News 15 Feb 2017

Marquez sets Phillip Island MotoGP test pace on day one

Miller shines during Wednesday's action on home soil.

Source: Supplied.

Under more seasonable skies than have sometimes greeted the MotoGP paddock upon arrival for the race weekend at Phillip Island in October, the second official test of 2017 got underway on Wednesday.

New Ducati Team arrival Jorge Lorenzo one of the first to get down to work, but by the end of day one it was compatriot Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who topped the timesheets, as the Spaniard put in a 1m29.497s.

There were some crashes for the field including Hector Barbera (Reale Esponsorama Racing) and Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and two red flags.

One saw animals on track cause a short stoppage, before a crash for Lowes at turn six – rider okay – damaged the tyre barrier and necessitated some repair work.

The day’s fastest man, Marquez, spent the day working with the engine specification chosen in Sepang alongside teammate Dani Pedrosa. The reigning champion put in 68 laps and set his best on his 53rd.

Pedrosa, who spent most of the day in P4 before a late charge from some others in the top 10, ended the first session in seventh on a 1m30.280s after 55 laps.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP held second on the timesheets for most of the latter part of day one, first with Maverick Viñales after the Spaniard had led the way, and secondly with Valentino Rossi, who ended second on a 1m29.684s – saving a potential crash earlier in the session.

Viñales, who did a best of 1m29.990s after 64 laps, didn’t better his time towards the end as his new teammate and Rossi’s compatriot Andrea Iannone did, moving down to fourth.

Iannone shot up the time-sheets for Team Suzuki Ecstar near the end of the day, taking third overall with a 1m29.926s after having spent much of the session outside the top 10.

The Maniac completed 70 laps and set his fastest on number 68. Teammate and rookie Alex Rins did 66 laps as he gets to grips with MotoGP, setting a best of 1m31.432s.

LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow completed the top five with a 1m30.065s. Putting in a late charge to move up, the Brit did 61 laps and set his fastest on his final effort. Crutchlow was another testing a version of the new specification engine for Honda, as well as Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller.

Miller did 80 laps of his home track with a best of 1m30.426s, impressively ending the day in the top ten in ninth. Miller’s teammate Tito Rabat is not at the test following a crash at Sepang, but is hoping to return for the Qatar test.

Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) was another late charger as he moved up to end the session in sixth, just ahead of Pedrosa and fastest Ducati on day one. Putting in 87 laps as he gets used to life on his new GP17, the Italian also set his quickest lap on his last with a 1m30.262s.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was the next Borgo Panigale machine and the 2016 Malaysian GP winner ended the day in eighth with a 1m30.410s. Charged with testing new parts and continuing the progress of the Desmosedici, DesmoDovi did 64 laps.

New teammate Lorenzo continued his progress as he focuses instead on adaptation to the machine, spending much of the day in the top 10 and one of the first out on track. The Spartan did 61 laps with a best of 1m30.631s, just pushed down to P11 in the latter stages.

Completing the top 10 was the fastest rookie of the day, Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3). Impressing once again after a solid debut in Sepang, the German posted a 1m30.578s and did 62 laps. Teammate Johann Zarco, reigning Moto2 champion, did 80 laps with a best of 1m30.867s to go 15th.

Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team), Hector Barbera and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completed that top 15, ahead of Zarco.

Red Bull KTM Racing continue their progress in MotoGP as they prepare for their full-time debut in Qatar, with Pol Espargaro putting in a 1m31.200s as the fastest Austrian machine on day one.

Action continues at Phillip Island on Thursday, with the grid eager to head back out and continue their 2017 preparations as lights out in Qatar begins to loom large.