Valentino Rossi Tops Brno MotoGP Test
Following his fourth-place finish Sunday at the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno, Valentino Rossi led the eight-hour Monday test at the same circuit.
The nine-time World Champion experimented with new air fairings, a new Ohlins carbon front fork, along with other items on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1.
Rossi completed 52 laps, taking the top time of 1:55.162, which was 1.930 seconds quicker than his Sunday race time.
Following 0.018 of second behind was Sunday’s 2017 Brno MotoGP winner, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who completed 67 laps. Taking third quickest Monday was Rossi’s teammate, Maverick Vinales. The Spaniard completed 69 laps, finishing 0.173 of a second behind teammate Rossi.
Besides each team’s unique testing programs for setup and parts, all teams also tested some new 2018 Michelin tires that were designed “with the intention of improving temperature management.”
“I’m so happy, because it’s been a long time since I was able to be in the first position on a Monday,” says Valentino Rossi. “I don’t usually like the Monday tests, they are a difficult part of my work. It’s important because we finished a good weekend with a good performance.
“Being in first position is always a good feeling. Between all the things we tried, we tried the fairing that was good. I have a good feeling, but that depends on the track, I don’t think that for example at a track like Austria this fairing will be very important. I’m happy. I like the fork, because it helps in the change of direction and the bike is easier and lighter, so it’s a good option.”
The 2017 MotoGP grid now heads directly to Austria’s Red Bull Ring for round 11 of 18. Following are the official recaps of each manufacturer during 2017 Brno MotoGP Testing:
One of the biggest headlines behind the time sheets was a new aero fairing for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, which didn’t break cover during the race weekend. The team also tried carbon forks and worked on settings, with Maverick Viñales doing 69 laps with a best of 1:55.335 in P3 and Valentino Rossi putting in 52 laps. The ‘Doctor’’s best was a 1:55.162 to take over at the top.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage had Jonas Folger trying a different chassis and teammate Johann Zarco focusing on settings, specifically to improve corner exit. Folger did 48 laps and was P8, Zarco 70 laps to take fifth.
Repsol Honda teammates Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa spent the day prepping for the Austrian GP, working on the electronics and trying different settings. Marquez, Brno winner and pole sitter, did 67 laps with a best of 1:55.180 for second. Pedrosa, fresh from his 150th podium, put in a best of 1:55.795 after 53 laps and was P7.
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow was working to solve some issues he’d encountered during the Czech GP, before focusing heavily on getting ready for the hard braking and hard acceleration of the Austrian GP. He was P6 after 48 laps. EG 0,0 Marc VDS saw Jack Miller trying a softer triple clamp, and working on settings. Tito Rabat focused on set up and more on his riding style, just beating his teammate to P12 by 0.099.
Work for the Ducati Team centered around their radical new aero fairing that first appeared during the Czech GP weekend. Jorge Lorenzo kept working with it after having used it in the race, with Andrea Dovizioso trying it out for the first time. Lorenzo was P4 with a 1:55.542 after 55 laps, Dovizioso P11 after 45 laps.
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini continued working with their new parts brought after summer – although Sam Lowes was forced to limit his track time after injuring his foot during the GP weekend. The Noale factory have a new engine, airbox, exhaust, gearbox and swingarm as some of their key upgrades – with lots to test. Aleix Espargaro was P10 after 51 laps, Lowes P17 after 26.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone was focused on braking and getting the bike stopped, as well as trying the 2018 spec engine for the Hamamatsu factory. Rookie Alex Rins tried the chassis Iannone has had since the Catalunya Test. Iannone was P9 after 47 laps, Rins P14 after 69. Test rider Takuya Tsuda was also on track and worked on electronics.
Red Bull Factory Racing followed up their best ever result with Pol Espargaro in the Czech GP with some preparation for their home race next time out. Espargaro was working on the chassis and on acceleration when the bike is upright – with stopping power something the Austrian factory are already happy with. Bradley Smith’s side of the garage were trying out ways to adapt the bike more to the Brit’s riding style. Espargaro did 60 laps and was P15, Smith 51 laps to end the day in sixteenth.
Photo by Luciano Bianchetto