The traditional post-season MotoGP test got underway Tuesday at Valencia Ricardo Tormo circuit – just two days after the season finale that saw Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo earn a third premier-class title.MotoGP pilots were able to get some test time with the new technical rules and spec-Michelin tires of 2016. Technical changes include a fuel limit of just 22 liters and maximum weight of 157kg compared to 158 in 2015. The biggest change, though, is the switch to 17-inch wheels and spec-Michelin rubber compared to the 16.5-inch sizes and Bridgestone tires used in 2015.
When all was said and done, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez topped the time sheets with a 1:31.551, which was within a tenth of a second of his best time during the Valencia Grand Prix. He began with his 2015 RC213V, and switched to his 2016 RC213V by mid afternoon.Marc Marquez says: “We went out on track and on the opening laps I lost the front. I realized that the Michelin tires may have worked well for us in testing at Aragon, but they react differently on every type of asphalt. From that moment we started again, doing a run with the same bike we used during the weekend.“Then we changed to the new software and we saw that there is definitely some work ahead for us. It’s only the first day and we have to adjust many things. At the end of the day we tried the new engine together with the Magneti Marelli software, but in order to draw any conclusions we first have to finish setting up the electronics and when we have a good base, then we will be able to evaluate the engine properly.”His teammate Dani Pedrosa was third fastest, 0.130 of a second behind; both riders were quickest on their 2015 bikes.Second quickest was Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone, who was 0.088 of a second off the pace. He and teammate Andrea Doviziozo, who finished 10th, piloted their GP15 machines that were used throughough 2015. They won’t get a taste of the GP16 Desmosedici prototypes until Sepang testing.The 2015 MotoGP Rookie of the Year, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales was fourth quickest, -0.169 of a second off the pace and two tenths ahead of his teammate Aleix Espargaro, who finished seventh. Suzuki Test Rider’s Takuya Tsuda (22nd) and Nobuatsu Aoki (23rd) were also at the test evaluating new software.Finishing fifth, 0.216 of a second behind Marquez, was the newly-crowned champion Jorge Lorenzo. The man he beat to the title by a mere five points, teammate Valentino Rossi, was 12th quickest. Both riders rode their 2015 YZR-M1 prototypes in the morning, and switched to the 2016 versions in the afternoon.LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (+0.360s) had a crash early on at turn 5 but ended up going went three tenths quicker than during the race as he tested out some Nissin brakes, ending the day in an impressive sixth.The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith occupied seventh and eighth respectively on the timesheets, as only six-hundredths of a second separated the teammates despite the former also crashing just before lunch at turn 1.Scott Redding got his first taste of the Ducati GP15 as he made his debut with the Octo Pramac Racing team. The British rider clearly liked his new bike as he improved his best lap time from Sunday’s race by over half a second to finish in 11th. This was over two tenths quicker than his new teammate Danilo Petrucci in 13th.The Avintia Racing team were working with the Ducati GP14.2, with the 2015 Open class champion Hector Barbera in 14th and his new teammate Loris Baz in 18th.Jack Miller completed his switch to the Marc VDS Racing Team by finishing in 15th. The Australian improving by almost a second on his best lap time from Sunday. The test also saw the full debut of Tito Rabat in the premier class on the EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda. The 2014 Moto2 World Champion completing an incredible 84 laps throughout the day – 17 more than anyone else – to finish in 15th.Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Stefan Bradl ended the day in 17th and 20th respectively, as they too chose to stick with their 2015 machines to help them work on the new tyres and electronics.The Aspar MotoGP Team have switched to Ducati machinery for 2016, meaning that Eugene Laverty (21st) and his new teammate Yonny Hernandez (18th) both got their hands on a GP14.2 for the first time at the test. Both riders managed to improve their best times from the GP by over two-tenths as they put their new bikes through their paces.Riders return to Valencia Wednesday for the second and final day of the test.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!