News 20 Jul 2016

Ducati dominates opening day of Red Bull Ring testing

Stoner strong again with fourth fastest time on day one.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

The hills were alive with the sound of MotoGP machines as Ducati dominated the first day of private testing in Austria. A number of teams took part in the first day of a private two-day test at the Red Bull Ring on Tuesday.

Near ideal conditions welcomed the majority of the MotoGP World Championship to the Red Bull Ring for the private test ahead of round 10. The NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich will begin on the 12 August after the summer break, teams using the test as an initial shakedown of the circuit and to outline a direction to head in during the weekend.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) were two of the bigger names absent from the test having already run at the circuit twice for promotional events on street bikes.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team did not have any major upgrades to test and will use the two-day test to prepare a setting for the race and try the various tyres Michelin have brought.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) began the test with a new frame, the same version Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) had used in the previous race. They were joined on track by Casey Stoner, who was using the same spec of bike to help gather data and impressed in fourth.

Dovizioso ended up fastest on the opening day with a 1m23.764s, half a second faster than Ducati teammate Andrea Iannone and Pramac Racing’s Scott Redding, while Stoner’s lap was just 0.738s outside of the top position.

“The track has some aggressive first and second gear acceleration areas and quite long straights, so it is suitable for the characteristics of our bike, and as a result it was quite easy to lap quickly,” Dovizioso reflected.

“It was great to be constantly quick on this track and, even though it’s not one of the biggest and most spectacular tracks in the championship, it is in any case interesting to lap on a new circuit.

“Now we have to understand what tyres Michelin will bring for the race because it was also an important test for them. Here the tyre wear is particularly high because the bike tends to slide about on maximum lean and it spins a lot on the straight, so doing an entire race distance without any problems is going to be rather difficult.”

Team Suzuki Ecstar began the test looking to get up to speed on the track and searching for a setting to use during the race weekend. Once they are happy with their progress Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) will work with the electronics.

For the first time since launching its MotoGP project, KTM were on track alongside the established order. Mika Kallio and Tom Luthi were aboard the two RC16s at the test and are looking to use the test to gauge their current development progress. They had a positive outing, with Kallio just over two seconds outside the lead time.

Neither of Aprilia’s official riders were at the circuit, Sam Lowes getting his second taste of the RS-GP alongside test rider Mike Di Meglio. The Noale based factory chose not to run transponders while getting to know the Red Bull Ring.

The Octo Pramac Yakhnich team were amongst the first out on track, looking to understand the demands of the 4.3km long Red Bull Ring. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) focused his attentions on helping Michelin to assess the tyres while doing further work on electronics for Honda.

Eugene Laverty (Pull & Bear Ducati Team) and Yonny Hernandez (Pull & Bear Ducati Team) used the first day of testing to familiarise themselves with the circuit and waiting to see if Ducati will have further parts for them to test.

Avintia Racing duo Hector Barbera will be hoping to repeat his great performance from Germany after the summer break and is using the test to get a head start on set up. For his teammate Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) the two days give him the chance to get comfortable on the GP14.2 after his injury.

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller was on pace throughout day one, eventually settling into 13th on the timesheets around a second and a half from Dovizioso, but ahead of Crutchlow in the afternoon session.