MotoGP Red Bull Ring Test | Full Wrap
MotoGP riders now head into the summer break with their confidence high after completing a successful two-day test at the Red Bull Ring near Spielberg.
Almost the entire MotoGP field was in attendance for the two days. Only Repsol Honda riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa and the Tech3 squad of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith were not present.
Making the track more interesting however was the inclusion of KTM development riders Mika Kallio and Tom Luthi. KTM are the only ones to have tested at the circuit recently as they try to get the all-new KTM RC16 MotoGP prototype up to speed ahead of the Austrian manufacturer joining the fill time MotoGP grid in 2017.
The Spielberg track is new to the calendar this season and two days of perfect testing weather allowed riders to get to know the characteristics of the 4.318km circuit, which features seven right and three left corners and constant changes of elevation.
The MotoGP teams and riders will be back again at the Zeltweg circuit in twenty days’ time for the tenth round of the world championship, the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich on the weekend of August 14. The first time in 19 years the circuit has hosted motorcycle grand prix racing.
Jack Miller is one of only two MotoGP riders with previous experience of Spielberg, having raced here aboard a 125cc machine in the German Championship back in 2011. The other being Valentino Rossi, who raced a 125 at the track in 1996 and scored his first ever podium at the Austrian venue.
The two days in Austria provided an ideal opportunity for Miller to catch up on the testing he missed at the start of the season due to injury. The Australian took advantage of the perfect weather conditions to rack up 151 laps, as he worked to evaluate a number of different settings and to further refine the set up of his Honda RC213V.
Jack Miller – P13 – 1’24.555
“The track here is good and I’ve really enjoyed riding it the last two days. This test was really important for us after missing so many tests at the start of the season. It was great just to get a whole heap of dry laps in where I could just go out and ride the bike, which I really enjoyed. It was a lot of fun. Yesterday we managed to make some improvements with the set up and we’ve built on that today, finding a bit more speed but also I feel more comfortable on the bike now. We’ve got a little break now, but I’m looking forward to getting back here next month to get the second half of the season underway.”
Michael Bartholemy – MarcVDS Team Principal
“Jack is riding high on confidence after his win at Assen and a good race at the Sachsenring. This confidence has been boosted further after he made a step forward with the set up of his Honda RC213V during these two days in Austria. It means he goes into the summer break in a strong frame of mind and I’m sure we’ll see a fired up Jack when he returns here to get the second half of the season underway in August.”
At the front of the field it was a Ducati 1-2-3-4 headed by Andrea Iannone, the Italian’s 1m23.24 almost half a second quicker than team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. Next best was Casey Stoner, the Australian making his return to MotoGP testing at the test, and proved he can still be competitive by setting the third quickest time, despite doing significantly fewer laps than most riders and a fall at turn six in the closing minutes of the session while trying for a fast lap.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’23.240 (1st)
“It was a very positive test. I am happy that we finished it in this way with the best time, because in the two days we always lapped very quickly and we worked very well: yesterday we tried for the first time the new chassis, which gave me some very positive sensations. Today we focused on working on some different bike set-up solutions, with good results and I can say that a result like this is the best possible way to go on holiday!”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’23.680 (2nd)
“These were two days of very positive tests for us, we worked hard on many different aspects of the bike, as well as preparing for the race in the best possible way. Here we have been really competitive, it’s great to do two days of testing before the race because it gives you the chance of working on fine-tuning aspects and I know that we can still improve there. I am very pleased with my Desmosedici GP on this track, because we can exploit our potential to the maximum and I believe that we can be really competitive in the race.”
Casey Stoner (Ducati Team #27) – 1’23.865 (3rd)
“We had quite a positive day but really didn’t get a lot of laps in because the Test Team had to put Michele Pirro on the bike to do some testing this afternoon. We did lots of short runs to change the bike all the time, did a couple of comparisons in the chassis, and we adjusted and moved everything around a bit to get the bike more stable under brakes on a good track.
“I’m happy and satisfied but also a bit disappointed towards the end because it was the first time I had to push in four years with a soft tyre and it didn’t go well as I crashed at Turn 6. I’m pretty happy with the hard tyre, and the bike felt good, even though in both days we were still using the previous chassis, but I think we can lap even better with the new version.”
Hector Barbera was the fourth quickest rider on the Avintia Racing GP 14.2 ahead of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders took their YZR-M1 machines to the track for the first time to get a head start on preparing a well-balanced setting for the tenth race of the MotoGP season. The teammates tried various Michelin tyres and worked diligently on their settings at the circuit that lays the importance on top speed, acceleration and braking stability.
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We finished the first testing days at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg well and it has been a reasonably successful outing. It was very important we came here, so we could start preparing the race at a place for which we didn’t have any kind of information. We made an improvement from yesterday to the end of today. We invested a lot of time in bettering the setting, the chassis and also the electronics and we did quite a lot of work for Michelin as well. This circuit doesn’t look like it will be one of Yamaha’s favourites, this kind of track lay out doesn’t play into our strengths. It will be fundamental that our Japanese engineers at Yamaha Motor Company will study the data we got during these two days so we can come back here with some good solutions. There is still some work to do for the race, but we were able to collect good data. We are now midway through and we deserve some rest before we come back here in three weeks’ time.”
Valentino Rossi – 5th / 1’24.169
“It’s a very particular circuit because it is really, really fast and you spend a lot of time with the throttle fully open. Compared to the other circuits it has a lot less corners, at the end of the lap you have done only nine or ten, normally there are around fifteen. It’s very fast and the place is good and the corners are OK. For us, personally, it’s not the best circuit because usually we suffer a bit on top speed, and in fact we are struggling, but it’s just the first day and we collected a lot of data and made some kilometres.
“It were two good days, especially today we improved the performance and the balance of the bike a lot, but also the track was better, with more rubber where we needed it. We were able to improve the lap times and our position and we’re a little bit closer to the top guys. I think racing here will be very difficult because it’s a fast track, so for sure it’s not the best circuit for us or for the YZR-M1. We have to work and give the maximum to get the maximum. Already today, we made a step and now we’ll see. We’ll get some rest and take a holiday and we will see what happens when we come back in August. It will be a very difficult race, especially with some of our factory rivals, they are faster than us. It will be very important to also understand the potential of the other competitors, because some are not here. It will be interesting to see if we are a little bit faster or slower than them, but we’ll have to wait for the race weekend.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 6th / 1’24.194
“The track is beautiful and very fast. The tarmac is good, there are just three or four corners where the wall is very close and that can be dangerous in case of a crash. It’s difficult to change this track, but for sure for the future it would be good to try to improve the safety. The test of speed has been hard, because some of our rivals are fast, it looks like the track is giving them a big advantage, especially in braking stability, acceleration and top speed. They can put in all the power they have at this track and the difference is huge. Compared to other competitors we are not so far behind, but there are a lot of rivals, who are all very fast. We will reduce their advantage, but not close the whole margin, because they are so fast. With the bike we have – the balance and the electronics – we have to find the best setting for all the aspects and go as fast as possible.
“Compared to yesterday, today was better, because by riding all day the track was gaining grip and we were able to go a little bit faster. We also tried many things on the bike and some of them improved, so again I could go a little bit faster. Finally we were not 1.4s from the fastest one, but nine tenths. It’s a little improvement and we are still far behind, but let’s see if we can do another step in the race weekend. We will have to see what the weather does and which tyres Michelin will bring for the GP. Maybe they won’t bring the tyres that we tried here. Let’s see if they have less grip or suffer more graining. The one they keep may not be the best, but should be safer for a long race. Let’s see how we feel in one month’s time.”
Both Suzuki Ecstar riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró improved their lap-times session-by-session as the confidence with the layout got better.
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki MotoGP Technical Manager
“Our riders and team had only one day of resting after the race in Germany and we immediately came here to Austria for testing. The riders did a really good job; they ran two fully-intense days where we could compare many test items. We focused on getting acquaintance with the circuit, but we could also test some improvements in electronics and chassis with a new swingarm, as well as some new tyres brought here by Michelin. If we look at the single lap-time we are not at the top and some competitors are faster than us, but looking at the pace we are in a good position. Now we take this whole experience and we go to Japan, we will exploit the ‘Summer Break’ to work on this and prepare for the Austrian GP at our best, in order to come back stronger than where we are now.”
Maverick Viñales – P7 – 1’24.208
“This second day confirmed my good impression of the circuit. The layout and the surroundings are very nice, but also it is a very unusual track; it is a typical ‘on/ off track’, with hard accelerations, three long straights and hard braking. This says that those who have the biggest power may be advantaged at this circuit, and for this we have to work more. For sure, today we made some improvements, we were looking for some more traction and some of the solutions we have tried proved to be effective; our engineers will now work on that as we need to get here for the race in our best shape. It won’t be easy, but our pace is not bad and we will do our best to pursue our usual objective; to fight in the top-six.”
Aleix Espargaró – P8 – 1/24.335
“Today we worked really hard, especially in the afternoon where we tried different solutions with the electronics and also a different swingarm, to try to find more traction. This circuit is very nice but the full power will play a major role; for this I expect we will be struggling a lot. For sure races are done by the pace also, and on this we worked hard and had positive responses. This summer break will be useful, we will take a rest from the race weekend rhythm, but this will also allow us to look at our issues with clear mind. The second part of the season will be very tough as we will have many back-to-back races, therefore we will come here again for the race with full determination and enthusiasm.”
Scott Redding was next quickest while Yonny Hernandez rounded out the top ten. The Colombian tried different traction control mapping and a new swingarm during the 76 laps he put in on Wednesday.
Yonny Hernández – P10 – 1.24.396
“In the morning we finished third, behind the two factory Ducatis, with a good time of 1.24.396. In the afternoon we worked with more of a focus on finding a good pace for the race: We tried different mapping, traction control and a swingarm, without looking for a quick lap time. We had some problems with the rear tyre, which degraded fairly quickly. We’ll have to see what tyres Michelin bring here for the race.”
Cal Crutchlow put in a total of 86 laps in two days action as he gathered valuable data not only for his own team, but also for Honda whose factory outfit were not present at the test. Indeed, the Briton, who decided to leave the session nearly two hours before the scheduled finish ended the day tenth quickest.
Cal Crutchlow – P11 – 1’24.455
“We are in good spirits coming here from the podium at the Sachsenring. Today was ok, we’re happy enough with our progress during the course of the test. We got through everything we needed to test for Honda and also our team. We worked in a positive way and I was pleasantly surprised with the lap times we were posting and the time of day we were doing them. In the end we have to try and improve for the race weekend here, but we are satisfied at having covered everything we needed to. We’re set to have a few weeks off with the summer break now and I look forward to coming back to the Austria race in three weeks’ time.”
Eugene Laverty set his best time (a 1.24.497) in the afternoon. He put in 59 laps, with his work centred around adjusting different aspects of the geometry of his Ducati and the front forks, the latter a change that he had been waiting for several races to test.
Eugene Laverty – P12 – 1.24.497
“We have made quite a bit of progress at this test. We managed to be consistent and find a good pace, rather than just setting one-off quick laps. We spent almost all the time in the same time range. We worked on the geometry of the bike and the front fork in order to improve my feeling. We had wanted to try it out for a while, but hadn’t been able to until now, and it was a good step forward.”
The aforementioned Jack Miller ended the test 13th quickest ahead of Danilo Petrucci, Tito Rabat and Michele Pirro.
While trying to discover the secrets to a fast lap on an unfamiliar track Tito Rabat also focussed on refining both his riding style and the set up on his Honda RC213V to allow him to maximise the performance of the Michelin tyres.
The former Moto2 World Champion set his fastest time of the test during the final session, after finding a solution to the lack of front-end feeling that has caused him so many issues this season. As a result Rabat heads into the summer break with renewed confidence and looking forward to the second half of the season.
Tito Rabat – P15 – 1’24.760
“It’s been a long two days with a heavy workload, both for me and the team, but it’s also been a very successful test. Now we understand better how to make the front tyre work for us and, finally, I have the feeling with the front end that I need and that’s a big boost to my confidence after a couple of difficult races. My understanding of how the bike and tyres work has improved and the team have made a step forward with the settings needed to get the best from both, so it’s been very positive for me. Now I am looking forward to some time away from the track to reflect on the first half of the season, before returning fresh to start the second half.”
Michael Bartholemy – MarcVDS Team Principal
“Once again Tito increased his understanding of the bike and tyres, as well as learning just a little bit more about how to get the best from them. I know his expectations are high, which frustrates him sometimes, but he should be happy with the progress he’s made since the start of the year. I think we will see further big improvements from him in the second half of the season.”
KTM riders Mika Kallio and Tom Luthi ended the test at the back of the field. Kallio was the quickest KTM rider, his 1m25.191 less than two-seconds off Iannone’s benchmark, but only a single second off what any non-Ducati rider managed at the Austrian venue.
Only Alvaro Bautista was on the track for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, whereas his teammate, Stefan Bradl, is still recovering after his crash during the warm-up session at the Sachsenring last weekend.
Two more RS-GP machines available to the Aprilia Test Team were ridden by testers Mike Di Meglio and Same Lowes, the English rider currently on the Gresini Moto2 Team, on his second time out with the Italian MotoGP bike that he will ride next season. Sam is continuing his apprenticeship on the RS-GP that began recently in Misano, completing 58 laps on the first day of testing.
Bautista focused on preparatory tests for the race, therefore working on the chassis and electronics setup, in addition to tyre choice. Alvaro also conducted some comparative tests with a new type of front wing and the lighter swingarm that had already been tested at the Sachsenring, two elements that will require further evaluation.
Aprilia chose not to run timing transponders at the test.
“On this new track you need a lot of engine and a stable bike in braking and acceleration. We worked with these goals, finding some interesting solutions in terms of the race. We still need to do some more testing on the lighter swingarm though. I’m still not certain that it provides an advantage. I should also point out that this is a rather particular track, so it is quite difficult to make comparisons. In terms of safety, on the other hand, I think there are a few spots with very little space and close to the walls. Before the race it would be good to think about a few solutions, especially given the high speeds”.
“After the first contact in Misano, I’m beginning to feel more and more at ease astride the RS-GP. It is a positive trend. I improved every time I went out and we began to work on the bike setup to adapt it to my riding style. We have more tests scheduled with Aprilia, but at the moment I am pleased with the level we have achieved. The track is very nice. There are some tight corners and flowing sections. Overall it’s fun. It isn’t very difficult to learn; you just have to remember the right reference points on the blind corners. Let’s just say that, after riding the RS-GP, the straight stretches will seem even longer with the Moto2 bike!”.
Results – Austria MotoGP Private Test
- A. Iannone, Ducati team, 1’23.240
- A. Dovizioso, Ducati team, 1’23.680
- C. Stoner, Pramac Ducati team, 1’23.865
- H. Barbera, Avintia Racing, 1’24.091
- V. Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 1’24.169
- J. Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 1’24.194
- M. Viñales, Team Suzuki Ecstar, 1’24.208
- A. Espargarò, Team Suzuki Ecstar, 1’24.335
- S. Redding, Octo Pramac Yakhnich, 1’24.375
- Y. Hernandez, Aspar Team MotoGP, 1’24.812
- C. Crutchlow, LCR Honda, 1’24.455
- E. Laverty, Aspar Team MotoGP, 1’24.497
- J. Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 MARC VDS, 1’24.555
- D. Petrucci, Octo Pramac Yakhnich, 1’24.602
- T. Rabat, Estrella Galicia 0,0 MARC VDS, 1’24.760
- M. Pirro, Avintia Racing, 1’25.139
- M. Kallio, KTM Team, 1’25.191
- T. Luthi, KTM Team, 1’25.705