like a carbon covered front brake on one of his YZR-M1s. Teammate Maverick Viñales was on track with the double exhaust again today as well, seemingly doing a comparison with the ‘normal’ Yamaha exhaust.
“First we tested the prototype of the 2020 bike, but after that we focused more on some new stuff that we can also use in the last part of the current season. The test overall was not so bad because we improved the rear grip, the acceleration, and I feel good, and we are competitive.”
“We tried to work a lot for the race. We worked all the time on the set-up, especially to try to improve on the first laps of the race. Today has been a bit more positive than yesterday, so I‘m quite happy and pleased about the test. We especially improved in the hotter conditions. I‘ve been riding a lot when the temperatures were higher, trying to do a race simulation, and my pace is quite good, so I‘m actually really pleased with that.”
The Spaniard was also back to using the usual tail on both of his bikes on Friday as he ended the test P6, just under a second back from Quartararo. ‘The Doctor’ had climbed into the top three in the closing stages, only to be displaced by Petrucci’s late time attack to end the day fourth at his home track.
Ducati shot up the timesheets on the second day with Petrucci. He and teammate Andrea Dovizioso were out testing with one of their two bikes having the swingarm attachment. In addition, the two Italians were both using the wheel covers on their GP19s, with test rider Michele Pirro displaying a slightly different looking Ducati belly pan. Pirro finished 15th on the timesheets, Dovizioso was 17th.
“These were two very important days because in view of the different conditions of the asphalt with less grip, being able to test at the same track we will race on in two weeks’ time allowed us to understand lots of things for the race. We did a lot of interesting tests and I’m satisfied with the work we’ve done even though for sure we’ll have to improve in the race weekend. In any case I’m pleased with my pace and confident about the upcoming GP.”
“Luckily I managed to do a day and a half of testing and physically I’m OK. In the last few days we did a good job at home: I was able to get back into good shape and here I managed to lap on track, even though I still feel a bit knocked about. It was very important to test here, because we found a track that was quite different to last year, with not so much grip and because there were also all the other riders. We were able to do a lot of interesting tests in view of the race, both with the material available and with the set-up. I’m not entirely satisfied with our speed but it was important to get out on track in this test; we did it so now we’ll prepare well to get ready during the race weekend.”
Jack Miller meanwhile, was the lunchtime leader and he even ended his test at midday, the Australian encountering an issue with his number one bike during the morning. The number 43 was mainly working on his race pace and stability in the high-speed corners, something he says he struggled with a bit at Silverstone.
Miller also said he and the team had found a little bit of direction in that department; good news ahead of the Grand Prix weekend. Teammate Francesco Bagnaia was also mainly working on race setup, and the rookie had a positive-looking test on board his GP18 as the Pramac duo finished up fifth and seventh respectively. Tito Rabat also put his Ducati in P12 after a solid day’s work.
Takaaki Nakagami was the fastest Honda rider at the Misano Test, the Japanese rider putting in his fastest laps towards the end of Day 2 to sit P8 on the timesheets. In the Repsol Honda garage, as well as having two Repsol liveried bikes, Championship leader Marc Marquez had HRC test rider Stefan Bradl’s bike at his disposal on Friday as he ended the test P10.
Marquez rode a blacked-out Honda on Thursday and today it was the turn of Bradl to have a go, with Cal Crutchlow also having a black Honda on his side of the garage on Day 2. Five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo didn’t ride on Day 2 as he continues to recover from injury.
“It was quite a busy test for us as we are already starting to work for 2020. First of all we did a bit of work for the end of the 2019 season to make sure we can finish it in a good way. Then we moved to trying some components for 2020. Overall it was a good test and we worked well and in a precise way to get the most out of our time on track. I was feeling good with the bike over these two days so we were able to understand a lot.”
Meanwhile at Team Suzuki Ecstar, Joan Mir finished the test in P11 as the Spaniard continued to get back up to speed following his huge Brno Test crash. “Some new parts”, settings and grip was Mir’s main aim, and the rookie ended the test ahead of British GP winner Alex Rins, who had a low key time on the timesheets at least.
“My feeling on the bike was good, and today went even better than yesterday, which actually was already above expectations. I’m not yet at 100%, so now I feel tired, but we were able to make a positive test without compromising the technical work. Now I have two weeks to rest a bit more and to train to get ready for the GP. We worked mostly on the settings of the bike; nothing special apart getting the feeling.”
“I think it was a really positive test for us, we tried a lot of things including the different chassis which we already tried at the Montmelo Test. We also tried a swingarm and some electronic settings, as well as some new tyres that Michelin gave us. So, in general, it was positive. I’m not concerned by the lap times I’ve set during this test, there are no prizes for setting the quickest time, and there’s no point pushing to the limit when you’re trying to test new things.”
Aprilia ended the second day in the top ten. Aleix Espargaro was ninth quickest on his Aprilia Racing Team Gresini machine as the Italian brand continue working towards 2020, although the Spaniard suffered two crashes during the morning session on Day 2. Teammate Andrea Iannone confirmed the team were working more in the direction of next year’s package and the Italian ended the test in P14.
Some of the headlines, however, remain reserved for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. MotoGP Legend Dani Pedrosa got a full day of testing done for Austrian factory KTM, with the three-time World Champion trying a tail unit that was similar to what Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco used at the opening round of the season, something Pedrosa also used at the Barcelona Test earlier in the year.
KTM did confirm they tested things they think they will use in the coming races and Pedrosa finished the day as the quickest KTM rider, with Dovizioso splitting him from Espargaro on the timesheets. Espargaro also crashed in the morning. Hafizh Syahrin was behind the number 44, and his teammate Miguel Oliveira remains absent to recover from his Silverstone crash.
Jorge Lorenzo’s test was cut short after experiencing some pain while on the bike during running on Thursday morning. Lorenzo and the team elected to limit his testing to give Lorenzo the maximum amount of time possible to recover physically ahead of the Misano race, September 15. Before ending his test, Lorenzo was able to complete 31 laps as he assessed the Honda RC213V around the 4.2km long Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
“Unfortunately I didn’t feel great and I had quite a lot of pain on the bike, even more than in Silverstone. We were able to make 20 laps in Silverstone and everyone was very pleased, but it took a lot of effort from me physically and I had some more inflammation and pain after the race. It improved a bit, but I am still hurting too much on the bike so we decided together with the team to finish the test early and to arrive at the Misano race in the best condition possible. Even with the limited running we were able to try some new parts like the chassis.”
That’s a wrap for testing at Misano, with plenty of talking points to take us into the next race at the same track!
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