Jerez Day Two – November 26, 2019
Marc Marquez was fastest on Day 2 of the Jerez test, the reigning Champion posting a 1:37.820 on Tuesday morning to sign off for the season on top – although there were more headlines for the number 93 than just on-track.
From the test, Marquez will now head for surgery on his right shoulder after a crash on Day 1 of the test exacerbated a problem that had already begun to plague him.
Alex Rins was second quickest and just 0.017 in arrears, with his teammate Joan Mir completing the top three on Tuesday.
Day 2 at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto was largely disrupted by rain, with the riders getting limited dry track time before the wet weather arrived at around 12:15 local time.
On a wet track, less than half the field ventured out, but those who did include MotoGP rookies Alex Marquez, Iker Lecuona and Brad Binder, as all three used the time to test out their new machines in the different conditions.
Before that, however, Marquez had swiftly got down to business, setting the second fastest time of the test overall – and the quickest of the day – on his third flying lap.
“Theses two days were very positive for us, working with the 2020 items we have and trying to find the right direction. On the first day we tried a lot of things and then today we started with the best of what we found yesterday. Unfortunately, we only did 20 laps before the rain came. It wasn’t wet enough to properly test in the wet and it certainly wasn’t dry. Now it’s time for the staff in HRC Japan to analyse everything. This winter I would have liked to have a nice holiday and enjoy a bit of quiet time after a great 2019 – but it is time to have surgery on the right shoulder. As everyone knows, last winter was very tough for me with the operation on the left shoulder, which was very, very damaged. I want to avoid the situation where my right shoulder is in this condition in the future so I spoke a lot with the doctors to see what our options were. Before Motegi I had some issues with the shoulder and then after the crash in Malaysia I had a subluxation. Here at the test I had another subluxation after the crash, so we decided with the doctors that it was best to have the surgery to avoid the situation we had with the other shoulder. It will take more or less the same time and we will work in the same way to arrive at the Malaysia test as strong as possible.”
The number 93 retained three bikes in the garage as on Day 1, and the partial dislocation of his right shoulder suffered on Monday didn’t seem to be affecting him out on track but Marquez then announced he has elected to have surgery as a preventative measure after medical consultation.
The operation will be similar to the one performed on his left shoulder at the end of 2018. Rookie Alex Marquez was 17th, and Cal Crutchlow 13th on Tuesday – although the Brit put in limited laps.
Crutchlow managed to put in 66 laps on day one, before completing 14 on day two, with lap times across the field mostly well behind those from the Spanish Grand Prix and subsequent test back in May.
“On day one we did a short evaluation of a few parts with the 2019 bike. We were happy enough with how the day went. We couldn’t get too many laps because the weather wasn’t fantastic. On a normal test here we could probably do 100 laps in a day, but on the first day this time we only did 60-ish and today just 14. Overall, we’re happy with the work we managed to fit in. Day two wasn’t too useful as regards our plans to make steps forward with the 2020 project. It’s a shame for everyone that the weather hasn’t been great, but we will work with the engineers in the factory over winter to make sure we have the best package available for the 2020 season.”
Alex Marquez was left wishing for better track conditions in order to improve his feeling on the RC213V. A best time of 1’39.224, set on the morning of the second day, leaves the 23-year-old as the fastest rookie of the test. The reigning Moto2 World Champion will now begin an intense off season to prepare himself for his debut in the premier class when the lights go out in Qatar.
“The weather was like it was, which wasn’t perfect but in the morning we were able to make another step and improved our time on used tyres. This is good news for us. Like yesterday, when we put new tyres in it started to rain so this is still something we have to look at. We were able to try the bike a little bit in the wet and it felt good. I’m happy with this second day of testing even if there’s still a lot of work to do. I know what I need to do at home to be ready in Sepang.”
Limited laps was true for many and definitely for Mir, who did only 12 laps to end the day in third, with Alex Rins putting in twice that and turning the tables on his teammate on Day 2.
“We weren’t able to do a lot of laps today because of the conditions, but we still managed to work on the electronics areas, and this was positive because we noticed the difference. I set a strong lap, even after being out on track for a while. Overall, after four days of testing – two here and two in Valencia – the feeling is very positive and I’m already looking forward to coming back after the holidays.”
Test rider Sylvain Guintoli did 14 laps for the Hamamatsu factory, but the Team Suzuki Ecstar camp seem very pleased with their early 2020 progress with the new engine. “Back-to-back” testing with 2019 and 2020 parts was key for Team Manager Davide Brivio, and all three riders improved their laptime on Tuesday morning.
“These two days have been really nice because we confirmed a lot of things and we’re satisfied with the new engine. I only managed to do two runs in the dry, but I was very happy with my pace, I bettered my lap time from yesterday. I did three or four laps in the early 38s, as well as a fast lap of 1:37.837, and it felt good. Now it’s time for the winter break, and to come back fresh in the new year.”
“Today was a pretty short today, but we still managed to do almost everything we wanted to and everything we planned. 2019 has now drawn to a close and we’re so excited for next year because the 2020 spec. already looks really promising. The test team are doing more and more and our close bond with the factory side is going well, we’re seeing the results of this work.”
Yamaha ended Tuesday in fourth with Maverick Viñales – although the number 12 remains fastest overall – and he put in 15 laps. Across the two days, Yamaha duo Viñales and Valentino Rossi continued testing the 2020 YZR-M1, with both having one 2020 – with a slightly different fuel tank – and one 2019 M1 in their garage.
Actually, I felt really good on the bike, riding in a really good way. Yesterday, I felt fantastic on all the laps and that is the most important. I end the 2019 season with a great feeling and a lot of motivation, and that keeps you going when preparing for the new season. Yamaha is working really hard, but we‘re still working on top speed. For sure in other areas we‘re quite strong, but we need to stay focused on improving our weaker areas for the next test in Sepang.”
On Day 1, Rossi did a lot of his running with a carbon swingarm. However, that wasn’t the case on Day 2, with the number 46 running an aluminium swingarm on both of his bikes.
“It‘s a shame about the weather today. It was an important day because we had to work on making a comparison between the new and the old bike, so we had a good program, but, unfortunately, we did only ten laps on the dry, and after that we did some laps on the wet. But the feeling is positive, a lot better than yesterday. On the dry I was a lot faster. I improved my best lap time from the day before already after three laps, and today I was more competitive. After the rain we did some work on the new bike on the wet, and it wasn‘t so bad, but it was only half a day.”
Viñales seemed content using the aluminium swingarm for most of the test, with both riders saying small steps have been made with the 2020 engine. Rossi ended Tuesday in 10th, half a second off the top after 33 laps – more laps than most.
Over at Petronas Yamaha SRT, Fabio Quartararo was fifth on Tuesday and teammate Franco Morbidelli seventh. They confirmed they had been trying “a 2020 prototype” Yamaha engine specification in Jerez. The carbon swingarm didn’t appear on Day 2 for the duo, but it was a solid looking test for Quartararo and Morbidelli heading into the winter break.
“We weren’t able to gain much from today, because just as I was getting ready to really start working on the bike it began to rain. I did my best lap time of the day but it was already starting to rain, and it turned out to be the only chance that I got. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t test as much as we wanted to, although I was also able to complete five laps in the wet to check how the engine worked in those conditions and it was positive. The track wasn’t wet all the way around for long so it wasn’t too helpful to keep riding and risk injury. We still need to work on the power delivery of the bike because it’s different from the current bike’s, but the pace I was setting yesterday was promising. We need to complete more laps, but overall it’s been a successful test for us. Now I’ll enjoy the time off and come back fresh to try everything again in Malaysia.”
“Unfortunately we didn’t learn much today, because as soon as we had completed a shake-down in the morning it started to rain and we had to stop. We managed to complete some laps in the afternoon to check out how the engine was behaving in wet conditions, but that was the end of the day for us. I feel good with the prototype engine, which is a great start. Of course, there is still plenty of work to do because there are areas where we can be better, but the direction that Yamaha has taken has been the right one. We need to improve in the braking areas, but that’s something we can concentrate on at the next test in Sepang.”
Sixth fastest Andrea Dovizioso and 12th fastest Danilo Petrucci continued to work on Ducati’s new chassis on both days in Jerez, with both riders confirming it’s a step in the right direction. On Day 2, test rider Michele Pirro was seen using a new aero piece on the front wheel too.
Jack Miller and Pramac Racing, meanwhile, completed just four laps on Day 2 as the rain saw them pack up early for the winter, but the Australian finished P8 on the day and combined standings after improving his time on Tuesday, the last rider within a second of Viñales’ overall best.
“They were two very productive days even if today we could not lap much because of the rain. But I am very satisfied because I was able to try new solutions that we will find in Malaysia when I will have the 2020 version of the Desmosedici GP. I would like to say a big thank you to Ducati and Pramac Racing. It has been a satisfying season and since the Sepang tests we will be working to improve even further. Happy holidays to everyone.”
At Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, MotoGP Legend and test rider Dani Pedrosa was back out on track after missing Day 1 through illness and he did 11 laps. Pol Espargaro, fastest KTM in ninth, continued to lap with a new RC16 with the orange chassis. There was also a new fairing and new aero setup on display across the two days as Espargaro seems pleased with the Austrian factory’s progress.
“The last test of 2019 and we were not so lucky with the weather which mean we could not work as much as we wanted. Fortunately, we did some laps this morning when we felt quite good and we were just three tenths away from the top guy with ten laps on the tyre, which was important for consistency. Overall the pre-season has been very good. We did a lot and tested a lot of new stuff at Valencia and we have been fast. Now it’s time for the winter and after healing a little bit I will try to work harder than I did last year to try and come back in better shape. I’m already looking forward to trying the 2020 RC16 again in Malaysia.”
Binder was lapping on the ‘old’ bike and did a good amount of laps before the rain came on Tuesday morning, and as aforementioned the South African also headed out in the wet.
“We decided to do a couple of laps when it was a little bit wet just to get the feeling of the new bike and that was really awesome. I’m glad I got a chance to experience that. It’s been difficult these last two tests. It hasn’t been easy to adapt to the new bike but I think I’ve got a lot to think about now in the off-season and hopefully we can try to make a step in Sepang. I think I just need to improve my riding; my feeling with the front a little bit and just being able to have confidence to put the bike where I want to, especially on the entry to corners. I think once I get that right the rest will fall into place.”
Lecuona was also still on the ‘old’ bike as both rookies’ aim was to get more comfortable on the MotoGP machine. Lecuona and Binder ended the test 20th and 22nd respectively on Tuesday.
“It was my first time in wet conditions and to be honest, it was quite strange. I need more laps, but finally I went quite fast. I liked the feeling, although I didn’t find out the limit in every point. I’m happy, but with some sectors not too much. For next year, I know that I need to improve in all the points, which is clear as long as you are not finishing first. I need work on my riding, on the brakes and picking up the bike, but finally in the wet it all went quite well and in general, I’m very happy.”
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini and Aleix Espargaro had a new front wheel cover on Day 2 in Andalucia, an all-in-one piece with the front mudguard, wheel cover and caliper duct. He was 15th after 24 laps.
“The Jerez tests are more relevant than the Valencia tests because this is a more traditional and more indicative track. We continued working on the 2019 package with a few changes to the electronics, which is an area we are strengthening. Now the ball is in the Aprilia engineers’ court as they develop the 2020 prototype. The coming months will be crucial in achieving the objective of having the new bike on the track in Sepang.”
Andrea Iannone, on the other side of the garage, only did four laps on Day 2 but finished eleventh. Test rider Bradley Smith, 21st on Tuesday, completed the most laps of anyone on Day 2 – 43.
“Unfortunately, we were a bit limited during these two days, both because of the weather and because I arrived in Jerez with a fever. In any case, we found some interesting things to work on over the winter in order to show up in Sepang stronger than before. The work done by Michelin on the new tyres also seemed to go very well. I’ll stay in contact with the guys in Noale now to follow development of the new bike. It will be important for me to be able to make a step forward next season.”
“Our programme here was not much different than the one in Valencia. We are gathering the final data that will allow the racing department to refine the 2020 bike. The weather wasn’t the best, especially on the second day, but we tried to provide as much information as possible, even lapping in the wet.”
The MotoGP World Championship will now begin a two-month winter break and the teams and riders will next be back on track at Sepang (Malaysia) from 7th to 9th February 2020 for the first official testing session of the new year.