News 26 Apr 2016

Marquez leads Monday MotoGP testing at Jerez

Repsol Honda rider leads the way post-race in Spain.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

Cal Crutchlow worked with his new winglets while also working with Öhlins to improve his suspension setup on the LCR Honda. 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.

Having completed 91 laps, Marc Marquez finished the test as the fastest rider having set a 1m39.313s. 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 1m39.536s.

Despite starting late in the day, Rossi managed a 1m39.632s 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.