The sweet sound of MotoGP™ returns with a one-day test at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) finishes Wednesday’s MotoGP™ Jerez Test at the top of the timesheets, just as he did in Qatar last time we had MotoGP™ bikes on track. A 1:37.793 in the afternoon session saw the Spaniard take the first spoils of a restarted 2020 as we heard the sweet symphony of MotoGP™ machines roaring out of pitlane. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) claimed P2 as both Yamahas went quicker in the scorching afternoon temperatures, with reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) sitting P3 – but his morning time the best of his day.
The top track temperature recorded in Jerez on Wednesday was 57 degrees, adding an extra challenge to that of returning to the track after four months without MotoGP™. That was in the afternoon session, taking place at a similar time to when the race will be held, making it all the more vital for the riders to get accustomed.
The morning session went ahead without any drama but at the beginning of the second session, Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia Racing Team Gresini bike encountered an issue, dropping some fluid on the circuit at Turn 11. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) were the unfortunate duo to crash as a result, riders ok but red flags shown to enable the track cleanup.
Once play resumed, Marc Marquez was the man to beat as he – at one point – sat 0.7 clear of his nearest rival. After HRC seemingly suffered some troubles in preseason testing, that was a good sign for the marque and the number 93 was looking like his normal self on track. Quartararo didn't leave it long to strike back, however, subsequently getting the better of the eight-time World Champion by 0.030 on the combined times to go P1. The shuffle still wasn't done though, as Viñales then hit back with less than five minutes on the clock to go over a tenth clear and keep the P1 he's so often occupied in preseason.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) claimed P4 on his GSX-RR, another with previous form for 2020 pace, although everyone down to fellow Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Joan Mir in P9 failed to go faster in the afternoon conditions. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was P5, with Aleix Espargaro giving the Aprilia another good showing in P7 despite the earlier issue encountered. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) made for close company though, with Mir and fellow MotoGP™ sophomore Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) rounding out the top ten... and a top ten split by just 0.624.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was P11, ahead of a good day's work from Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing) in P12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) - the latter on the way back from his collarbone injury - completed the top 15.
That's it from Wednesday's action and after a scorching first day back, it looks to be as close as ever. In total, out of the 22 riders, 10 were able to go quicker in the afternoon – will that stand them in good stead for Sunday? We'll start to see more answers from Friday morning at 9:55 (GMT +2).
MotoGP, combined standings
1 Maverick Viñales - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - Yamaha 1'37.793
2 Fabio Quartararo - Petronas Yamaha SRT - Yamaha +0.118
3 Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda Team - Honda +0.228
Martin and Lüthi split by just 0.076
19 riders within a second and the top 10 covered by 0.4 – the Moto2™ test timesheets didn’t disappoint
Moto2™ got back on track with some incredibly tight timesheets on Wednesday, with Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) setting a 1:42.436 in the afternoon to lead Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) by just 0.076 by the end of play. Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) – despite only being ruled fit to ride on Tuesday after suffering a broken ankle while training – was P3 overall and not much further back either.
Under the soaring Andalusian sun, the intermediate class riders were getting to grips with their Triumph machines for the first time since Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took that emotional victory in Qatar, but Moto2™ remains competitive as ever, with hardly anything separating the top 10. Luca Marini made it two Sky Racing Team VR46 bikes in the top four in P4, with former Jerez winner Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completing a top five split by 0.251 as he got up to speed quickly on his return from injury.
Italtrans Racing Team’s Enea Bastianini – a podium finisher in Qatar – finished P6 on the combined times, with Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Nagashima and Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) up next, sitting three tenths off the pace. Xavi Vierge rounded out the top 10 on his Petronas Sprinta Racing machine, but the close battle went on as 19 riders finished the two sessions within a second of each other.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) - the man who won at Jerez for the last two years - finished P16. Can he make it further up the timesheets on Friday? Moto2™ FP1 starts at 10:55.
Moto2™ combined standings
1 Jorge Martin - Red Bull KTM Ajo - Kalex 1:42.346
2 Tom Lüthi - Liqui Moly Intact GP - Kalex +0.076
3 Marco Bezzecchi - Sky Racing Team VR46 - Kalex +0.116
McPhee fastest out the blocks in Moto3™
Second in the standings after Qatar, the Scotsman sears back to the top in testing
Petronas Sprinta Racing’s John McPhee was the man to beat as Moto3™ returned to track action for the first time since the Qatar Grand Prix in March. McPhee, who's second in the Championship coming into the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, was 0.3 seconds clear of a chasing pack led by another impressive performance from Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and fellow home hero Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) a they completed the top three.
McPhee set his 1:46.263 in the opening session of the day when the scorching southern Spanish temperatures were at least a touch cooler, with Fernandez the only rider in the top seven to better his time in the afternoon and taking P2 in the process. The Spaniard was also the only KTM presence in a top five dominated by Honda. Fourth fastest was Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who completed the short roll call of riders able to get within half a second of McPhee’s pace.
After signing a new Rivacold Snipers Team contract on Tuesday in Jerez, Filip Salac was up the sharp end in the test once again, backing up an impressive performance in the season opener in Qatar. The Czech rider finished fifth but it was a close-run deal with the Husqvarna of Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), who was just 0.008 off Salac in P6. Last year's Jerez winner Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was even closer than that in seventh, just 0.003 off Fenati. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) – the Italian only getting out in the afternoon session after a minor gearbox problem at the start of the day – and Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) completed the top ten.
Moto3™ will be back out on track on Friday at 9:00 (GMT +2) as Free Practice begins....
Moto3™ combined standings
1 John McPhee - Petronas Sprinta Racing - Honda 1:46.263
2 Raul Fernandez - Red Bull KTM Ajo - KTM +0.321
3 Jaume Masia- Leopard Racing - Honda +0.330