These just in from Jerez
Japanese rider top on Day 2 – with three Hondas in the top five
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was impressive on Day 1 of the Official Test at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto but the Japanese rider usurped the adjective on Thursday to not only impress, but go quickest. The Japanese rider’s 1:37.945 was unmatchable on Day 2 and he put in 66 laps on his 2018 Honda. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was in close pursuit, however, ending the day just 0.025 off Nakagami’s best with a 1:37.970 – with Maverick Viñales (Yamaha Factory Racing) completing the top three and still within a tenth of the top.
At Honda, the devil was in the details – not just the logo on the number 99’s side of the garage – although there was a new airbox on show. Marquez said he was working more on refinements, as well as different tyres, with some good and some bad to report. Overall though it was a satisfied seven-time World Champion, happy with engine improvements. He did 56 laps – including a Marquez-style save – and says now focus will shift more towards the chassis. New teammate Jorge Lorenzo was also a force to be reckoned with on the timesheets. He put in a 1:38.105 and was just 0.039 off Viñales in third, with the number 99’s fourth day on the Honda seeing him take P4 after 65 laps – the third Honda in the top five.
The leading Yamaha on Day 2 was Viñales after completing 78 laps, and he seems happy with 2019 development so far. Both he and teammate Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing) have been testing two different engine specs, with Viñales clear as to which one they should go with. The Spaniard reflected after Day 2 by saying “overall we have a really competitive bike” and “the laps times were consistent” – positive from the now number 12, but what about Rossi?
While Viñales seems content, the nine-time World Champion wasn’t quite as happy after Day 1, saying that it was good enough for fourth – if they can capitalise on others’ misfortunes. On Day 2 though, Rossi finished 11th fastest after setting a quickest time of 1:38.596, 0.651 from Nakagami’s benchmark after completing 67 laps. The factory pairing both agree on which spec engine they need to go for, but ‘The Doctor’ insists Yamaha need to find more if they are to challenge at the top next season.
In the Petronas Yamaha SRT garage, it was another good day for both Franco Morbidelli and rookie Fabio Quartararo. For the former, a P6 finish after 68 laps and just 0.173 from the top sees him continue his quick adaptation from Honda to Yamaha. For Quartararo, it was another vital 58 laps in the bag – and it was another hugely positive day. The Frenchman ended P12 on the timesheets after setting a fastest lap of 1:38.761, just over a tenth off Rossi’s fastest lap and under a second from P1.
Meanwhile Ducati were the only manufacturer, according to Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), who weren’t on engine duty – they were confirming, successfully, their results from the Valencia test. The Borgo Panigale factory were focused elsewhere, including some time working on a seat modification first seen on Day 1 ridden by test rider stand-in Alvaro Bautista. Despite a tumble on Wednesday, Dovizioso put in 44 laps – saying he didn’t feel limited by the crash – with a fastest of 1:38.292 to put him in P8, and it was new teammate Danilo Petrucci who flew the flag highest in fifth, a 1:38.109 his fastest of 68 laps.
Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) had an impressive day on track, including a lot of time spent working on different setups that “seemed to work better and better” every time they made a change. He was fastest for a brief time in the afternoon, and ended the day in P7 overall after 57 laps, the best of which was a 1:38.207. His rookie teammate Francesco Bagnaia, meanwhile, made for close company and was the quickest of the new kids on the grid. The Pramac duo were split by Dovizioso but ‘Pecco’ was only just over a tenth off Miller and the Italian debutant did 50 laps, just working on getting experience – especially on used tyres.
Tito Rabat was another impressive performer on Ducati machinery. The Spaniard, who is still coming back from his leg break sustained at Silverstone, managed 60 laps and ended the day in P13. The best lap from the recovering Reale Avintia Racing rider was a 1:38.876 – with teammate Karel Abraham putting in a 1:39.744 after 40 laps, taking P17.
For Suzuki, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was able to continue to test the new GSX-RR engine and chassis combinations, alongside test rider Sylvain Guintoli. Rins was able to post the 10th quickest time on Day 2, his 1:38.522 0.577 off Nakagami’s pace as he completed 63 laps on Thursday. For teammate Joan Mir, it was another 55 laps under his belt as he continues to impress, bouncing back extremely well from a fast crash on Day 1. P14 on the timesheets for the Spaniard and under a second from P1 shows the 2017 Moto3™ World Champion is continuing to adapt well, and he also got to try the new Suzuki engine and chassis on Thursday.
It was a tough test for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini with Aleix Espargaro missing the whole of Day 1 through illness, while also missing the morning of Day 2 to complete just 11 laps. In addition, after a crash on Day 1, Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was riding with an injured foot as the Italian completed 36 laps by the end of the second day to finish P18 on the timesheets. This left new test rider Bradley Smith with the majority of the testing duties, the British rider getting 59 laps done on Thursday, and Matteo Baiocco was also on circuit for the Italian factory once again – with 48 laps completed for the latter.
At KTM, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was once again the quickest Austrian machine as the Spaniard put in a best of 1:39.144 after 60 laps – putting him fifteenth on the timesheets. Work continued on many different parts of the RC16, with Espargaro testing what Team Manager Mike Leitner called “bigger items”. Johann Zarco, meanwhile, was getting to better grips with his switch to the machine – with Leitner confirming his adaptation to the bike and vice versa. The Frenchman was seven tenths off his teammate on Day 2.
KTM Tech 3 Racing, meanwhile, had Hafizh Syahrin on a 1:40.520 and rookie teammate Miguel Oliveira with a best lap of 1:40.577 – only half a tenth off the Malaysian. They put in 54 and 61 laps respectively as they both switch machinery – the former from Yamaha and the latter from Moto2™.
Official MotoGP testing comes to an end at Jerez de la Frontera, with Danilo Petrucci fifth and Andrea Dovizioso eighth on second and final day. Álvaro Bautista also on track with the Ducati Test Team’s Desmosedici GP
With the second and final day of official MotoGP testing at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in southern Spain, track activity for teams and riders in 2018 has now drawn to a close.
After a two-month winter break, the MotoGP teams will meet up again at the start of next year in Malaysia, where the traditional first official session of 2019 will be held from 6th to 8th February with three days of testing scheduled at the Sepang circuit.
The two factory Ducati Team riders were once again able to make the most of a pleasant day to bring an end to the development work on the 2019 version of the Desmosedici GP.
Danilo Petrucci completed 68 laps, the best of which was 1’38.109, and he finished the session in fifth place, while Andrea Dovizioso (44 laps today) ended up in eighth place with a lap time of 1’38.292.
Álvaro Bautista was also present with the Ducati Test Team’s Desmosedici GP. The Spanish rider, who will be out on track again tomorrow for one more day of Superbike testing with the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team’s Panigale V4R machine, put in a total of 65 laps, setting a best time of 1’39.338.
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team #9) – 5th – 1’38.109 (68 laps)
“After four days of testing at Valencia and Jerez, I’m very happy with the work that we have done. We tested many different solutions but my feeling with the bike has always been good and so I’m satisfied. For me this is the first time in a factory team, with a new way of working, but I’m really very happy with the atmosphere I found in the box. In these days we’ve collected a lot of important data to work with over the winter and develop the best solutions for next year.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 8th – 1’38.292 (44 laps)
“Luckily I’m OK physically and I didn’t have any problems with my hand, so we were able to carry out all the work programme, which was very important to develop the last aspects of the new material before the winter break. I’m pleased because we were able to understand the differences between the various solutions better than yesterday and we have ended these last two tests of 2018 at Valencia and Jerez with some good feedback. For the first time we have managed to put the 2019-spec bike on track in these end-of-year tests, and for us that’s a very important step forward: our speed is good and I’m very happy with the work we’ve done.”
Álvaro Bautista (Ducati Test Team #19) – 16th – 1’39.338 (65 laps)
“Also today we tried a lot of different solutions and did a lot of laps as well as managing to complete the work schedule we had planned without any setbacks. This is always important to collect all the data necessary to develop the bike for next year. On my side I’m grateful to Ducati for the trust they’ve put in me and from tomorrow onwards I’ll be concentrating once again on Superbike, which is my new objective and which is a project that means a lot to me.”
Marc Marquez second fastest at Jerez as the “last day of school” finally arrives for the MotoGP field
The MotoGP riders completed the second and final day of testing during the last testing session of the year at Jerez de La Frontera in Spain, with Marc Marquez second fastest and just 0.025” off fellow HRC rider Takaaki Nakagami.
Marc and Jorge Lorenzo took advantage of another day in ideal weather conditions to continue their preparation for the new season. Marc set his fastest time of 1’37.970” on lap 53/56. Meanwhile, Jorge finished a very positive fourth with a time of 1’38.105” on his 65th –and final–lap.
It has been a long and successful racing season for the Repsol Honda Team, and the preparation for next year has got off to a positive start. Testing will resume after the winter break, when Marc and Jorge are back on the track in Malaysia, on 6-8 February 2019.
2nd 1’37.970 (lap 53/56)
“Today we worked more on the details of the setup and straight away this morning the feeling was very good. We spent time testing some medium and hard Michelin rear tyres and then we continued with testing new things. Some of the updates were very good and some less so, as is normal. We improved in the engine area but we have to continue working on this, and on the chassis area as well. We have a lot of information to analyse now. At the end of the day I put the soft tyre on for the first time and we did a good lap time, even though that wasn’t our main priority. We’re happy with how the test went and now it’s time to take a rest!”
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 29th November 2018
Today the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team have completed the Jerez MotoGP Official Test, the last riding day of 2018. Continuing their testing schedule, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi spent the allotted time making a final assessment of the new engine specs, setting the 3rd and 11th fastest time of the day respectively.
Viñales used today’s session at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto to the full, as he was keen to make a final decision on the new engine spec. The Spaniard mainly focused on race pace again, riding a total of 78 laps, mostly with used tyres. As the session progressed, so did his efforts. When he decided to push hard on a flying lap, he set a 1’38.066s. This hot lap earned him third place in the Day 2 results and fourth place in the combined timesheets, 0.121s from first.
Rossi also had a productive day at the office, finding a better feeling and pace than he had the day before. The Italian had already shared that he would be taking an in-depth look at the data to make a decision on the engine spec. After a total of 67 laps today, he has come to a clear decision on which direction to work in. His best lap, a 1’38.596s put him in 11th position in both the Day 2 and the combined results, 0.651s from the top.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team have now completed all 2018 riding action. The next test will be held after the winter break, at the Sepang International Circuit, early February.
Though we weren’t able to use all of the available track time due to the cold temperatures in the morning on both days, the test proceeded well. After completing 60% of the programme earlier in Valencia, we had quite a full-on programme here in Jerez, because we intended to make a decision on the engine specs at the end of these two days. Both Maverick and Vale have given clear feedback and have agreed on a direction, so I think we‘re close to making a decision. There do remain some different points of view on certain aspects, which we will work on clarifying during the 2019 pre-season tests, but for now we have a sense of which base we should work with. We were looking for smooth power delivery and engine brake, which is especially something Maverick was asking for, because it suits his riding style. We also worked on improving the tyre life, which was a concern during the 2018 season. We‘ve made progress, but we need to keep working. The engineers in Italy and Japan will go over the data thoroughly to come up with further steps to try at the first upcoming test in Sepang, at the start of February, next year.
So far, I think we’ve kept a really good rhythm, because we always got a lot out of used tyres, and I’m actually really happy because when I finally pushed for one lap, the bike responded quite well. I know we could improve the chassis quite a lot, now we’ve focused a lot on the engines, so for me it’s quite clear. Let’s see after the meeting what we decide to do. For sure, we always have to improve, but the important thing was to find the base, and now I think for Malaysia we have to improve the top speed, this will be important for the long tracks. I think over all we have a competitive bike.
Today was a good day because we worked more in detail and we improved. My pace was not so bad and the feeling with the bike was quite good. From the start we knew we had to decide on the engine spec and we have already decided. I think the situation is quite clear.
Tech 3 KTM
Syahrin and Oliveira conclude 2018 testing with new sensations
The ultimate day on track brought plenty of new knowledge for KTM Tech3 Racing with Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira, both using their remaining time this year at the Circuito de Jerez to its best and improving on their feeling plus their fastest laps from Wednesday.
Syahrin spent his last day at school of 2018 learning the KTM RC16 intensely, experimenting with some settings and adapting further. Thereby, the talented Malaysian did 54 laps in the course of the day and progressed in terms of lap times. Yet, Oliveira also enhanced his feeling aboard the MotoGP machine, which was obvious in his lap times as the premier class rookie was strong 1.053 seconds faster than on day one.
Position: 23rd – Time: 1’40.520 – Laps: 54
“For me today has not been too easy. To be honest, we expected to improve our lap time a bit more, but we still need more rear grip to find decent traction. At the moment, I feel very good with the front tyre, which is really stable, but at the same time the rear is spinning. We tried many things, but didn’t find the ideal solution yet. Now we need to think about it to find something for the next test. Overall, the two days of testing were very positive, but we are a bit far from the top. Anyway, we work hard and try to improve step by step in 2019.”
Position: 24th – Time: 1’40.577 – Laps: 61
“On the last day of testing this year I was able to make a very big step compared to yesterday regarding the lap time, more than a second, so I’m happy for that. Again we understood more about the bike, about what is missing and I’m just glad that the team and me are going home with a clear idea of what we need to do on the bike and I think this is the biggest positive we took out from today. Merry Christmas!”
“The last two days of testing this year were important for everybody, but especially for KTM Tech3 Racing. We needed a lot of laps and fortunately the weather was on our side this time. We could do many kilometres. The crew together with KTM, who is helping us tremendously well are acting more and more like a KTM race team, we improve our understanding of the bike. Still, we have only one bike, so each operation in the garage takes some time, but we are happy. We feel better and better, more and more comfortable with the KTM bike. I think both Hafizh and Miguel improved their feeling and of course also improved their lap times. Obviously, the positions are not great, but we’ve been going faster almost every single run. For sure the lap time is the main point of reference at the end of the day, but the confidence both Hafizh and Miguel are having on the bike is very important, because without that confident feeling, you can’t push and this is what we’ve been working on without changing the tyres too often, without chasing the lap time, as we are not at that stage yet. I believe this was a very productive test and everybody is going to think a lot about what we have to do, what we have to improve – the riders on their side, they have a lot of things to digest. Meanwhile the whole team is going to KTM to schooling and assembling before Christmas time. I believe this is going to be a very important week as well. At the end of the day, I would like to thank the team again, because the season has been long and tough, but everybody has been working hard with a positive frame of mind all the time. I would like to thank KTM for their trust and support, because we know how important the MotoGP project is and we feel proud to be part of it. Plus, I would like to thank Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira, obviously, as they did a good job. I’m really pleased to see Miguel with a small smile on his face at the end of this test. It’s always very interesting to take a rookie coming from Moto2 and helping to discover the MotoGP, which is what we’ve been doing again and I think it’s working. Now there is a break, everybody has to rest and we see everyone in Sepang with a positive attitude and full charged batteries.”
LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami signed off the season in spectacular style as he topped the timesheets on the final day of testing in Jerez. Riding injured team-mate Cal Crutchlow’s 2018 RC213V, the Japanese talent edged out Honda colleague and reigning world champion Marc Marquez to emerge as the quickest rider of the two-day test in southern Spain.
Nakagami had already demonstrated his potential on the machinery as he produced the third best time on Wednesday, but eclipsed that effort today as he laid down a marker ahead of the new season. His outstanding lap came just an hour before the end of the session as he completed a total of 66 laps.
Takaaki Nakagami – 1st
(1’37.945 – lap 63 of 66)
“Of course, it was a great day and I’m really happy to finish with the top time. The time was good, today our target was to get into the high 37s and we did that. I’m really happy with my feeling on the bike and we are improving day by day. The lap time is at a good level, obviously only me and Marc (Marquez) did a 37. It’s a great way to finish for the season and now I’ll relax at home. But I’m already looking forward to the 2019 season and can’t wait to ride this bike again in Sepang.”
In contrast to the autumnal conditions and rain that affected the final round of 2018 MotoGP and stretched into the first testing days of 2019 work, the second MotoGP IRTA session at the Circuito de Jerez was blessed with sunshine and an important opportunity to progress with tasks for next year.
Pol Espargaro ploughed through two days of trial and experimentation with new engine internals, chassis modifications and yet more feedback with a fresh electronics package. Despite the list of changes and components the Spaniard looked for key upgrades to the 2019 KTM RC16 package before the testing MotoGP ‘blackout’ comes into force through December and January.
Johann Zarco clocked just his third and fourth days on the new #5 race bike. The French star was satisfied with a discovery for his base set-up on Wednesday that allowed more comfort and speed with corner entry. On Thursday he established a comfortable and consistent pace and on finalising a direction for his RC16 with a view towards the next tests early in 2019.
Jerez was another crucial opportunity for the Tech 3 squad to adapt to the KTM machinery, and for Hafizh Syahrin to delve deeper into his first full MotoGP off-season of work while Miguel Oliveira continued his adaption to the KTM RC16 in what will be a measured term as a rookie in the premier class.
Pol Espargaro: “It has been a busy, busy test and we tried the bike from bottom to top. Yesterday we mainly did longer runs with a used tyre and our pace is not bad but we struggled a bit today in making a single fast lap. I had a big list of things to try and it is difficult to make fast lap-times and be consistent with pace when the bike is changing so much and is ‘live’! We were trying different parameters in the engine and something for turning when the tyre drops. In the chassis we made some modifications, which I think will be an improvement for the future, and the swing arm also. The WP guys have been working quite a lot with suspension and they also have some ideas. The team will work for Malaysia and we’ll have some meetings now to see in what areas Johann wants to go as well so we can improve this bike together.”
Johann Zarco: “So, some more days with the KTM and I’m happy because I made a step that I was looking for. It gave confirmation for the technicians for which direction we have to go. We began today on a better level and I was improving my lap-time. We then moved to test different things and could not do so many laps. We are still working on my base setting. We are not working to be the fastest one out there but the base is coming better and better every time I go out, and I can see that because the lap-time is there and I can repeat it relaxed. It means this is the direction we need. This engine is giving a good feeling to go out of the corner. Even if you miss it the bike will go and this is still one of our strong points and when we go faster we will be able to use it even better.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “To be honest, we expected to improve our lap time a bit more, but we still need more rear grip to find decent traction. At the moment, I feel very good with the front tyre, which is really stable, but at the same time the rear is spinning. We tried many things, but didn’t find the ideal solution yet. Now we need to think about it to find something for the next test. Overall, the two days of testing were very positive, but we are a bit far from the top. Anyway, we work hard and try to improve step by step in 2019.”
Miguel Oliveira: “On the last day of testing this year I was able to make a very big step compared to yesterday regarding the lap time, more than a second, so I’m happy for that. Again we understood more about the bike, about what is missing and I’m just glad that the team and me are going home with a clear idea of what we need to do.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “We came to Jerez to make a lot of base setting work so we started with the 2018 bike and brought many new items. We ‘loaded’ Pol a lot and he did a great job. We tried many aspects on the engine, chassis, aerodynamics and suspension. We have some good information now and will have to go home, work and bring the best mix to the next test in Sepang. Johann made a big step with his understanding of the bike and went into the ’39 lap-times with used tyres and that was positive. Also his feeling on the bike was getting better but for sure we still have a lot of work to do with him also. We’ll work during the winter now to be ready for Malaysia.”
Red Bull KTM cooled the engines on their second full MotoGP year as the sun set at Jerez today. 2018 has been a challenging but satisfying second campaign of further education at the highest level and witnessed significant reduction in the margin to the long-established leaders of the Grand Prix grid. 2019 gathers serious pace with the first pre-season test at Sepang, Malaysia on February 6th.
Jerez IRTA Test
Results MotoGP IRTA Test Jerez 2018 Day 1
1. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati 1:37.968
2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati +0.217
3. Takaai Nakagami (JPN), Honda +0.380
4. Maverick Viñales (SPA), Yamaha +0.408
5. Marc Marquez (SPA), Honda +0.549
15. Pol Espargaro (SPA), KTM +1.273
19. Johann Zarco (FRA), KTM +2.224
21. Hafizh Syahrin (MAL), KTM +2.662
23. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM +3.731
Results MotoGP IRTA Test Jerez 2018 Day 2
1. Takaai Nakagami (JPN), Honda 1:37.945
2. Marc Marquez (SPA), Honda +0.025
3. Maverick Viñales (SPA), Yamaha +0.121
4. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA), Honda +0.160
5. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati +0.164
15. Pol Espargaro (SPA), KTM +1.199
19. Johann Zarco (FRA), KTM +1.919
23. Hafizh Syahrin (MAL), KTM +2.575
24. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM +2.632