Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) has topped the timesheets at the official test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with teammate Fabio Quartararo second fastest also on the YZR-M1.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was third on the timesheets as he and his HRC colleagues complete a crucial day at the office that saw Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) put in the most laps of anyone. KTM also looked pretty busy down in pitlane…
At Yamaha, fastest man Viñales was testing the carbon swingarm, and the Spaniard went to the top of the standings late in the day to top his teammate. As is often the case with Viñales, he tallied up an impressive amount of laps: 85, the second highest.
Maverick Vinales – P1
“We were working on the feeling with the bike and riding with general settings of the bike. We also worked on setting a fast lap, because we missed out by quite a lot at the Catalan GP, and in the end, it cost me the opportunity to be on the podium. So, we were working quite a lot, also on the front, and the weight balance of the bike. Little by little, with the help of Silvano Galbusera, we are starting to understand a bit more what I like on the bike, and how I should ride it. This is the most important. We still need to improve, but this was only our first race and first test with Silvano as our Crew Chief. We tried many things, because the objective for us was to collect a lot of information, so we can prepare a competitive bike for the Sachsenring. On a good lap, we were able to be fast. To improve our rhythm we tried to work a lot between 2 and 3 o‘clock in the afternoon, which is when the track is the most slippery. We improved a little bit, especially the last six laps of the tyre life.”
Quartararo, meanwhile, was mainly playing around with different settings as the World Championship leader got back on track after a dramatic Sunday.
Fabio Quartararo – P2
“I felt good. We tried some interesting settings on the bike and the electronics. We did many laps and also practice starts, so I‘m happy. It‘s great to be back here again after yesterday. I feel good, like I did during the race weekend, so I‘m looking forward to the German GP. I was trying to improve my riding style in the corners that I was struggling with a bit during the weekend. But honestly, my riding style was already quite good. I think that the new setting that we tested today was great. We need to check if it‘s better to use it in the future, and in general I‘m quite happy because we did close to 80 laps and everything was working well.”
Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was trying Brembo’s new brake discs which have slits in them, aiding cooling. The Doctor didn’t have anything else in terms of new parts to try, but it was nevertheless a busy for the nine-time World Champion. Rossi completed 72 laps, finishing just six tenths away from former teammate Viñales in 10th place.
Valentino Rossi – P10
“It has been a good day for us because, although we didn’t have a lot of new parts to test, we did have a few things and settings that we wanted to try. First of all we tried to understand why we were slower yesterday than the pace we had in practice. Today I was more in line with FP4 and Warm Up. After that we worked on the bike, the suspension and tried some different things. At the end of the day the feeling was positive, I was in the top-ten, my pace was good and my lap time was not so far from the top. We tried the new brake discs today, because in Austria the brakes are under a lot of stress, and the feeling with them was good.”
Franco Morbidelli’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) day lasted until 13:30 local time, the Italian completed 39 laps and set a 1:40.022 to finish P8 in the classification. He too tested the new Brembo brake discs.
Franco Morbidelli – P8
“We had a good morning session today. We kept our testing programme short, not doing that many laps, as we wanted to be mindful of my knee. Although it is not 100% yet, it is healing and so we just wanted to take care of it a bit more, try not to over stress it today. The things we tried were good though and I’m quite happy with them. We used some new brake discs that could be interesting for Austria, and also some other tracks potentially. Now it’s time to rest, and face the last two races before the break in the best way possible.”
It was a busy day across the board for the Honda riders. Marc Marquez said after the race on Sunday that Monday’s test was more important that the Grand Prix itself, which tells you why the Japanese manufacturer riders had a busy day at the office.
Marc Marquez was out on an all-black bike, one that has a different air intake, for some laps, and the eight-time World Champion also lapped with – at least – two different aero packages.
Marc Marquez – P11
“It has been a very busy day today; we have completed a big amount of laps, I suffered today but I needed a day like this where I could just ride. In the beginning it wasn’t bad, in the afternoon I wasn’t pushing as much but it worked well. Now it’s time to take a rest and do a step with my physical condition. We have found a lot of information, and this is key. Overall, it has been a good and productive day on the bike.”
Teammate Pol Espargaro was circulating on the 2021 bike all day, he and the team trying different setups to try and aid their early season difficulties. Espargaro too tried at least one of the aero packages, as well as the new Brembo discs, with a crash at Turn 9 not affecting his day’s work in Barcelona.
Pol Espargaro – P6
“Without much pre-season testing, every chance I have to ride the Honda is important. We’ve had a good and busy day trying a lot of things to keep learning and understanding the bike. We had one unfortunate crash today due to another rider, but we have still been able to complete many laps.”
Notably, Marc Marquez was able to complete 87 laps on Monday, the most of any rider. That’s after he completed less than 10 laps at the Jerez Test due to fitness concerns, so it seems great news for the number 93. He finished P11, just 0.6s shy of the leading Yamaha.
LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami led for a couple of hours during the afternoon, the Japanese rider had one 2020 and one 2021 bike in the garage.
Takaaki Nakagami – P3
“Today was a very important test day for us and generally my feeling on the bike was pretty good and consistent throughout. It was much better than during the weekend at Catalunya. We tested many items, including new wings and there were things that are worth keeping. So overall I’m happy with the feeling of the bike and I want to say thanks to my team, because today was very busy, until 6 o’clock, and all my mechanics were working hard. So thanks to all my team and I’m really looking forward to the next race in Germany.”
LCR Honda Castrol teammate Alex Marquez was seen running a few different aero packages, and like Pol Espargaro, was using the 2021 bike throughout the day. Nakagami ended the day P3 on the timesheets, a positive day in terms of laps time, with Alex Marquez sitting P15 after 70 laps.
Álex Márquez – P15
“So we had one day of testing and it’s always nice to be on track and feeling good on the bike. Honestly, I felt pretty good today and had less problems than during the GP weekend. We found some really positive items, but, as we said all weekend, our main target of trying to improve grip on the bike will take a little bit more time to solve. But, in general, we found some small solutions and small items that we can introduce and that I hope will help us in the next races. I hope to have good back-to-back races in Germany and Holland to go on holiday feeling positive and with good results.”
Across the board in the Honda ranks, 296 laps were completed – every one of those will have brought useful data as the manufacturer aims to get back to winning ways in 2021.
With Alex Rins out of action through injury, Team Suzuki Ecstar testing duties on Monday were left to reigning World Champion Joan Mir and test rider Sylvain Guintoli.
Mir was positive about the day’s work as he and the team focused on geometry and general settings with the GSX-RR. The Spaniard finished P4 on the timesheets after 65 laps. Guintoli added another 72 and had some things to try, but wouldn’t say what…
Joan Mir – P4
“It’s been a good day of testing, we didn’t have a lot of things to try but we worked on geometry settings, things like my riding position on the bike, and electronics and it was all positive. I also worked a little bit on rear suspension and the rear shock. I was able to give important feedback and information to the team about a few areas, and now they will work on all of that while looking at the data. I’m happy with what’s been done but it’s been a tiring couple of weeks and I’m ready to go home and start my preparations for Germany.”
Sylvain Guintoli – P20
“This Catalan test has been a real pleasure for me, I haven’t ridden the GSX-RR since the test in Qatar and it was so nice to be back with it again. My feeling was really good today, I was a bit worried that after so long off the bike and with everybody else fresh from racing, that I would get thrashed in terms of lap times! But in fact I had very good feedback from the bike and the tyres, and I was able to complete the day’s programme really well with 72 laps completed and a really solid test. I did some comparisons and worked on a wide variety of things, including the swingarm. Now I’m going to race in the Le Mans 24hrs and riding the GP bike today has got me fired up for that.”
At Ducati Lenovo Team, work was mainly focused on setup for Francesco Bagnaia and, for Sunday podium finisher Jack Miller, reconfirmation. Bagnaia’s key takeaway was better consistency after a bit of a tougher weekend for the number 63, and he felt more positive and ready for the next couple of races after the extra time on track. He finished the day in P5 after 48 laps, just under half a second off the top.
Miller, meanwhile, said the track wasn’t perfect after overnight rain, but he got 49 laps in and was P14 by the end of the day, 0.842 in arrears.
Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) also focused on setup. He also said he worked on himself physically, trying to do a lot of laps in shorter time. He was P7 after 61 laps.
Sky VR46 Avintia’s Luca Marini and Avintia Esponsorama’s Enea Bastianini also focused on setup. The former was P13 and did 49 laps, the latter P17 after 36 laps. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), returning from injury, wasn’t present.
Enea Bastinini – P17
“Today was a difficult day because since yesterday morning I have had some pain in my shoulder and also in my arm. The test was important, especially to work on the middle part of the corner because I’m a bit slow in this area and especially in this race to release the brake was difficult for me. I’ve tried some new things on the front, I managed to improve my feeling and I feel more competitive also on used tyres. We’ll see if all this works for us at Sachsenring.”
At KTM, there was plenty to see. First off, both Catalan GP winner Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and teammate Brad Binder pitted out on a bike first spotted at the Qatar Test in the hands of test rider and MotoGP Legend Dani Pedrosa.
It seems to sport a new chassis, swingarm, exhaust and tail unit. In the afternoon, both factory riders went back to their bikes used over the race weekend, working on set up. Oliveira ended the test in P9 and said one particularly useful thing for comparisons was having a proven good base – the one that won yesterday.
Miguel Oliveira – P9
“A positive day. After a very good weekend we had a decent base for comparison. We did good evaluation on a couple of parts and the focus wasn’t on a time attack or really fast laps but we were still quite quick. In the afternoon we focused more on what we can achieve with this package but it is always hard on a Monday because the grip conditions are quite different. It was such a great weekend that the base and the standard was already quite high. It was tricky to step it up. We were able to give our opinion on some prototype items and there has been some good work. We tried a couple of things but I liked yesterday’s race bike!”
Binder was P12 by the end of play. The two bikes they tested in the morning did 25 and 7 laps, respectively, with their own transponders showing up on the timing screen.
Brad Binder – P12
“I really enjoyed riding the bike after yesterday.We managed to get quite a few laps in. We really just focussed on trying a couple of small different things. Little bits, to try and stabilise the bike on corner entry. We had some prototype parts to try and as always some negatives and some positives, so we need to really look through everything and figure out what’s the next step.”
At Tech3 KTM Factory Racing, the new chassis – the one raced by Oliveira and Binder since Mugello – was in the box for both Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona.
Danilo Petrucci – P18
“Quite a long day but I’m satisfied. The most important thing was to get used to the bike, and I feel well for the next two races because Sachsenring and Assen don’t have long straight sections where we are currently losing time. Braking is the only part where I can make some gains. Anyway, today we had the chance to try some different set-ups and mainly with hard tires to explore the worst cases scenarios for set-ups.”
Lecuona was also spotted with some different aero items: one was a fairing with holes, and one addition to that looked a lot like a fellow factory’s aero on the bottom of the fairing. Petrucci did 61 and Lecuona 71 laps.
Iker Lecuona – P22
“Today we tried the new chassis. Finally, it was not about a fast lap time, so we finished quite far back but I feel very good with the bike and I’m confident for the next races. I think the bike has a lot potential to continue to improve and to fight close to the top, so I’m quite happy about today overall.”
For Aprilia, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was in the box at the start of the day but then headed for a check up on his arm following recent arm pump surgery, sitting the test out. He got the all-ok to continue his recovery as he has been doing. Instead, Matteo Baiocco was on the bike testing reliability and doing a few practice starts, joining Lorenzo Savadori on track. Baiocco did 66 laps, Savadori 78 as he worked on setup.
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