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Iannone, Crutchlow, Dovi, Lorenzo: tight at the top in Jerez

Suzuki rider takes to the top of the timesheets in Spain, but it's anything but lonely at the top

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) ended the first day of testing in Jerez on top with a 1:38.280 after 68 laps, only half a tenth ahead of Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo as it got tight at the top. Iannone was fastest in the morning before Ducati hit back, with Crutchlow another to improve later in the day to overtake the Italian machines.

Suzuki are concentrating a lot of time on the engine at the test, with a decision on the direction for next year needing to be taken soon. On Day 1, Iannone was joined in the team by test rider Sylvain Guintoli, who was fifteenth quickest overall and eleventh of the MotoGP™ riders. Race teammate Alex Rins is expected on track tomorrow.

Dovizioso and Lorenzo continue fast form in testing at Jerez

Ducati, meanwhile, were continuing with their evaluations in order to pass on maximum information to engineers for during the break – with the GP18 due to appear first at the official Sepang Test in January. Dovizioso did 47 laps, Lorenzo 55. Crutchlow, on his part, has the new 2018 prototype Honda as he does some testing for HRC, and had two variations of the machine as well as his 2017 bike in the garage. He did 73 laps. The Repsol Honda Team are not present, instead choosing to use the test days next season. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 also sit out Jerez, instead heading for a private test in Malaysia soon.

Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was the fastest rookie in P11 overall, which was ninth of the MotoGP™ riders. Fellow rookie Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the next on the Grand Prix-only timesheets, only a tenth and a half back. At EG 0,0 Marc VDS, Alex Marquez was also on a MotoGP™ machine, with the Moto2™ race winner and former lightweight class World Champion getting a run in the injured Tom Lüthi’s place. Takumi Takahashi, who tested at Valencia with the team, also rode on Day 1.

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Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completed the top five on Day 1 after a positive Valencia test, with new chassis, swingarms and a host of parts – with work also concentrating on electronics and setup. Teammate Bradley Smith was seventh quickest of the GP runners, with Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat splitting the two KTM machines. Rabat’s rookie teammate Xavier Simeon was thirteenth quickest.

The fastest RS-GP was Scott Redding as the Brit settles in at Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, with teammate Aleix Espargaro replaced in Jerez by Aprilia test rider and WorldSBK racer Eugene Laverty. Laverty was twelfth quickest and just behind Guintoli. Finally, Octo Pramac Racing didn’t ride on Day 1, but will be back on on track on Thursday.

There were two interruptions on Wednesday after a fall for Pol Espargaro – rider ok – earlier in the session brought out the Red Flag to allow the track to be cleared, and a Red Flag interrupted the end of the day after a crash for WorldSBK frontrunner Chaz Davies on the Racing – Ducati Panigale. Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea also took a tumble, with the Kawasaki Racing Team rider going down early in the session.

There’s more action tomorrow, check out everything from WorldSBK’s adventures in Jerez here until the engines fire up again on Thursday morning.