Yamaha men again lead the way as Valencia Test wraps up

Valencia Day Two – November 20, 2019

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) topped the second day of the Valencia test and it was once again a Yamaha 1-2-3, the tuning fork trio at the top within three-tenths.

Viñales was the only rider in the 1m29s – true of Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) at the weekend – and the number 12 narrowly beat the Frenchman’s pole time on Wednesday.

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo

Quartararo was 0.164s in arrears, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) within 0.265s of the top.

Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was the only other man within half a second…

Viñales fastest was set on the ‘new’ bike – with a different chassis and new engine – and the Spaniard put in 67 laps on the final day of testing, topping the timesheets with his 56th.

Team-mate Valentino Rossi was once again ninth, and ‘The Doctor’ did 68 laps on Wednesday. He was within 0.968s of the top and suffered a mechanical problem in the afternoon, but got back out.

Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha

“For sure, it has been a positive start to the new ’racing year‘. Yesterday both riders tried the new prototype bike for the very first time and their impressions were quite positive, especially considering the engine, because that‘s where we put the focus on for this test. The new engine is smoother than last year‘s, and we also increased the top speed to a certain extent, allowing us to improve. We didn‘t have any problems during these two days of testing. As a matter a fact, the work on the engine went so well that we also had time to start on improving the chassis set-up at the end of the day. We will spend some time on that next week, because we will go to another track in a few days‘ time. Jerez has a different lay-out and characteristics. We want to try the same specification at that circuit as we have run here, because we can‘t base our verdict on new parts on a one-time performance. This is really important, especially for evaluating the engine. We aim to improve our general package there: chassis, engine, and electronics. This prototype is a completely new bike, with the aim of improving all the areas without losing the positive points Yamaha bikes traditionally have. That‘s still our goal.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Maverick Vinales – P1

“Today was similar to yesterday. The new chassis works quite well, I‘m happy. I kept working on the engine and it feels like run by run we are making little steps. For sure, we are working very hard, but it‘s not enough yet. We have to keep working, but this test was positive because we brought significant changes and that‘s the most important. Honestly, the grip here in Valencia was fantastic during the test, so if the grip is lower in Jerez, we will know more. At the moment I feel there‘s potential and we have to understand how to realise it. The Jerez track‘s lay-out is totally different. It‘s a good track for a test, because usually if the bike goes well there it goes well everywhere. There we will see how strong we are.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Valentino Rossi – P10

“It was a positive test, I’m quite happy because we worked well. It was very important for us to try the new bike, the 2020 prototype. It’s good, it’s not so bad. We have a lot of work to do, but we improved. We also had some changes in the team, a new Chief Mechanic, so it is very important to understand the new team dynamic and try to work together. Both the new bike and the personnel change turned out positive and at the end I’m in P9 today. We improved the pace a lot with the used tyre, which is very important.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Quartararo and Morbidelli, meanwhile, didn’t say much about what they were working on – “some small things” and the Frenchman said it was more a day of riding than testing as yet. For a man only just starting his second season, the 64 laps were doubtlessly useful, however, and Morbidelli added another 52 to the team’s count.

Wilco Zeelenberg – Petrons Yamaha SRT Manager

“It was a little cold but a very positive first test of 2020, with both riders trying out quite a lot of components, chassis parts and aerodynamics. The bottom line is that there were some positives and some negatives, as is the case with every test, but it’s good to see that the Yamahas are at the front. It’s a positive way to start a new season.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo – P2

“We tested a few things today, but we’ll need to try them again to confirm the feedback. The most important thing I was able to do today was just to ride and work on some settings with the bike. We’ve got things to improve with the bike but already it looks like Maverick’s new bike is faster than the current one so Yamaha is working in a good way and I’m looking forward to getting a chance to ride it in Jerez.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo

Franco Morbidelli – P3

“I’m happy with the test, because we’ve been able to be fast throughout both days; faster than we were at the race weekend and closer to the top guys. We’ve been trying some new items that have been good for us, just small things. Some of them I’ve really liked and some of them didn’t make a big difference, so it’ll be important now to try to understand the changes. Hopefully, we’ll be able to try the new engine in Jerez, because it’ll be very important to get feedback from it and to understand the strengths of it.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli

For Crutchlow it was a mammoth day of work. The Brit headed out on the ‘2020’ bike, suffered a crash but managed to prove Yamaha’s closest competitor on the timesheets and improve his lap-time from the weekend after 73 laps.

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow – P4

“Obviously, we went a little bit quicker today than yesterday and that was always the aim, to get some more information and to be able to go faster. Overall, we’re pleased, pleased with the amount of laps we did. We did quite a high amount of laps in the short space of time we went out on track because I don’t think anybody went out too early, it was too cold and we have another test in another two or three days’ time. We managed to get 75 laps done in three and a half, four hours and we’re pleased with the progress we made today.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow

Speaking of the number 73, Alex Marquez, on the other side of the LCR Honda garage, was the only man to do more laps. The rookie did 79 on his second day as an HRC MotoGP rider, shaving six-tenths off his time from Tuesday.

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Alex Marquez
Alex Marquez

Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) made some more Honda headlines, however. The number 93 rode around with his brother and premiered the aero seen on Crutchlow yesterday, with the all-black Honda breaking cover bearing a 93 in the afternoon, and he ended the day in seventh after 71 laps.

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Marquez Brothers
Marc and Alex Marquez

Marquez also suffered a failed get-away earlier in the day, and his team-mate for the test – in the garage at least – also suffered an issue on Wednesday as Stefan Bradl ground to a halt. Nevertheless the German was able to complete 53 laps by the end of play.

Marc Marquez – P7

“It has been a good test and we have started to understand the 2020 bike, or at least the first version. We tried some things with the engine and the chassis, like always there were some positives and negatives. I did my best time today with the prototype bike, this was a positive. Now in five days we will be back to work in Jerez and I think that this will help us even more to understand the bike. I’m looking forward to it. The goal is to confirm our findings from here and make a further plan.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

Alex Marquez – P23

“I’m quite happy with how the test went, lap by lap we are understanding the bike more and more. I did a lot of laps today so physically I am a little tired because I’m still a bit stiff on the bike but this will improve with more laps. We did a lot on used tyres to improve our pace and learn the behaviour more. Of course, we still need to improve more and work on some things, but I am satisfied with what we have done today and in this test. Now we go to Jerez, I’m looking forward to being on the bike again after really enjoying the bike.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Alex Marquez
Alex Marquez

Team Suzuki Ecstar were fifth and sixth on Wednesday. The new engine previously having been put through its paces by test rider Sylvain Guintoli was a big focus for the Hamamatsu factory as they look for a step forward in terms of outright speed.

Joan Mir was the quickest Suzuki on Day 2. He put in a 1m30.427s and did 61 laps, but teammate Alex Rins was just 0.076s off and did 47 laps. They plan to continue testing the engine at Jerez.

Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

“Our main priority in this test was to test the engine with the 2020 specification and we did so with both riders. Yesterday we received positive feedback from the riders, with both of them fairly happy with it; today we worked to finalise some electronics and the riders are now around 80% satisfied with it. It’s still too early to say that we have a final decision on the engine but for sure it looks like we are on the right path. In Jerez next week we will focus again on the engine, finding new solutions with the electronics that will hopefully help us with the final decision. Then ready for Sepang, we will develop some more items to complete the 2020 package.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Mir
Joan Mir

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“For sure we can say we’re happy with this test. We had the new spec. engines to test, and both Alex and Joan immediately felt more comfortable with it. But we also needed time to work on it, especially with the electronics and setup we improved run after run during these two days. We went through some comparisons of other parts too. Now we head to Jerez where it will be important to carry on this positive job and hopefully confirm a few things. While at the moment we are focused on the engine and electronics, in Sepang we will be able to focus on more general setup, and we should have some new parts in the chassis area.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Rins
Alex Rins

Joan Mir – P5

“I feel really happy about these two days here in Valencia. We initially tried the new engine and even yesterday I felt positive with it, so today we have been working on the electronics to find the limits of this new configuration. I did great lap times, very consistent and always towards the top of the timesheets. At the moment we are happy, everything went well here, but we are aware that it’s too early to say 100% that the new engine is the correct way. We need to continue testing, especially with the electronics. In Jerez maybe we’ll get some more upgrades, but in any case we are on the right path.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Joan Mir
Joan Mir

Alex Rins – P6

“Today has been another positive day, as we improved our work on the engine and the results are good: I could better my lap times and also be very consistent, which means that the new spec. engine is giving good support. I feel a lot of improvement in top end power, despite the fact that Valencia is not the right track for trying that as it’s so short. So, I’m keen to go to Jerez where we can collect some more info. Of course, it’s important that we found many positives during these two days, and at the moment no negatives. This means that we can focus on finalising the new spec. and see if we can confirm our findings in the next test.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Alex Rins
Alex Rins

KTM stole a few headlines on Day 2. For their speed – Pol Espargaro’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) impressive showing and that of Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Iker Lecuona – they also had the new kids on the block, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Lecuona, taking some tips from the veterans. But there were also a few crashes, with each of the three racers all going down. Espargaro first, Lecuona later and Binder even later in the day.

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa

Espargaro’s crash, however, led to his fastest lap as he was then forced to switch bike to another new chassis – and found immediate positives. He was eighth and did 46 laps, Pedrosa 14th after 48 laps and Lecuona just 0.045 off the three-time World Champion by the end of play. Binder did 66 laps on Day 2.

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Pol Espargaro – P9

“Overall it has been a good two days, a lot of info for the electronics and for the guys in the factory and the chassis technicians so quite positive. Today we focussed again on chassis and tested an evolution. When I crashed on the bike with yesterday’s frame we jumped straight away on the new one and it was very good. I’m super-happy; to have a second chassis like that right away means we know what we are doing, which is so important. We are ‘touching the button’ and improving our weakest spots. We go to Jerez now and let’s see what’s going on there and whether we can stay at the same level as here in Valencia.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Pole Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Brad Binder – P23

“It was a cool two days and completely different to what I expected. From lap one it was like another world. The amount of power on the MotoGP bike is unbelievable. It’s incredible to see Pol’s data and some of the things he is doing is insane. I have a lot to learn. It is mainly just the lines and the way you pick up the bike on the exit of the corners. Working with the new team has been amazing. The guys are awesome and there is no pressure, they are super-chilled. They want me to improve in my own time. I had a little crash there at the end but other than that everything was pretty good today. More speed will come with time and when I find more confidence on the bike.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Binder
Brad Binder

Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Team Manager

“We are very happy with the test and the position and work we have done. We needed this time on track and with new stuff without the pressure of lap-times. Our four riders went through their respective schedules in a good way. Pol is already working with next year’s bike – the first prototype that Dani used this summer – and Dani himself continued to work with this version. Iker and Brad used the last spec of 2019 to get used to the bike and there are many things to learn. We can see that the speed is coming but they need to get the hang of the power, the tyres and the electronics. We were lucky with two dry days here and hopefully we can carry on in Jerez. Again I want to thank everyone in the factory for all the effort and strong work to bring us to this point. Let’s keep pushing.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Iker Lecuona
Iker Lecuona

Sebastian Risse – KTM Technical Director

“As with every year it is an exciting time for us as a team and as engineers. We had a lot of new parts here, maybe 30% of what we need to validate before the end of the year and we managed to do it already. We have virtually a new bike, a new package, with different parts to come together. We’ve been working on this with Dani and Pol and there are also options where we have to decide ‘A’ or ‘B’ and see if they work as well as the old one: that’s where we could involve our new riders a little bit but generally we tried to keep them as free as possible to focus on the riding and understanding the bike. Overall it was a really successful test and we are happy with what we have for the new bike. Pol was fast and very consistent. We are still at the point where we have to explore this package, so we have to keep pushing and tuning it. We still have to decide on a lot of parts and we’ll hope to do that in Jerez and the rest in Sepang next year.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Iker Lecuona – P15

“Now I have two days more on the bike here in Valencia. Overall, it was very nice with the bike and my feeling got a lot better. I improved my lap time a bit compared to the Qualifying on Saturday. I know quite well, that I still need to continue my work, adapt my riding style a lot more. For the next test in Jerez de la Frontera, I want to change some more things regarding lean angle and my body position, on the brakes, I already feel better and also with the electronics, but there’s still a lot to do for us.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Lecuona
Iker Lecuona

Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager

“A great second day in Valencia with Iker Lecuona. We have been continuing to work in order to improve Iker’s riding style, to improve his skill and knowledge about the bike, mainly working on the tyres, understand the carbon brakes and played with the setting, trying different lines to find out how to extract the maximum of a MotoGP machine. The lap time was a bit faster, but pretty similar. The pace was clearly a lot better. On the data, we could see, that his riding style is a lot better already. So, this is mission accomplished. Now we are heading to Jerez to continue to work hard. We are very happy! On the other side, we were impressed by the amount of work Dani Pedrosa and the whole test team were doing, so we will have these two riders again with us in a few days. Let’s hope the sunshine will follow us and we can continue the good work before the winter break.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Lecuona
Iker Lecuona

The Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, meanwhile, was focused on gathering more information on what they tested on Day 1, one big thing of note being a new chassis.

Andrea Dovizioso – P8

“Today it was important to deliberate on several components of the new bike on which we did back-to-back tests, and we were also able to try out a new experimental front tyre brought here by Michelin. The next test at Jerez will be very important for us to be able to give a definitive opinion about the 2020 package, but the first impression is positive”.

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

Some sensors were spotted on the rear of the Borgo Panigale machine too on Wednesday, and the ‘salad box’ was back.

Danilo Petrucci, however, was not back. The Italian remained sidelined by his bothersome shoulder, although Michele Pirro was once again on track to put the laps in – 40 of them – and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was all action stations too.

The Aussie explained he’d been doing back to back comparisons with the first version of the 2020 machines because the number 09 was ruled out. Miller was fastest Ducati on day two in 10th, just ahead of Dovizioso, who had gone fastest on the opening day of the test. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) was 12th, ahead of Pirro.

Jack Miller – P11

“I am very satisfied for these two days of testing and for having finished the season giving a great satisfaction to the team. We have worked hard on some new parts, and today I had the chance to test the 2020 chassis that I will use again in Jerez. The feeling is extremely positive and I can’t wait to get back on track next week for the last two days of testing. Then we will enjoy the well-deserved winter holidays with the whole team.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Jack Miller
Jack Miller

For Aprilia, it was another day of track action working with their 2019 machines. Aleix Espargaro was 16th after 43 laps, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini team-mate Andrea Iannone in 19th.

Aleix Espargaro crashed at the final corner, and Iannone ran on at Turn 1 with the RS-GP then catching alight. Test rider Bradley Smith was also on track and did another 32 laps to add to the information-gathering tally.

Aleix Espargaro – P17

“During these two days, unfortunately some of the difficulties we had during the race weekend were confirmed again, beginning with a certain instability at the front that we were unable to fully resolve. We worked primarily on the electronics, we know that the new bike will arrive in Sepang and I can’t wait to try it.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro

Andrea Iannone – P20

“We did a lot of work during these two days. We know we need to improve, and we are leaving nothing untried. We had the chance to test various solutions and to retest a few components used during the year. We found some interesting things – developments that will certainly be useful in view of the 2020 season. Of course, problems can happen and that is to be expected when you get close to a few limits.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone

Bradley Smith – P21

“Over these two days, Aleix, Andrea and I divided up the work. Right now, it is not about testing drastically new components, but rather collecting data that lets the engineers make the final changes to the 2020 project, in my case, primarily in terms of chassis architecture and ergonomics. We don’t have a lot of days to test before the beginning of the season, so it is important to move forward with our work as much as possible.”

MotoGP Valencia Test Day Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith

That’s it from Valencia and the first test of 2020 – with Jerez up next as a two-day test takes place on Monday and Tuesday. Who will reign there? Will we see more engines, chassis updates, more aero and even more tech on show? And can Yamaha stay on top?

2020 MotoGP Valencia Combined Times
  1. VINALES  Maverick 12 SPA Monster Yamaha 1’29.849
  2. QUARTARARO Fabio 20 FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT 0.164
  3. MORBIDELLI Franco 21 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT 0.265
  4. CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 0.467
  5. MIR Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 0.578
  6. RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 0.654
  7. MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 0.707
  8. DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team 0.816
  9. ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory 0.836
  10. ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Monster Yamaha 0.932
  11. MILLER Jack 43 AUS Pramac Racing 1.005
  12. RABAT Tito 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing 1.409
  13. PIRRO Michele 51 ITA Ducati Team 1.575
  14. PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Ducati Team 1.584
  15. PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA KTM Test Team 1.621
  16. LECOUNA Iker 27 SPA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 1.666
  17. ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Gresini 1.677
  18. ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Reale Avintia Racing 1.748
  19. BRADL Stefan 6 GER Repsol Honda Team 1.808
  20. IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Aprilia Racing Gresini 1.825
  21. SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Aprilia Racing Test Team 2.241
  22. MARQUEZ Alex 73 SPA Repsol Honda Team 2.386
  23. BINDER Brad RSA Red Bull KTM Factory 2.518

Valencia MotoGP Lap Records

  • Race Lap Record – Marc Marquez (2019) – 1m31.116s
  • Fastest Ever Lap – Jorge Lorenzo (2016) – 1m29.401s

Source: MCNews.com.au

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