Motorcycle Racing News MotoGP MotoGP Testing Heads Down Under to Phillip Island

MotoGP Testing Heads Down Under to Phillip Island

Phillip Island MotoGP Testing Set for February 17-19 – #TheIslandBattle

MotoGP Testing Heads Down Under to Phillip Island
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi at 2015 Phillip Island MotoGP

With the switch from Bridgestone to Michelin-spec tires and some new electronic demands, many doubted the performance of the 2016 MotoGP prototypes.

But this doubt quickly subsided after the opening test of 2016 MotoGP at a sweltering Sepang earlier this month; all riders impressed, especially the top rider of the Sepang MotoGP test – the reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1 pilot posted a best lap of 1:59.580 on a hard-rear Michelin tire, which was nearly a second ahead of the lap record set in 2015.

There were also some surprises during Sepang MotoGP testing; most notably Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci and Hector Barbera finishing second and third, respectively, ahead of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP).

The riders are now set to silent more doubters during the second official test of MotoGP at Phillip Island in Australia, which is set for February 17-19.

Though the Yamaha YZR-M1 prototypes did well at Sepang, there’s much work to be completed at Phillip Island. New frames were designed for 2016 MotoGP, but due to some progress in Michelin front-tire profiles, Lorenzo and Rossi will complete some back-to-back testing on 2015/2016 frames. Also, neither Lorenzo or Rossi were able to replicate a race-length test at Sepang with the new Michelin tires and Magneti Marelli ECU; this will be a priority in Australia.

The Repsol Honda team of two-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa will continue testing its new Evo engines that are designed to halt some of the agressive power delivery. On the Honda side of things, Jack Miller (LCR Honda) will complete his first test of 2016. The Australian was forced to sit out Sepang MotoGP testing due to injury.

Ducati’s satellite riders Petrucci and Barbera were quick at Sepang, but still have much work ahead of them. The same can be said of the factory Ducati Team pilots Andrea Ianonne and Andrea Dovizioso; both will tweak their respective GP16 prototypes. Also, of this writing, official Ducati test rider Casey Stoner will not be riding at his home circuit.

The Suzuki squad of Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro will continue testing new parts in Australia, including the fully seamless transmission. Both factory GSX-RR pilots were recently in Hamamatsu, Japan, performing extensive wind tunnel work for the engineers.

MotoGP says Aprilia will miss the Australia test as they head to Qatar for a private test where they will debut their 2016 RS-GP. Test rider Mike Di Meglio performed a shakedown on the new machine at Aragon on the 10th and 11th of February.

Stay clicked to Ultimate MotorCycling for Phillip Island MotoGP Test Results.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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