Phillip Island MotoGP Test Day 1 | Ducati’s Petrucci Leads Washout!

Phillip Island MotoGP Test Day 1 | Ducati's Petrucci Leads Washout!
Ducati's Danillo Petrucci

Phillip Island MotoGP Test Day 1 Results

Phillip Island MotoGP Test Day 1 | Ducati's Petrucci Leads Washout!
Ducati’s Danillo Petrucci

The Phillip Island Circuit has been the home of many memorable events over the years. During the 2015 Australian GP, we saw some of the greatest passes that resulted in some of our favorite moments of the season.

But during the opening day of Phillip Island MotoGP Testing 2016, Australia’s traditionally sunny weather didn’t hold out and riders faced overcast skies and a wet track as they got things underway Wednesday morning. Leading the way was Octo Pramac Yakhnich’s Danilo Petrucci, who got some fast laps in before the rain halted the session.

But it was a slow start for everyone; Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa was the first to make his way onto the track, aboard wet tires then soon followed out by Honda riders Tito Rabat and Cal Crutchlow.

As expected, both Repsol Honda riders (two-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez and Pedrosa) were collecting data on the 2016 “evo” engine. Crutchlow and Rabat were making use of a 2015 engine and a 2016 engine with similar specs to that which the factory team tested in Valencia at the closing of the 2015 season. Wet weather meant that no one could conduct major testing on the new engines but they made the best of the situation and collected much needed data on the new Michelin tires, as well as the Megenti Marelli software that has become compulsory for 2016.

Valentino Rossi at Phillip Island MotoGP Test Day 1
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were on hand for testing, despite the weather. Rossi, who turned 37 Tuesday,  took out the 2016 YZR-M1 prototype that now features a fuel tank in the rear. The nine-time World Champion only put down a handful of laps before coming in due to conditions. Jorge Lorenzo set a record for the day with 37 laps in the wet, which was the highest amount of wet laps that anyone had completed.

Marc Marquez, who celebrated his birthday Wednesday, was able get out on the track during the midway point on a new intermediate tire the first day. Marquez led the majority of the session with a 1’35.354. However, his competition was limited as only 11 riders chose to lap in the poor conditions. It also seems that the animosity between the two riders hasn’t cooled off as the two shot each other some glances while out on the track.

With only two hours of testing remaining, the weather broke and riders emerged from the pits. Things heated up when the Octo Pramac Yakhnich team Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding headed out onto the track sporting slick tires. The two sat 1-2 until through closing stages of the session. With showers coming and going after a short reprieve, riders got out onto the track with just 20 minutes left for a final dry run.

We saw some large improvements from the new blood today. Team Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith made the best of the last 20 minutes by putting themselves into the top three, just one second off from the leader, Petrucci. He captured the best time of the day with a 1:31.764 which was two seconds off from Marquez’s fastest lap of 2015, a 1:29.280. Scott Redding secure fourth, trailing 1.100’s behind his teammate and completed the most laps of any rider; a total of 41.

Rossi and Crutchlow, who spent a good portion of their time in the wet, missed the first dry session. But like the rest, made their way out in the closing minutes to move their way up into sixth and fifth. Pol Espargaro also made some headway with better conditions, setting a 1’33.126, winding up with a seventh place finish. The three were within two seconds of Petrucci who has led two days of testing in 2016.

Jack Miller of Austrailia made his comeback Wednesday. Miller was injured during a training sessions just a few weeks ago that resulted in a broken right leg. Riding his Marc VDS Racing Team Honda. Miller had high hopes, wanting to get 25 laps out to see where he was at health wise but due to conditions, was only able to complete six laps in total. With a 1:33.992, Miller put up a respectable time, in light of his injuries. He slotted in behind Yonny Hernandez on the Aspar MotoGP Team Ducati GP14.2 who managed to beat out both Ducati Factory riders; Ducati’s Andrea Iannone closed out the top 10. Iannone was able to get out on the track for a very short time but was cut short by ran. Dovizioso was able to get seat time as well but did not register a time. Avintia Racing Ducati riders opted out due to weather conditions.

Claiming 11th place was new comer Tito Rabat, a Moto2 Champion. He set his fastest time of 1:35.273 on his 28th lap and led Marquez. Marquez wasn’t able to improve on his 1:35.354 from earlier in the day. And with only two laps under his belt for the day, Aleix Espargaro closed the first day of testing in Phillip Island in 13th, just ahead of Eugene Laverty.

Suzuki was out in force today. Takuya Tsuda made use of the dry window and claimed 15th. Tsuda and Hiroshi Aoyama were at Phillip Island earlier this year working on the fully seamless gearbox for the new Suzuki GSX-RR prototypes. Suzuki has a goal of providing both GP team members, Espargaro and Viñales with the fully seamless gearbox in Qatar. As of now, the two riders have dedicated their efforts to getting the most out of their new engine.

2015 MotoGP World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo ended 16th ahead of Dani Pedrosa. Unfortunately, neither rider was able to best their times from the wet weather testing. The three-day Phillip Island MotoGP test continues Thursday. Things do look a little better, however it seems that they still could see some rain.

2016 Phillip Island MotoGP Test Results, Day 1

1. Danilo Petrucci, ITA, Octo Pramac Yakhnich, 1’31.764s [Lap 11/12]
2. Maverick Viñales, ESP, Team Suzuki Ecstar, 1’32.483s, +0.719s [20/20]
3. Bradley Smith, GBR, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 , 1’32.590s, +0.826s [27/27]
4. Scott Redding, GBR, Octo Pramac Yakhnich, 1’32.864s, +1.100s [33/41]
5. Cal Crutchlow, GBR, LCR Honda (RC213V), 1’32.948s, +1.184s [21/21]
6. Valentino Rossi, ITA, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 1’33.088s, +1.324s [26/27]
7. Pol Espargaro, ESP, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, 1’33.126s, +1.362s [20/20]
8. Yonny Hernandez, COL, Aspar MotoGP Team, 1’33.841s, +2.077s [6/6]
9. Jack Miller, AUS, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, 1’33.992s, +2.228s [6/6]
10. Andrea Iannone, ITA, Ducati Team, 1’34.049s, +2.285s [7/9]
11. Tito Rabat, ESP, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, 1’35.273s, +3.509s [28/29]
12. Marc Marquez, ESP, Repsol Honda Team, 1’35.354s, +3.590s [18/20]
13. Aleix Espargaro, ESP, Team Suzuki Ecstar, 1’35.584s, +3.820s [2/2]
14. Eugene Laverty, IRL, Aspar MotoGP Team, 1’35.679s, +3.915s [5/10]
15. Takuya Tsuda, JPN, Suzuki Test Rider, 1’36.166s, +4.402s [6/6]
16. Jorge Lorenzo, ESP, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 1’39.825s, +8.061s [14/24]
17. Dani Pedrosa, ESP, Repsol Honda Team, 1’40.138s, +8.374s [15/15]
18. Andrea Dovizioso, ITA, Ducati Team, [0/0]


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