This just in from MotoGP Press Office:
Marini quickest, Oliveira shines, GASGAS debut at the Valencia Test
A packed day of action at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo signs us off for 2022, with a whole new era just around the corner… and plenty to dive into already
Tuesday, 08 November 2022
We crowned a new Champion, we celebrated an incredible race and we sent the 2022 season off in style. Now, we’re #SprintingInto2023 as the Valencia Test gives us a peek through the looking glass at what awaits in a whole new era of MotoGP™, with riders joining new teams, GASGAS joining the grid and Augusto Fernandez (Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing), in turn, joining them. Oh, and Saturday afternoons are about to get a whole lot spicier!
Here’s what we saw on the final day of track action this calendar year!
It’s a Ducati at the top of the timesheets thanks to Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) with a 1:30.032, and both VR46 machines were quick with Marco Bezzecchi finishing the day third.
Ducati drew plenty of intrigue. While Marini and Bezzecchi produced quick lap times on their GP22s, as did sixth-placed Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), eyes were naturally drawn to the factory outfit as newly-crowned World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and his new teammate Enea Bastianini set about planning their title campaigns.
Pecco finished outside the top 10 but did get some good testing done, trying out a new front fairing and wings, while his Desmosedici also donned Aprilia-style side fairings. Bastianini, who took a tumble in the afternoon, finished the day in P10 and also got to try the side fairings, as did Prima Pramac Racing duo Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco. There was also a Ducati debut for Alex Marquez, and the new Gresini rider placed P15.
Over at Aprilia, and it proved a fruitful Test for the Noale factory. They had three riders inside the top five: Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) was the best of the bunch in second while Miguel Oliveira’s time on the RS-GP got off to a flyer as the new CryptoDATA Aprilia RNF rider ends the Test fourth, just ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing). They also welcomed Raul Fernandez into the fold at RNF, with the Spaniard riding the 2022 factory bike for the first time but ending the day down in P21.
Viñales was top for some time before being pipped by Marini
BB33 was back out on track
P7 went the way of Valencia GP podium finisher Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). The South African was riding on a new chassis that helped deliver him that P2 result at the weekend, while he also tried out a new tail unit and exhausts.
There was also huge buzz at the Austrian manufacturer as Jack Miller teams up with Binder on the factory team, and the Australian was P17 after 70 laps, but 0.755 off the fastest lap of the day set by Marini.
Yamaha were hard at work too as they plot their route back to the summit of MotoGP™, and nobody completed more laps than the recently deposed 2021 Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™). The Frenchman did 92 laps, testing out a new chassis, two new aero packages, large rear wings and the 2023 engine with his best time seeing him finish the test P9. Teammate Franco Morbidelli was P15, 0.015 off Marc Marquez.
Conspicuous in their absence from the top 10 are Honda. Of their four riders, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was the best placed in 12th, and initial murmurs from the HRC camp weren’t the most optimistic. The eight-time World Champion tested different chassis, exhausts, intakes, a seat, a tail unit and a carbon clutch, but said he wants to see much more improvement at the Sepang test.
On a positive note for the Japanese manufacturer, they handed RC213V debuts to ex-Suzuki pair Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) and Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) and they immediately got to work, testing the chassis, intakes, exhausts, tail unit, Kalex swingarm between them. Mir’s best was a 1’30.914 and Rins’ a 1’31.228.
Pol Espargaro looked absolutely stoked as he headed out on the Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing machine, the Spaniard almost doing a small dance as he got back in the groove. He ended the day 0.030 ahead of Miller on the Red Bull KTM.
GASGAS’ new kid on the block, Augusto Fernandez, was down to business with 83 laps on his first taste of the premier class. His best was a 1’31.730, 0.390 off Raul Fernandez just ahead of him on the timesheets.