Valencia MotoGP Post-Season Test, Day 2 Results
The final day of the traditional post-season MotoGP test at Valencia wrapped up Wednesday. Topping the time sheets for the two-day test was this year’s MotoGP Champion, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.
Marquez, who claimed his sixth World title Sunday at Valencia, claimed the top test time of 1:30.033 while testing a 2018 RC213V with a new engine and chassis. Marquez completed 61 laps, finishing 0.403 of a second ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa, and 0.406 of a second ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco.
“Today we collected a lot of information, and now it will be very important to prepare well for the next time we’ll be on track, which will be the Malaysia test at the end of January,” says Marquez. “Anyway, today was a good day, very positive. We tried many things and had a good pace, so I’m happy with how it went.
“We had a few issues to sort out with the new bike, and of course it has some positives and negatives, but that’s completely normal for a test when you put a completely new engine and machine on the track. We also tried a lot of things on our current bike, which worked very well, and we were able to gather a lot of useful data. That said, we’ll need to try everything again at the next test. Valencia is a particular track, a small circuit, and today’s conditions were very good, so we’ll need to re-confirm everything at another circuit.”
Honda was testing its 2018 bike as well as the 2017, and some parts on the bike with which it took the triple crown, and both Marquez and Pedrosa put in a combined total of over a hundred laps.
“I started the day with my race bike to check the track, then I moved to the new bike,” Pedrosa says. “After yesterday’s analysis we went further with more testing. We tried a new setup with mapping and with geometry, to understand the new bike because it’s not just about performance, it’s also about understanding what the bike is doing to the tires and what it’s doing on the track, what’s better or worse.
“So we made some progress but we are still understanding what the bike is doing. But we collected as much information as we can today. We tried a new swingarm, and a new rear tire, which is just a new compound on one side. And we tried a new fork. A lot of testing and it’s hard to pick out something good – different bikes and everything was a mix. It’s a short time for testing, and important before the break.”
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, meanwhile, put in a mammoth 72 laps on Day 2 to go sixth fastest as he also begins work on Honda’s 2018 push for glory.
On the second day, Zarco was the fastest Yamaha, and the Frenchman put in 65 laps to go third overall – just pushed back down the timesheets in the latter stages by Pedrosa. The 2017 Rookie of the Year has been testing the 2017 YZR-M1, and has been positive about the bike – saying he feels more potential with it, a sentiment echoed by Tuesday’s fastest Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on Day 1.
“It has been a great day of testing for me and I am happy to see how much I have progressed since last year,” Zarco says. “I had a very good feeling on the bike, and we were competitive with the lap time. In addition, we also worked on the pace, which is the main target in order to prepare for a race. I tested different chassis and gave my feedback to the team. Now we need to analyse everything in detail so that we know which option is the best. We will keep working but altogether, I can say that we have finished this year in a positive way.”
On Day 2, Viñales was fifth fastest after 66 laps, with teammate Valentino Rossi taking P7 on the timesheets after 62 laps. Rossi spent Day 2 largely working with a new 2018 engine, and Viñales said Day 1 was more positive but the slightly different track conditions on the second day had helped compare direction for next season.
Ducati, meanwhile, saw Andrea Dovizioso get through his testing program by mid-afternoon and hit the pause button until the Borgo Panigale factory head back out on track – ending the day in P15 but satisfied – with teammate Jorge Lorenzo ending the day in P4 and in the top three for some time. Lorenzo said they got through a good program of work, but more that he understood and was able to practice some changes in his riding style to adapt to the bike – putting in 39 laps with a best of 1:30.534.
Jack Miller (Octo Pramac Racing) impressed once more in eighth on Day 2 despite a crash, putting in 45 laps on his new bike and ending the session just 0.017 ahead of Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar). Iannone, sidelined on the first day with a virus, was back out for 47 laps on Day 2 – and teammate Alex Rins put in 38 laps.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was the last man in the top ten after 44 laps, again close to the man ahead and only 0.012 off ninth. His teammate Scot Redding, settling in on his new machine, did 56 laps and ended the day in P19.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing had another positive day, with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith lining up in P11 and P12 respectively. With a host of new parts and new team members, positivity abounded once more – with Espargaro putting in 46 laps and Smith 39. Espargaro worked mainly on the rhythm and grip, saying a big step forward had been found.
Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the fastest rookie in P16, turning the tables on Day 2 to end up just ahead of fellow rookie Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda). Morbidelli did 58 laps despite a crash, Nakagami 62. Xavier Simeon (Reale Avintia Racing), also a rookie and recovering from injury, put in 61 laps to take P20.
Now some teams head for Jerez for more testing, before the next official outing lights up Sepang International Circuit at the start of next season.