Valencia Test: Quartararo heads Yamaha trio after Day 1

The fantastic Frenchman started 2020 in the best possible way as he and Yamaha led the charge at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit

The first day of 2020 is officially done as day one of the Official MotoGP™ Test in Valencia comes to a close. With plenty of new riders and motorcycles to keep an eye on, this is the start of the 2020 season and the first opportunity to see new parts featured across the manufacturers. Ending the day on top of the pile, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was just ahead of Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), whilst Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) made it a Yamaha 1-2-3.

After a phenomenal rookie season, Fabio Quartararo set 76 laps on his way to the top of the timesheets, but it wasn’t without drama. Testing a new carbon swingarm along with chassis parts, Quartararo crashed at speed at the infamous Turn 10. Shaken but not stirred and only suffering from dull rib injuries, he was back on track for the final hour before ending the day on top. Also testing new parts from Yamaha was Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), who completed a Yamaha 1-2-3 and spent most of the day inside the top five.

Splitting the two Petronas Yamaha SRT machines was Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), who spent most of the day on the 2020 bike, after completing a first run on the 2019 machine. Viñales was frequenting the top of the timesheets throughout the opening day of testing for 2020, finishing just over a tenth-and-a-half behind Quartararo. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completed a solid day of work and was inside the top ten throughout. The 40-year-old Italian, along with Viñales, was testing the 2020 bike which featured a new air intake and a third evolution of 2020 engine and finished ninth overall.

Over at the Ducati Team, Danilo Petrucci was testing a brand-new chassis ahead of 2020, before calling it a day early on after a shoulder injury picked up during the race weekend. For Andrea Dovizioso, it was a productive day as he led the fight to Yamaha. Like Petrucci, he was testing the new bike which featured a new chassis, as well as new parts for the engine and electronics. Between them, the pair racked up more than 70 laps to garner valuable data to take forward in their development for the new season. At Pramac Racing, Jack Miller was also trying new parts and completed 43 laps on his way to completing the top ten. Francesco Bagnaia is absent from the test after his broken wrist from Saturday, but present was Michele Pirro, who finished the day in 18th as he leads the development for 2020.

After an eventful weekend for the Repsol Honda Team, the drama continued in the second half of the day. With a little under four hours to go, Marc Marquez crashed his 2020 bike on the out-lap at Turn 13. Setting his fastest lap on his 33rd out of 56, the eight-time World Champion was fifth overall on the bike that he had already tested on at Misano. New teammate and brother Alex Marquez finished 23rd on his full-time debut, recovering well from his crash in the first half of the day. Stefan Bradl finished 22nd on another chassis, different to that of Marquez’. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL) was 11th as he continued to test the new 2020-spec machine.

A new engine helped Suzuki to climb the top speed charts in the afternoon, although a technical problem for Joan Mir halted the Spaniard’s progress. Mir was top Suzuki after day one in sixth place, whilst teammate Alex Rins was just a tenth-and-a-half behind in seventh. Both Suzuki riders set a strong pace throughout the day and will look to build on their developments on day two.

It was a positive first day of 2020 for KTM, who were sporting a completely new chassis. Constructed differently but remaining tubular and steel, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) made it five manufacturers inside the top eight. Espargaro set 58 laps and achieved his fastest exactly halfway through. His new teammate Brad Binder was 21st and continued his adaptation to MotoGP™. Test rider Dani Pedrosa was 17th as he worked away whilst Mika Kallio didn’t take to the circuit. Iker Lecuona was sensational at the end of day one at the Valencia Test, up in 13th place and less than a second-and-a-half off the top slot.

Whilst there was no new bike for Aprilia, Andrea Iannone was 14th and just over a second-and-a-half from the best time. Two places further back was teammate Aleix Espargaro, whilst test rider Bradley Smith was up 20th and within two seconds of Quartararo at the top. Smith suffered a nasty crash at Turn 9 earlier in the day, bringing out the red flags but the hard-working Brit was soon back out on track and was the last rider to return to the pits at the end of the day.